General chatter - Speech on dietay myths




View Full Version : Speech on dietay myths


JohnP
05-19-2011, 10:35 PM
I wasn't sure where to put this but I figured it might help out some new folks so I put it here. If you're a mod and this is in the wrong spot I don't need to tell you what to do! :D

This was a 5-7 minute speed. I've tried to add emphasis here and there to demonstrate delivery.

Exercise is critical to losing weight. <dramatic pause> Or is it? When I first decided to lose weight I imagined myself doing a lot of running.

I HATE running.

Google led me to a lot of different ideas on exercise, diet, and weight loss. THE exercise you must do! Lose weight effortlessly with only 5 minutes a day of this secret exercise! Find out which three foods that will shred belly fat! All these sites had one thing in common. They all wanted my credit card number. I decided to pass.

The problem with Google and the internet? It's confusing! How do we know the information we're getting is accurate. I find it fascinating in large part because nearly everything I learned in the first couple of months was wrong.

In case you think I'm making this whole weight loss thing up I've got a picture to pass around. It's my driver's license. I don't have a better picture because for some strange reason there are few pictures of me from that time period.... It's close to when I was my heaviest. What you can't see in that picture is my nearly 50 inch waist. Also, I lied about my weight. It says 270 but really I was 300 lbs. Hey, it happens. :D

Fellow toastmasters, honored guests, tonight I will be discussing several myths about weight loss and hopefully simplifying what can be a complex topic. Looking back there are three myths that stand out to me and are repeated on hundreds if not thousands of websites today. Exercise and your metabolism, meal frequency, and that specific types of foods matter.

Before I started my weight loss journey I assumed I would have to exercise a lot to lose weight. This idea was reinforced by my early searches of the internet and confirmed by the first book I read on the topic. The New Rules Of Lifting. It discussed how I could engage my “flux capacitor” and put my body into “metabolic overdrive”. After a month of following their exercise program I was in much better shape but had not lost a single pound.

The myth is that exercise speeds up your metabolism and burns a lot of calories. The reality is that exercise is good for your health for a variety of reasons but does nothing to your metabolism. A variety of studies demonstrate this but my personal favorite is study where men and women did cardio for an hour six days a week. After a year the men on average had lost 4 lbs while the women had lost 3. That's after an hour a day, almost every day, for a year!!

I myself exercise only 2-3 times a week because what I learned is that for weight loss diet trumps the exercise you do. Sure you can jump on a treadmill for 45 minutes and burn 450 calories but you can wipe that out in a few minutes by simply consuming a bagel with cream cheese. Dietary habits are the foundation weight loss but there is a lot of misleading information there as well.

In regards to diet one of the first things I read repeatedly on the internet was eating 5-6 times a day or every 2-3 hours was critical to keeping your metabolic fire stoked. What a pain! I wasn't allowed to eat in my office, and as the manager I needed to be present whenever there was a customer in the dealership which was almost always. Yet I needed to eat every 2-3 hours?? This was stressful! You know what I found out? It doesn't matter. At all! In a comprehensive review of the existing research nutritional scientists from France concluded that there is “...no difference between nibbling and gorging.” ** This study was done in 1997 and yet the myth persists. today Sure makes things easier to not have to worry about planning and eating all those meals. So what about the content of your meals?

Figuring out what to eat was the most confusing aspect of weight loss. It seems every web site has a different list of foods one should consume to lose weight. From the exotic acci berries to the humble peanut. Eat this, not that. The zone diet, Ornish, South Beach, Atkins, Paleo and more! It goes on and on and on.... Talk about over whelming....

I got very lucky. I saw some before and after pictures of a middle aged software programmer which were difficult to believe. They led me to Lyle McDonald and Alan Aragon. They are people in the field with one agenda; educating people on science based principles. What I found is that calories matter, not the specific foods or diet that one follows. So simple and obvious yet not common knowledge for most people.

Perhaps the best demonstration of this fact was done by Mark Haub a nutritional professor at the university of Kansas who went on the Twinkie diet. Over the course of two months he lost 27 lbs by consuming primarily Twinkies, nutty bars, and powdered donuts. Although he doesn't recommended this diet he demonstrated quite profoundly that by controlling calories his weight went down and all of his health markers improved dispute consuming mostly junk food. In the end, calories are what dictate fat loss, not the specific diet one follows.

The diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry that thrives on confusion and our desire for things to be fast and easy. Unfortunately there is no magic pill, no silver bullet, and no fairy dust. Fat loss or fat gain is a very simple topic but the truth doesn't sell many books or supplements. Please note: I said it was simple, not easy.

The truth? Calories dictate fat loss or gain. The best diet is the one that you can live with and follow, and exercise doesn't have to become your life's passion to be effective. So next time, if you're going to use Google to research weight loss, use it to look up Lyle Mcdonald.

Mr Toastmaster


krampus
05-19-2011, 10:52 PM
Preach it brother.

You don't want to do the "1200 calories of junk food" route though, sugar poops are no fun at all.

luckymommy
05-20-2011, 12:32 AM
Very good info! Thanks for posting. I always enjoy your insightful posts here at 3fatchicks. :)


Lovely
05-20-2011, 12:38 AM
The diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry that thrives on confusion and our desire for things to be fast and easy. Unfortunately there is no magic pill, no silver bullet, and no fairy dust. Fat loss or fat gain is a very simple topic but the truth doesn't sell many books or supplements. Please note: I said it was simple, not easy.

The truth? Calories dictate fat loss or gain. The best diet is the one that you can live with and follow, and exercise doesn't have to become your life's passion to be effective.

Hear hear! And three cheers!

Thanks for posting =) I'm a huge fan of actual science! ;)

Sunshine87
05-20-2011, 12:50 AM
This is a very educational post that I feel is quite accurate and I appreciate you posting it because there are so many misconceptions. I eat Lean Cuisines and get slightly annoyed when people act like you cannot lose weight while eating them because they are not the picturesque of healthy food (sodium, preservatives, etc). It sure as heck beats eating what I was ingesting before!

