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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
Alas, poor weight loss, sometimes one must mock thee well.

I mentioned that the founder of Curves has written a book. Bad me, he's written more than one. In any case, his name is Gary Heavin, and the books he's written include:
Curves: Permanent Results without Permanent Dieting
Curves on the Go

With additional hits for workbooks and the like, I think, on Amazon.

It was interesting reading the reviews of Curves: Permanent Results without Permanent Dieting, as they seem to be split between 'Wow! It's amazing! It works!' and 'You fools, all of this information is available! It's Atkins! It's Atkins Lite!'

Despite my own heavy fangirling of Curves I have to admit that I'm not sure which one I find funnier, and I assure you I find both aspects amusing as hell.

Neither side (which fortunately can't talk to one another) seems to recognize certain basic facts:

1. What works for me might not work for you. Which is why I encourage people to try Curves, but I don't expect that everyone will have my results. That would be utterly ridiculous.

2. Yes, the diet information is stuff that's already available, in a changed format that some people respond to better than others. So someone chooses the Curves diet over others... so what? This is an attitude that I find hugely amusing... and wanky as hell. *shakes head* I do take issue with the reviewer who called it an attempt to bilk people who want instant results. I haven't read the book, but I have read the Member Guide which has most of the same information -- and at no point does one get the impression that results are supposed to be instant.

People who don't like the diet don't have to, as it probably won't work for everyone, but there have been actual clinical studies that you can look up (I don't have the info on hand, I'll look it up later) regarding the success of the diet working and raising metabolism. I'm also amused by the fact that there are three different diet plans based on what your sensitivities may be -- one is basically Atkins, another is very similar to what you might call Atkins-lite, and the third is just plain low calorie, still high on the protein side, but that's because protein satisfies for longer than carbs and thus helps reduce binging. *shakes head*

3. I am vastly amused by the number of people who seem to have missed the point of both the diet and exercise plans, on both sides. One woman is all 'but what about men? What carb-protein-fat percentages should my husband use?' or 'but I don't want to gain weight in order to lose weight better later, I only need to lose ten pounds.' Er. Hello? The Curves diet itself *is* designed for women but I expect that it would work for men, or he could choose another, well known diet. Or he could take the little tests for whether or not he's carb sensitive/addicted and moderate his intakes based on that. And for the woman who needs to lose ten pounds, way to miss the entire damn point. I laugh in your general direction.

Some of the reviews for point number one just kill me with laughter.

One woman:
I have not read the book therefore cannot rate it, however I can rate the Curves facility fitness program as I have join and cancelled my membership within one day. The program, in my opinion, is for the beginner/shy execiser. It is not a challenging routine because you are allowed only 30 seconds to utilize each hydraulic machine. According to certified exercise experts (and general knowledge) this is hardly enough time to fatigue the muscle you are targeting. Another set back is that you cannot determine how much weight your body can take. The machines are preset, which means as your body becomes stronger you cannot add any additional weight. You have only 30 seconds to utilize each machine and the musical recording tells you when to switch. At that point, you do your own light cardio. I think it is a great idea for those who are not used to a challenging workout. However, I suggest trying the week free pass before committing to this.

I mock thee. Mockity mock mock mock. With a side order of ridicule and derision for afters.

Apparently the fact that you use the machines more than once has gone over this woman's tiny little head. I assure you that if you work as hard as you can each time you go around, you definitely fatigue the muscle.

That said: I've seen plenty of women who are paying a lot of money for few results because they don't put any effort into it. That's not the fault of Curves. It's the fault of the women who can't be bothered to put their back (arms, shoulders, whatever) into it.

The machines are designed as hydraulic resistance. You don't add weights, you push/pull/move them faster and harder as your strength increases. I have muscles where I didn't before. They work if you do.

One reader left an extended review of why he doesn't like the machines and the circuit. He left a detailed analysis of how the machines don't work and could hurt you.

Sir, mockery would be too kind for thine elitist snobbery.

Bitch, please.

Having seen (and on rare occasion, long ago, used) 'proper gym equipment' I would like to know where the man got the idea that it is immune to mishandling and causing injury. The way I understand it, most people actually hurt themselves while changing weights, rather than in the process of using the equipment properly. The Curves machines, with their hydraulic resistance eliminate the need to change weights which reduces the overall number of injuries.

