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. . . . that skinny woman!"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

No kidding, she was referring to ME!

I was at the hospital last week (routine test, no problems) and dressed in a hospital gown plus robe, not exactly flattering.

And next to me, another lady similarly clad. Both of us undergoing general anaesthesia, both of us requiring to be weighed so the anaesthetist could determine the appropriate amount of juice on a per pound basis!!

And . . . "It's not fair that I have to get weighed right beside that skinny woman," the lady said indignantly to the nurse.

I looked around to see who she was talking about. Nobody else there. Me??

OK, so I hadn't eaten for about 15 hours in accordance with the protocol required. Nothing to drink, either, so pretty thoroughly dehydrated. Clocked in at 63.5 kg which is just under 140. Don't know what she weighed: I averted my eyes sympathetically to give her at least the illusion of privacy.

And tried not to rejoice. Me? Skinny?

And yeah, I'm back to 142 now that I've resumed my normal maintenance range of calories, my normal quota of coffee!! Darn. Short lived, I guess! But for a couple moments, I was "that skinny woman!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRACTALMYTH 5/26/2012 3:08PM

    Wooohoooooo :D It's the little things :P I posted my latest pregnancy pic on facebook and a friend made a comment about "beanpole legs" lol... I'm sure it's just the huge tummy making an optical illusion, but it still made me grin all day!

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DONNACFIT 5/24/2012 12:26AM

    Yeah!! Skinny woman!! You rock!!

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SCOOTERGIRLOZ 5/21/2012 9:12PM

    Congrats. I'd say you still are that Skinny Woman. I have been told to see oneself as skinny in order for the body to do what it needs to be skinny. Keep enjoying your skinniness.

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LISALGB 5/20/2012 10:24PM

    Way to go, Miss Skinny!! Love it!!

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NANCY- 5/20/2012 9:26AM

    I can only imagine how wonderful that must have felt.
You still are that skinny woman!
Isn't it amazing what perspective and adjectives can do,
Sometimes we hang on to old perceptions, is it time for you to take a new look?

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CARRAND 5/19/2012 8:27PM

    You would look skinny next to me, too. I'm at 157, and I'd be happy with 150, let alone 140.

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PHEBESS 5/19/2012 7:11PM

    YAY for hitting skinny!!!!!!!!!!

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IMAGINE_IT 5/19/2012 3:46PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon YES...rejoice..rejoice....because if it is true..it is true!!
This blog makes me smile...thanks for sharing.... skinny woman!! emoticon emoticon

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SALSIFY 5/19/2012 3:39PM

    I can't ever imagine anyone calling me skinny! Although people already are saying that I've lost too much. I just say that, according to the government, I'm still overweight - which is true.

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SLENDERELLA61 5/19/2012 12:51PM

    You are, you are that skinny woman!! Yes, you are. Embrace it. And beside being lean, you are an active, smart and strong woman. Sure hope your routine test turned out well. You are wise to get all that recommended testing. Take care, my lean SparkFriend! -Marsha

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MEADSBAY 5/19/2012 11:23AM

    I would give my first born child for that!

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TRAVELGRRL 5/19/2012 11:22AM

    Don't use the past tense -- you ARE that skinny woman! I would be so happy to be at 142; I weighed that for many years and it was a sustainable weight for me. But I'm only 5'2"!

Yes, you ARE that skinny, strong woman! emoticon

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_LINDA 5/19/2012 9:48AM

    Sometimes all one needs is an external comment to let it finally sink in -you really are that skinny woman! You have succeeded in your weight loss goals. An unbiased stranger has just told you so! You have arrived!
I have to admit I couldn't get used to people in the hospital calling me so skinny, tiny, petite, and 'frail' which wasn't so good, but basically illustrated they thought I was a normal weight and a very small woman.
I hope you test is okay.
Enjoy your skinny day and weekend!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NOLAZYBUTT110 5/19/2012 9:22AM

    Yes, skinny compared to a 300 pound person (man or woman) ! Lol. You got me going! (I am so jealous, would love to be that skinny woman again! ) It looks better when you write KG's! Like to be 63.5 Kgs... YYes, but I am NOT! Yes your even skinny compaed to me at 177! But many people think I am skinny! lol I guess weight is in the eyes of the beholder! lmao! Go skinny girl! (Hope its nothing serious, that is... the surgery!) Hope all is well beside your pride being pinched! lol Call me skinny any day! susana

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/19/2012 9:08AM

    I do a double-take less these days than I did a couple of years ago when someone refers to me as having a "tiny little body". Stay the course, and you'll feel more at home as "that skinny woman"... and rejoice in it!


