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I love Gary Taubes but he scares me on one thing.

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  • I love Gary Taubes but he scares me on one thing.


    I was 300 lbs before going Primal and now I am 260. I haven't been 260 since high school and I am very excited about my progress. I've been stalled for a while now and Gary Taubes has me a little concerned. I know I will eventually go past 260 and feel better but it was something Mr. Taubes said in his book and again at his speech at Google that has me spooked.

    Mr. Taubes says that certain people are going to be a certain weight no matter what. Mr. Taubes follows his own advice (he claims) and while he looks fit to me, a lot of people question him about his weight. He said he is 6'2" and 220 lbs. He says that he will always be 220 lbs and won't be like his brother (who is much leaner and athletic).

    So my question to you all is... Do we have set points that cannot be reset. Will I stop at a certain weight and not be able to get past it, even if I still am fat? He says that research shows that if you are a 300 lbs man (like I was) you generally are not going to be lean. You can be healthier and extend your life by having a good blood profile but you won't be aesthetically where you want to be.

    I'm not going to lie. I want to be lean not just healthy. Call me selfish but I was to be desired just as much as anyone. I will always be thankful for my improved health but can we go to the next step and improve aesthetically?

    Thank you for reading.

  • #2
    hmm now this is more of a personal opinion but i think thats the most illogical crap i have ever one is STUCK at 220 pounds the body does not have a set weight! i do believe that someone who has a much bigger bone structure then me and was 300 pounds is not going to look like me no matter how they eat or train i am always going to be smaller and leaner because my bone mass is tinier and metabolism runs diff. but theres no reason at all you cant go down to 180-200 pounds..depending on your height? if youre quite tall you can be very very low body fat and weight 200 depending on muscle mass..theres alot of the end do what you need to do to get to the weight that makes you happy long as you dont let it become an obsession where you cant even see the great results youre alrdy getting..alot of ppl end up unhappy regardless of how good they long as youre honest with yourself just never give up!


    • #3
      I believe there is genetic variation that leads some people to have a little bit thinner or thicker builds, but there's a lot of room for manipulation within that based on diet and exercise. I think people generally overrate the impact of genetics, other than in the case of certain relatively uncommon genetic disorders/diseases.

      At 6'6" I've been everything from a fat 275 to a runners' build(really lean, but not strong at all) at 170-175. I'm currently trying to work my way back up to around 195, by adding strength and muscle mass. I think the key thing to keep in mind is that the body adapts to training and to diet - so to take yourself in a certain direction you need to attend to both the dietary and physical aspects of lifestyle. If you want to look like a sprinter, eat and train like a sprinter - if you want to look like a distance runner, do the same. I fully recognize that not everyone *wants* that really thin build - myself currently included.

      I think there are exceptions on either end of the bell curve - perhaps the top/bottom 10%. But for the middle 80% of us, the biggest imapctor of how we turn out is what we do - both diet and exercise.
      Last edited by jsa23; 09-11-2011, 06:58 AM.


      • #4
        I don't know. I do know that my body hates to lose weight. Whatever weight I am, it wants to stay there. I do think some people's bodies lose more readily than others. Mine's been through a lot with pregnancies, nursing, illness, severe stress etc, makes sense to me that it wants to hold onto it's emergency stores.

        Sometimes your body is changing and getting healthier but the scales don't budge for a while, it doesn't necessarily mean nothing is happening.
        Gluten intolerance and hypermobility syndrome

        Eat food. Mostly real. Enjoy life.

        Health, energy, wellbeing, vitality, joy, LIFE! Health At Every Size

        "Do not ask what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
        Harold Whitman


        • #5
          With the right diet I don't see how you couldn't get past a certain weight, regardless of genes.


          • #6
            I would agree with him that it certainly seems like some people will always have a problem with their weight, but I don't buy the set point fully either. I know that for me, there have been times where I have tended to stay at a certain weight for a long time, but that I have broken through that point, both higher and lower. Right now, I am stalled, but at a much lower point than ever before. I think for me it is due to hormonal factors that I will eventually resolve. I am not sure how I will do that yet, but not only do I think it is possible, I am expecting for it to happen.


            • #7
              Originally posted by aoifeee View Post
              With the right diet I don't see how you couldn't get past a certain weight, regardless of genes.


              • #8
                This is a Taubes that admits to eating in NYC diners on a regular basis. He does not seem to make logical choices based on what he writes. I'll buy set-point or equilibrium or whatever you want to call it but it can be changed.
                Wheat is the new tobacco. Spread the word.