I also like the part about the diet being the cornerstone of weight-loss however, there is something that needs added to this. I do think that YOU HAVE TO GET CONTROL OF YOUR DIET! No doubt. You can always eat more than you can exercise. And you will run out of steam if you are exercising hours in a day and not losing much. I would have to disagree in that you can lose weight with exercising (I burn about 1400 calories at the gym and eat 1600 per day) but the diet has to come first (diet=horse, exercise=buggy).
Thank you for sharing your info!

indiblue
05-20-2011, 03:11 AM
Totally agree. Can I go on a tangent a bit and add a comment on the important difference between EXERCISE and ACTIVITY LEVEL? Exercise is great for so many things, but as studies continue to show, sitting all day (like I do!) and then exercising for 1 hour at the gym, regardless of how hard it is, does not undo what sitting all day does to your metabolism and all sorts of other things. This is why so many people don't understand why a 30 minute cardio session 5x a week doesn't do anything for their weight loss. That's because it's a high degree of exercise but not a high activity level.

I'm one of those who does sit in front of my computer all day and then works out for an hour most days a week. But I'm not fooled into believing this earns me a slice of cake after dinner. If I was on my feet all day, a kindergarten teacher, a nurse, a construction worker, THAT is what keeps the metabolism high and the calories burned.

I don't know how to fix this- stand in front of the computer or embrace the treadmill workstation, I don't know. But as someone who lives in a developing country where most people ARE still on their feet all day, I see the difference in makes in energy level, metabolism, and numerous other health indicators that we Americans are slowly losing in.

I realize your post was more about debunking diet myths, but this issue is an important cousin of peoples' misconceptions about exercise and the role it plays in weight loss. Reduced activity level, regardless of increased exercise levels, is one of the major contributors to the Western world's battle with obesity and 'diseases of the western diet' (cardio disease, high bp, diabetes). It's something most people don't understand and something that should be highlighted more the more and more sedentary we become.

Off soap box :D

JohnP
05-20-2011, 03:59 AM
Indiblu you're absolutely correct. Bear in mind this was only a 5-7 minute speech I didn't have time to solve the entire obesity problem. I'll save that for my 6-8 minute speech. :D

Blondie160
05-20-2011, 04:55 AM
Love this post, and indiblue you are soo right! I have been out of exercise for a couple weeks due to a chest infection and i have lost more weight then when i did a diet with cardio almost everyday because truth is, the cardio makes me the hunger monster!!

aggie2006
05-20-2011, 06:12 AM
as a medical intern, i will say a cardiologist will tell you to get your heart pumping, everyday, atleast once a day, even if for 5 min for a healthy heart. so aside from weightloss, exercise of some form, is crutial to a healthy body.
the benefits of healthy eating, are also numerous.

from personal experience, when you do reach goal, a body that has been conditioned looks a ton better than one that lost weight on strictly calorie deficit. additionally, especially with aging, exercise can really benefit bones

im guessing you're just stating the facts? and not eliminating the benefits of eating healthy and exercising?

indiblue
05-20-2011, 07:19 AM
John, haha no criticism from my side on not including that issue- just wanted to contribute to/expand on/get on a soapbox about something tangentially related. Glad you started the conversation and got the ball rolling!

4star
05-20-2011, 08:39 AM
I agree with you. Aside from diabetes or some other medical condition, there isn't a medical need to eat 6 times a day or watch your meal composition to the letter to lose weight although certain plans can work better for your body than others and aid you in your loss.

When people say they can't lose weight, it's not uncommon for a Doc to hand you a 1200 calorie diet and tell you to do it for X amount of time. A reasonably active person not losing weight on 1200 calories a day would raise some red flags and they'd begin to look at your medications and possible medical conditions. Under normal circumstances for healthy people, calories are going to be the ticket to weight loss, no matter the plan.

zoodoo613
05-20-2011, 09:34 AM
Very good! I completely agree with all of your points.

I think because there's a link between obesity and declining health, and between health and a sedentary lifestyle filled with processed foods and saturated fats, people think if you fix the one problem (the crappy diet and not moving), you'll fix the other (obesity). But it just doesn't work that way. Yes, you'll be healthier for making those changes, but you won't necessarily be thinner, at least not any time soon.

It's a logic that makes sense, because it is likely that those bad habits did contribute to weight gain. But they're not exclusively responsible. It's because we eat TOO MUCH of that stuff. We all know some one who can supposedly "eat whatever they want and not gain an ounce." You know what the difference is between them and those of us hanging around on this board? They don't want to eat as much as we do. So, yeah, they can get away with eating the crap, because they'll stop eating pretty soon.

FitGirlyGirl
05-20-2011, 10:02 AM
I have developed a serious love of exercise. I am in the gym no less than 3 days each week (usually more), I do zumba 3-6 times each week, sometimes for 2 hours at a time. My carport is full of gym equipment and there's even more inside. I lift weights, I dance, I run. I have decided that I want to become a trainer and that maybe one day I'll own a gym. However, I do all of that because I like it and I want to build and condition my muscles (including the heart muscle). I do not do it to lose weight. I avoid krispy kreme to lose weight, lol. I'm also not a you must eat 6 times a day to lose weight person. Is it helpful for some, yes. Do I have the time or inclination, not usually. Some days I eat 6 times, some days I eat 9 times (very tiny amounts), some days I eat most of my food at 1 or 2 meals. I'm still about 70 pounds less me than I was. And I too eat the occasional lean cuisine!

I am a firm believer in the idea that the best diet for you is the one you can stick to also. I am losing weight very slowly. Part of that is because I do allow myself more treats and more "cheat" times than some people do. However, if I tried to be as uber strict on myself as those people are on themselves I would be back to fudge cake for breakfast and 245 pounds in no time. If eating pizza and brownies sometimes keeps me eating grilled chicken and veggies most of the time then dang it, I'm havin some pizza.