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Obesity and Safety

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just following up on my blog looking at obesity, bullying and individual "blaming" versus environmental changes, a number of people commented on the environmental issue of safety. When people of all ages aren't safe moving outside, it's not surprising that they will spend more time sitting on a couch watching TV or surfing the internet.

It's so true that we almost never see young children out playing freely by themselves, either individually or with a friend or two, anymore. It's actually unusual to see children under the age of 12 or 13 on their bikes, at the park, even walking to school, by themselves. Before and after school care costs money . . . and it's cheaper to tell kids of 11 or 12 that they can go home alone provided that they stay inside with the door locked.

Like most people of my vintage, I played outside alone from about age 4 onwards. Rode my bike to the community swimming pool with other neighbourhood children from age 4 onwards. Went to the park with baby brother and slightly older sister from age 6 onwards (she was in charge, at age 9!). Was gone from morning to night, often with a picnic lunch, all summer long by the time I was 7: the only restriction was to be home as soon as the streetlights came on. We played pick-up baseball (which meant we had to learn how to get along without adult intervention). We had a croquet set and badminton and tennis rackets. We climbed trees and dug forts. We roller skated in the summer and ice skated in the winter and played pick-up hockey (girls too). We tobogganed and went skiing. It was non-stop motion with plenty of skinned knees and elbows. No helmets!

Mums had a lot more freedom then, not having to hover over children constantly or drive them to scheduled activities or arrange for daycare. (Of course mums were at home doing laundry with wringer washers, pegging out clothes on the line, and peeling carrots and making jam and mending clothes: not exactly a life of leisure for them either! And it all burned calories for them as well . . .)

Were those really the good old days? Kids ran free, but sexual molestation of children occurred, maybe even at the same rate of incidence as currently. It's just that when it occurred, it was generally "hushed up" and ignored. Not a good thing, of course, for those who experienced either the molestation or the subsequent hushing. A relatively small minority . . . and the majority did grow up with so much less restriction.

Does this mean that the current regime of constant supervision of children is unnecessary?

Here in Ontario we've just been reading with horror the news coverage of a small girl murdered by a sexual predator, with the luring assistance of his girlfriend. Rare, of course. Statistically, "stranger danger" is much less of a risk than molestation by a person well-known to the family. But parents seldom want to take the chance. Remember that New York mother who permitted her 9 year old to take the subway unaccompanied: she was vilified. I taught my daughter how to use the public bus system to get across town to the Y alone after school when she was about 11 . . . again, this met with considerable criticism, although my daughter did not have any negative experiences at all doing so and loved the independence.

However, even as a grown woman, when I was running 10 km a day, I was on more than one occasion harassed when out running in the early morning or evening . . . sometimes even when I was running with another woman. For working people, generally early or late in the day is the time available for running. Police warned us that what we were doing wasn't safe. Although I've reluctantly given up running (because of persistent knee/hip issues), I do hesitate to go out for walks in the woods alone, or even in local natural park areas, because I've experienced harassment on those occasions too.

It's "safest" to exercise at a gym, I suppose: and gym memberships do cost money (although Ys subsidize membership fees on a sliding scale for people who need it).

I sometimes think that part of what fuels excess shopping (is it sexist to acknowledge this may be primarily a woman thing? ) is that one of the only places women feel safe is at the shopping mall! Ditto the spa . . .

And all those expensive theme park and water park and organized events for kids: it seems to me they've become necessary because kids are so severely restricted in making fun for themselves.

No question in my mind: creating a safe environment for women and children to exercise vigorously outside is absolutely essential to combatting obesity. And probably to combatting excessive consumerism too. And probably to connecting with nature, experiencing birds and flowers and all of the changes of the season.

Obesity has many multifaceted causes . . . and no easy solution.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 5/18/2012 11:56PM

    Yes, re: "regime of constant supervision of children"...I pine for those days of yore similar to yours where us kids were able to roam about on foot or bike. While I enjoy relative freedom around our downtown urban area, I realize I'm a 6' 2'' fella with some heft and feel badly for the caution women and children need to exercise.

Certainly some "wrong turns" have been taken by our culture!


