30,000-39,999 SparkPoints 35,482

Curious reaction to awesome weight-loss news

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I fear I am being a petty, judgmental hater here, but I just have to pose the question anyway:

How unfair does it feel that doing this weight management thing the "right" way sometimes yields the slowest and least dramatic results? I know I am feeling vulnerable right now after having to own up to a small gain, but I can't help it -- it feels totally unfair!

This comes about because I just read an article about the Paula Deen family's combined weight loss (

Don't get me wrong -- it is AWESOME that she, her husband and both her sons have all decided their health is more important than celebrating totally unhealthy foods for the sake of family tradition and a practical media empire. I think it's wonderful! Especially that she's been so open about the fact that the foods she's famous for did, in part, lead to her type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

But as I got to the end of this particular article, I couldn't help but notice that Bobby Deen is the only one among them who did it "the right way" -- both watching his diet and exercising regularly -- and he lost the least amount of weight at 33 pounds. I don't even know that there necessarily IS one "right" way, but if there is, diet and exercise (the main tenets of Spark magic!) has to be it!

Paula's husband lost 60 pounds eating very little whole food (four protein shakes plus "real" dinner every day), and Paula and her other son, Jamie, took the low-carb route, and they lost 40 and 45 pounds, respectively. (BTW, that's one of the most dramatic 40-pound losses I've seen, unless the photos are heavily retouched -- she looks great!)

I'm not saying their efforts are "bad" or "wrong" (though for me, at least, they certainly would be unsustainable). Besides, maybe Bobby had less to lose! He does seem to be the shortest of the bunch. And I really loved that her husband, Michel, talked about the tendency to throw in the towel and then gorge even more once you've "messed up" or "cheated," and how he learned that instead you just get back on track and keep moving forward.

But I am kinda bummed that it's sooooo easy to mistakenly infer from this story that, obviously, old-school diet and exercise don't yield the best or fastest results.

Ah well, the article absolutely didn't suggest such a thing, so maybe I am just feeling far too jaded today. emoticon But maybe not, because for some reason it really made me think of ALL the times I encountered a very obvious look of disappointment when, throughout my weight loss process, someone excitedly asked me "what are you doing?" and I would reply "just good old-fashioned diet and exercise: eat less, count calories and move more!" Seriously, so many times their faces instantly fell, like, "Awww, man, but that's too hard!" Clearly not the latest magic bullet they were hoping to find.

At least my own recent efforts to get back on track (I've gained 13 pounds in "maintenance" around the holidays -- whoops! I know better than that!) have already yielded some disappointing but important observations: even after nearly FIVE years (can that be true?! My Spark weight loss goal has my start date as 2008!) of almost daily practice, it can be FAR TOO EASY to be re-corrupted by portion distortion, the sugar beast and mindless eating! emoticon

I am frustrated and even saddened by the confirmation that this very well might be a "forever" thing for me -- in a sense, once obese, always obese, that I might always be in "recovery" the way alcoholics and such are! But it is still valuable information to have so I can prevent myself from ever getting back to such a completely unhealthy state.

So anyway -- congratulations to the entire Deen family, to myself and to all of you! We all have a lot to be proud of just for taking the initiative -- for caring enough about ourselves and our loved ones to want better health.

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I understand your thought process. It would have helped to have had some before and after photos, but even that can be deceiving. I've weighed anywhere from 145 to about 208 pounds in the last 30 years and there have been times when I was thinner at 170 than I was at 150. Muscle/fat ratio is a tricky thing.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that diabetics have to be on a seemingly low carb diet. It may not be SUPER low but it is lower than what a lot of people would consider normal - 2 slices of gluten-free bread would have me at my limit of carbs for a meal. Another example - a morning snack for me is a 15 carb applesauce with cheese and carrots. There are a lot of prepackaged single-serving things I can't eat because they are really more than a single serving for me.

    As for the 2 shakes and a "normal" meal - yuk - but maybe that fits his lifestyle. If my schedule were different, it might fit mine too, but I'd add an afternoon snack. emoticon
    1693 days ago
    Good job Paula Deen & Family

    To all us Sparkers out there ........ emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    We know we are winners!!!!!!!
    1693 days ago
  • SCOOTER4263
    Bobby's a pretty short guy - he may not have had as much to lose as the rest of the family.

    And take it from someone with a professional photographer in the family - magazines do so much photo-editing, it's a wonder we can even tell who the people are half the time. emoticon
    1694 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/29/2013 6:12:19 PM
    The thing is... the "old school diet and exercise" doesn't work for everyone. Especially where diabetics and those with insulin resistance are concerned. I can follow Spark to a freaking tee and struggle to drop anything- at all. It took me 9 months of serious working out and eating perfectly in spark ranges to drop 10 pounds. as a woman over 200 and only 5'5" that is freaking ridiculous.
    Quite a lot of people on Spark like to shame on the "low carb diet" but some people have no choice. nomnomnoming on 200g of healthy carbs from veggies and whole grains? Not good for me. at all. My belly won't budge. Low carb isn't a fad diet for everyone and it isn't actually hard to sustain. Many people have no choice, medically and i'd venture to guess that with the medical situation in this family... they probably have to eat on the low carb end of the spectrum.

    We're all very different individuals, all different shapes and sizes with different lives, needs, and medical conditions. Assuming that you are doing something the "right" way and everyone else choosing a different route is not right... is simply an incorrect assumption.

    in this journey, you have to find what works for you. some people can follow the american standard of a "balanced diet" and it works, many others cannot.
    1695 days ago
    Whoa! I ruffled some feathers with this one, huh?

    Just for the record: I concede there was a small amount of judgment in here (I'm not perfect!) but truly, my main point was INTENDED to be that I know different things work for different folks. But I do worry for people taking the more-extreme approaches because I am beside myself about having to do 13 pounds over - anymore than that would be absolutely devastating! And research shows the yo-yoing is in some ways as unsafe as long-term obesity.