Good job John. I hope those listening actually listened and got something from it.

Beach Patrol
05-20-2011, 01:11 PM
Great post John!!! Something I've been meaning to say forever & haven't said it yet. Partially cause giving speeches makes me nervous :rofl:

But I do take issue with something you said:

The diet industry is a multi billion dollar industry that thrives on confusion and our desire for things to be fast and easy. Unfortunately there is no magic pill, no silver bullet, and no fairy dust. Fat loss or fat gain is a very simple topic but the truth doesn't sell many books or supplements. Please note: I said it was simple, not easy.

What do you mean there's NO FAIRY DUST?!?!?!?!
I got some RIGHT HERE!! :dust:
(Ooops! MY BAD! that's "will power dust"... sorry, carry on :D )

Seriously tho, this has been a sore spot for me for years. All the INFO OVERLOAD out there. Do this/don't do that to lose weight. It's carbs! No, it's protein! No, it's exercise! No, it's WHEN you exercise! No, wait, it's sugar! No, it's NOT sugar! No, it's calories! No, it's mini-meals! No, scratch that... it's 3 squares day, no snacks! No ....gotta have snacks, it's ....Blahblahblah... :blah: It's enough to make you completely crazy! :crazy:

Then I saw that article about the dude & his famous Twinkie diet. It made SO.MUCH.SENSE. Scientifically speaking, you must burn more calories than you inhale in order to = weight loss. Oh, why didn't I see it before??? SO I raised that issue here in a post quite a while back, and received all kinds of slack for it. There are people who will SWEAR on their mama's grave (even if their mama ain't dead!!!) that his "experiment" doesn't really prove anything and their hi-protein diet or exercise routine or not eating after 7pm is REALLY what it REALLY takes to lose weight ...it is enough to make you see stars! :stars:

It IS about calories in/calories out. We all use different approaches to that end. Some people do it by low carb, others by low fat, others by eating 6 mini-meals a day, etc. And exercise is GOOD for you! - that will tone & shape your body AS you take in LESS CALORIES to LOSE WEIGHT. Plus, moving just FEELS BETTER than sitting around your tushy all the time! (at least it does for me!) You know, so your muscles don't atrophy and your heart stays strong, and your bones don't get brittle... :)

HOWEVER... the one thing that STILL perplexes me is the whole "you're not eating enough calories!" thing. You know, 1200 calories...and I'm not losing weight ... everybody says "try increasing your intake"... Because your body thinks it's starving & is attempting to hold on to the fat so it won't die... HUH? So I eat 1500 calories, and the weight starts to come off. No sir, I don't get that AT ALL. :?:

JohnP
05-20-2011, 01:13 PM
from personal experience, when you do reach goal, a body that has been conditioned looks a ton better than one that lost weight on strictly calorie deficit. additionally, especially with aging, exercise can really benefit bones

im guessing you're just stating the facts? and not eliminating the benefits of eating healthy and exercising?

I am pro exercise. I say "The reality is that exercise is good for your health for a variety of reasons but does nothing to your metabolism" (I should have said does little to your metabolism because certainly building muscle can slightly increase your BMR and I'll make that change right now.)

The point I was making in my speech is simply that most people think (and I was one of those people) that to lose weight you need to do a lot of exercise and this notion is reinforced by peopole who have books and videos to sell you. P90x, 30 day shred, blah blah blah. I read the book NROL and they have a couple workouts called fat loss and it goes into detail about how these workout routines are going to crush your body fat. Ha! Those workouts are killer workouts for building muscle endurance (and mental endurance) but they also made me sooooo hungry.

Diet trumps exercise by a signifigant amount. Also - given a limited amount of time - I think you're better off doing weight training than cardio for your health. If you have time to do both, great.

joyc21
05-20-2011, 02:31 PM
Very nice speech.....I'm a toastmaster as well.

beerab
05-20-2011, 03:10 PM
I agree that in the end it's diet that's important. My friend has lost the same 8 lbs over and over and while he kills himself at the gym I've lost almost 50 lbs mostly with changing my diet and on average probably exercising 1-2 times a week. I do like exercising and think it's great for your heart but for weight loss it's not the biggest factor IMO.

Emme
05-20-2011, 03:20 PM
Well said! I have decreased my exercise this past month (so I decreased my calories a bit as well) and I've still managed to lose almost 4 pounds in 22 days while not really doing a ton of cardio. I work with a bunch of women who always ask me what I'm doing to lose weight and I tell them it's just calories in versus calories out and (while I enjoy working out) I don't follow a routine schedule. But then they go work out for three hours a day and complain that they aren't losing weight while they are still eating the same things...um, did you hear what I said, ladies?!?!

JohnP
05-20-2011, 03:40 PM
Beach Patrol - I bow down to your masterful use of emoticons.:high: (How did you do that will power dust thingie?)

If I had time for a fourth myth it would have been "starvation mode" because frankly the body can only slow the metabolism down so much.

Weight loss is often confused with fat loss - if one lowers calories too much especially if you're exercising a lot - can result in a lot of water being retained. Thus - increasing calories a bit can woosh the water and people draw their own faulty conclusions about what just happened.

If I were to give a longer speech on weight loss tips I would talk about diet breaks. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/the-full-diet-break.html)Very important for most people in my opinion. Some people can put their nose down and just grind it all out but most people (like me) just don't have that kind of will power.

Beach Patrol
05-20-2011, 04:21 PM
Beach Patrol - I bow down to your masterful use of emoticons.:high: (How did you do that will power dust thingie?).

Heh, I love it when people bow to me :D

The "will power dust" is one of many in the emoticon smilies list. It's near the bottom, before you get into the "birthday" emoticons, etc.

"kickbutt" is my favorite: :kickbutt:

And thanks for the answer to my questful question. :dizzy:

Gigi33
05-24-2011, 11:19 AM
I replied to a poaster on line on MSNBC awhile back regarding this same issue. He said he could eat whatever he wanted and never gained weight because he exercised. I said to him that weight loss was more of an 80/10/10approach (nuturition/exercise/genetics). My one proof? How many heavy people do you see on the stairmater, treadmill, elliptical who pound at it for 60 minutes, 5X a week, but never lose a pound?