I'm not going to say that injury is impossible -- of course it is, which is why the attendants at Curves give detailed instructions on the proper use of the machines. It's also why, in the nurturing environment of Curves, members watch out for one another. When we see someone using a machine improperly, we tell them, so they are less likely to hurt themselves.

cants head to one side

I do wonder if he owns a gym and thinks that telling people the machines are dangerous will drum up business he's lost to Curves.

He ridicules going around the circuit three times when going around once would be sufficient if members spent more times on the stations. The short term is to prevent boredom, one of the major reasons why people don't like to exercise. It sounds ridiculous, but one of the things that takes my mind off of 'I hate exercise' is counting down the number of times I've gone around. Sue me.

His further arguments regarding weight-loss vs. body image are both true and spurious at the same time. He's right that the scale doesn't tell you everything. You gain muscle and lose fat -- your body reshapes, and may, in fact stay in stasis in terms of weight or even have a gain in it, since muscle has higher density than fat.

This would be why it's the monthly weigh and measure where we a) weigh in, what a surprise, b) have our measurements taken, to have concrete evidence of body reshaping, and when you need a lot of it a tape measure says more than a mirror, trust me, and c) do a body fat reading.

What was that, you say? A body fat reading? Use a tape measure? Celebrate the loss of an inch, dress size, t-shirt size, reduction in body-fat? Put up signs congratulating members for their weight loss and sometimes obnoxiously peppy signs about how members have the power to amaze themselves (and incidentally all of their friends) without having a gastric bypass?

Wow. What a concept!

And dude, I'd like to see where Heavin says you'll consistently lose ten pounds a week on the Curves diet. I'm fairly sure that he might have said you may lose up to about 10 in the first two weeks, but that'll be true on any diet because you go into starvation mode and your body rids itself of excess water.


That's where all of those ridiculous magazine diets get their spectacular claims -- the loss of water weight that you'll put right back on when you start eating again.

In any case, the one I really have to do the point-and-laugh routine at is this one:

I'm just not sure I will follow his diet plan as laid out, choosing to keep my weight at more steady levels rather than continually gaining and losing the same 3-5 pounds every month for "maintenance" as he suggests. If I could lose 3-5 lbs. by dieting 2 days a month, I wouldn't have 10 to lose in the first place! I'm not discounting his method as wrong, just not sure it is right for me.

There's more to this review that shows a complete lack of reading comprehension, but this was what struck me the most.

There are three phases to the Curves diet. Phase one is the 'eat almost nothing for a few days and pee off water' phase. Phase two is the 'eat more food (although it is still reduced calorie) burn fat and lose weight' phase and phase three is the 'eat what you want and raise metabolism' phase.

Phase three is where you gain 3-5 lbs and then lose them again. Repeatedly. I'm not really looking forward to it, myself, as it looks irritating. Then again, I already weigh myself daily.

Phase three consists of eating your goal number of calories per day, preferably from healthy foods. This turns off your starvation hormones. You begin to gain water.

With me? Not so difficult a concept.

Once you've gained 3-5 lbs you go back to Phase one, and pee it off. The trick is to do it in no more than 2 to 3 days before your body triggers starvation hormones. You go back to eating normally. You repeat this cycle for a bit -- in theory this should force your body into an overall metabolic recalibration, meaning that the rate of water gain decreases -- it takes longer and longer to regain that 3-5 lbs. Eventually one should only have to do this occasionally to maintain their weight while eating what they want to eat.

So the above commenter, who also said she really liked Heavin's writing style, obviously needs to work on her reading comprehension. There are several others who also missed the point, but this one was the most glaring, in my opinion.

What amazes me is the number of people who don't see that, realistically, this approach should be usable with any diet a person chooses. This diet doesn't work for you? Choose one that does -- but this trick should allow you to increase your metabolism to your desired level once you've hit your ideal weight. It should also help if you've hit a plateau where more exercise and fewer calories don't seem to be helping. Increase your base metabolism and then go back on the reduced calorie diet -- in theory that should result in resumption of weight loss.

Poof! Permanent results. No more need to diet constantly. Ultimately what this is is a method not a specific diet.

When it comes down to it the Phase three/Phase one bit is the real trick, with strength training.


