Saturday, May 07, 2016

Losing It (Personal and Trivial) by Paul Krugman

Despite the political turmoil, Americans — or at least New York Times readers — are feeling pretty OK abut the state of the world. How can I tell? These days, our various digital metrics suggest that the articles readers care about most focus mainly on health and food, which is, let’s face it, the way things should be in normal times.
One particular flurry of very popular articles, here and elsewhere, has involved dieting/weight loss and the reasons it doesn’t work. Now, I have zero professional expertise in this area, nothing but personal experience. But for what it’s worth — which is very little — I wonder whether the despair here is overdone.
Again, this is just personal, and if you don’t want to know, well, nobody says you have to read this.
So yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight (which you can see comparing recent photos with a lot of the pictures around on the interwebs.) I’m not sure exactly how much I weighed when I started taking things in hand — I didn’t want to know — but I believe I’ve lost about 45 pounds, most of it in 2012-2013. And my Fitbit log says that my weight has been more or less flat since the beginning of 2014, with my waist shrinking further as I put on some muscle.
I did it with, surprise, a combination of diet and exercise: intermittent fasting, basically the 5-2 diet, working out almost every morning, and moving to New York, where it’s easy and natural to do a lot of walking. If my metabolism has declined, I can’t see it: on normal days I eat what I want and drink wine; I only do low-calorie days when my weight moves above target, and often that means something like once in two weeks.
Now, maybe it will all fall apart one of these days. And I can think of a couple of reasons I had it relatively easy: a flexible schedule that makes it easier to do workouts and lets me schedule fasting on days with less work pressure, not to mention urban living where I can walk most of the way to the office and do almost all my errands on foot.
Still, I’m really glad that I didn’t read a bunch of articles telling me to not even try, because the effort was doomed by biology.

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