Chubbykins
05-24-2011, 04:41 PM
I agree that calorie intake is the most important part of a diet, not the type of food you eat, but let us not forget that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can bring us to an early grave too as well as cause us various trouble on the way there.
As in most things Ballance is the key. Excersize, healthy food and calorie control all together can be a magic combination and in my humble opinion the best one.
I know heavier people actually have to do very little to lose a lot in the beginning, but to stay lean for a long healthy life demands more than just eating 2000 calories of junk every day.

dragonlady1978
05-24-2011, 05:56 PM
I don't think he is saying exercise is unnecessary. He is saying that it is unnecessary for weight loss.

I should exercise to keep my heart healthy or for stamina/endurance, but it has been proven time and again that resistance training is the most effective addition to a diet plan for the purpose of raising metabolism and ensuring that weight loss comes from fat instead of muscle, but even that has a minimal effect compared to the importance of diet for weight loss, and that is another subject anyway.

However, I have to wonder at what point movement of some kind becomes a factor. When does movement become "exercise"? If I am lying on the couch all day with an injury for months or years, that will certainly effect my metabolism-not because I am missing out on my cardio, but because I am just moving less. And that would certainly effect weight loss.

chickadee32
05-25-2011, 03:02 AM
Great post, John. I agree completely. I exercise moderately (5-6 times per week, a mix of cardio and strength training) and while the exercise has improved my mood, energy, overall health, and the way I look and feel, I firmly believe that strict adherence to my calorie limit is responsible for my success with weight loss. It's interesting... I hear many of the myths you mentioned regularly from co-workers and a few friends. Now that they know I'm working to lose weight (it's obvious now that I've lost enough to make a visual difference), they're full of such advice as they're all smaller than I am. At this point, I've given up on trying to convince them that it doesn't matter what time of day I eat, how many times per day I eat, what time of day I exercise, whether I run or just walk, etc., as my statements about calories in vs. calories out sound no different than the "facts" they're so sure of. But it doesn't matter what they believe; eventually my weight loss will speak for itself. :)



If I were to give a longer speech on weight loss tips I would talk about diet breaks. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/the-full-diet-break.html)Very important for most people in my opinion. Some people can put their nose down and just grind it all out but most people (like me) just don't have that kind of will power.

Ah, but your thread in the Weight Loss Support forum would indicate that it's about choices, not willpower. :) Which I firmly believe.

For some people, the best weight loss plan may be one that allows them a break when the pressure of consistently eating well, or within a calorie limit, or on a specific plan, builds beyond their tolerance. And that makes complete sense. But for more than a few, I think, the consistency and routine they develop is important for maintaining focus and committment, and a diet break might be detrimental. I agree in general with the article you linked that flexibility in one's diet is beneficial and not being miserable is critical, but I think that many people accomplish that without a "diet break". I'm not miserable at all with my diet, because I allow myself lots of flexibility - I eat meals out once or twice per week, I use pre-prepared foods (even if that's usually just pre-chopped veggies or pre-cooked chicken) to save time, I have ice cream and feel no guilt, and I do it all while staying on plan (read: within my calorie limit). I've created a plan for myself that is comfortable and sustainable, and thus I don't feel any need for a break - though it's always possible I might at some point. In sum though, I think this is one of those (many) things that is different for everyone when it comes to weight loss, rather than a universal (or near-universal) truth, and I think it falls more under the category of "the best diet is the one that you can live with and follow", whether that plan involves breaks or not.

JohnP
05-25-2011, 02:41 PM
In sum though, I think this is one of those (many) things that is different for everyone when it comes to weight loss, rather than a universal (or near-universal) truth, and I think it falls more under the category of "the best diet is the one that you can live with and follow", whether that plan involves breaks or not.

Yes - agreed. COMPLETELY.

Also, while I think you understand it well, I want to point out to others what a break in one's diet means and does't mean. A diet break doesn' t mean you go back to the method of eating that got you fat in the first place, or and end to counting calories, or anything else related to that.

It means brining your calories back to maintience levels to restore hormonal levels and psychologically taking a break from the reduction in calories.

Esofia
05-25-2011, 03:01 PM
Excellent speech. So many people put off dieting because they think there's no point unless they start a gruelling exercise programme at the same time, and they don't want to do that so they don't diet either.

I very much hope that it's possible to lose weight without exercise because I'm at the level of disability where merely having a shower is a challenging form of exercise! I have been feeling better lately, either because of the diet or perhaps the slight change in supplements and meds, and trying to keep up with 2 min a day gentle exercise biking. Yesterday I got uppity and went for a 15 min walk in the sunshine, and today I hurt all over and have to stay in bed, but hopefully in a day or so I'll recover and soon be able to get back to my very cautious exercise regime. I've only been dieting for five or six weeks, and bought the scales a week ago, but I've definitely lost some weight (even with a new belt, I'm having problems with trousers getting too lose) and in the week that I've been measuring, I've lost a pound. Of course, not being able to exercise properly is one of the reasons I put on weight in the first place, but drifting into unsuitable eating habits was a lot of it as well.

Dog Rescue Mama
05-25-2011, 03:40 PM
I love the post! I started weight loss 6 weeks ago but I only started exercise a week ago. There were two factors in that decision. For one I knew that I needed to stick on plan and not fail. I felt that if I tried to do both diet and exercise commitments at the same time I would crumble and fail thus making me want to give up. This is just me knowing me, not a rule for everyone.

The second reason is that to help keep me motivated I wanted to see the biggest number losses the first few weeks when I went through all my cravings and withdraws. Exercising (at least with my body) slows that process for me. I knew that exercise and weight loss are separate functions and serve very different processes in my body.