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CARRAND 5/18/2012 9:12PM

    I remember playing outside for hours when I was a kid. We all did. There were kids in every house on the block - usually 3 or 4 or 5 kids. Maybe there was safety in numbers. You just don't see that many kids today, and they don't play outside like we used to do, and it's a shame.

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IMAGINE_IT 5/18/2012 3:31PM

    The way you described your childhood reminded me of my own...we used to have to go outside..no 'if's..or 'but's' about it.."A child needs fresh air' used to be my parents comment....lol...which is true....but we did have fun all day long...came up with all kind of activities to keep ourselves entertained....summer time??? ......we spent it in our local public swimming pool....from the time they opened...until they closed...
i often feel sorry for today's children...they seem to miss out on a lot....but unfortunately times have changed..and it is more dangerous to let children go outside and play alone...or even with friends.
And of course Technology (endless video games) makes sure that most children do not have to set one foot outside...except for going to school...from the door..to the car.....or bus..and into the school....where PE (exercise) is no longer on most of the schedules..due to budget cuts!! The future does look emoticon (obese) if we don't try and start turning it around emoticon..somehow...

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NANCY- 5/18/2012 10:11AM

    It all started because we want a safe environment. DBCLARINET made an excellent point about "safety is an excuse." for inactivity. Folks around here thought I was nuts for taking the train into NYC all by myself. To prepare for that I had made several trips into the City with friends.

There are many things we can do to stay active and increase our safety. Time of day. location, exercise buddy, planned events,
No environment is 100% safe. I stubbed my toe on the bathroom door this morning. Duh!

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/18/2012 6:51AM

    Life has changed irrevocably. Here, in Australia, sport is the number one entertainment for adults, but manychildren do participate dependant on their parent's attitude.

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_LINDA 5/18/2012 2:49AM

    I used to walk all over my city at all hours of the day and night. I even walked the dirt trails near where I lived as a kid, was never harassed and indeed if I happened upon a 'bush party' was invited in. Never did though, not my thing. But only eight years ago, when I lived in the 'trouble area' of the city, I was harassed just going out on my scooter! It was youth doing the harassing. One even fired a cap off by my ear to see if I would jump! The other brat ran chasing after me with all kinds of epitaphs and saying he wanted my scooter..As I showed no reaction what so ever, they soon tired of their games and left me alone. I still get the odd cuss thrown at me, from punks driving by. I have no idea what people have against someone in a scooter!
There is hope though -in my Mom's neighborhood they have quite the group of active young children who play hide and seek all over the area, ride their bikes, play ball, all kinds of things. You see them out constantly when the weather is nice and even when its not so nice..

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/17/2012 9:04PM

    I don't believe that safety is as much a concern as my original response might have indicated, because after all, I have walked myself home from work across some neighborhoods my son doesn't think I should, and no one has troubled me. HOWEVER, I don't go with headphones on, and I pay attention to my surroundings.

As Helen Keller said, "Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold."

This actually helped me overcome some of the media anxiety / avoidance of DOING that has been discussed. BUT... it is not easy to overcome anxiety and fear, and if we are surrounded by messages that constantly tell us we are not safe, is this not ALSO an environmental element?

Spark helps. Doing it helps. We are worth it... LIVE the message! emoticon emoticon

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DBCLARINET 5/17/2012 8:12PM

    I hear this a lot, and I always have to ask, is it REALLY that unsafe? I have no experience in the world you grew up in; we were limited to where we could go because we lived in a fairly rural area, so when we went bike riding, we were limited to whatever side streets we could ride on. The main roads had too much fast traffic. We also lived too far away from the school to walk, so we drove.

We could still tool around the three little side streets with two friends from down the street for hours. We never had enough people to play any sport, so we played kickball with "ghostmen."

The things we hear about are horrible, but as you pointed out, most of it is very rare. I know the areas of my community to stay away from, so I do, but if I want to go for a run at 5:30am, I can because I'm not going to be the only person out there.

I didn't read all the comments about safety, but my first thought is that safety is an excuse. People have a lot more activities they can do indoors that are interesting: there's a lot more TV to choose from now, there are things like Netflix so you can watch what you want when you want, and video games are a very recent staple in people's homes. When I was a kid growing up in the 1980s, we had one system, but once we had it, our parents did need to coax us to go outside -- it was just so COOL! Now families have two or more systems. Of course kids aren't going to want to go outside!

