reversal of porktune

During 2005, I lost >45 pounds using Weight Watchers Online and posted weekly progress updates while dieting.* At ASA the next year, someone told me that they used to read my blog but stopped when I was dieting because they were self-conscious about their own weight and found my own posts of success depressing. This year, I’d reached the point where I gained back half the weight I had lost. I thought about e-mailing this person and saying I was surely becoming safe to read again. I even gained half a pound over the two weeks I was in Malawi. Who the bother goes to Africa and gains weight?

Since getting back from Malawi, however, either there is something with my scale or I’ve lost 8 pounds without trying. I think part of it is weirdly enough my Banana Chocolate Vivanno addiction, as it’s almost eliminated my consumption of other, worse, sweets.

Now I’m wishing I had been 450 pounds when the Vivanno debuted, because maybe then I could keep going and gain fame as Starbucks’s counterpart to Jared from Subway.

* Two years earlier I went through an eight month period where I gained weight at the equivalent of taping a Twix bar to myself every day. Don’t ask. I will note that I started blogging right in the middle of this period. Coincidence, or causality?

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

9 thoughts on “reversal of porktune”

  1. Bur you’re working out a lot this year (look at all those gold stars), which may account for some of the weight gain–muscle weighs more than fat, and working out makes you metabolize faster and hungrier. I bet you the Malawi weight was water weight. I am sure you’re healthier and more fit this year.

    If you wanted to lose a lot of weight, I suppose you could try to do a white and green and brown diet (lean chicken/fish/tofu + vegetables + high fiber whole wheat, no empty carbs/sweets) + burning more calories than you consume by working out a couple of hours each day. That is an extremely sad lifestyle, hard to sustain, and I’m not sure life is worth living under those conditions–and then you’re living it longer, to boot. Like, what’s up with that.

    I’ve been better this year with just doing portion control + exercising, although I’m probably still just as heavy even though clothing-size wise, I’m at my smallest. It is very weird being the same weight and yet a few dress sizes smaller, but I figure, weight doesn’t mean as much as health and fitness. My goal is to do a push up and get closer to the floor than my weak arms currently allow. I still bake every week and eat a cookie a day.

    And I think your posts about taking control of your personal health are inspiring.


  2. Can someone show me the science viz “muscle weighs more than fat”? I have always hoped this was true, but more and more I’m finding it is losing its face validity. This is not the only realm in which I’m needing to find reassurance in double-blind, peer reviewed, quantitative results, for what it’s worth. I’d like to see that “two heads are better than one” thing tested, too.


  3. Good for you, jeremy. I’ve been trying too, but without near the success you had! And I gained a TON when I was in Africa because I ate three meals a day from the fast-food place in downtown Windhoek. I alternated between huge plates of goat curry with noodles and the real artery-clogger: a double-cheeseburger with hot curry sauce and a fried egg on top, inexplicably labeled an “American burger.” Oy, to be 20 again.


  4. Thanks, Jeremy. I snarfed my milk on this one: “A five pound pile of fat will take up more space (volume) than a five pound pile of muscle; but five pounds is still five pounds, so for those of you that don’t “get” English, you cannot say one thing weighing a certain weight weighs more than another thing at that same weight. It’s a common joke to play on an 8-year old.”


  5. I too, gained weight in Africa. And I too, must now confess that I had a burgeoning Vivanno addiction which pretty much ended yesterday. However, I was hooked on the Orange Mango Banana blend; 6 grams of fiber, 16 grams of protein, I mean who could resist! But yesterday, as I was waiting for my frosty and oh so healthy concoction, I realized there was something conspicuously missing from that nutrition information pasted all over the store, SUGAR! When I asked, “Uhm, this says nothing about sugar, how much sugar is in here?” the barista replied, “Yes uhm, sugar, yes, but it’s ALL NATURAL, none of that CORN SYRUP sugar!” Hmmm …

    So turns out there are 32 grams of sugar in the Grande version of the Orange Mango Banana Vivano and in your Chocolate version 28 grams of sugar.

    Speaking of chocolate, a Snickers bar, my personal favorite, has 10 mg less cholesterol, just about the same amount of sugar , but 11 more grams of fat and 5 less grams of fiber as compared to the Chocolate Banana Vivanno.

    OK, this is simple, here’s what you do: replace CBV with Snickers bars for 30 days THEN go back to CBV and document, document, document by VIDEO. Edit footage in a clever way, post to YouTube … 20 bucks says it goes viral and Starbucks comes knocking. Whoa. Dude.


  6. dude/guy, i broke even in malawi, but i suspect that your gain was due to all that pop/soda/coke you were drinking!?

    i too have lost some weight since then, but i blame it on my spinning instructors – they keep kicking my ass in the morning! (given that we ate pretty much the same during the whole time, i wouldn’t worry about worms) ;-)


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