Friday, September 4, 2009

Never Mind Losing Weight, Sometimes Just Not Gaining it is a Triumph

I ran into a friend today in the midst of what I call the "dieting blues." This friend has managed to put on over 25 pounds over the last two years and began to diet and exercise in earnest over the Summer.

Her grand total in Weight loss?? Zero, zippo, zilch. She hasn't lost a single pound.

As I explained, way back when here:, if you had been gaining weight for a while, then when you start to diet and exercise, your initial efforts may only serve to stabilize your current weight.

Let me explain, in my friend's case, she had been putting on over a pound a month. That means she was consuming some 3,500 calories over what she needed to maintain her weight every month. My friend said her new exercise regime consisted of a 20 to 25 minute walk three or four times a week. A walk of that length only burns about 125 calories, so she was probably burning about an additional 1,750 calories a month.

That's a good start, it's more than half of her calorie "excess" a month. She also said she was eating less, but obviously it wasn't enough to lead to significant weight loss.

I pointed out to my friend that while she hadn't lost weight, the good news was that in the last two months she hadn't put o the extra 2 pounds she as averaging.

So, that, I pointed out was a triumph.

The next step, was, of course, to boost the intensity of her workouts and cut back even further on the calories she was eating. I suggested she try to walk faster and extend her walks to 30 minutes, and think about increasing the amount of raw fruits and vegetables she ate.


  1. Especially since I got my Gofit band and saw how modest my calorie expenditure is (2400 on a day where I hike for an hour and play cutthroat basketball) I realized truly and intimately how easy it is to hold extra weight. A bagel or a few cookies a day will do it.

  2. That's all it takes. Amazing how we've been convinced that we can eat all this calorie laden, fatty foods, and it will have no effect (or that we have "bad metabolisms). When you really look at what you can eat and not gain weight (I'm not even talking losing weight), it's truly amazing.