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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Don't get fat

Articles about people who've lost large amounts of weight are a staple on the internet, and I often find myself clicking on them out of curiosity. It's not that I want to see how different their bodies look, since that's a given. I'm more interested to see how different their faces look afterward.

Sometimes their faces don't change that much, but sometimes they look like completely different people. A couple of days ago I stumbled across this article, which featured two people, one of whom, Austin Shifflett, was unrecognizable after his weight loss:

At first I thought they'd made a mistake; the guy on the right seems to have a different nose and mouth, and darker eyebrows. But then I Google-Imaged Austin Shifflet and came across this triptych, which made it apparent it hadn't been a mistake:

In both sets of pictures, he looks like a different person on the right. I was also struck by the fact that Shifflett somehow looks a little gay after the weight loss, but that may be partially the effect of his Zoolander-style pose in those shots.

In any case, Austin was one of the lucky ones: he looked good afterwards, as opposed to looking like a formerly fatty with saggy skin. The fact that he'd lost the weight while still young undoubtedly helped.

I've said this before, but I think at least 75% of women would be attractive if they were exactly the right weight. Bone structure is a wonderful thing, always better apparent than not. The problem is, very few women -- or men -- hit the appropriate target.

There have certainly been plenty of instances of people going in the other direction. Roberto Duran, the great boxer, went from looking like this --

-- to this:

Granted, we all get old, and granted, our metabolisms slow down as we age. But it seems sort of a shame with Duran; he had a sort of feral beauty when young, and now he's almost unrecognizable.

Duran was famous for his toughness and untamed ferocity in the ring. One of my favorite Duran stories happened after he beat Davey Moore for the junior middleweight title in 1983 in a bruising, bloody battle of attrition. After the fight, instead of taking a shower and changing -- the way a civilized human would -- he simply threw his clothes on over his boxing trunks and went out into the night to celebrate with his friends.

That tends not to be the type of guy who spends the latter half of his life obsessively counting calories. And, it might only diminish Duran's legend if he had.

Still, it seems unfortunate, as it always does when someone loses his or her looks. Better to go in Austin's direction.


Lady Bug said...

It's sad about Duran, but I can understand why he got fat. Boxers have to have monastic discipline. He just decided, "what the hell?" and ate to his heart's content, when he left the ring. You are right about his beauty; he looked like Nureyev.

Speaking of dancers, I saw a once famous ballerina on the street a year ago; she wasn't obese by any means but she was about 30 pounds overweight. Not 30 pounds more than her dancing weight. 30 pounds overweight. I wonder what it must be like to once have been beyond good shape, and now you are tubby.

I agree w/you about Austin. I'm fascinated by how a person's looks can change so radically when there is weight loss.

Steven said...

Duran was Tyson's favourite boxer because he was a street guy who was unashamed of being himself and Tyson related to him. Duran was also Ricky Hatton's hero.

Steven said...

I think Austin has a look of young Tom Cruise on the second down on the left. He's handsome.

John Craig said...

Lady Bug --
I'd never thought of it that way before, but at 135, before his nose got flattened, and when he still had protruding cheekbones, there was a slight resemblance to Nureyev.

Yes, it's always shocking when a formerly fit woman lets herself go. When that happens it often seems to mean there's a drinking problem there, but sometimes, they just don't care.

Yes, I'm also always fascinated to see how much a person's face changes with weight gain or loss.

Samuel Nock said...

"at least 75% of women would be attractive if they were exactly the right weight"

This goes a long way towards explaining "Yellow fever" and guys going overseas to Asia searching for love. In places like China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand etc. the sheer fact that most women are not overweight goes a long way towards explaining why western guys find them attractive. A "plain Jane" at a normal weight is simply more attractive than a "beautiful girl" struggling to get out of a fat person's body.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I have to admit, back in the 70's and early 80's, Duran was one of my heroes, too.

I see the resemblance to Cruise, but frankly, I don't see either either Shiflett or Cruise as handsome. To me, for a guy to be really good-looking, he has to look a little tough -- like Duran. It's the difference between a Sean Connery and a Roger Moore -- one looked tough, the other didn't. Moore's features were perfectly even and nice, but to me, he had all the appeal of a clothing store mannequin.