One thing that I do have to agree with, though, in the professional review. If anyone does want to buy the book/books be prepared for wading through a lot of not-so-subtle salesmanship and self-congratulations. I do love Curves but sometimes the self-promotion gets a bit tiring. Still, for those of you who don't have the money for going to Curves there's a guide for do-it-at-home in Curves: Permanent Results without Permanent Dieting.

Current Mood: mischievousMocking
Just some idle thoughts....

The gym that I belong to has a "circuit training" outpost here in town (as opposed to their main facility in the town where I work), and I did try it.

As I expressed it to kelticviking: Not hardcore enough. (That's also a personal in-joke, sorry.) Hydraulic machines are so....vague. And thirty seconds is so short a time.

Monday our focus is chest and biceps. He has planned (threatened?) that I am to start with one hundred on the bench and see how that goes.

I do weigh in periodically, and I do know that muscle-weighs-more-than-fat, but the best estimates of my progress thus far are the change in the way my clothes fit and the numbers on the weight machines.

Re: Just some idle thoughts....

*laughs* Oh, I've no problem with it not being hardcore enough. Hell, I won't argue that Curves is an exercise routine basically for beginners -- that's exactly what it is. It's designed for people who don't like/don't really *want* to exercise or strength train but do want some of the results.

I'll agree that the hydraulics are vague -- I would like empirical data, but not enough to change to more traditional routines.

I don't like exercise, I find it horribly boring, really. That's why Curves works so well for me and those like me -- we don't really want to be doing it and it gives us results sufficient to our needs without boring (or irritating us) enough to quit.

For me, smaller clothes, tiring less easily, etc., are my benchmarks but I'm a fan of people doing what works for them. If circuit training isn't for you, but working out in a more traditional way is and you're doing it... then (channels Bill&Ted) Excellent! 100lbs. Sounds painful to me, so I'll cheerfully leave you to it ;) Go you!

(a little voice in me feels compelled to point out that at Curves at least, you do the circuit more than once -- three times at ours, as a matter of fact, and I personally can feel it by the time the third set comes around although I do wish it were a bit longer sometimes, which is why on some machines I just stay on it instead of moving to the aerobics station... my heartrate hits the required bpm so I don't worry about that too much.)

Re: Just some idle thoughts....

It's designed for people who don't like/don't really *want* to exercise or strength train but do want some of the results.

kelticviking opines that the above sentence translates to "they want it to be easy". While I don't know if I'd go that far, I will say that I would think that circuit training on the same machines for the same times would eventually lead you to plateau...since hydraulic machines do have a limited range, no matter how you slice it.

I also agree that exercise can be grindingly dull--which is why I'm grateful to kelticviking for acting as a personal trainer and companion. (FYI, yes, it was a hundred pounds on the benchpress, but I could only manage seven reps in each set.) When he's not there, I get a stationary bicycle and read while I rack up a few miles.

I'll also point out that you have, by your own admission, modified the routine...making me wonder how straitly the one-size garment of Curves is cut.

Re: Just some idle thoughts....

kelticviking opines that the above sentence translates to "they want it to be easy".


Well, yeah.

The strength training isn't intended to create body builders (which is not to imply that's what all people who do it are going for). It's intended to help speed metabolism and keep the metabolism going once someone has reached their goal weight.

I won't make claims about all franchises for obvious reasons -- I've never been to other Curves -- but it's not unusual for people who have specific areas that they need work on (abs being one of the most popular to double up on). Last summer there was this one woman who did the circuit six times at a stretch -- her gym had folded and she was used to a more strenuous aerobic workout. Which was occasionally confusing, because you'd come in after her and leave before her.

But Curves (at least ours) doesn't pretend to be one size fits all -- and our manager allows us to do what fits us best.

Anyway, go you! I still say 100lbs sounds painful, but it's awesome you've gotten so far. Congrats! *happy smile*

Re: Just some idle thoughts....

So far? That was my second round of chest-and-arms focus. *grins* Yes, I'm in pain today.

If it works for you, kudos.

Re: Just some idle thoughts....

Oops. Missed a part:

Hydraulic machines leading to a plateau -- that's probably true. Then again, the point of the strength training isn't to see how strong you get, per se, it's to build and protect muscle for the purpose of increasing base metabolism. I suppose you'd call the strength training itself a tool, rather than a goal.