Is My Posture Helping Me Lose Weight?

As I mentioned in the last post, I’m recovering from a subarticulate L5-S1 disc protrusion. Err, I have a disc bulge in my lower back. And I’ve been all over the map (and the web) with different practitioners giving advice and recommendations. The main theme being that when one is afflicted with such a condition, it is very important to maintain ‘extension’ in the lumbar spine, uhh, keep your butt out like a duck and your back arched. This is the spine’s natural position, and exercises serve to ‘suck’ the disc back in, allowing the tissue around it to heal.

So, I’ve been walking around feeling like a duck. I call it my walking duck pose.  It feels strange, but actually looks very normal. In fact my posture is starting to feel really great. I feel taller, I feel my gaze is more forward and alert. Even as I sit here and write this, I’m activating my multifidus to support and pull the spine into extension (I strongly suspect that prolonged sitting is the root cause of the injury.) And I think it’s working. I’ve been off painkillers for 35 days!

But since the injury, I’ve recently been finding myself doing a double-take in the bathroom mirror, following the thought, “Hey, it looks like..am I actually losing fat?”.

You’ve all got your ‘markers’ right? That little crease on the spare tire, that little area on the back of the arms, or the legs, where the fat appears, and/or disappears, fluctuating along with your tireless efforts toward lose weight. Mine is just outside the oblique abdominals, the last frontier for me, on the journey from obese to Brad-Pitt-in-Fight-Club chiseled-ness… Okay, maybe not, but hey, one can dream right?

So I notice the line is very faint on both sides, and wonder, how the hell is this possible? I have been a lame duck (no pun) for the last 8 months, doing almost zero cardio exercise!? I rack my brain a little more and it dawns on me – the posture. So I went searching the web to test the theory, and came across one article titled Improve Your Posture for Weight Loss that says:

Standing straight will help the body to build muscles around the belly and the lower back. It also gives the benefit of improving the lower back pain and allows the lungs to expand more and breathe in more oxygen which helps in boosting the metabolism.

Good posture can also help in losing weight for the fact that the muscles are stretched. The act of muscle stretching is already a simple form of exercise and can already burn up calories.

Well duh, I suppose that makes perfect sense. I’ve always been, sortof- peripherally aware of my posture, trying to keep my shoulders from slouching, etc. But I guess I never considered how closely it can be tied to physical and emotional well-being, or weight loss!

I find this inspiring, because it’s something I’m constantly doing, as opposed to (yet more) generic exercises I have to set aside time for. And if you read the rest of my site (which is currently free and will soon be not-free, so, drink up!) you know I am all about leveraging the simplest, most natural changes, when it comes to losing weight.

Time to stop beating yourself up for being fat!

Seriously it’s not serving anyone. And really, it’s not your fault anyway as you would know if you read my site and bought my book. Not that you aren’t to blame though – oh yeah, you’re totally to blame. But it’s not your fault. “Well what. the hell. is the difference?” I’ll come back to it.

So I’ve had a ‘disc protrusion’ in my back (L5-S1 if you must know) for, mmm, going on 5 months now. Pretty much constant pain. I’ve determined it’s from sitting at my computer. Writing writing writing, trying to enlighten the en-largened folks out there.

So I’ve been unable to do very much exercise, really since December of last year when it started to bother me. So, as summer brings plenty of socializing, warm summer nights, beer, barbecues, and blackberry crumble, I thought for sure I would see 10-15 pounds on the scale. I was indeed quite surprised to see my regular 178.5 move all the way up to… 182. That’s it? Big fucking deal. So apparently, I can’t gain weight for trying. Well fuck me right?

No, because it really inspired me to get back on here on start helping people again to lose weight. (I’ve been gone for a while, like you’ve noticed.)

But seriously, I’m going to pack all this good stuff up into something you can really sink your teeth into, because I want you to be able to re-calibrate your set point, as I have – evidence – suggests, managed to master.

Hint: it doesn’t matter what you eat. Well, it matters for cholesterol and vitamins and nourishment and all that, but not necessarily for weight gain/loss. At least, not in the way you think.

If you’re sick and god-dammned tired of hearing about how you simply need to consume fewer calories than you burn (read in nerdy poindexter voice), and you want real advice from a real person who really lost 100 pounds ten eleven years ago and has never gained it back, (and who is a master coach) then stay close, there’s more to come. Comment on this article to let me know you’re out there. I’ll give you some discount or something. Seriously do it. Or there will be no book.