John Craig said...

Samuel Nock --
You're right. You don't see many fat women in Asia. And a "beautiful girl struggling to get out of a fat person's body" makes you think "what a shame," but doesn't spark lust, at least not for me.

Don't know how long you've been reading this blog, but "yellow fever" is what explains my existence.

Samuel Nock said...

Diet also matters because of things like acne. You see quite a few girls of healthy weight who are not attractive because they give off other indications of unhealth: acne, simple weakness and lack of vigor, etc. this is to say nothing of tattoos and piercings, which in my view, invariably detract from a girl's attractiveness.

John Craig said...

Samuel --
Yes, good point. I've seen girls who would otherwise be quite attractive rendered not so by bad acne. And I couldn't agree more about tattoos and piercings.

BTW, are you the brother of someone who posts here under another name?

Samuel Nock said...

Yeah, twin brother actually. He won't be commenting here anymore; only me.

John Craig said...

Samuel --
He won't?? Why not? He was one of my best commenters...Or is that code for some kind of identity switch?

Samuel Nock said...

Identity switch. Same brilliant mind; new name. :)

John Craig said...

Samuel --
Aha, glad to hear it. Would hate to think I had lost your "twin."

Anonymous said...

I google imaged (because of his last name) Austin Shifflett and learned that the guy is from Virginia. I learned years ago that there are branches of Shiffletts (possibly descending from the same clan, who knows) in Virginia, seemingly a common last name in central Virginia. Yes, the young man looks like he's gay post weight loss.

- Virginian by marriage

Lady Bug, Former & Future Panther said...

What I meant about Duran looking like Nureyev was the feral, savage grace. Like an animal. Not feature for feature.

The ballerina, before:


I wouldn't say she let herself go. She was just sick & tired of the relentless dieting & exercise it takes to be a dancers so she rebounded. A lot of boxers do the same.

I have always had to watch it, as they say. Never been really fat but I've gained & lost a 20 pound window - luckily it never affected my face. But waddling around with a roll of fat around the waist really sucks. The only way I've ever lost weight was by blasting my body with radically less caloric intake, screw this moderation shit. I cannot eat just a little less for week after week.

I lost 20 pounds by essentially fasting 3 days (maybe 800 cals per day), then eating moderately for 4. It was hell, but I lost the weight over a 3 month period. In the last 2 years I had some health issues & gained back about 8 pounds and want badly to lose this but I don't have the willpower now.

This experience taught me a lot, though. I disagree with the low-carb craze. I don't think Americans are fat because of carbs. The Chinese & Japanese eat carbs and are not fat. We just eat like pigs, 24/7. We are goddamn gluttons. When I revolutionized my eating habits, even for that 3 month period, I realized how much we eat, and how little we need. I would go for 3 days on those 800 calories and I was not really hungry. I just WANTED to eat, because I was programmed to, bored, whatever. But not really hungry. I had ample fat stores for my body to feed on, and it did. When I lost that 20 pounds I felt like a goddamn panther.

I ordered a dumbbell set from Walmart for the new year, as I can't get to a gym, too busy. I hope this will kickstart my motivation. Wish me luck, John.

Lady Bug, Former & Future Panther said...

Maybe I'm just wishfully thinking but I don't think the boy is gay. I think that's a look that's popular among the kids these days. Kids. What'll they think up next?

John Craig said...

Lady Bug, Former and Future Panther --
Aha, yes, both Duran and Nureyev had a certain untamed quality that was appealing.

I hadn't realized you were talking about Cynthia Gregory, she's quite famous. Or at least I figure she must be, since I don't follow ballet but still know the name. I guess both dancers and boxers have to starve themselves down to perfection, it's why they look good when they're still active.

Crash diets work but their effects tend not to last. I'm actually a believer in the high fat/low carb diet. both are similar to but not quite the same as the paleo diet, which I'm also a believer in. If you can eat enough to get full (and eating fat makes you feel full), dieting won't be hell, and you can stick with it for a longer period. I've never dieted, have never had a problem with weight (not that I'm happy to be a 5' 11", 160 pound wimp). On the other hand I've always been an exercise fanatic.

