Monday, January 3, 2011

Relative vs Absolute

Two things happened that week that I have been kickin' around in my head.

1. The other day, I wrote a post discussing the differences between absolute and relative strength (one is how much you can lift period.  The other is how much you can lift relative to your size.) 

2. I received several emails from you all in response to the post about "that person" who seems to naturally possess the eating skills you are working on.

The readers' responses was something akin to "maybe he just has a better metabolism".  Now, the thing I know about thoughts on weight loss is -- if a couple of you take time to write it, many of you are thinking the same thing.

Here's what I want to make clear:

Just like there are absolute and relative strength.  There are two ways of looking at eating.  Sure, you can say that "that guy" has a great metabolism -- but I bet you a buck, if you made him eat more than he does on his own, you would fatten him up.  (anyone ever experienced that with a slim and trim man you start cooking for? Many of 'em start gaining weight from the first time they walk into your kitchen!)

The point is -- it is easy to get stuck on the fact that other people can eat more than you(absolute eating) and still maintain their weight.  And yes, it maybe seems unfair.  But the point I am hoping you take to heart is it doesn't matter how much someone else does or doesn't eat.  If they are maintaining their weight at a constant level -- their calories in are equally their calories out (their relative calories).  That has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you.

You need the appropriate number of calories for your body composition, activity level and genetic/gender predisposition (your relative calories).  Life isn't fair on this -- men will always be able to eat more calories than women because men develop more muscle (which used more calories to maintain itself) than women.  It's just the way we are all made -- not fair but doesn't change the issue at hand.  --Which is, your body will tell you how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.  If you want to weigh less, eat a few less bites. 

Comparisons do no good.  Calling yourself unlucky doesn't change the task at hand -- it just makes you feel worse about having to do it.

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