Oh, and that part about it not being your fault, but that you’re still to blame? Yeah, you’re gonna have to come back for that. I haven’t exactly figured that out myself (sheepish grin).

“Made with Real Hydrogenated Oil!”

I picked up a bag of Cheetos yesterday. It’s my nephews fault, he loves them, and felt it necessary to Tweet that fact. So guess what I went out and bought a day later. I’ve done all I can to wise him up to the horrors of hydrogenated oil. He’s 11 though, and thinks they are “the best crunchy thing in the world”. I’m wasting my time.

On the front of the bag there’s this official looking stamp that says, “Made with Real Cheese!”. Imagine 50 years ago, showing someone the cheese snack you created, and then proclaiming that it was, in fact, made with ‘real’ cheese. It would be absurd and just plain confusing.

I guess we’ve past a point where ‘the artificial’ has saturated ‘the authentic’, so much so that we now celebrate when something is actually real.

Celebrity Distractions

On the plane watching Oprah, and listening to Kirstie Alley talking about her weight loss struggles. Don’t compare yourself to celebrities. She filled her house with some dreadful looking exercise machines, and, not surprisingly, they all eventually ended up in the garage. Now she’s dragging them into the house again so she can wear a bikini like Valerie Burtonelli. What I see is desperation, and (sorry Kirstie) not much focus or clarity about what she’s doing. I don’t for a second doubt her sincerity, and that she’s feeling the same pain that we all feel when our weight’s gotten away from us, but it hurts me to see someone distracted by all that dramatization. It can be so much simpler than that.

Whatever Works

Desperation has such a negative effect on trust. Out of desperation, we mistakenly look for whatever weight loss technique causes a lower number on the scale, and then – out of desperation – pour a bunch of money (and trust) into whatever works.


How do we determine what works? Whichever one has the most compelling ‘proof’? Highest stats? Most elaborate testimonials, filled with the most ultra-positive sounding words?


The reality is that being overweight has all kind of root causes. So obviously, what works for one person really well, might be totally ineffective for someone else. But – out of desperation – we ignore that simple and obvious truth.

Desperation can cause us to put our trust in places we normally wouldn’t.

Desperation has such a negative effect on trust. Out of desperation, we mistakenly look for whatever weight loss technique causes a lower number on the scale, and then – out of desperation – pour a bunch of money (and trust) into whatever works.

How do we determine what works? Whichever one has the most compelling ‘proof’? Highest stats? Most elaborate testimonials, filled with the most ultra-positive sounding words?

The reality is that being overweight has all kind of root causes. So obviously, what works for one person really well, might be totally ineffective for someone else. But – out of desperation – we ignore that simple and obvious truth.

Desperation can cause us to put our trust in places we normally wouldn’t.

Fit vs. Fat

dave_alexanderDave Alexander – a 55-year-old, 5’8’’, 260 pound man – has become the center of attention in the fit versus fat controversy. Despite a BMI of 40 (30 is considered obese), Mr. Alexander has competed in 276 triathlons in 37 different countries over the last 7 years. His intense regular weekly training routine (swims 5 miles, runs 30 miles, and bikes 200) enabled him to recently complete a super triathlon in which he biked 448 miles, ran 104.8 miles, and swam 9.2 miles. When asked about his self image, Dave Alexander replied, “I don’t care what people say about me, as long as it inspires them to go out and exercise.”

Well hey, I didn’t know there was a ‘Fit vs Fat’ controversy, but if a guy can exercise THIS MUCH and not lose any weight, it has to make you wonder if starting your weight loss journey by killing yourself at the gym makes much sense.

Tips and more tips

Google ‘weight loss’ and you get 108 million responses. Million. I mean, how are you even supposed to find a starting point? First you have to wade through all the sponsored links. Fine. But then you have a bazillion pages offering you ‘tips’. Free Weight Loss ‘tips’. And then the free ‘tip’ is like, drink more water; take the stairs; exercise. Thaaanks. Tell you what you can do with your ‘tips’… Mostly, these ‘tips’ (yes, I’m going to continue putting the word in quotes) amount to nothing more than ‘free’ content devised to drive you to a sales page for some other useless crap. Probably a book of ‘tips’.

A tip is something you give someone that’s current, that’s new, like a stock tip. A tip is not simply common knowledge or medical findings regurgitated by some weight loss pseudo-expert ‘tip’-factory. If I ever give you a ‘tip’, please send me hate mail, in order that I might smarten up.

I’m not even going to start with ‘secrets’.

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