I didn't say Shifflett WAS gay, merely that he sorta looked it with that Zoolander-esque pose. But now that you mention it, that is sort of the Justin Bieber look.

Good luck with you new regimen; you can send me the before and after photos once you're a panther again.

Lady Bug, Former and Future Panther said...

I didn't realize Cynthia Gregory was famous outside the ballet world. I do follow it, and it's very much a niche market, so it's hard to tell.

Most ballerinas do have to diet more or less, accent on the more or less. There are a few who don't need to diet. One of them, Ashley Bouder, is a very slim but healthy young woman with magnificent muscle tone, who is now pregnant. She is famous for eating whatever she wants. At 2 months, she danced a Swan Lake. At 4 months, she danced in the Nutcracker. Some people are just lucky. Then there really are the eating disordered types. Some people are just unlucky.

I'm not criticizing your regimen - keep it, it works for you. Low carb drove me crazy. I can't eat that way. And I flat out disagree with the low carb fanatics who say that calories don't count. They do - in the macro sense. If you eat more calories (energy) than your body requires the excess will be stored as fat.

There are numerous studies that prove that crash dieting doesn't work. There are other studies that prove they do. It depends on the person. I learned how to adapt to a lower caloric level during the 3 days of semi-fasting. There is also evidence that semi-fasts improve blood sugar levels.

Man, you are touchy sometimes. I didn't say you said he looked gay. Sheesh. Calm down.

John Craig said...

Lady Bug --
Just looked up boulder, yes, she does look like a real athlete -- which is essentially what the top dancers are. When I think of ballerinas, I do think of eating disorders.

I actually don't follow that regimen myself, have never watched what I eat, but have noticed that it does seem to work for others. And I'm with you on that other issue, calories do count. I've heard that 90% of people who lose weight through crash diets gain it back, not sure whether that's true.

Sorry, I think the all caps "WAS" made me sound more touchy than I was. (Trust me, I'm not.) This comment format doesn't allow for the slightly less emphatic italics, so I went for the caps. Made me sound as if I was yelling, I guess.

europeasant said...

Ah yes Duran. To me he will always be famous for the line "No Mas No mas" during his fight with Leonard. GOOGLE " No Mas No Mas ".
I think he escaped from his trainers the night before the fight and gorged on Mexican food with resultant stomach problems. My guess, he had a oncoming bowel movement during the fight and did not want to be embarrassed on stage. Maybe he could have worn a astronaut diaper and continued the fight. No I did not check with SNOPES!
Some people need to be kept on a short leash. Unleashed they will cause damage and destruction to themselves and others.
Life needs a certain level of self discipline.

John Craig said...

Europeasant --
C'mon, Duran was more than his "No mas" moment. That was unquestionably a blot on his career, but before that, he was an incredible lightweight, maybe the greatest of all time, and later he went on to win the 154 pound crown and even held his own against Marvin Hagler, a great middleweight champ, at 160.

I'd never heard the bowel movement theory before, but you could well be right. And, yes, as great as Duran was, he was never known for his discipline in between fights. he basically at his way out of the lightweight, then welterweight, then even middleweight divisions.

Lady Bug, Former and Future Panther said...

I just looked at that pic of the old Duran again and I'm LOLing. Why do boxers, no matter how old and fat, ALWAYS* pose with their hands in fists? Do they think they are conjuring up the image of the fearsome warrior they once were? In his current corpulent (and satisfied, judging from the smile) state, he looks as threatening as a 180 pound baby. Babies always have their tiny hands curled up in fists.

Same deal with guys who ask "the champ" to pose for a photo. The champ obliges, and the guy who makes the champ pose always makes a fist and puts it up next to the champ's face, as if he had any kind of a chance against the champ. In reality, it would be one punch and lights out.

I read that when Stallone was training for the first Rocky, he sparred with a real boxer, who hit him in the ribs. Stallone said he couldn't breathe for several days afterwards.