I wanted to start my exercise for two reasons health and looks. Exercise gives me endurance and tones my body. I want to have nice lines, not just smaller blob lines like I have now. I want a tone tummy not a thin but flabby tummy. The weight loss gets rid of my fat, the exercise makes my body look good. Both very different jobs.

My losses are slower now that I'm exercising but I know muscle weighs more then fat and I'm watching my body shape nicely in front of the mirror so the scale can go blow raspberries at someone else!

eclipse
05-25-2011, 04:04 PM
Yeah, I've lost almost 130 lbs with little to no exercise. I've had serious back issues since right around when I started losing weight, and I have to be very careful with the type and amount of exercise I engage in. I wish I could exercise more (for health and vanity reasons), but I think I'm living proof that you can lose massive amounts of weight (and see a huge improvement in things like cholesterol levels) without exercise. When anyone asks me for weight loss advice (especially people who are obese/morbidly obese), I tell them to focus on the food before worrying about exercise. If they find themselves wanting to exercise, then they should go for it, but to not let lack or ability/motivation to exercise affect what they're doing diet-wise.

Amberelise
05-26-2011, 01:38 PM
I think I have one little nit picky thing on all of this.

You tell us that it's calories in versus calories out. And, it is!!!!!

But, it seems interesting that you consider the effort to consume less calories as a valid mode of weight loss, but you do not consider just burning more as a valid mode of weight loss. I feel like 3FC is starting to take the opinion that exercise just doesn't matter at all for weight loss and only for fitness.

In reality, you can eat the exact amount of calories needed for maintenance every day if you wanted. You could then do cardio for 90 minutes each day. You would lose weight because you are now burning more, leaving you with a calorie deficit.

Or on your plan, you could burn a static amount of calories each day, but lower your caloric intake. You would lose weight.

So, in reality, you could eat a little less and move a little more making less sacrifice on each end. Or, you could sacrifice on both ends (keeping stamina in mind) and move your weight loss along a little faster.

Exercise helps your heart, increases your strength, gives you more energy, lowers your cholesterol, helps you sleep, improves your mood AND HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT. It would be a grave mistake to separate the two like I see SO many people doing these days. You need both. And, both go hand in hand for weight loss.

For all of the psychological reasons as to why people eat more because they work out, many others eat more healthfully because they are working out and don't want to sabotage all of that hard work. I happen to be one of those people.

Think of it this way - I could write a speech that watching your caloric intake is not necessary for weight loss at all!! I could then say, if you ran for four hours a day you would lose weight. And, honestly, we would. We just don't naturally consume enough calories daily. You're right, eventually your body could adapt to that, but I'd stake a lot of things on the fact that it wouldn't adapt to the point where you'd be OVERWEIGHT. If you're running four hours a day you will just not eat enough calories every single day to make you overweight. And the general premise would be assuming you don't start consuming MORE calories. Because your premise assumes you don't go into a vegetative state of complete inactivity with no calorie burning once you start lowering your calories. Right?? Because, what if I wanted to lose 10 lbs. According to your speech I would just eat less calories and create the deficit and hit it. So, I decrease my daily caloric intake from my maintenance level by 100. BUT, let's say I ALSO stopped playing roller hockey every night. Oh.... my bad, I'm gaining weight now! See? Either method (calorie restriction vs. calorie burning) works on its own assuming the other half is static.

I think it's valid to point out you don't need to workout to the point of near death every single day if your only goal is weight loss, just as its a valid point to say you don't need to struggle through each day by eating only 600 calories. But, I think it is a mistake - a big one - to say that only calorie intake is necessary for weight loss. Because someone else could validly argue that ONLY exercise is necessary for weight loss. And, for you maybe the exercise version is just WAY more effort, but for someone with serious food addictions and a love for movement, maybe calorie restriction is WAY more effort.

Like you already agreed, though, people should do what's best for them! I'm just saying they are both equally necessary or unnecessary depending on how you want to play it.

Amberelise
05-26-2011, 02:07 PM
One more thing, slightly related.

Ask yourself WHY you want to lose weight. Nine times out of ten exercise is NECESSARY to that end.

"I want to lose weight to be healthy."

Exercise is necessary.

"I want to lose weight for purely vanity reasons."

Exercise is necessary. (A fit body is WAY sexier than a flabby untoned one.)

For anyone out there on a crusade to lose weight, the exercise is going to go hand in hand with them anyway.

For the record, I think it's a great speech. I simply would have rathered picking on a different diet myth point than one that could be misunderstood or taken as an excuse to not exercise.

goodforme
05-26-2011, 02:18 PM
But, it seems interesting that you consider the effort to consume less calories as a valid mode of weight loss, but you do not consider just burning more as a valid mode of weight loss. I feel like 3FC is starting to take the opinion that exercise just doesn't matter at all for weight loss and only for fitness.

In reality, you can eat the exact amount of calories needed for maintenance every day if you wanted. You could then do cardio for 90 minutes each day. You would lose weight because you are now burning more, leaving you with a calorie deficit.

Or on your plan, you could burn a static amount of calories each day, but lower your caloric intake. You would lose weight.

So, in reality, you could eat a little less and move a little more making less sacrifice on each end. Or, you could sacrifice on both ends (keeping stamina in mind) and move your weight loss along a little faster.

Exercise helps your heart, increases your strength, gives you more energy, lowers your cholesterol, helps you sleep, improves your mood AND HELPS YOU LOSE WEIGHT. It would be a grave mistake to separate the two like I see SO many people doing these days. You need both. And, both go hand in hand for weight loss.

Some of the studies he's researched point out that exercise increases appetite, so sometimes exercise actually causes MORE intake than is planned. And if white-knuckling through hunger can be avoided, I'm all for it.

