I was in a discussion today online where somebody actually said that “being thin is possible for everyone because calories in/calories out is just scientific fact” This ridiculous idea needs to die.
In order to continue to believe this, you have to believe that bodies have size diversity in every single way (heights, shoe sizes, elbow shape, finger sizes, hair colors etc.) literally everything except weight. That simply defies logic. But that’s not all.
You would also have to deny the existence of conditions that cause weight to be gained and maintained – lymphedema, lipedema, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance, PCOS, cushing’s, congestive heart failure, edema, and more.
You’d have to deny the well-documented fact that there are medications (some of them life-saving) that cause weight gain, including some anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, seizure medications, steroids, diabetes medications, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, birth control and more.
You’d also have to believe that the human body works with the same complexity of, say, a gas-powered lawnmower, and deny the known effects of dieting. If you give that lawnmower half the fuel it needs to mow a lawn every day for a month, it will stop halfway through the lawn every single day. It won’t adapt – it won’t learn to use fuel more efficiently, it won’t develop ways to store any extra fuel it gets. It just stops. Fuel in, fuel out.
But if you give the human body less fuel than it needs to perform the functions that you ask of it (also known as dieting) it adapts in a multitude of ways – everything from adjusting metabolism to messing with the hormones that drive hunger and satiety.
Basal metabolic rate falls during weight loss, meaning that as someone loses weight they will need to eat fewer and fewer calories to deprive the body of fuel in the hopes that it will consume itself and become smaller. Starvation is not sustainable and has dangerous downsides, even in the short term.
At the end of the dieting process, a body is biologically different than it was before dieting, having turned itself into a weight gaining, weight-maintaining machine, biologically different than a body that has never dieted because it has lived through what it perceives as a famine, (since your body can’t imagine that it’s sending you hunger signals, there’s food around, but you won’t feed it) and now it’s worried that there will be another one.
Finally, if calories in/calories out actually worked, at least one of the many studies that have been done on it would have shown more than a tiny fraction of people succeeding, but that’s not the case.
People are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, including the natural diversity of body sizes, diets may result in short term weight loss but the vast majority of people will regain that weight, and many will gain back more than they lost – those are the facts.
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