*meant emphatically, not angrily

John Craig said...

Lady Bug --
Ha, true enough. I can see why you feel that way about that silly pose, I think it's one of those things that's become sort of a jokey custom and nobody really gives it much thought. It's not as if any of those fans thinks they would have had a chance against the champ. And with the ex-champs themselves, it's sort of what's expected of them, so they oblige.

Sylvester Stallone, back when he was making Rocky (the first one), actually said that he thought he could go 10 rounds with a ranking heavyweight, which I thought was one of the most self-deluding statements of all time especially given that Stallone had zero real boxing experience and stood about 5'8" and weighed maybe 175, and most heavyweights are around 6' 2" and 220. After making the movie, he had a chance to spar with Roberto Duran, then the reigning 135 pound champ. Duran took him apart. At least Stallone had the grace afterwards to say that it was like being lowered headfirst into a Cuisinart.

Never been much of a Stallone fan, but you have to give him credit for an incredible career. And he's way smarter than he sounds, that dumb-sounding voice is a function of the fact that his mouth is partially paralyzed.

Lady Bug, Former and Future Panther said...

I like Stallone, sort of. I loved the first Rocky (with no suffixes) and I liked him in F.I.S.T. After that he really went Hollywood. Of course he's a bright man, but like so many in Hollywood, kind of a weirdo. It's probably best not to look too deeply into the background of a Hollywood star.

I hate New Years's. It's a really suck holiday, IMO. I have memories of being young, stupid, and being an asshole in public places. There's a bunch of assholes like I used to be, lol, screaming, and a helicopter overhead right now.

So what, a new year comes. It's no different from any other day. And good riddance to last year, it sucked, although next year I believe will be wrenching and probably worse.

Anyway, Happy New Year. The diet starts today. Panther, here I come.

Rifleman said...

I wouldn't say she let herself go. She was just sick & tired of the relentless dieting & exercise it takes to be a dancers so she rebounded.

Lady Bug, please. Cynthia Gregory in the after pick is 64!!!!! years old.

She looks pretty good for 64. Plus, as long as she's mobile and not arthritic after the insane abuse of elite ballet that's enough.

Duran was wild and self indulgent. He was going to be fat or dead by now. He went with fat.

John Craig said...

Lady Bug --
Yeah, I've read some pretty weird stuff about Stallone too.

I actually feel that way about all holidays, just do my best to ignore them. Bah, humbug. I fell asleep at 8:30 last night (after not having been able to sleep the night before).

Happy New Year to you too.

John Craig said...

Rifleman --
I hadn't realized Gregory was 64 in the after photo; yes, she does look pretty good considering. And yes, former ballerinas are like former football players, most of them gimping around nursing some sort of injury. There's a former ballerina exactly my age who swims at the local pool, she's already had both hips and one shoulder replaced, and she walks like an old lady.

Lady Bug, Former and Future Panther said...

My fucking neighbors (in the next building) were partying until 3 a.m. I tried to ignore them but I have very sensitive hearing. I pounded on the wall w/a hammer then actually got up went downstairs & rang their fucking doorbell. When I got home it was quiet, but it disrupted my sleep patterns. Bastards.

I'm fine now. Onwards and upwards. My NY's rez: move on. Never complain, never explain. It worked for JD Rockefeller.

My other NY's rez is not to get riled by comments by people who have obviously not read what I wrote. I wrote consistently that Gregory has not "let herself go," did you read me, amirite?

I just pointed out, factually, that she has gained at least 30 pounds. Again: for the hard of reading, I defended this, peace out, HNY.

That said, I saw her dance when I was a wee lass, and to see her once magnificent body thickened is a little saddening. She had a superb figure, just perfect, she wasn't one of those bag of bones ballerinas. She was even criticized for looking "matronly," by some insane ballet mother. She wasn't. She was the greatest.

Another ballerina babe is Sara Mearns. I'd provide a picture but I don't want John to get into copyright problems.

John Craig said...

Lady Bug --
When I first started blogging, I used to worry about using photographs, but then I talked to a couple people and found that it's common practice, and unless you're making money off the photograph people won't pursue you. I make no money from this blog, so…..

