I read an article shared on someone’s blog today that I found quite interesting.
It basically documented a study on a pair of twins raised in separate environments and concluded that despite bein on completely different diets etc they ended up with very similar body compositions, hypothesising that all the dieting in the world is only as good as the effort you put into it at the time and that as soon as you stop your diet you will creep back into the shape you were in before. It makes sense, you have been that weight and eaten that way for so one that your body has gotten used to it. Take actors for example, you think Chris Hemsworth is the size he is as Thor all year round? Of course not! It takes a lot of work to be that big and that lean the guy has worked damn hard to get there and as soon as the direct calls “thats a wrap” he instantly goes back to his old eating habits and takes a break from training for a while.
Now because our pal Chris has been in good condition for most of his career he won’t pack on heaps of body fat but he will probably lose some of that muscle he’s built, he’ll certainly get softer around the midriff and make the rest of us mere mortals feel better about ourselves. But as this article I read suggests, he will revert to a more comfortable less mythical God looking self.
The same can be said for those who diet to lose “weight” your body stores muscles and fat for a reason. Our ancestors had an awful lot to do with why we look the way we do today. Where our bloodlines started was where they evolved for many generations. They lived on certain foods, lived in certain temperatures and weather conditions and did certain activities to survive. It was only by the introduction of nomads or maybe some raiding that the gene pools were mixed up but for centuries that would have only been by people living in similar conditions. So yes we are predisposed to looking a certain way.
That said it is not impossible to change that.
I am heavier than I have been in a couple of years but I’m leaner, more muscular and much much fitter. I felt weak and wasn’t happy with how I looked when I was lighter. I struggled to keep the weight off and am glad I got it back, but and its a big but… I’m still lean. Ive changed how my body processes foods and I’ve learned how and when I can eat more indulgent foods. I am aware of what foods do what and I’ve learned damage control. I know not to eat too many carbs on non training days, that heavy leg sessions mean I can get away with pizza, that a lower calorie or waiting an extra couple of hours to break the fast since last nights dinner can make up for the beers I’m going to drink tonight.
You see the reason you revert back to your old size or shape when you stop your diet may be to do with genetics, or may be because you’ve hit you goal (and good work by the way) and then you’ve relaxed. Rewarded yourself for the hard work and determination you’ve showed over the last however long. Like me you may have found that you don’t like your new shape or you’ve dieted for a big event like a wedding and then gone nuts on honeymoon.
My point is that you aren’t what you eat, you are how you eat it. If you let yourself go nut you’ll be right back to square one. If you take a little more care and show a little more awareness you will stay happy with your reflection, maybe even like it a little more because now you are in control, you aren’t putting yourself through hell, you aren’t monitoring every calorie but you know which slice of pizza is enough.
Keep up the good work.