Are you thinner already?

Building a powerful core
| Picture: Thinkstock

Building a powerful core | Picture: Thinkstock

I’ve lost weight so many times: what is wrong with me that I cannot keep it off?

A girl who works in a high-flying industry once told me that they won’t hire fat people because fat people are lazy, fat people are greedy, fat people have no willpower. Fat people just need to eat less and exercise more.

On that note, it’s the end of January so how’s your New Year’s resolution going? Thin yet?

I haven’t eaten refined sugar since the seventh – I was on holiday so I started late – which means no sweets, chocolate, biscuits, or cake. Well, there was that one piece of Christmas cake, but technically it was from last year so it doesn’t count.

To date, I’ve lost a whole half-a-kilo, but at least I’m on track.

The reason for my regime is I want to stay healthy, to look after my joints, to prevent the type two diabetes that afflicts my gene puddle … Oh, I give up: I want to be thinner. Again. And, with a sickening thud, I realise that I’ve been trying to lose weight almost my entire life, starting in primary school when puberty made my bum fill out, popping the buttons off my dungarees.

I have dieted forever.

It makes me cross with the world, with societal pressure and the cult of perfection, but, mostly, with myself.

I’ve lost weight so many times: what is wrong with me that I cannot keep it off?

Well, wouldn’t you know it, but science has the answer, science and TV. The US reality show The Biggest Loser sets morbidly obese folk in a race against each other to lose weight.

In 2009, scientists decided to track 14 of the newly-slim contestants to see how they fared long-term. Thirteen regained their weight – four even more than they shed. And no, it wasn’t because they returned to their old habits; it’s because their bodies didn’t return to their old ways.

At the end of the competition, their metabolisms were significantly slower than before, as expected, but it was assumed these would revert to normal in time. Six years later, they still hadn’t. The winner – who went from 195kg to 86kg – needs to consume 800 calories (3 347 kilojoules) less than a typical man of his size just to maintain his weight. Try doing that for the rest of your life. Simply eating normally means he’ll pack on 3kg every month.

It’s a testament to his discipline then that he’s “only” gained 47 …

Jennie Ridyard

Jennie Ridyard


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