7

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How important is weight, anyway?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 12, 2012 at 10:28 PM

I've been paleo for just short of a year - 18 Feb is my 1 year anniversary of easing into it, and I probably went completely paleo about 2 weeks after that. I started at 101kg (about 223 lbs), not because of the weight (well, not completely ;) ) but because I was in constant pain from IBS mixed type, as well as joints. I slept poorly, couldn't concentrate, had mood swings . . . life was getting to revolve around medications. I was 47.

Over the last year I've done the whole30 twice, followed Robb Wolf's autoimmune programme to sort out what needed to be eliminated, and now follow the basic PHD. I've eliminated (in addition to the usual Paleo stuff) nuts, all dairy, coffee, alcohol, and most FODMAPS - I can tolerate small amounts of broccoli, or an apple for example. I did low carb and VLC, which resulted in depressed mood and no energy, worsening after the first week until it was almost unbearable by week 3.

Now my IBS is almost completely under control, my sleeping is just blissful, my moods are steady and upbeat. I've gone from being totally sedentary to being able to do assisted squats, girly pushups, and inverted pullups. I can be in the garden for hours and hours, and can similarly walk for ages with no ill effects. My blood work is perfect.

I've lost 10 kgs in all this time. I'm sitting at about 90kg (198lb). I've begun to IF most days, usually having 2 meals a day - this makes me feel really good, and my gut seems to like the extended rest it provides, but it hasn't helped to shift the weight.

My question is, like the title, just how important is weight anyway?? Obviously for aesthetic reasons I'd like to lose more, but I'm at a loss about how to do it without sacrificing the health I've achieved. I'm very proud of how far I've come - does remaining overweight negate those benefits??

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on February 14, 2012
at 10:41 PM

LOL, Evelyn - I wouldn't expect anything different from him, and also didn't expect that he'd return for any kind of conversation about it. The rest of the comments have been really helpful - my final take-home message is to keep doing what I'm doing, making small changes to optimise my health, and see what happens over the next 12 months!

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on February 14, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Quilt, I find your reponse lacking in sensitivity and accuracy. I'm not a thin skinned person, but the blunt response that it matters so implies Jac better keep trying is a bit ... well ... blunt. But the longevity issue is really up for debate. While obesity is likely a life-shortener, some extra fat (and the long living wormies are FATTIER!) is protective as we age.

Medium avatar

(19469)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:28 AM

Jac, it sounds like you have made great strides in improving your health and are reaping the benefits like improved sleep, wellbeing, and freedom from pain. While weight is important in an overall grand scheme of things sort of way, I would say that it is not important for you to focus on it. What is important is for you to continue to focus on what you are doing each and every day to create an environment of optimum health. Having some artificial weight goal will likely distract you from this. How many people are weight focused and unhealthy? I would say most, even if they are "skinny".

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on February 13, 2012
at 01:04 AM

Oops, that last sentence was all wrong! Is it really impossible to believe that the health gains I've achieved will mitigate, at least, the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis etc? I don't know that retrospective studies of X disease at Y weight really equates to causation, because the factors that created the high weight weren't examined. Of course, I might be sublimating a desire to remain lazy and fat.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:35 AM

Quilt, are you really sure about that? Most of what I read describes a causative relationship between over-fatness and disease, but what if it's not causative? Is it really impossible to see the health gains I've seen and yet still be at risk of the neolithic diseases?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:29 AM

its very important because it will limit your longevity and make you more vulnerable to neolithic disease.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:25 AM

@Jac, LOL! I know what you mean--if I'm out and about I may see trim young people and feel very old and non-svelte. Then, I walk around the RV park and look at the other old people and I think, Darn I look pretty good now. It's all about context (once we feel great.)

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Thanks Melissa. I keep reading about women my age doing truly heroic things in the name of losing weight - I guess I'm trying to decide whether I'm being unhealthily avoidant and staying in my (fat) comfort zone, or if I'm being realistic and somewhat graceful about accepting that I am what I am, and quality of life is the name of the game. I'm undecided - often it depends on whether I've watched TV, in which case I need to lose weight, or walked among real people in which case I'm damned svelt ;)

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:15 AM

Hi Nance. Yes, weight was really important at those times - now I fit into airline and movie seats fairly comfortably, and sit on the floor to play with the dogs and watch TV. I feel quite normal in most respects!! I started feeling consistently good about 3-4 months ago I guess. That's when I noticed it, anyway, and I stopped journalling about bloating ;). I guess the answer is to keep things going as they are, and see what happens! It'd be good to be able to tolerate different foods one day.

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2 Answers

6
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 12, 2012
at 10:45 PM

Hi, Jac! Congrats on finally feeling great. That's to be celebrated for sure.

How long have you felt good? In my case, feeling good didn't mean I was fully healed but it did indicate I was headed in that direction. I had some ups and downs and it was about 6 months into feeling great--and, like you, adapting to IF--that saw me healed enough to start tolerating more foods and having my metabolism behave much closer to "normal" as in remission/end of binge eating and great fasting bg, much lower bp/pulse, etc. I went from lifelong gut turbulence to a gut so quiet it spooked me for a while. I'm no longer cold all the time and even went out into mid-40s in a tee and cutoffs this morning without suffering.

Now, to your question--weight was pretty important to me when I couldn't cross a foot across the other thigh, or stand up from a chair without using my arms, or get up from the ground without heroic effort. Now, 40+ lbs lighter I do all those things without effort so weight is a little less important. I still hope to lose the other 25-30 lbs--just because--but I suspect I've already achieved 90% of the health gains I will enjoy.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:15 AM

Hi Nance. Yes, weight was really important at those times - now I fit into airline and movie seats fairly comfortably, and sit on the floor to play with the dogs and watch TV. I feel quite normal in most respects!! I started feeling consistently good about 3-4 months ago I guess. That's when I noticed it, anyway, and I stopped journalling about bloating ;). I guess the answer is to keep things going as they are, and see what happens! It'd be good to be able to tolerate different foods one day.

4
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 12, 2012
at 11:49 PM

Congrads on getting the IBS under control. Unfortunately, you are finding the same thing that many women in their late 40s are finding- that weight loss is harder than it is for younger women. There are many biological reasons for it, but in older women, some (not a lot) of extra weight is associated with some better health outcomes. Healthier bones and less vulnerability to infections, for example. My grandmother outlived all her skinny siblings, who died of broken hips and pneumonia. She's not obese, but she is definitely not thin either.

Too much weight though and you have a higher risk of arthritis and some other things. So I would keep doing what you are doing and you will probably see weight come off, albeit quite slowly. That's what my mother has found.

792634a784ec6a636c3137d0903e11b4

(1196)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:19 AM

Thanks Melissa. I keep reading about women my age doing truly heroic things in the name of losing weight - I guess I'm trying to decide whether I'm being unhealthily avoidant and staying in my (fat) comfort zone, or if I'm being realistic and somewhat graceful about accepting that I am what I am, and quality of life is the name of the game. I'm undecided - often it depends on whether I've watched TV, in which case I need to lose weight, or walked among real people in which case I'm damned svelt ;)

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 13, 2012
at 12:25 AM

@Jac, LOL! I know what you mean--if I'm out and about I may see trim young people and feel very old and non-svelte. Then, I walk around the RV park and look at the other old people and I think, Darn I look pretty good now. It's all about context (once we feel great.)

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