Results Not Typical
This might not be apparent to those of you who know me only by word. Also, if you’ve met me in person, in the right decade, you could have known me when I was thin. There was a time I wore size 32 waist/34 length slacks and a 40 Long jacket.
I don’t need a reminder that I’m fat. I remember it quite well every time I get up from a chair or look in the bathroom mirror.
But I was reminded that I’m fat when an old pal of mine from my AnarchoVillage days — fellow Prometheus-laureate Victor Koman, perhaps best known for his 1996 novel (of which I was the first publisher) Kings of the High Frontier, recently published a new book titled Dr. K’s Sure-Fire Instant Weight-Loss Secrets.
Unusually, Koman simultaneously released his book not as an audiobook but as a videobook you can watch free on YouTube.
Spoiler Warning: Dr. K has only one “sure-fire instant weight-loss secret.” It’s “Eat less, exercise more!”
I’ve known Victor Koman since 1975. At no time in the 34 years I’ve known Victor Koman was he ever fat. Oh, he might have put on a few pounds in recent years when due to knee problems he couldn’t be as active as he used to be, but even at his most sedentary it never would have crossed my mind to think of him as fat.
Victor Koman was not fat the last time I saw him in person in spring of this year. Victor Koman is not fat appearing in the brand-new videobook edition of Dr. K’s Sure-Fire Instant Weight-Loss Secrets.
If you’re going to buy a book on weight-loss (or a funny book on the subject of weight loss) an author’s photo of Victor Koman will sell a hell of a lot more copies than an author’s photo of me.
If our face was the same, I’m the “before” picture and Victor Koman is the “after” picture.
I’m the Biggest Loser they show you in the promos. Victor Koman is the guy they trot out hugging everyone on the season finale.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Viewed as a thermodynamic paradigm, Victor Koman is absolutely correct about his weight-loss secret. It’s sound chemistry and physics. Restricting the availability of fuel while simultaneously increasing the consumption of fuel, for any thermodynamic engine, will result in a net depletion of the fuel supply. The human body is a thermodynamic engine. Excess fuel is stored on the human body as fat. Restricting intake of new fuel while simultaneously increasing the consumption of stored fuel will deplete an engine’s stored fuel supply.
I’m not stupid. I’m also not particularly weak-willed. You can’t be weak-willed and several times in your lifetime stick to a regime of diet (under 1000 calories, under 40 grams carbohydrate) and exercise (both cardio and weight training) sufficient to lose over 100 pounds, and a dozen other times lose over 50 pounds, plus faithfully sticking to Weight Watchers for over six months which resulted in a loss of only ten pounds. For several years of my life I walked over three miles every day. For close to a year I worked out at Bally’s for an hour four days a week.
I’ve also written books — including three novels which each took me years to complete. I also have written scripts and articles to deadline, and wrote, directed, produced, and post-produced an independent film. I also entrepreneured several businesses for years at a time. I’m not known as a quitter.
Yet, I’m fat. I suffer from Type II Diabetes, a disease that would be better controlled were I to become thinner.
Why hasn’t Victor Koman’s thermodynamic weight-loss secret worked to keep me fit?
This isn’t a problem just for me. Obesity has become more the rule than the exception in the United States and other parts of the developed world. Pundits blame fast foods, sugary drinks, candy machines, kids texting and playing with their Wii’s rather than biking and jumping rope, and of course the inevitable laments that the taxpayers aren’t being sucked dry enough to pay for school and after-school physical education and sports.
Look. I hardly ever eat fast food. I don’t eat candy. I don’t consume drinks with calories in them. When I eat dessert it’s Sugar Free Popsicles, Sugar Free Jello, and no-fat/no-sugar added “ice cream.” The bread I eat has 40 calories a slice and has low net carbs. I take the skin off my chicken and eat as much fish (not breaded and fried!) as I can afford.
I know how to diet. I’ve done it my entire life.
I know how to exercise. I know about cardio and weight-training and stretching.
I’ve tried diet aids and diet foods and diet supplements and diet plans. My body can’t tolerate most diet aids. They’re either stimulants that give me a racing and sometimes irregular heartbeat or they’re blockers that give me chronic lower-intestinal problems. (I won’t be more graphic than that.)
Durk Pearson, Sandy Shaw, and Will Block are personal friends I’ve talked to about my health problems, and I regularly read Life Enhancement. I’ve tried most of their recommended supplementing.
I’ve also had “the talk” with every primary-care physician who’s treated me over the years.
We’ve eliminated hypothyroidism as the cause of my weight gain.
I keep up with biological research. I read about genetic body types — ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs — and genetic propensities to weight gain based on one’s ancestry. I read about ghrelin/leptin cycles, and lab experiments being done on rats. I read about theories that obesity can possibly be an actual disease spread by a virus.
Is obesity caused by a disease or a series of bad lifestyle habits? Is overeating an addiction like alcohol or cocaine?
If I’m so smart and strong-willed, why am I still fat?
I can tell you this much. I am deconditioned. At my current weight any attempt to exert myself runs the risk of overexertion leading to hyperventilation. Attempts to exercise result in painful muscle cramping.
Every attempt to restrict food intake makes me lethargic and sleepy.
In other words: my body appears to have a will of its own. It fights me and hurts me when I try to “Eat less, exercise more!”
Matching my ancedotal data, the medical research shows that 95% of patients who lose weight regain it within five years. Medical science has less of a handle on dieting and health than it does on how to treat cancer.
Diet and exercise is so ineffective a long-term treatment for so many obese patients that many doctors won’t even prescribe it anymore, and if you read medical literature as I’ve done you discover that invasive and often painful bariatric surgery — followed by weeks of a liquid diet then by a diet more restrictive than any I used to lose hundreds of pounds — is the only medical treatment doctors are willing to recommend to their severely obese patients.
Late-night TV has a lot of commercials and infomercials for various diet plans — Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrasystem, cookie diets — plus no end of diet supplements. There isn’t a single one that doesn’t sport a disclaimer something like, “Results Not Typical.”
Yeah. How far would a car manufacturer get if next to the city and highway mileage figure on the sticker it had the disclaimer, “Results not typical”?
So what’s my recommendations for weight-loss success? Eat less and exercise more — if your body doesn’t try to kill you doing it.
And please, could the next Jonas Salk come up with an effective, non-invasive, and not painful or cognitively adverse treatment for obesity which doesn’t need that damned disclaimer?
Here’s one thing the AMA won’t tell you. Back when almost everybody smoked — and those were also the days when everybody typically ate butter, cheese, and red meat as staples — obesity, Diabetes, and even heart disease were far less common.
I suspect nicotine might be the cure for obesity, but who’s going to fund the research?
Maybe I should just pull a Nutty Professor on myself and even though I’m not a smoker try the nicotine patch.
But I’m just not that brave.
As for my recommendation for Victor Koman, it’s that his next book be Dr. K’s Sure-Fire Secrets For Getting Rich Quick.
It should consist of twenty chapters of Victor Koman recommending, “Buy low, sell high!”