No, I think the issue is in over-abundance of everything. Over-abundance of food, over-abundance of easy entertainment, over-abundance of comfort. Heaven forbid any of us step outside our comfort zone.

Anyway, that's my Generation Y take on the situation (you know, because nobody was creative enough to give my generation a REAL name, as if it mattered...)

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MEADSBAY 5/17/2012 7:40PM

    It's so true!
My mom used to push us out the door after breakfast and hand a sandwich out the door to us at lunch and just let us in in time to wash up for supper.
We were all skinny healthy kids.

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PHEBESS 5/17/2012 7:24PM

    I used to walk after school at an outdoor mall (by a marina) - then a few men started harrassing tourists and panhandling, and even though I'm not a tourist, I look like one (as in I don't look like I was born here) - so I don't go there as often as I did previously.

Sad, isn't it? I made a report to the mall cops, but it still is frustrating.

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Obesity and bullying

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Here's a link to a short video clip about the relationship between obesity and bullying . . . it's an interview with Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of an Ottawa research group which surveyed 1700 teens, but Dr. Freedhoff suggests the correlation applies to adults too. We blame the individual who is obese: we assume that the individual lacks willpower, is slothful and undisciplined. But Dr. Freedhoff says we have to fix our broken environment. Our biology has not changed, but our environments have: the reduced opportunities to move, the increased availability of unhealthy cheap food both contribute to the rapid increase of obesity on a mass scale. Obese teens are picked on (because it's believed that they "deserve" to be picked on). Obese teens, who consider themselves blamed for something out of their control, are (not surprisingly) also significant perpetrators of bullying.

On the site is a link to another short article about one potential method of "changing the environment"; namely adding a tax to unhealthy foods. Right now it's cheaper to buy junk than fruits and veggies and lean protein. Research indicates it would take a 20 % tax on fast food probably combined with a 20% subsidy on healthy food to effect a change in people's food choices.

I certainly know that I am spending a ridiculous amount of money on groceries . . . Beans and lentils and oatmeal are cheap, but much of what I eat is not. It would cost me less AND take less time to visit a drive-thru every day rather than make a salad and chopped fruit . . .

Can teens be held responsible for obesity when most of them do not control what's available in the fridge at home or in the cafeteria at school? Would a combo of 20% tax and 20% subsidy make a difference?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNACFIT 5/18/2012 12:38AM

    On the news today was a story about healthy food being cheaper than unhealthy food, comparing portion sizes etc..very timely..to your blog...I find that I don't have to spend more to eat healthy, although we grow lots of our own food so that's not the same for everyone.

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CARRAND 5/17/2012 6:03PM

    I spend a lot on food, too, but it's totally worth it.

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KALIGIRL 5/17/2012 11:12AM

    Not sure what the answer is, but look forward to the day that 'fast' food is 'good' food!

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NANCY- 5/17/2012 9:15AM

    If only folks could stop judging and start hugging and helping their fellow human beings.
Unhealthy food is cheap, more accessible and has a longer shelf life. The world has changed, our bodies needs have not.
We need to learn to adapt to today's world and make and share smarter choices.

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/17/2012 5:58AM

    Our activities, both in the workplace and at leisure have changed dramatically over the past hundred years, and there are many more prepackaged foods than when my Mum shopped. It is a real problem for first world countries as the health implications are enormous. Education doesn't seem to be working, as my overweight doctor confessed, he knew it all bt was still overweight. It IS much harder to stay slim and it is often when we are faced with illness that we start to pay attention and be prepared to make that effort. Actually maintaining the effort is another aspect of the dilemma.

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_LINDA 5/17/2012 2:08AM

    I am not so sure it costs more to eat healthy. The key is buying fruits and veggies that are in season and abundant. It is also better to buy bulk then prepackaged. It may cost you more time in preparation, but in the end its worth it. A loaf of healthy bread may be expensive, but it does go a long way, as opposed to a one time frozen meal or a bag of munchies. I would tend to avoid cereals as a lot of them, even the 'healthy' ones have a lot of sugar or extra additives you really don't need. A big bag of steel cut oats goes a long way then the processed box cereals.
I am a water drinker too. I start drinking it as soon as I wake up. I don't feel the need for anything else. I do drink 'raw' green tea though as I have read its good for you. Healthy things like nuts may be expensive, but as you can only eat small amounts because of the high calorie and fat content, they too will go a long way.
The best way, in summer to live much cheaper on healthy food is to grow your own, in your yard if you are lucky enough to have one, or in a community garden, or even in containers..
Where there is a will there is a way. More taxes probably isn't the answer. The change needs to begin with the parents and them setting the example for their kids. I grew up on mac n cheese, hot dogs, pizza, white bread and sugar cereals. They were quick, easy and convenient for a working Mom to fix (and as soon as I was old enough, for me to prepare).
I have come a long way since then..

