Hey Fitties! Sorry I didn’t make it back yesterday, it was a day filled with Zumba.

Today is a day filled with Epsom salts and curses against my own mortality. 😉

So I’ve been having these… thoughts lately. I’ve wanted to blog them but I don’t know if I can make sense out of them. Walk with me, will you?

Do you know someone who can do things like eat donuts or Frappucinos and they are super lean whereas you are always eating your chicken breast salad with balsamic dressing and battling losing the same 10-15 pounds?

It’s frustrating, right? We all know that person. They not only flaunt the laws of health but they look great doing it! NOT. FAIR.

Whereas others of us skip a few days at the gym, have a few too many helpings at the bread basket and it’s time to start considering jeans with elastic waistbands.

What gives? It’s not fair right??

I have a theory. Fitness is gained and lost in increments.

That means that a person with a healthy body does not lose that body just by eating a candy bar. And a person who is fighting for a healthy body doesn’t gain that healthy body simply by eating a chicken breast salad. It’s thousands of small, seemingly pointless choices that add up to health or disease.

At least, that’s the way it seems to me. This is how I picture it… we’ve all had our house in complete disarray. Just… crap everywhere. Dishes in the sink… laundry to be folded… and as we start picking stuff up, someone comes in and tosses junk mail on the counter or leaves their shoes in the living room. In the grand scheme of crap you have to put away, it’s not a big deal, but it’s certainly not getting things cleaner, right? It’s one more thing to deal with.

Whereas if your house is completely immaculate, it’s super easy to pick up a pair of out of place shoes. And a single pair of stray shoes doesn’t make the house look like a disaster.

I think fitness is like that.  One indulgence won’t take fitness from you, but a thousand will. One indulgence won’t keep you from being fit, but it pushes out the date where you achieve your goals further into the future.

This concept has been rattling around in my brain for awhile. I’ve been forming the concept when people tsk-tsk at me because I want to skip dessert (I work out all the time, they reason, so have a cupcake. Or, it’s not like I’m super fit anyway, so what’s one cupcake going to do? It’s not like I’ve got a career as a supermodel to think about). One cupcake won’t make a big difference in how I look now, but it will make a big difference in how I look next year.

One of my readers sent me a link to this blog post by Dr. Eades (who co-wrote Protein Power with his wife). In it, he adds another element to why some people can get away with eating indulgent foods and others can’t: For many of those skinny mini’s who dive in to the occasional donut, they’ve never been obese. He writes:

The best and easiest way to stay slim is to never become obese in the first place.

What I mean by making this seemingly obvious statement is that when a person goes from being normal weight to being overweight it is an indication that something metabolically has gotten broken.  At this point, no one knows for sure what gets broken, but many (and I count myself in this ever growing group) believe the damage occurs in the mitochondria, the organelles within the cells that are the energy furnaces.  Once whatever it is that gets broken breaks, it is difficult from that point on to lose weight and maintain weight loss without effort.

The study I mentioned above showed that the non-obese didn’t really gain anything over the Thanksgiving through New Year’s holidays, and I’m sure it’s not because they didn’t go face down in the fudge.  They didn’t gain because their metabolic systems were working properly.

This sounds REALLY discouraging, right?

Maybe. First, maybe the guy’s wrong, I dunno. On the other hand, he may be on to something, considering that the Special K diets and the Slim Fasts and the “moderation” of American culture have really done very little to make our country slim and healthy. Could THIS be the real French secret? French people don’t get fat eating wine and butter and cheese and bread because… they weren’t fat to begin with? They weren’t raised on a Cheeto and Capri Sun diet (digression: did I ever tell you I used to drink Diet Orange Sunkist for breakfast? It’s like orange juice, but calorie free!) and so if they slather on the butter from time to time, their genes don’t pack it for storage in their saddlebags.

But the encouraging message is: Now you KNOW. You know what it will take to kick obesity’s ass once and for all. You can’t do 1 day on a diet and 6 days off and be puzzled why you’re not losing. You know what to expect. Dr. Eades puts it thusly: The price of thinness is eternal vigilance.

Not a happy message, I’ll admit. And it might be a wrong one, I dunno. But I think it seems to conform with my observations of the world around me. What do you think?