Who are you calling fat, eh?

Wow, the weight-loss topic is still going strong in the blogosphere (see that post for links for several initial posts).

Pal MD has more and some more.

Dr.Isis is on a roll.

Janet is now in the discussion.

Bikemonkey joins in.

Larry's had something related recently.

It is interesting to see how experts differ on the topic...and the comment threads are enlightening as well. Take-home message: don't trust a "TV dietitian"...or diet advice in your local newspaper or Cosmo....

As you know, my problem has always been the opposite. How to gain weight?!

The only time I managed to put on a few pounds was when I was working at a horse farm back in 1991/92. I was outdoors for about 13 hours a day. I walked many miles each day catching horses on distant pastures to bring them in, then walking them back to let them out again. I helped feed and muck stalls. I caught, groomed, tacked-up and rode a few young, strong, unruly horses every morning. I taught a couple of riding lessons every afternoon (never standing still - always walking or running along, sometimes hopping on a pony to demonstrate, etc.) and more on Saturdays. So, it was a time when I exercised a lot.

It was also a time when my diet abruptly changed. I just moved to the USA. I had no idea what was what, food-wise. I was also, for the first time in my life, free to make my own food choices. This is also the only time when I ate breakfast regularly - don't cringe: a big bowl of Coco Puffs, Cocoa Pebbles and Coco Crispies with chocolate milk - I needed all that raw energy to operate! Lunch break was short, so it was either some greasy Stouffers microwaveable crap, or a quick run to Burger King. Dinner consisted of enormous quantities of home-made spaghetti or pizza or steak/potatoes (all very yummy) with a big bowl of salad with lots of cheese and dressing, followed by a beer or two. And in-between those meals I constantly grazed from my hidden stash at the barn: chocolate, bananas and Coke.

What those few extra pounds were - muscle, fat? - I have no idea. They disappeared as soon as I stopped working there and started grad school.

So, some people look at my skinny body and think I am weak or unhealthy - oh, how wrong they are! On the other hand, I wonder how many people who look huge are also strong and healthy. Here are some pictures of top athletes, Olympic gold medalists and World Champions, super-fit, super-strong, super-healthy, yet if you saw them in the street you'd think they were obese - am I mistaken?

i-4484320116bf6fde686d96fdb44f2fbf-Big boxer.jpg
i-3039ecd27ba8038d84f250fb2b737b46-Big wrestlers.jpg
i-e0a47a86fb5a0321dde80f140fe476d8-Big Sumo wrestler.jpg
i-58203b6d790ebc62f5dcc3d7a22943a7-Big dressage horse.jpg

More like this

It was in trying to understand the behavior of horses, trying to explain why they rolled in the dirt in March (in New England) before insects come out, that led me to discover that surface ammonia oxidizing bacteria are an important part of NO/NOx physiology.

I eventually reasoned that horses rolled in the dirt to get the right bacteria on their skin to metabolize the urea in sweat so that during summer that sweat wouldn't putrefy on their skin. In soil, the bacteria that metabolize urea and ammonia are the ammonia oxidizing bacteria where they oxidize ammonia to nitrite as the first step in the process of nitrification. If such bacteria are important enough for horses to evolve that behavior, perhaps they are important for other organisms, and they are. I have found surface biofilms of these bacteria on many eukaryotes including invertebrates.

Working in such intimate proximity to horses and their nitrogenous products you would inevitably inoculate yourself with these bacteria. That might also explain some of why you smoke. Carbon monoxide has a lot of cross-talk with the heme enzymes that are the target of NO. A few ppm CO may mimic the effect of a few ppb of NO (to some extent).

If you want someone to tell David Tua he's obese find somebody else...

I have a healthy respect for my life.

By antipodean (not verified) on 11 Aug 2009 #permalink

As I don't have a problem, I rarely ever step on a scale. I just did and it was amazing 134 pounds!!!! I have never weighed this much! Not that I am now obese or anything ;-)

When I tried to be a vegetarian for 3y, I wound up losing 15kg mass to the point where I was literally just skin and bones. At that point I found it difficult to lug around my heavy music gear and staying warm in winter was difficult. Since then, I've been making a serious and concerted effort to gain weight. I've managed 3kg so far this year, although that's been slipping the past couple days.

yet if you saw them in the street you'd think they were obese - am I mistaken?

I'm inclined to think you'd pick the difference between solid muscle mass and slobby fat pretty much instantly. That said, sumo wrestlers would be hard call!!

By Heraclides (not verified) on 19 Aug 2009 #permalink

Sigh, where's the edit button? By 'slobby' I meant "loose" or something like it. My point is that some of these people are simply large, but firm and I can't see how you'd miss that. (My excuse? Starting up again after a long night working into the wee hours... Pathetic, right?)

By Heraclides (not verified) on 19 Aug 2009 #permalink