    My point, and the reason I was so riled, was just that I was saddened by how easy it is to mistakenly infer from the information in the article that old-school diet and exercise MUST not be as "good" as the more extreme approaches. And I didn't mean to say there are NEVER good reasons for them either! Going strictly gluten- and cow's-milk-free is itself fairly extreme, but I have been living that for nearly two years now. (I have suspected intolerances to both.)

    Oh, an aside for my dear HIPPICHICK1: believe it or not, I actually haven't ever done any of the fad diets, unless we count the Susan Powter low-fat craze back in the -- what was it, early 90s? But that was just eating what my mom gave me as a kid.

    However, my abstinence from them is not because I am somehow of superior intelligence to anyone -- it is just because I spent my whole life believing I either a) wasn't really that fat or b) I was at because my whole family is fat and there's nothing I can do about it anyway. So I just never had the inclination to try them! We can totally call it what it is: LAZY.

    Still, the reminders to keep my nose only in my own business was a good one, even if I wasn't in the mood to hear it on this bumpy Monday morning. But that's why I love Sparkers: we tell it like it is, and usually with love!
    1696 days ago
    Always a good thing NOT to judge your own self by another's yardstick, girl!

    Particularly when those people and you have absolutely nothing in common except for their species...

    : )

    1698 days ago
    I really dislike reading about celebrity weight loss journeys. I haven't read the story about Paula (OMG how did i get diabetes by eating bad food!) Dean, but I have seen more than one Rachel Ray story about her weight loss and honestly who ARE these people anyway? They are just like you and me without the celebrity, so they will try what they will (like we have too) to lose weight. Who here hasn't been on some wacky diet? I certainly have been on my share! So instead of reading about how someone else did it (which I am doing now by reading Fit For Life, so totally guilty here!!), I am starting to think that weight loss works differently for everyone. What works for one often times does not have the same result for another with one exception, perhaps and that is what we here are all doing on Spark! Exercise more and eat a little less.
    Oh and BTW, my cousin has tried Spark and she hated counting calories and being on the website all day tracking this and that, but she IS having success with Weight Watchers. One Sparkie I know had some success with Weight Watchers and more success with Spark. WW Changed their program in the past year or two and it was a BIG FAIL for that Sparkie. She actually gained weight on their new program!
    Go figure!

    1699 days ago
    I agree! And I to have been far to jaded lately! emoticon
    1699 days ago
    I can't imagine what will happen when they try to go off the liquid diets or their body hits its low carb limit. Without ever having learned to eat in a balanced fashion I think it's a matter of time before their diet becomes unsustainable. They'll happily live off their stored fat until their bodies rebel and then what? This is about lifestyle change not the latest trend in yo- yo dieting. It is forever but that should not make you sad or upset. As you point out, most people would rather not be bothered to learn about balance in diet and exercise. When you choose not to live as a slave to the latest magic diet book, food or pill, you are saying that you are willing to do the work to make it last a lifetime.
    1699 days ago
    I understand where you are coming from Angie but as long as they have lost the weight and are maintaining the loss ... does it matter how? The only reason I say this is the older I get the more I realize what works for me might not work for you.

    If this is the method they are using more power to them. I wish them luck keeping if off tho!!


    1699 days ago
    Your suspicions were right. Bobby was the least overweight of all of them and had less to lose. He was also already more active then the rest of them.

    According to the latest scientific studies coming in, low carb dieters actually do lose more weight.

    As a nurse I found that "one size fits all" diets don't work. Some do better with low calorie, some do better with low carb, some do better with low fat, etc. It depends on a lot of variables, like age, gender, what medical conditions you have, etc. For someone who has diabetes low carb is the best choice.

    Some recent studies have also found that sometimes it is counter-effective to do diet and exercise if your goal is weight loss.

    I'm old school too and think that it is important to do both diet and exercise. Especially if your goal is vastly improved health. That is why I choose to do both.
    1699 days ago
  • PAULA3420
    I understand your frustration. I think I've been sparking since about 2008 as well, and I've got some miles to go before I sleep.... I must remind myself that it is SLOW but SURE that won the race for the tortoise. And, more than that I do believe it is the only way to do it and KEEP it OFF.

    Good for you for getting right back at it now that the holidays are over emoticon It shows that you will be successful.

    Congratulations and ALL the BEST to you on your journey.

    Paula emoticon
    1699 days ago
    The thing is, eating right with plenty of all the "good stuff" will make you not only thinner but healthier in the long run. Who can sustain living on a liquid diet and eating once a day. No wonder they go off and gorge. I would too. Remember the tortoise and the hair. Slow and steady wins the race.
    1699 days ago
    One thing about Bobby that isn't like the rest of his he has the benefit of cardio for his heart/body! He has probably gained muscle....and toned too! Diet alone won't give you the benefits of I think although he lost less...he gained "more" :)
    Doing the work isn't always the fastest or easiest but does have the most benefits!
    And as you mentioned,,,a drastic diet change may not be sustainable...they may very well go back to their old ways.

    And.... I feel for you about gaining weight over the holidays.. I had just lost 50 lbs to regain 1/2 of it over the holidays! It's painful losing weight you have already lost before....I HATE that! But I made the I have to make better ones!
    1699 days ago
  • CHERRY666
    I know how you feel. I tend to think the same things when I read articles like that, or hear from people in real life who have lost weight with some particular diet. The sad thing is they'll probably gain it all back since they haven't learned how to lose it in a sustainable way. We may be going slower in the weight loss department, but at least we're learning along the way! (At least I hope so!)

    Anyway, congratulations for getting married! That's wonderful. =)
    1699 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.