Amberelise
05-26-2011, 02:26 PM
http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/exandwtloss.html

"Sopko et al. (1985) in a twelve-week study, with obese men, reported that when the negative energy balance created by diet only and exercise only are equal, the two treatments produce similar results"

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-loss/AN01619

" Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity. In contrast, people who lose weight by crash dieting or by drastically reducing their calories to 400 to 800 a day are likely to regain weight quickly, often within six months after they stop dieting."

http://www.gymper.com/featured/exercise-essential-weight-loss/
"The recent study conducted in USA and reported in the American Journal of Physiology shows that fat burning is influenced by exercising directly, without any influence from balances of nutrients or energy. This fact became quite a sensation as it turned out that exercise of any kind, taking by any kind of man or woman, may increase muscle proteins that work as fat transporters. Their activity helps to oxidize fat in the same way L-carnitine does. So regular exercises are definitely one of the best helpers in weight loss."

You can find a study for anything, really.

goodforme
05-26-2011, 03:00 PM
You can find a study for anything, really.
You're right, so I like my own anecdotal evidence the best. What works for me, works for me, and might not work for anyone else. Exercise causes my weight loss to slow way down, I'm aware of it, I know the science behind it, and because I know all that, I can deal with it.

pinkflower
05-26-2011, 03:14 PM
In reality, you can eat the exact amount of calories needed for maintenance every day if you wanted. You could then do cardio for 90 minutes each day. You would lose weight because you are now burning more, leaving you with a calorie deficit.




I love exercise, I do it regularly and find it helps me feel better, do day to day activities, keep up with my kids and find it very helpful and beneficial. But...from a strict weight loss approach, If I do heavy hard core strenuous exercise for 45 min to an hour, I burn only about 300 cals, and even less if I don't work out as hard. If I worked out that hard for 90 min, I'd be an exhausted lump on the log unable to move for the rest of the day

So the point is, exercise is fantastic!!! But people overestimate how much they burn, and it's a whole lot easier and simpler to count exercise as a bonus and create your deficit with intake of food. Because it would take forever and ever and ever to burn that 3500 calories required in exercise to lose a pound

Excellent post JohnP. being mindful, keeping it simple, and just doing what works for you, & the weight loss will come

Amberelise
05-26-2011, 03:57 PM
Because it would take forever and ever and ever to burn that 3500 calories required in exercise to lose a pound


It would take me a week at an hour a day. (Some people less, some people more.)

Now, let's say you simply cut your calories by 500 a day instead.

That would take a week, too.

Or

Do both. Now you've lost two pounds in one week instead. :) Plus, studies show you'll keep the weight off better if you exercised AND calorie counted.

I think if people don't want to work out, that's just fine. Do whatever you want. I'm simply saying that if you're willing to work out then don't write it off as useless to weight loss. It's not. Plus, again, if you don't exercise you're losing out on all of the other billion of health benefits that you get with it beyond weight loss. And, isn't your weight loss an attempt at being healthy in the first place?

JohnP
05-26-2011, 07:02 PM
Amberelise - in my opinion you're reading too much into my speech. I am not anti exercise, at all.

The point of the speech is that when I was doing my intial research my thoughts that I would have to do a lot of exercise to lose weight were validated. I had throught that exercise would speed up my metabolism and I could lose weight without much change to my diet. I was wrong. The articles promoting this idea are wrong and the book NROL is wrong.

Could I do an entire speech on exercise? Yes. The benefits are amazing and even a small amount of exercise makes a giant difference. For most people just brisk walking 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a week would make a remarkable difference to their cardiovascular health.

Having said that - I disagree you can out exercise a bad diet. Maybe you don't like pizza, or nacho's, or Chipotle burriotes but most people do. Using your example - how many people have the time exercise four hours a day? Of those that do how many are conditioned enough to do so? Of those, how many would choose to spend their time that way? Of those, how often could they keep it up before they burned out? Obviously - we're down to almost zero percent of the adult population. I admit this is a red herring - but hey - you brought it up. :D

The point is, lots of exercise can be detrimential to weight loss even if you don't want to take it to the illogical extreme that you and I have. Most people after a hard workout (yes definitions of hard will vary) will be more lethargic for the rest of the day. Therefore, they will burn fewer calories as NEAT is reduced dramaticaly and negating the additonal calories burned through exercise. Also as I afforementioned too much exercise can burn you out or worse lead to an injury. Finally, too much exercise can affect your diet.

Many people get hungry after a lot of exercise. For some people it is HIIT type of exercise that makes them hungry. Not me. After a good HIIT workout the last thing I want to see is food. In my case too much steady state cardio brings on the hunger monster. Obviously increased hunger makes dietary compliance more difficult. Finally, those who are less determined dieters may just use that extra exercise they did to justify a tasty high calorie treat. I wish I could say I've never done this but ... I have. :D

In my opinion, how much exercise you do really should depend on the goals that you have. If your goals are weight loss and health there is aboslutely no need exercise as much as the average trainer/website/author thinks you should. The main purpose for exercise as far as health goes is that there seems to be a correlation between dietary compliance and exercise. Whether though the mechanism that I have (I worked out hard don't want to blow it by eating bad) or some other reason - the bottom line is it exists.

In conclusion - just like I said in my speech - "...exercise doesn't have to become your life's passion to be effective."

Amberelise
05-27-2011, 10:31 AM
I think what bothered me is someone elsewhere on the forums someone posted a link to your speech and used it as an example as to why you don't need to exercise. That's why I caution.

The point of weight loss is typically to be healthier. To take care of yourself. You're only doing half the job if you're losing weight on diet alone. Skinny fat is just as detrimental to your health as fat fat.

That's the point of my diatribe and extreme examples. You *can* lose weight on exercise alone. Is it the perfect idea? NOT AT ALL. Just as you *can* lose weight on diet alone...

So, I made my post as a caution to those that follow the link over here and think if they simply want to drop pounds diet alone is the way to go. That's so unhealthy!

Further, the studies do show that you're going to keep the weight off if you're exercising - so I really hope people don't come to this thread and use it as reasoning to justify why they don't want to exercise.

