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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Rather than write a novel, I'm going to start with the good old identical twins topic and see where it leads from there.

Obviously not all identical twins end up looking exactly the same, but many do, and it is these that I want to discuss first (I'll get to the non-similar identical twins later).

The question is, what are the implications in regards to not only genetics, but also the calories in calories out hypothesis, when you have two people who, sharing the same genetic make-up, end up also sharing the same build, the same proportions, and the same weight.

In order to explain this within the context of calories in calories out, unless I am overlooking some crucial piece of data, the following would have to be true:

During the course of their lives, they took in and expended exactly the same number of calories. Because if that truly is the determining factor, rather than simply being genetically predispositioned towards a specific weight, even a difference of a couple calories per day over the course of their lives would have resulted in vastly different builds. This, as far as I can imagine, would be virtually impossible. Even if brought up in a similar environment, am I to believe that their day to day diets didn't deviate by even a single bite of food? That they exerted the exact same amount of physical effort and therefore expended the same amount of calories per day? That their exercise habits (or lack of) were not only the same, but that they take the same number of steps throughout the course of their daily lives which, unless they happen to have the exact same jobs, the exact same friends, and go to places the exact same distance from their houses, etc., etc., etc., is again impossible as far as I can imagine.

This is just an introduction, if you will. I have a lot more I want to say on the topic of calories in, calories out. But first, I want to get something besides my own biased opinion on this topic.

Can anyone explain to me, within the context of calories in calories out, how two genetically identical people can end up with the same weight even a short time past birth, or better yet well into adulthood?
 

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you couldn't make this simple could YOU? I have no idea. Anecdotally, I know several sets of twins who did not hold their exact same weights throughout their lives. Obviously that was due to their difference in caloric intake or activity/inactivity levels.

From the other thread, I don't know what to tell a person who says they've tried everything, and the whole calorie in vs out doesn't work for them. It did and still does for me. If someone has metabolic syndrome, that too will also have an effect on the ease of ability to lose weight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think it makes a good comparison
Identical twins who maintain the same weight despite leading non-identical lives show how overwhelmingly powerful genetics are in some people, while identical twins who aren't the same show that in others it is definitely possible to stray from this genetically determined path.

The most obvious point is that what works for some people won't necessarily work for others.

I can think of a good number of people to which the rules simply don't seem to apply. My grandfather was one of those people who couldn't have gained an ounce if his life depended on it. He was an accountant who worked in a cubicle, and when he got home he was pretty much always glued to the TV. He ate whatever he wanted, including lots of meat and lots of sweets. While watching TV, I don't think I ever remember seeing him without a glass of milk and a plate of Oreos, of which he went through 4 or 5 packages per week. With a fairly average height, he never exceeded 140 pounds or had any visible sign of fat accumulation. He was skin and bones his entire life.

Then we have those individuals who are just the opposite, who have to be on near starvation diets in order to lose anything, not merely minor caloric reduction, and if they try to eat normally the weight comes right back.

I'm somewhere in the middle, and for me the key factor seems to be sweets. I consume at LEAST 3,000 calories per day without gaining weight and, as mentioned in other threads, my diet is roughly 60% fat, with the remainder being a mix of coarse grains (barley, oats, etc.), fruits, and various protein sources. I might have a treat on occasion (ice cream
), perhaps once per week, but if I go beyond that, even if my overall caloric intake is much, much lower, I do indeed start gaining weight. Now the dietary fat is more for energy than anything else. I do not intentionally go for a low carb or ketogenic diet, but having been a soldier for most of my life, I've found it's the most efficient way to keep up with the level of physical activity that goes with the job. Given the previous thread and the fact that my soldiering days are in the midst of coming to an end, I am probably going to be modifying this diet considerably. I will, however, continue to avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates since that seems to be what does it for me, while overall calories, so long as they come from other sources, don't seem to cause any noticeable change other than having or not having energy.

The last time I really just ate whatever I wanted was back in my high school days, when I basically lived off Mountain Dew, Top Ramen, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and whatever sweets I could get a hold of. I was a chubby kid for sure, but I could eat a LOT without ever becoming exceptionally overweight or obese.

Taking all of this into consideration, none of which is earth shattering news by any means (these are all examples of people we see every day), I find it surprising when someone who can't lose weight is simply labeled as gluttonous or lazy by those who have a much easier time with it. Clearly, there are ways to overcome weight gain, but it is easier for some than others, and what works for some may not work for others.

My simple advice to people trying unsuccessfully to lose weight via the usual methods, based on what I have seen and what I do to keep myself healthy, is simply the following:

Ditch the sweets. They are uniquely more fattening than other sources of energy, at least for me.

I'd like to say exercise, but I am not convinced it is a significant factor in regards to weight loss or even longevity, at least not any more so than simply being active (hiking, taking part in a sport, etc.). I do exercise regularly nonetheless, so I can't discount it as a possibility. If exercise methods others have suggested don't work and you want to give mine a try, here's my routine:

First off, my "gym" consists of the following: 75lb weighted vest, jump rope, portable gymnastic rings.
Using these items, I do various types of interval training 3 or 4 days per week.
(I'm not trying to sell anything, but this is primarily what I use)
Tabata Intervals
Never Gymless
In addition, a two mile moderate paced (~7 minute mile) run once per week, a 5 mile slower paced (~9 minute mile) run once every three or four weeks, and at least one random activity once per week, ranging from swimming around in a lake for a couple hours to hiking.
San da (Chinese kickboxing) practice a couple times per week. I'm currently not near a school where I live, so I just review what I learned previously and work my kicks on a heavy bag if I can find one.