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LISALGB 5/16/2012 10:58PM

    It is a sad situation when it costs less to buy bad foods than it does to buygood, healthy foods. I struggle with grocery bills just like everyone else.
As for bullying - there is never an excuse for it - against anyone for any reason.
Walk a mile . . .
Great post!!

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DDOORN 5/16/2012 10:29PM

    I'm all for destigmatizing anyone regarding any attribute:

R>What is it about humans that warps us to stigmatize others...? Ugh!

It can be tricky, but I truly believe that one can eat healthy foods without bearing extremely high costs. #1 method for doing this? Eliminate all beverages other than water. That's all we need. I do drink some black coffee in the morning and green tea afternoon, but only because my employer provides it for free. If it wasn't available I would be drinking nothing but water. Skip the whole beverage aisle. See what that frees up so that one can afford fresh veggies and fruits!

So many boxed and junky foods really are very pricey! Especially when they can be so addictive and folks polish off huge quantities of them!

Just my 2 cents...


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/16/2012 10:10PM

    ...and if they want to get healthier, they apparently don't know how:

Unless things change, what will happen when we get to the point that more than half of the population is obese? Do we then begin picking on the morbidly obese because they're the fattest ones?



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DBCLARINET 5/16/2012 9:16PM

    This speaks directly to the plight of the college student! My husband was so proud of himself because, for a while there, he was living off of $20 a week in food -- all frozen pizzas, frozen corn dogs, cheap cereals, cheap white bread, peanut butter and jelly, etc.

When you're trying to put yourself through college and can't get a scholarship or a grant, and you've piled up $60,000 in loans trying to keep yourself alive, yeah, you're gonna eat as cheaply as you can. This is a serious epidemic amongst college students, and perhaps something which provides a double-whammy, making processed food more expensive and good food more inexpensive, would encourage college students to buy better food. I bet it would -- in the end, the college students just want whatever is cheap.

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SABEAN1 5/16/2012 8:36PM

  I vote for a subsidy on food and a tax on candy! But dont they already tax candy? and sweet drinks? And anything that has sugar in it! Bullying can be stopped but it takes a whole village to exact it and put it into play!Starting by how we treat people who are obese! and those who pick on them should be shamed when they do bully them! susana

Comment edited on: 5/16/2012 8:43:00 PM

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PHEBESS 5/16/2012 8:24PM

    I would LOVE for healthy foods to be less expensive! I'd also like to see healthier food options in vending machines and airports and such - why can't baby carrots be in packs in a vending machine????

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/16/2012 8:24PM

    This has long been a stereotype... fat, evil, villians, weak fat people... but I think there are some things missing from such articles. They talk about food, but how often do you see them talk about fear/anxiety related to security as a reason we *don't* have children outdoors playing actively, but instead passively in front of screens, TV, video game, smart phone...

Food is part of it, but it's not all of the problem. What a complex issue!

I agree about the pricing, though... fast food calories are CHEAP calories, as well as unhealthy ones.

Thanks for being a sane voice, passing the word along!

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Why exercise may not lead to weight loss . . .

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This was a recent article in the Globe and Mail, and I found it confirms my own experience.

Even when intensity and duration of exercise was the same for a group of experimental subjects such that the average weight loss was 3.2 kg, some lost over 10 kg and other actually gained a little weight. Grrrr.

Apparently some of us are "responders" to exercise; their food-reward ratings don't change after a workout.

But others are "non-responders" who have a significant increase in desire for high fat and sweet food right after working out.

The factors are complex . . . but the research does indicate that exercise has a significant effect on weight loss only for some people.

What matters? Everybody improves fitness by exercise. The most important benefits of exercise don't show up on the scale.

Exercise for me improves my strength, my fitness, my toning, my mood: and I love the sociability of the gym. My gym is my "third place".