                • #9
                  I think that the body has places it wants to be - I am just getting through a 6 week long struggle to break through a weight I was at for a long time, several years ago. My body *likes* being at this weight, I swear, even if I don't. I've revisited health issues that I only had at this weight, not at higher or lower weights. I've struggled, I've tweaked, and finally just went back to not worrying too much, and eating clean. Finally, things are starting to shift again for the better.

                  I do believe that when we stall, or plateau, our body is dealing with other issues. It may be healing, it may be coping with its new form, but I'm finally beginning to believe plateaus will end if I just eat clean and keep doing what I'm doing, without panicking. If I know I'm eating what I should, and I'm not overdoing any single thing ie. food, exercise, stress, then it will get better again and I will start to lose weight again.
                  Fighting fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain since 2002.

                  Big Fat Fiasco

                  Our bodies crave real food. We remain hungry as long as we refuse to eat real food, no matter how much junk we stuff into our stomachs. ~J. Stanton


                  • #10
                    A guy called Jon Gabriel lost a boatload of weight and got super lean. He talks about shifting the body's weight "set point." Watch his videos on Youtube.
                    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!


                    • #11
                      I think there are setpoints, plural, rather than 1 setpoint for your whole adult life. I tend to have a setpoint every 7 lbs difference or so (perhaps every 5 lbs at the lower weights). It is possible, definitely, to get past them, but they do take more work to lose through. Often I have required a tweak to get past a setpoint, but not always.

                      A joyful heart is good medicine

                      He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

                      Mmmmm. Real food is good.

                      My Journal:


                      • #12
                        My thoughts: I believe there are setpoints in your weight that are places that your body struggles to maintain, and that there is a "healthy" setpoint weight for everyone. When you provide ideal conditions (like eating a primal diet and moving, your body will naturally find a healthy "setpoint", which may or may not be what we consider an esthetic "ideal". Those who wish to take their body fat % or weight below that are going to have to fight the body's natural desire to remain "healthy". There is a place for effortless maintenance, and below that is harder to achieve and maintain. It depends how hard you want to fight.

                        When you look at healthy wild animals in nature, they are not skin over muscle with their veins sticking out, like some of the very low % BF bodies seen here. They are slim, lithe, agile, and with a smooth look to their skin that indicates a thin layer of insulating fat under the surface. In my opinion, that is the ideal.


                        • #13
                          If I'm recalling the same passage in Gary's book, he was talking about people who have severely damaged hormonal systems that may be beyond repair. I don't think that applies to the vast majority of people, and there's no reason to believe that may apply to you, but you could certainly psych yourself out by worrying about it too much. You've already lost 40 lbs, so that's a good indication that you're not going to be one of those people who gets stuck forever. You didn't say how long you've been stalled, but stalls and plateaus are just part of the process. It doesn't necessarily mean you've reached the end of the road.


                          • #14
                            My body has a few setpoints, I have broken them all-in both directions-several times, but as i am fairly new to PB I have just now hit the first of them on my way down. I could get on the scale and pretty much tell you what it says. But I am confident with good choices as I am patient and allow the healing necessary, that my body will move down. I don't believe it is in my genetic make up to be as big as I am right now, it is not optimal for survival. I believe that following very bad advice for a very long time put me here, and that following very good advice now will reverse the trend.

                            All that being said, I would like to add 2 things...1. you are only as attractive as you believe you are, 2. I am not personally attracted to the super buff bodies and doubt I am the only woman who feels this way. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty and work involved, but think a healthy athletic type build is more attractive. (for whatever that is worth since I am older-52- and married)

                            Good Luck with your journey, and in the interim-during those periods where you seem to be sitting on a plateau-focus on the non-scale victories.
                            "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."

                            My journal:

                            My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day, with a little twist of anti-inflammatory mixed in.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by demuralist View Post
                              All that being said, I would like to add 2 things...1. you are only as attractive as you believe you are, 2. I am not personally attracted to the super buff bodies and doubt I am the only woman who feels this way. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty and work involved, but think a healthy athletic type build is more attractive. (for whatever that is worth since I am older-52- and married)
                              I'm 39 and single, and I totally agree with you. Aesthetics are just a part of attraction, people of all different body types are desired by other people, and confidence, happiness and some sort of internal substance are far more attractive than a 6-pack to me.