Friday, November 19, 2010

Volume 5, Number 29: The 176-Pound Wall

After my initial success in losing weight, I've sort of hit a wall. I'm at 176 lb., and I've been around that weight for three weeks now.

Lately, I've been thinking about what someone else told me on Facebook: He told me that aspartame causes consumers to crave carbohydrates, thus defeating the whole purpose of aspartame (which is to reduce carbohydrate consumption). Bottom line, I don't believe that claim. Maybe it does cause people to crave more food, but specifically carbs? I'd like to find an actual study that makes that claim, and furthermore, I'd bet that the test subjects in a study like that are relatively poor and gravitate towards cheaper, carb-heavy foods. Why? I go back to what Michael Pollan said in his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, about how carbohydrate-heavy foods are more affordable than healthier foods like fruits and vegetables (due to the fact that the government subsidizes corn, the source of high-fructose corn syrup and dozens of other ingredients found in lots of pre-packaged and "fast" foods).

I think the reason I've hit that wall has to do with that animal instinct to eat more in cold weather. Late in October, temperatures in my city fell below 50 and since then, my weight has fluctuated between 174 and 178--still way better than when I started, but it's not what I want, either. So now I have found a new challenge in my quest to lose weight, overcoming the cold weather-heightened temptation to have a late snack or even another meal (or as Taco Bell calls it, "fourthmeal"). What I really need to do now is exercise more--partly to warm up in this weather, but mainly to burn some more calories.


  1. Hmmmm. I've hit a similar wall, although in my case, Thanksgiving meals might have had something to do with it. But beyond that, I've read at least one other theory about what could have happened. The idea is that if you take in too few calories, your body goes into a "starvation mode," and then after that, your body wants to hold onto whatever it gets. Stated differently, the metabolism is thrown out of whack.

    In fairness, I'm not sure what my doctor would say. If I would guess, I would think "medically supervised diet" would be the next step in the process. Time will tell. --SJR

  2. That must be what happened--dropping the regular sodas and the junk food has represented a big reduction in calorie consumption, so it could have led to what you are describing. I probably should consult with my doctor anyway--I haven't seen him since March, and I'm sure he will be impressed with the weight loss.