But exercise is not a significant factor for me in weight loss. In fact I've got to take care that I don't use exercise as an excuse to eat more . . . and more of the wrong foods. I'm more vulnerable to eating indiscretions after a workout! But I know that . . . so I can plan for that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRYINGHARD1948 5/17/2012 6:15AM

    Lots of positives from exercising so if weight loss isn't one of them, no need to grieve, just relish those endorphins and a healthier, stronger body.

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CARRAND 5/16/2012 7:30PM

    I think exercise helps me to lose weight, although I'm not sure how much difference it makes. I lost 25 pounds while i was laid up with a broken ankle and couldn't exercise at all. One thing exercise does is get me out of the kitchen and away from food. Two hours at the gym is 2 hours i don't eat. I usually go to the coffee shop after my yoga or weight lifting for a decaf skim latte (140 calories) but I'm just as likely to get a latte even if I haven't been to the gym. I guess it's complicated. I know exercise makes me feel better, and the doctor says it has increased my HDL (good cholesterol).

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 5/16/2012 5:11PM

    Unfortunately unless the exercise study contains something about body composition, it's pretty much useless.

Because that's what exercise does. It changes your body composition. Not your weight. Which in the end is much more important than the tiny amount of calories it will burn relative to the number of them necessary to just keep you alive.

Do you really just want to lose weight? Amputate your leg. There. Done. You've just removed 40% of your weight.

No? Ok, how about we just stick tubes in our noses and lie around for a few weeks while 500 calories per day drip into our stomachs. You're guaranteed to lose weight. Mostly your muscles.

Oh. Wait, I didn't hear you, did you say you want to lose FAT? And keep the muscle? Oh, well, then why didn't you SAY so???

To do that you need to exercise. Specifically strength train.

And also eat right. (Yes, that means controlling your calorie intake. No matter how hard that is.)


So yeah, I'm not very interested in any of the "weight loss" methods and studies that ignore body composition. Because I'm interested in having the strength to DO stuff, and looking the part, too.

P.S. I hit the system with a whey shake or some kind of protein right after a session. Even if I don't feel like it. Syntrax nectar is convenient because you can just add water to the shaker bottle. If you have the urge for something sweet, that might make it go away.

Comment edited on: 5/16/2012 5:34:00 PM

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NANCY- 5/16/2012 2:52PM

    WTG on the thinking ahead and planning.
I loved Don's "you can't out-exercise bad food choices" It always seems to come down to choice. Planning helps us with our long term goals, not planning for me leads to immediate gratification.

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ID_VANDAL 5/16/2012 1:54PM

    This blog is spot on. My trainer has said the same thing over and over. Exercise is to get you healthy so you can be active in life but your nutrition is what gets the weight off.

If you just want to lose weight then your diet is the key but to have healthy life you need the right nutrition and exercise!!

Great link and thanks for that.



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CHRISTIE6625 5/16/2012 12:22PM

  Thanks for the link. I've been amazed how the pounds are coming off since I started couch to 5k. And that's only three times a week. After reading that article I realize that part of it is that after exercise I feel more motivated and optimistic about my ability to eat healthy and loose weight so I make really good food choices. Totally luck that my mind clicks that way and not the other way. Nutrition and motivation are so complicated.

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DOKEYOKEY 5/16/2012 9:52AM

    Yep, exercise brings its own rewards!

(And one of them isn't an excuse to eat more!)

Thanks for posting!


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DDOORN 5/16/2012 9:37AM

    This is a pet peeve of mine as I have proven to myself over and over again that you can't out-exercise bad food choices...!

So many newbies express such frustration over busting their butts with workouts and seeing no change in weight and I can never stress enough that while working out has wonderful benefits for our health (turning fat to muscle, losing inches, lowering cholesterol & blood pressure, boost in mood, etc.), weight loss is usually not one of them.

I know I get the very best results when I'm tracking my food diligently.


Comment edited on: 5/16/2012 9:38:35 AM

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DONNACFIT 5/16/2012 9:22AM

    Hi..great info..I know that when I do lots and lots of hard farm work it's hard not to overeat :(

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KALIGIRL 5/16/2012 8:14AM

    Cool - helps to understand triggers. Not a sweet or fat craver, so must be a responder?

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IPA-RAY 5/16/2012 7:54AM

    When I increase my exercise, I see no extra weight loss but when I can't exercise, I gain quickly. So I can't say exercising causes me to lose weight but I can definitely say that not exercising causes me to gain weight.

