I’m bad when I go on vacation. Depending on where I go and what they have to eat and drink, I can gain 8-10 pounds pretty handily while I am relaxing. Hand in hand with the food and drink is that, in spite of my best intentions, I rarely exercise regularly while on vacation.

My wife has the same problem although not to the extent I do. She usually gains a little. The problem starts when we get home. I immediately jump back into my regular exercise routine as does my wife. My weight returns to normal in about a week or so. Even though she has less to lose to get back to normal, I almost always get there first and she makes comments about me. Not very encouraging comments……..

The truth is that everything being equal, people simply don’t lose weight the same. A study done in the UK showed that, given the same exercise regimen and the same caloric intake, individuals were just that, individuals. It’s really not my fault for losing weight like I do.

In this study it mentioned people who tend to make up for their exercise by eating more. Kind of balancing out your life. They called them compensators. I am, to some extent, a compensator. I run just about every day for three miles or so. That compensates for my desk job. Then I compensate for my exercise by eating snacks (I love chips and pretzels and stuff like that). If running has been going well, I’m prone to eating a bit of ice cream in the evening also.

Back when I was in my 20’s and 30’s I would run 6-10 miles per day at a much faster pace than my dawdle of today. I really never thought much about diet back then, but looking back I suspect I was doing a bit of compensating when I was downing 4-6 candy bars and a half a gallon of ice cream daily. I always wondered why all the other runners I saw were really skinny. I was in good shape, but I suspect, given a few less calories, I could have been one of them.

The point really being that people trying to lose weight shouldn’t use someone else as a barometer of their success. The truth is that if you exercise consistently and get a handle on the whole compensation thing, you will lose weight and you will do it at the pace that your body will allow.

Bottom line. From a life insurance perspective, obesity is an increasingly scrutinized health issue. Considering the collateral health issues that can come with uncontrolled weight, whether it is for your life or for your life insurance rates, a healthy weight should always be held out there as a goal.