Again, given how different everyone is, if anyone has had success using other means, or has any input to the topic in general, I'd love to hear more.
 

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I will absolutely agree with you on the sugar intake for myself also, but I'd have to add extra added fats along with it. When I went on the very low fat Esselstyne way of eating, including no refined sugar, I dropped 4 lbs almost immediately, then it tapered off and stabliized. I believe my caloric intake is sufficient to prevent further weight loss w/o cutting calories. Currently, I'm 42, 5'4, and between 128-130 lbs. I weigh myself every day, just to monitor what the normal fluctuation is. when I look at myself in front of a mirror w/o clothes on, I think I look pretty good. Then I see pictures of myself clothed, and I'm like-frig- I have at least another 10lbs to lose! I'm sure I have body dismorphic disorder when I look at myself. I'm ok with that- no eating disorders here.

So anyway, I can honestly say, that for me, when I decide to get serious about toning back up and maybe losing a few more pounds, that will be in the gym. I don't do much exercise in the summer unfortunately, as my hubbs and I ride motorcycle instead of hiking on days off together. Looking forward to the gym and classes again this fall and after he gets transferred with his job. (We'll be living apart for a few yrs while my daughter finishes college here). When I get burning those extra calories, the weight will come off.

So, Nomad, how old are you out of curiosity? I'd imagine when you get out of active duty, lifestyle changes will be in order. I still can't believe you eat that much percentage of fat in your diet! That astonishes me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Photojess View Post

So, Nomad, how old are you out of curiosity? I'd imagine when you get out of active duty, lifestyle changes will be in order. I still can't believe you eat that much percentage of fat in your diet! That astonishes me!
32. I'm actually not on active duty now, I'm sort of in limbo. I spent 6 years active duty in the Navy, then got out and moved to China for 3 years, then returned to the U.S., joined the Army National Guard, and began volunteering for transfers to any deploying units I could find that were short on numbers. I guess you could say I just got used to the military life, it seems less confusing :/ But now here I am on the undeployable list because of a minor injury, waiting for my enlistment to run out or for them to medically discharge me, whichever comes first
In the mean time, I'm in the process of moving to Montreal and have already arranged to just return to New York for training every month lol... So I guess you could say changes are already here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It's actually kind of funny how I got used to consuming that much fat. When I was in boot camp, still a bit chubby, my division commander (the Navy equivalent of a drill sergeant) put me and a few others in my division on what basically amounted to a 15 second per meal diet lol. We would go through the chow line and, though we could take whatever we wanted, we were made to go directly from the line to the trash can and throw away the food. We could eat as much as we could shove down during the short walk from the line to the trash. The others went for the "food," while I learned very quickly that I could down about 800 calories worth of half and half in less than 10 seconds. Not only did that keep me full until the next meal, but energized as well. And, incidentally, I lost those excess pounds much, much quicker than the other people in a similar position. I guess the habit stuck. I found it also gave me a better energy boost than the typical carb loading that is recommended for athletic events or fitness tests.

Note that today, most of those fat calories come from things like coconut and avocado. Different diet, same principal. Now that it looks like I'm actually going to live long enough for heart disease to be relevant, and given the discussion in the previous thread, yes it's probably time to adjust my diet accordingly.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomad888 View Post

It's actually kind of funny how I got used to consuming that much fat. When I was in boot camp, still a bit chubby, my division commander (the Navy equivalent of a drill sergeant) put me and a few others in my division on what basically amounted to a 15 second per meal diet lol. We would go through the chow line and, though we could take whatever we wanted, we were made to go directly from the line to the trash can and throw away the food. We could eat as much as we could shove down during the short walk from the line to the trash. The others went for the "food," while I learned very quickly that I could down about 800 calories worth of half and half in less than 10 seconds. Not only did that keep me full until the next meal, but energized as well. And, incidentally, I lost those excess pounds much, much quicker than the other people in a similar position. I guess the habit stuck. I found it also gave me a better energy boost than the typical carb loading that is recommended for athletic events or fitness tests.

Note that today, most of those fat calories come from things like coconut and avocado. Different diet, same principal. Now that it looks like I'm actually going to live long enough for heart disease to be relevant, and given the discussion in the previous thread, yes it's probably time to adjust my diet accordingly.
i would think that your current diet would lead to some cardiac/vascular disease in the long run. maybe not at 32, but what about 52? i see the people in their 40's, 50's and 60's at work on the cardiac floors. some of those patients aren't overweight. it's a fairly benign process (depositing plaques in arteries) until it becomes symptomatic. and yes, i'm sure there is a genetic component here - some are more prone than others.

as i type this, i am dodging my 1 hour elliptical session today.
.
 

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It's a small point and I'm not disagreeing with your bigger argument, but identical twins often end up different weights and even different heights...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm in the process of making some changes to my diet. I'm sure it's largely the result of habit, but I feel drained when I start reducing my fat intake.
 

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ugh...I feel sluggish! We ate at Chili's tonight- we were out on a long motorcyle ride today, and frankly we were really hungry.....too much guacamole in the app and then more with the fajitas (mine was veggie only)

nomad, I'm glad to hear you're changing your diet....I wouldn't want you having a MI at 42!

papyamon....so...did you get that workout in afterall? i can't do more than 35 minutes...my feet start tingling
 

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nah. i got in a total of 92 minutes today. one 46 and two 23 minute sessions. i'm on sea legs at the moment. tomorrow starts another week
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I'm going walking! It's a beautiful morning here today!
have a good one you guys!
 
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