The last five to ten pounds

A quick Google search of “last 5-10 pounds” yields 1 million, 970 thousand hits.   That’s the number of seconds it took me to backpack 15 European countries.

Everyone knows that the last 5-10 pounds are the hardest to lose.  And just about every blogger–fuck, every person who has ever set foot in a gym–has something to say about how to do it.  I have a handful of recommendations I could myself make.   I’ve done it personally a million times.    I might be the queen of the last five pounds.  This is what you have to do:

-Cut carbohydrates almost completely.  (Much of the last bit of weight is water.  Your body stores four grams of water to one gram of glycogen.  If you manage to lose one pound of glycogen, you lose a whole four pounds of fat.  On the flipside, however, if you consume just half a pound of carbohydrates one day, and store it, you are going to gain two whole pounds.)

-Do sprint exercises daily, if not twice daily, and lift often.

-Cut calories.


-Be hungry.  If you’re hungry, you’re in caloric deficit.


Sound like happiness?


What the hell?

This is the thing about the last five pounds: it’s so hard to come off because it’s so important to your body.  (More important for women than for men.  Guys are off the hook in this particular diatribe.)  Tell me: would you rather torture yourself to get down to supermodel, or instead be calm and healthy at the higher weight?

You might opt for “supermodel.”  And some people– some people get there naturally, and that’s awesome.   But let me tell you this: hunger is hunger.  Excess exercise is excess exercise.   Obsessing over food is obsessing over food.  This is what the world becomes for you if you achieve supermodel thinness when you are not designed to be that way.  You end up always safeguarding against gaining weight; you hyperanalyze your food; you restrict yourself constantly in order to meet your caloric goals.  You might think it’s worth it now.  You might even think it’s worth it for a few years.  But obsession is a sneaky, sneaky son of a bitch.

If someday you find yourself there– in an obsessive, or worry-filled, or preoccupied, or hungry world, consider letting go.  Don’t hate yourself for not being able to maintain (or even reach) the “ideal” body.  The whole notion is absurd.

There is no ideal body.  There is only your body.  Listen.  Don’t dictate.  It’s the only way to move forward with positive mental and physiological health.



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03 2012

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  1. Kristin #

    Thank you! It makes me happy to see anyone in the paleo community suggest that perhaps we don’t all need to be super-ripped. For a bunch of smart people, it’s amazing how rarely it seems to occur to anyone that the reason so many folks have trouble losing the last 5-10 pounds is that our ideas about what we “should” weigh are unrealistic.

  2. jessica rae #

    i really appreciate the honesty of all of your most recent posts, i am going to keep them up on my computer and read them and re-read them as we are so similar in what we have gone on thinking and doing all of these years and the outcome. i think it is much better to work on the strength of character it takes to say fuck all this perfect diet habit etc…bullshit when it really is just a guise for obsession and it is what takes us out of living effortlessly better lives! i could write paragraph upon paragraph of how we are similar and praise for your breakthroughs as these are the tiny voices of reason in my brain i am urging forth to drown out of all non-sense that i have been taught the believe is normal by our hyperactive under productive ego driven culture

    • pepper #

      Thank you Jessica. I find I have to go back and read them often myself– over and over. It’s a real struggle, but I believe in it. I believe in it so much.


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