The Mystery of Weight

I’ve always found it odd that the one thing we obsess over more than anything — our weight — is the one thing we seem to know the least about. Oh sure, we understand the basics. Eat too little, and we lose weight. Eat too much, and we lose our skinny clothes. That’s the basic premise, but the reality is a bit more complex. After all, we’re talking about a machine with trillions of moving parts.

First off, how do we gain weight? In simple terms, like this: if you weigh 150 pounds and you eat a five-pound monster cheeseburger, you’re now 155 pounds. But are you? Well, not really. You can’t actually count the weight change until processing is complete. Food is fuel. Your body breaks it down into the parts it can use and the parts it can’t. The parts it can use become energy for your body’s cells. If it needs all of it, then when all is said and flushed, you’ll still be 150 pounds. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. However, if you can’t burn the usable fuel, the body thinks, “Hey, you know what? My ass just isn’t big enough. Let’s send some of this extra energy down to those fat cells. I’m sure we’ll be using it Real Soon Now.”

Now, how do we lose weight? The most obvious answer is we pee and poop. I mean, it’s hard not to notice how it goes in one end and out the other. But it’s easy to forget that stuff is just the parts the body doesn’t want. What it does want, as mentioned above, becomes food for your cells. And their waste products make up the bulk of weight loss. Yep. We’re talking cellular poop. And what they poop out is primarily carbon dioxide. Believe it or not, most of the weight you lose is done so via exhaling. This is the main reason you generally weigh less in the morning than you do in the evening. This is also the main reason you should sleep alone. You don’t want to inhale someone else’s weight loss.

Anyhoo … enough of the biology lesson. Now what about the real mystery? You know the one I’m talking about. It’s happened to all of us. Things are going along normally day after day, and then one morning — bam! — you’re suddenly three pounds heavier overnight. Three pounds! How the *bleep* does that happen? You quickly count up everything you ate yesterday… Let’s see… the muffin… coffee… there was that fried rice for lunch… um… a bag of Doritos… hmmm… chicken for dinner… . But as hard as you try, you simply can’t come up with any reasonable result that remotely adds up to three pounds.

The reason you can’t is because you aren’t the USDA. And the USDA estimates that the average American eats 4.7 pounds of food each day. If you drink your eight glasses of water (and by “glasses of water” I do mean coffee, tea, soda pop, beer, wine, and prune juice.) then that’s an additional four pounds. So if you mysteriously gained three pounds overnight, all that really means is that you didn’t use the full eight pounds you took in.

So don’t let it get you down. Eventually, as long as you’re doing things right, it all works out in the end. At least that’s what the USDA tells me.

6 Responses to “The Mystery of Weight”

HangryPants said
September 25, 2008 at 7:55 am

Ha! Interesting and funny. If you drink 8 glasses of prune juice that might help “flush out” some of that weight. : )

Dinah Soar said
September 25, 2008 at 9:34 am

Thanks for the explanation. I’ll never eliminate again without thinking of your explanation. And I was cracking up thinking about inhaling someone else’s weight loss.

I think it does help to understand how our bodies work.

Stephanie said
September 25, 2008 at 11:56 am

“Believe it or not, most of the weight you lose is done so via exhaling.” Maybe Gayle whatsherface was one to something…Charlie knows who I’m talking about. I’m the one who BOUGHT the stupid video… just to watch in utter disgust and amazment Gayle breathing to loose weight… Charlie… What was her name?????

Charlie said
September 25, 2008 at 12:01 pm


Biz said
September 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm

I remember Charlie showing me that video – I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants (yeah, more weight loss!)

Joe Spammer said
January 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm

After reading you blog, I thought your articles is great! I am very like your articles and I am very interested in the field of weight loss. I have also wrote some articles about weight loss in my blog, if you have time, welcome to my blog, I am very appreciated that you can share your idea with me. Acturally, I am still a student, and I am bury myself in weight loss’s study. Your blog is very useful for me .I bookmarked your blog! I trust you will behave better from now on; I hope she understands that she cannot exepct a raise.

[Ed note: ditto on this one. And yes, I will behave better from now on. And of course she knows she isn’t getting a raise.]