Dancers Anonymous > Dieting discoveries

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. davedove

    davedove Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, there are all sorts of factors to consider, not the least of which is the individual person, but that is still the basic equation. Still, one of the hardest factors to calculate is the "satisfaction" of a particular food. You could lose all kinds of weight by eating only iceberg lettuce, even lots of it, but it wouldn't be very satisfying, and not very healthy either.
  2. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    I always thought the emphasis was a bit off on statements like this. It has to boil down to calories-in/calories-out (plus water retention and to a trivial extent, mineral composition). The laws of thermodynamics are pretty darned clear.

    That said, I think it's reasonably clear that the specific components of the calories-in/calories out equation are far less straightforward than one might assume. The specific calories that go in, for example, can impact one's metabolism, greatly impacting the calories out side of the equation. Exercise burns calories, but it also increases appetite, impacting calories in. You get what I'm saying and that it doesn't sound too crazy, I hope.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    True in a lot of cases. At the risk of stirring up sami's ire (just kidding!) I'll mention the Amish Diet again. There was a book published about it .. six? seven? eight? years ago. The Amish have the lowest rates of obesity of any ethnic group in the US. They also eat TONS of calories -- sausage, potatoes, cakes, breads.** And they do hard physical labor all day and they walk an incredible number of miles per day.

    They eat the calories. They burn the calories. :cool:

    **Not recommending this diet, btw. PA Dutch country is the only place I've ever been in restaurant that had ZERO vegetables on the menu. Meat, potatoes, pickles, corn. Oh yeah and dessert. I am not kidding.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. The basic equation stands, all other things being equal ... but all things often aren't equal. For example, take an ordinary person who eats 1500 calories a day and burns them. They have no problem maintaining their weight, whatever it is. Now add in an overwhelming stressor, such as death, divorce, loss of a job.

    Even if the person doesn't deliberately change their eating habits at all (a big if) they may very well gain weight, perhaps due to stress-related lack of sleep.

    Oh heck! WebMD says it better and in fewer words than I could.

    Just one way in which calories in minus calories out is true but not the whole picture.
    JudeMorrigan likes this.
  5. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    Not in response to anything in particular: I am looking for a good guideline for healthy eating, like the Paleo diet. Or a vegetarian diet. I want to enjoy eating, without eating too much crap that's bad for me, and without feeling deprived of anything. So it's not really about losing weight, especially since I don't dislike my body, but I know that it is very out of shape and lethargic, and part of that is food choices. I have a somewhat sedentary job and want to exercise more, so I need a diet plan that is healthy but not sparse, so when I do become more active I don't wither away necessarily. I know when people hear "diet" they equate that to weight loss. Everyone has a diet, some people have an unhealthy diet. It's actually kind of hard to find a guideline to healthful eating that isn't weight loss oriented, designed to cut calories.
  6. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, that is totally what I was saying. I do apologize for my pedantism. I blame my being a chemist by training and physicist by employment. The conservation of matter and energy are very dear to me. :p
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Spoken like a true scientist! :cool:
  8. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    That's one of the difficult things about diets, imo. I think it's technically possible to put together a vegetarian Paleo diet, but it would be pretty non-conventional. As most people mean them, those're very different diets.

    And yet I know very healthy, happy people on both. I think people have to experiement to find out what works for them.
  9. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    We are not perfectly efficient combustion engines. Calories that go in can go out unburned. Proteins can be used both for fuel and for building blocks. The latter excludes use as the former, and in addition increases BMR. Glucose goes straight into glycogen in the muscles and the liver. Fructose has to be processed by the liver, and is more likely to be turned into fat before burning. Recent research seems to indicate that fructose also changes the brain in a way that fosters overeating. Carbohydrates tend to depress metabolism, and also hit reward centers in the brain, stimulating overeating. Fat is metabolically neutral, and slow to digest.
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Again, my personal go-to is moderation and portion control. Granted, as a have *cough* lbs to lose, I'm not exactly the authority on this...I realize that. However, when I've felt the best and lost/maintained, I was really watching portion sizes and really paying attention to getting a little bit of everything. Oatmeal and a serving of fruit for breakfast; a small yogurt and/or some veggies for a snack; a couple of servings of veggies, some crackers and cheese, and some sort of protein (lentils, beans, chicken) for lunch (or one veggie, crackers and cheese, protein, and a fruit for dessert); some more veggies and some protein for dinner. Shrug.

    I dunno, I guess I'm kind of a believer in the idea that, despite all of the different fads that come and go, we have known how to eat healthily for ages. It gets dressed up different ways, and some ideas come and go, but a lot stays the same. Lots of veggies, some lean protein, some dairy, some whole grains, some fruit; half the plate of veggies, quarter whole grains, quarter protein sort of thing. Variety and dark colors. Some fat is OK, but not in crazy-go-nuts quantities. If putting a small pat of butter on a bowl full of veggies for the whole family makes them infinitely more palatable to eat then, by all means, add the stupid pat of butter; despite the high amount of fat, avocados and nuts and seeds are good for you, in moderation. Nothing wrong with red meat, in moderation. Reminder that a filet of salmon (usually 6-8 oz) is NOT a serving--it's two. An entire grapefruit is not a serving--it's two.

