Friday, 27 January 2012

What's worse than a giraffe with a sore throat?

A whale with a thyroid problem. It's OK, I'm allowed to do thyroid jokes; I've been there, I've suffered. After Greenpeace's recent attempt to roll me back out to sea, I'm probably allowed to do whale jokes too.

After reading Jj's rather splendid Maturing Nicely blog I've been pondering weight loss and weight gain...and it turns out to be as you might expect: it's easy to put it on and a lot harder to get it off. Remember, I have a brown belt in physiology!

Let's assume that a hypothetical person (we'll call him Erwin H., because we don't care for Erwins and it's an anagram of 'whiner') eats a Mars Bar's-worth of unnecessary calories per day. Erwin stores as fat 280 calories every day; with 3500 kCal/lb gained, that's 2st 1lb of weight gained in a year. In five years, he's pretty much doubled his bodyweight and even wearing a hat doesn't make him interesting.

To get Erwin back to a normal BMI, we have to ease him off the Mars Bars or get him to burn more calories to compensate. He's going to have to run a couple of miles to use 280 calories and another four or five each day to burn a pound of fat a week. That's forty five miles, each week, every week. Crikey. You're going to have to ditch the confectionery, Erwin, and probably another 400 calories besides!

Add in the fact that Erwin's basal metabolic rate falls with age (he needs fewer calories to maintain his vital functions) and this year's balanced intake/expenditure is next years gain of 10kCal of fat each day...or a pound of lard a year. Depressing, no?

Well not really; it's still a case of eating less and moving more, just that it really pays to watch the food intake, even down to that last Mars Bar. Or you could always buy an interesting hat.

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