I, myself, do both, so I am not saying the calorie counting is wrong. I'm on the exercise forums and I'm on the calorie counting forums. Obviously I believe in both! I was just a little freaked out when I saw people elsewhere claiming that exercise isn't helpful to weight loss and then linking to your speech.

ncuneo
05-27-2011, 11:20 AM
Here's what IMHO we should take away from all this, because in all honesty I don't agree with everything that's been said her nor some of the diet "myths" that have been previously debunked.

Weight loss AND health/exercise advice is just that advice. It doesn't apply to everyone equally and what works for one person won't necessarily work for another. The key thing is to determine what works for YOU, which agreed can be difficult with all the availible information on the Internet and even here on 3FC.

When it comes to the plan you choose the only thing that should matter is does it work for me, meaning you're losing weight and not killing yourself to do so and is it sustainable. If you can't sustain your diet long term or have a plan of attack once maintenance roles around it's all pretty futile. Additionally if you choose to go the twinky route, know you'll probably die of a heart attack by 50 no matter how much exercise you do. Extreme boisterous example, of course.

Anyway, I think that is pretty much what John is trying to get across, but sometimes I personally have a hard time seeing the message when my own research and beliefs are being brought into question.

dragonlady1978
05-27-2011, 11:46 AM
Actually, when studies are done following people who do the twinkie diet or something similar, ALL numbers get to a healthy range - not just weight.

The twinkie diet is not going to give you a heart attack. Not that I'm endorsing it or anything. If you didn't do it with dr supervision, vitamin supplements, and bloodwork along the way it could cause some nutrient deficiencies. Twinkies aren't exactly chock full of vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy.

There are so many other factors that determine our heart health, blood pressure, etc that have nothing to do with food or even exercise. Stress, smoking, genetics, medications....I could go on and on.

You can eat clean your entire life and do cardio religiously and still have a heart attack at 40.

ncuneo
05-27-2011, 12:40 PM
Of course, I guess my point is just that some diet "myths" may be myths for one person and not for another. I swear to you, and this probably is some of John's point about it all being so confusing, that I can read an article that says "x" and two clicks later read another article that's says "x" is a myth. We all know this to be true. So finding what works for you as individual, myth or no myth, is all that matters.

I guess I just kind of feel like because I do well eating a lot of "cleaner" cals, exercising a lot, and eating often, I'm doing something wrong because John says those are all myths. I still indulge, quite a bit frankly, but this is what works for me and of course I'm going to suggest it to others because I had success with it, it doesn't make it a myth or the way it has to be done, it's what works for me.

The same way fasting works for John, that would no way work for me, but it works for him and others. But that's doesn't mean his method is right for everyone, and I think he knows that, but he still takes the opportunity to suggest it to others because it might work for them.

I guess I just get a little peeved when people claim certain things are myths, especially when they've worked for me.

JohnP
05-27-2011, 12:51 PM
The Twinkie diet guy also ate the following daily: vegtables, protein shakes, a multivitamin every day but 75% of his caloires came from junk food.

... I don't agree with everything that's been said her nor some of the diet "myths" that have been previously debunked.

I'm curious which myth do you feel is factual?

That's the point of my diatribe and extreme examples. You *can* lose weight on exercise alone. Is it the perfect idea? NOT AT ALL. Just as you *can* lose weight on diet alone...

Possible and probable are pretty far apart in this case in my opinon. Consider the dedicated study subjects that exercised an hour a day, six days a week and lost very little. How many folks are going to be that dedicated with such pitiful results? Is it *possible*? YES! Is it *probable*? NO! Diet trumps exercise by a lot for purposes of losing weight.

JohnP
05-27-2011, 12:58 PM
I see what you're saying here. What you're not understanding is that you can eat 12 times a day if you want or you can eat 2 times a day. The point is it makes no difference to your metabolism.

If someone were to say - try grazing. I eat constantly throughout the day and it has really worked for me I would have no problem with that. If someone were to say - you have to eat constantly throughout the day to keep your metabolism working at it's optimum level I would have a problem with that.

Hope that helps you understand where I'm coming from.

Lovely
05-27-2011, 01:03 PM
I took this speech to be a pure list of what you must do to lose weight from a scientific standpoint. Nothing more and nothing less. Not preaching about how you shouldn't exercise or even what kinds of foods to eat. (In fact, at the end it is noted that activity is a good thing.)

The METHODS of losing weight while lowering calories are going to be different for everyone. The METHODS of exercising for health reasons (and yes, everyone should exercise for health reasons, we all know this. It's good for us, it's good for a billion reasons) are going to be different for everyone.

Example Method: Eat only 3 meals a day, no snacks.
Example Myth: Everyone should eat only 3 meals a day, no snacks.

If someone posted a link to this saying you don't "HAVE" to exercise to lose weight, well from a technical & scientific standpoint they're correct. I've known a lot of people who've lost weight without lifting a finger for added activity.

However.

If someone posted a link to this saying you "SHOULDN'T" exercise, then they were misunderstanding. Exercise is great for the body, and the speech even addresses that it is a good thing.

Beach Patrol
05-27-2011, 02:03 PM
There's a lot of power in WORDS.

Breaking it down, making it simple, that's what most people seem to desire &/or need. And hey, facts is facts. ;)

* Exercise is NOT NECESSARY in order to lose weight.
* You CAN lose weight by diet alone. (how much is up to the individual)
* You CAN lose weight by exercise alone. (how much is up to the individual)
* Diet AND Exercise is the norm.
* 3500 calories = 1 pound
* Gaining weight occurs when you eat more calories than you burn.
* You burn calories simply by "being". You burn calories while sitting, sleeping, breathing, watching TV, cooking, laughing, etc.
* You burn MORE calories when you DO exercise than when you DON'T exercise
* Exercise can cause you to be more hungry than if you didn't exercise.
* The average person simply cannot out-exercise the calories they eat.

When you make easy-to-read statements out of FACTS, it's easier to understand.

I don't think anyone is saying "in order to lose weight, you shouldn't exercise" but rather "exercise is not necessary in order to lose weight" - those are two very different sentences.

