I stumbled upon a blog titled Junkfood Science. This is a well-written, well-researched blog that essentially claims that
- The "obesity epidemic" is a drug company & media created monster (can certainly agree with that)
- Any study that claims the benefit of a certain diet or eating pattern or body image was probably funded by a company with a vested interest in a certain skew of the findings (again, no real argument from me)
- Any study that fails to show a connection between one's weight and overall health is swept under the carpet (due to issue #1, and, again, I do not disagree)
- That each person has their own body type, and that your body will work to get itself to this weight if given its own choices (umm, not so fast . . . )
What Sandy Szwarc is claiming is that "fatness" is not an indicator of overall health. Going on a diet, trying to lose weight for the sake of losing weight (or to fit a particular body image), or avoiding certain foods is actually bad for you. I can agree with much of that (I think it's always better to eat an apple than French Fries). I do believe that pre-occupation with one's body image is much more destructive than being overweight. And, as somebody who's weight has yo-yo'd a sizable amount (287 to 179 back to 264, and I have no idea what I'm at right now), it probably healthier to be at a consistent weight than to be in a state of weight fluctuation (caveat being that you're a grownup).
Szwarc claims that there "overeating" is really a myth - but I can tell you that I can put down fast food meal after fast food meal and still go for more -- and that is certainly overeating. She may not recommend such diet behavior, but the thought that me eating 12 Big Macs and a case of beer is just what my body needs is a little hard to stomach.
What I'm getting to is my own weight, body fat, and exercise. In this little game I'm playing where I bike all over the place, I'm burning at least 2000 calories on the bike for each day I ride into and from work. As a 30 year old male who stands 6'3" and weighs 240lbs., my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is roughly 2,300 calories. That means that it takes that much just keep John's heart pumping, eyes functioning, liver hardening from last night's drinking binge, etc. While one of Szwarc's main points is that there is much more to the equation than "calories in / calories out", I have to imagine that with a significant calorie deficit, I'm going to lose weight (if I eat what I consider to be "healthy" throughout the day, I consume somewhere in the vicinity of 2,800 to 3,200 calories before you factor beer into the equation, at which point all bets are off -- if I drop my weight to 190lbs., my BMR becomes 1,900 and the calorie expenditure on the bike will be reduced -- an intake of 3500 calories/day that I'm biking the 40 miles round seems reasonable).
Nowhere on Junkfood Science does Szwarc claim that exercise is bad for you (although she prefers the term Physical Activity, and I have no beef with that). I guess my disconnect is that I simply do not see any people who I would consider "very physically active" who happen to be "fat" (I'm not using "obese" here because that is simply measured by BMI, and every body builder is listed as obese, which is just silly). I can see "diet" as we've gotten to know it as being a media-driven monster that is actually doing more harm than good. But, I think exercise is quite important to one's well-being, and I just don't see how amount of exercise doesn't affect one's body type. Is she claiming that my 40 mile expeditions are too much? I don't know.
Anyway, onto today's riding -- slowed down coming in. I'll admit that it was a little harder to get up this morning than it was yesterday, but I'm still looking forward to the ride home (because it is beautiful outside right now). Due to a PLS commitment, I can't bike in tomorrow - and then I have something after work on Friday, so this will be it for the bicycle commuting this week (still hoping to get some good riding in during the next few days, however -- just around the neighborhood & stuff). I'm going to get rid of the silly little log that I've been putting at the bottom of my posts, as I've started tracking it all in a database -- I'll figure out some way to share the data (that is, if there's anybody actually reading this thing).