    Then again, I have Luddite tendencies.
  11. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    So ... you're saying that you agree with me? In case not, allow me to reemphasize that I fully agree that there are many things which can influence the calories that one takes in and many things which can impact the calories that go out.
  12. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I have had three scenarios in which I lost a lot of weight. First time around, I hit a weight threshold that really bothered me, and I essentially decided to always eat just enough to leave me a bit hungry, but not ravenous. Eating literally became a nuisance to me, as it became a distraction from the other things that were occupying my attention. I dropped to about 20lbs below what I now consider to be my ideal weight. Family kept asking if I was sick. That foolishness ended when I got involved with a food-obsessed chinese family.

    Next time around, I again hit a weight threshold that bothered me, and I went on a low-carb diet. And I mean the below 50g of carbs per day sort. I was eating voraciously, especially at the beginning, until my body started producing the appropriate enzyme profile for low-carb. I lost weight rapidly, and once my body got tuned for preferentially burning fats, the hunger stopped. (This normally takes about 3 weeks, unless you jump start it with some medium chain triglycerides, such as are found in coconut oil.) The explanation of the weight loss provided to me was that in the absence of carbohydrates, a lot of the fat that gets released into the blood stream is eliminated without burning.

    The last time, there was no trigger, other than an obsession with dancing. I got to the point that I was spending six nights a week, four hours per night, at the dance studio. Moderate activity and separation from my refrigerator did the job there.

    What worked best for me is controlling my access to food. That is problematic right now, with kids in the house.
  13. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I agree, but also elaborating, because most people simplify the "calories in/calories out" to an exercise of calorie counting which is wildly inaccurate.
  14. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Eat real food. Mostly vegetables. Not too much.
    wonderwoman and JudeMorrigan like this.
  15. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Oh, I agree! I was totally being pedantic about whether it was the fundamental equation that was flawed or whether it was a matter of the individual variables being far more variable than many people assume. Although in the interest of honesty, I should mention that I think you may have me on the point about amino acids that are used directly by the body. I think where those fit in would come down to definitions, and I'm not a dietician to be entirely certain of the proper ones.
  16. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    My journey on "what" being more important than "how much" started with two things: reading "Protein Power" by the Eades, which got me to try a low-carb diet, and reading about the use of pig whip-worms to treat IBS. The first made me consider what made sense from an human evolutionary perspective, and the importance of the very different metabolic pathways engaged by different foods. The second highlighted how big a part the various microscopic flora we are exposed to play, and how big a part our immune response, both to bacteria and to various foods, plays in our health and our metabolism. And these are areas of inquiry that I continue to follow. Food allergies are an immune response to those foods.

    Anyway, to the thing about amino acids, @JudeMorrigan, among other things, the Eades noticed that just requiring their patients to consume a minimum quantity of protein, where previously they were not getting enough, immediately improved their health, and increased their muscle mass, without any corresponding increase in exercise.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I love this conversation! Thanks for all the great food for thought, folks. (That pun came out by accident. I swear. ;) )

    I think that ones weight CAN be represented by an equation, but that the equation has far more terms in it than most people would imagine. If you google it (I think DL did this once before, either in this thread or another on dieting) you can find the equation that models the WW weight loss program.

    I think that, as research advances, the people who study these things have better and better ideas of what the terms in the weightloss equation are and how those terms should be weighted. This is why, the first time i did WW, fiber trumped everything but, a year later, it no longer did. Or why, in one iteration of WW, there were lots of free green veg but fruit cost points then, in another iteration, fruit became "free" within certain constraints. The more we know, the more we can adjust our eating to reflect what works for us.

    ETA: Not suggesting that WW is the standard by which diets should be judged. It's just the diet plan I know the most about. :cool:

    At the end of the day, though, I'm with Jude. Every person is different. Even if every one of us adopted the exact same diet, it would probably yield different results for each of us.
  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Hey, Pyg. I was reading back through this thread and ran across an earlier "conversation" we'd had...did you ever end up trying parsnips?
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. No. I never did. Why the heck didn't I? Thanks for the reminder. I'll put them on my grocery list for next time I'm at Target (aka tomorrow lol.)
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This. Good sense spread over time= moderate weight loss that's maintainable, IME.

    Reminds me of the time when DS was in preschool and there was a new fad "fat burning" supplement. Chromium picolinate? I'm not 100% sure, but I think that's what it was. The ladies at DS's school were all standing around talking about the benefits of this "fat burner," and NOBODY, nobody wanted to hear about the 40 pounds I'd lost in six months on WW doing basically what you described. Too much work. Much better to just take a pill, right?

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