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MARATHON_MOM 5/16/2012 7:18AM

    This is very true for me.
I have been working out with weights 5-6 days a week, and doing cardio 4 or so days a week, and my scale barely moves. I see noticable changes in my body, so I am really not terribly concerned with what the scale says right now.
For me, working out is more about the way it makes me feel.

I have started eating on a schedule, to avoid any bingeing after a workout. Protein shake after my 3:30 am workout, (around 5am) breakfast 2 or so hours later after I get to work.

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/16/2012 7:06AM

    How interesting that here on Spark, it seems that one or another of my friends will post something I really needed to see "right now". In this case, as I start boosting my training activity for the triathlon in a couple of months, I'm NOT losing weight. I have upped my calorie range a bit, because I don't want to lose muscle while I'm doing this... but the scale is staying the course in maintaining the "new normal" that came after the Winter did its bit.

HOWEVER, I was just noticing my firmer thighs this morning. Yes! That's what the workouts are for, not the number on the scale, the ability to perform. And if a firmer set of thighs and a perkier bum come with it? Hey, who am I to complain?

Life is good. Exercise is good. The scale is (to quote the Borg) irrelevant. Spark on! emoticon emoticon

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    I'm actually the same way. It has to be about good nutrition and not just the exercise. Also, I've discovered that HOW I exercise significantly impacts weight loss. The more I stress my body the more it goes into survival mode and starts storing fat and craving life-saving carbohydrates. Its one reason I'm giving up long-distance running at this stage of my life and opting for 'gentler' activity like walking, swimming and biking.

Thanks for posting the article! I'm looking forward to reading it in more detail.

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PHEBESS 5/16/2012 6:31AM

    Yeah, some of us were designed for hard work in cold climates - so exercise elevates appetite which adds more body insulation. Not a good combo to fight all the time!

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SWAZY33 5/16/2012 5:50AM

    I've noticed this when I was sidelined and couldn't exercise. I actually lost weight at first but once the nutrition goes bad so does the scale!

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SALSIFY 5/16/2012 5:37AM

    Thanks for posting that article - it was really interesting. I've worked out already that I'm a non-responder. If I exercise too hard then I get really ravenous and usually end up eating too much. So what I do is exercise which isn't really too strenuous like walking 10k steps per day and cycling to work & the shops and the strength training dvds I use aren't too arduous.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 5/16/2012 4:04AM

    Thanks for that. I don't lose weight with exercise, and I do lose weight when I diet. But when I diet and exercise, I lose weight much more readily. The good feeling from the exercise helps to maintain my resolution when I am restricting my food. And I think it is important to build muscle, which you lose when you lose weight. Because you need the muscle to burn fat. It's all so complicated!

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ROOSTER72 5/16/2012 3:05AM

Having to cut back my exercise over the last few months (due to this cough) shows me that I need to exercise - for 2 reasons.

1. It lifts my mood . . . therefore less comfort eating
2. It increases the amount of food I can eat . . . . . therefore more satisfied, and less binging.

I miss it!

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_LINDA 5/16/2012 1:28AM

    I usually feel moderately hungry after a workout and eat my scheduled meal which I always find satisfying. As I have a high body fat % in spite of my weight loss, it would be easy to venture a guess my body uses carbs way more than fat to fuel my exercising. Trying to lower my body fat has been impossible for me. I guess that also points up to why its so easy for me to regain. But the bottom line really is calories are still the most important factor you simply can't eat more than you burn off.
This was an intersting article, thanks for bringing it to our attention. I really appreciate Spark friends who take the time to research interesting topics and share them with us :)

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I guess it shows that counting (food) calories is still important, eh?

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Three Years on Spark People!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Hard to believe . . . and it slipped past me . . . but May 10 marked my third straight year here on Spark.

At that point I was recovering from breast cancer surgery, waiting to start radiation treatment, and had permitted my weight to creep up from 155 to 172. Fifteen extra "pity party pounds". Still down from my original high of 230 in 2001. But I was determined to halt the trend right away: particularly because my cancer was the estrogen positive type that is most likely to recur with weight gain . . .

How lucky I was to find SparkPeople! This site turned out to be a great place to peel 'em off again, dip a little lower (142) and learn how to maintain: with the help of Susan Estrich (Making the Case for Yourself), Judith S. Beck (The Diet Solution); Steve Siebold (fatloser.com) and an absolutely dazzling array of Spark People resources: articles, exercises, recipes . . . . it's endless.