Anonymous said...

My younger son spent yesterday having surgery to repair a congenital hernia. Now, he's home recovering, taking his pain meds. Happy New Year to John and his commenters.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
Happy New Year to you, speedy recovery to your son.

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand the weight thing -- I recognize that some of it (a lot?) is genetic so I shouldn't judge too harshly, but it really boggles my mind how people, especially young people with fast metabolisms, get fat. How does this happen? We're not talking an occasional over indulgence. It must be a regular forced-feeding to pack on that kind of poundage.

I was once told by a doctor that obesity has its roots in psychology meaning that some people (like myself) hate to feel full. We get nauseated and cranky and will stop as soon as we are sated, even if that means leaving food behind. Others either enjoy satiety, even feeling stuffed, or have learned to enjoy it through regular programming by parents -- "Clean your plate."

I have a friend who is attractive and would be strikingly beautiful if she lost some weight. Her coloring and bone structure, even in her forties, is amazing. But she doesn't. She eats sugar cereal for dinner. She drives by me and my dog on long walks as she heads to her Weight Watchers meetings to discuss "points." She's married, with kids, so maybe she doesn't care about being physically attractive any more. But the worst part is that how she is raising her lovely daughter -- frozen waffles and pancakes for dinner, processed crap all day every day, candy and Oreos and chips on demand.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
Yes, I've heard that weight is primarily a function of the number of fat cells we have, and that while we can starve those, we can't change their number, except through liposuction, so maybe we shouldn't be so judgmental.

I'd never considered that angle before -- that some hate feeling full, while others like it, but that could well be key too.

Anyway, I completely agree with your basic message, which is -- if I may paraphrase -- our bodies are all we have, so why not take care of them? I see women like your friend and think the same thing, they'd be beautiful if they'd only lose the weight. Sometimes I'm almost tempted to say that to them (don't worry, I don't). But even if the ones who don't have perfect bone structure, they'd still be attractive if they were lean; I meant what I said with that 75% figure. But, as it is, it's a much smaller percentage who make that cut.

Anonymous said...

My son (who had surgery to repair a hernia) told me yesterday that he likes the pain medicine that he's taking for pain - he enjoys how it makes him feel, no pain and feeling kind of whoozie. I told him that that's why some people become addicted to narcotics, the side effects. He laughed. The kid is doing well, recovering nicely.


John Craig said...

Birdie --
Glad to hear the operation went well. I remember really enjoying the high from morphine after I had my shoulder operated on in '94.

Jonathan shifflett said...

I am Austins older brother and I can say with confidence that he is 100 percent straight. It's sad that we live in a generation where people are belittled and judged by their hair style or the clothes they wear. I suggest everyone commenting on here saying negative thoughts about my brother take a long look in the mirror. Maybe someone out there thinks you look "gay". Maybe someone out there has a problem with your physical features. When someone feels the need to talk about someone else's accomplishments it just shows that they are truly unsatisfied with themselves. I love my brother and I am very proud of him. Find something better to do with your lives than sit around and talk about someone who has fought long and hard to achieve their ultimate goal.

John Craig said...

Jonathan --
You're taking this entirely the wrong way. The whole point of the post was to marvel at how different he looks in all of those shots, to the point of looking like different people. And who, by the way, is saying that being gay is bad? No one here has said that, and if you look around this blog, you'll see I've been in support of gay marriage since before that concept was popular. (Are you saying there's something wrong with it?) I HAVE been mistaken for gay, by the way, and it doesn't bother me.

Nobody has a problem with his physical features, either; it's just amazing how different they are, from before to after.

Also, no one is suggesting that it didn't take a lot of will power to lose all that weight. And no one is thinking "negative" thoughts about him. As a matter of fact, if you take a look at the other post on this blog about him, you'll see that a couple of people, including me, wished him well.

Anonymous said...

The young man's accomplishment has inspired me to make positive changes for myself in the New Year, exercising regularly and making changes to my diet. Learning about Austin has had a positive effect on me, as a reader.