JOPAPGH joined the same week I did . . . and he's still here, going stronger than ever with his running and other fitness activities.

Others have come and gone . . . but regardless of the ebb and flow, it's the cast of thousands of amazing Spark People members which remains its greatest asset!!

Those of you who have helped me most and are still here do hear from me often . . . I won't name you for fear of missing any one of you, , but you know who you are.

I do most sincerely appreciate all of your support and all of your wisdom with this most difficult challenge of all: MAINTAINING!

I'm pretty sure it's never going to be "natural" or "easy".

I'm pretty sure I"m going to have to track what I eat every day for the rest of my slim life. (And thank you, SP, for the best and easiest to use Nutrition Tracker).

Too much trouble? No it's not. That's a sabotaging thought. Nutrition tracking takes about 3 minutes a day. That's all. Not as much trouble as lugging around all that extra weight 24/7.

And besides: I'm pretty sure that if I ever stop tracking, I'll balloon back up to 230 pounds in about 15 minutes!

Not happening. I'll be here next year. The year after. And the year after that.

And I will continue to maintain within my range . . . that's my commitment to me.

My commitment to Spark is to continue to offer to others whatever support I can that may be useful, paying forward all of the support so generously extended to me.

YAY SPARK!! What a remarkable worldwide community!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNACFIT 5/16/2012 1:03AM

    Sorry I'm late with Sparkaversary greetings...congrats on all your success...You are a great inspiration to me and one of my favorite Spark friends :)


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JOHAL52 5/15/2012 6:59PM

    Thanks for that wonderful blog Ellen! I did the Relay for Life on Friday-Saturday. I didn't realize that you were one of the people whose survival I was grateful for! But I am glad that you are!

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ID_VANDAL 5/14/2012 10:46AM

    Thanks to you for all you've done for me (and a lot of other people as well). You are a remarkable person and I'm glad to count you as a friend!

Keep up the good work.



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KALIGIRL 5/14/2012 8:47AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon too!

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TBANMAN 5/13/2012 11:03PM

    Happy Sparkversary! You're an inspiration.


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NANCY- 5/13/2012 2:12PM

    emoticon on third anniversary and all your successes!
The challenges you have faced have been met by you with grace and determination. You are an inspiration.
Keep On Sparking!!!!

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DBCLARINET 5/13/2012 6:47AM

    Yay! emoticon

I completely agree that the community is the biggest asset. The trackers are easy to use, the wealth of information is huge, but the community is what makes SparkPeople special.

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_LINDA 5/13/2012 1:19AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Happy, Happy 3rd Sparkaversary!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
I whole heartedly agree tracking is what is saving me from regaining. No excuses for not weighing and measuring and keeping myself honest. I have always enjoyed it actually, juggling around my food to see what I can fit in and trying to get the nutrient ratios right. I didn't lose my weight completely until I started tracking my food. That was the single most biggest change I made in my life that made all the difference.
Here is to many more happy maintaining Sparkaversaries!
Keep up the great work!!

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ADRIENALINE 5/12/2012 7:49PM

    Congrats on your 3rd anniversary. I'm chugging towards my first year but it is the best website for losing weight in the world so I plan to stick around forever.

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SALSIFY 5/12/2012 6:18PM

    Many congratulations on your third year spark anniversary! I've been here about 9 months but I can't ever imagine not being here. It's you and other maintainers managing to maintain their weight loss, in spite of all the difficulties, which I find so inspiring. Thank you for all of your wonderful blogs & the support you give to your friends. What a great place Sparkpeople is!


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TRAVELGRRL 5/12/2012 5:40PM

    Totally agree that Sparkpeople is an amazing site filled with amazing people. What a difference it's made in my life too.

Congratulations on your recovery from breast cancer and for keeping those pounds LOST!

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FIFIFRIZZLE 5/12/2012 4:59PM

    Congratulations on your success. I am really enjoying your blogs, I get a lot from them.

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PHEBESS 5/12/2012 4:19PM

    I'm glad you're here!!!!!!!!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/12/2012 4:18PM

    Congrats on your emoticon Sparkversary!

emoticon emoticon I've learned a lot from you! And my Spark gets re-sparked every time it dims... Maintenance... the final frontier!

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