The bottom line? For those people who simply HATE exercise? Yes, they CAN lose weight by diet alone.

For those who WANT to exercise, there are many, many, many different exercises out there, from cardio to weight bearing.

And for those who just aren't sure - consider this: most experts will tell you to comprise your weight loss efforts by using a diet plan AND a fitness plan. But read around this forum... you'll see people succeeding by doing whatever works for them. Some of them exercise, some don't.

And the myths will keep circulating. And the facts will still remain true. DO.WHAT.WORKS.FOR.YOU! :)

ncuneo
05-27-2011, 02:12 PM
I think maybe the issue is that I'm finding the distinction about myth vs fact a little fuzzy. I guess I'm defining myth to mean that something is not true and you are defining it to mean that it's not necessarily true.

The biggest thing you claim to be myth that I find to be fact is that all calories are created equal. Now this statement doesn't apply to everyone, but for myself and most people I know, I can lose weight eating 1200 cals of crap or 1700 cals of healthy stuff. So all cals are not equal in nutrition value, digestive value, how the body processes or stores them.

I think I just may have jumped the gun a little and was rubbed the wrong way because I think I was/am defining myth as things that aren't true and you're defining myth as not necessarily true.

NiteOwlMommy
05-27-2011, 02:49 PM
First and foremost JohnP thank you x a million! When I started my weight loss journey I searched weight loss on Google and was so overwhelmed by the different "methods" the articles supporting them and the ones against them and it made things that much more confusing and quite honestly I was already giving up before starting.

This post cleared up a lot of questions that I have had and I am now more confident in going to begin calorie counting again and knowing that if I skip a day of exercise I am not going to beat myself up for it. I like to exercise it makes me feel good and I feel it gears me up for the rest of the day, can I exercise everyday? No but now I don't feel so bad about it :)

JohnP
05-28-2011, 08:21 PM
The biggest thing you claim to be myth that I find to be fact is that all calories are created equal. Now this statement doesn't apply to everyone, but for myself and most people I know, I can lose weight eating 1200 cals of crap or 1700 cals of healthy stuff. So all cals are not equal in nutrition value, digestive value, how the body processes or stores them.

I'm very interested to understand more specifically what you mean here. It sounds like what you're saying is that you can eat 1,700 calories of "healthy food" and lose weight just as quickly as eating 1,200 calories of crap.

If that is what you are saying than there would have to be a scientific explaination for it. Ironically the ideas you suggest such as digestive and nutrient value would likely have the opposite effect of what you claim. One would think that a healthy food would have greater nutrient and digestive value thus adding more net energy to the intake side of the equation.

I'm not saying that your experience is wrong or invalid. A possibility is that 1,200 calories of "crap" makes you feel lethargic and so NEAT is signifigantly decreased while 1,700 calories of "healthy" food energize you and NEAT is increased signifigantly. Again I don't know exactly what you mean by crap but I'm guessing crap foods have a lot of simple sugars and fats which in an insulin resistant person can certainly have that type of effect.

Another possibility is that "crap" foods are high in sodium resulting in water retention. You're losing fat but the water is masking it. Start to eat "clean" and woosh water is flushed and you draw the faulty conclusion that the "clean" foods did it.

I'm sure there are other possibilities but those are the two I can think of off the top of my head. I'm not saying you're wrong, especially since I don't even know what you mean by "crap" food. However, if you're right, there must be a scientific means to explain it and it wouldn't be the calories themselves.

jeanies
05-28-2011, 08:47 PM
John
What do you think of HIIT? It seems every time I turn around I see an article or receive email touting it's outstanding "fat loss" benefits.

JohnP
05-28-2011, 10:45 PM
John
What do you think of HIIT? It seems every time I turn around I see an article or receive email touting it's outstanding "fat loss" benefits.

Yes HIIT has become THE fat shredding exercise. :D Ever since the Tremblay study came out it is the go to exercise for trainers everywhere.

In my opinion the exercise that works best is the one that you like well enough to keep doing on a regular basis.

If forced to pick an exercise I consider most important for fat loss I would pick weight lifting.

The short version of HIIT vs steady state cardio is HIIT is more demanding on your body and therefore burns more caloires per minute but steady state cardio can be done longer and more often. So how much time do you have?

The long version of HIIT vs SS cardio I would refer you to Lyle McDonald. (http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/steady-state-and-interval-training-part-1.html)

ncuneo
05-29-2011, 11:48 AM
If that is what you are saying than there would have to be a scientific explaination for it.

Of course there's a scientific explination, that's why all calories are not created equal. Crap was probably the incorrect term for me to use. At the end of my weight loss journey I was eating a pretty healthy diet, eating about 1500 cals and losing barely anything. I switched to eating as cleanly as possible, mostly whole foods and non processed but still having indulgences occassionally, and upped my cals to 1700 and the rest of the weight melted off. I'm not even going to get into the relationship of my weight loss in terms of the fact that I had to increase my cals as my exercise increased to keep losing.

And just because I can't let it go, and forgive me John because I don't mean to attack you I'm just uber moody these last few days ;) but when you say that exercise doesn't increase your metabolism, that's not exactly true either. When people say that, what they mean to say is that muscle burns more cals at rest than fat. Therefore, if you exercise and build muscle you will speed up your metabolism.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert of any kind and I'm not going to debate the topic further, because I'm an not educated enough to do so. My only point is that when you say something is a myth, most people think - oh then that means it's not true and doesn't work. A lot of women on 3FC really look up to you, trust you and are inspired by you, and they should be you generally give great advice and information. But I worry when you claim that things are myths because I can see how it would futher confuse people or discourage them from trying something that might work because they think it's a myth and therefore not true. That was all I was really trying to get across I think.

JohnP
05-29-2011, 07:56 PM
Ncuneo you don't need to apologize I don't feel you're attacking me at all. I don't even think we disagree on this issue much if at all! You might be more for "clean eating" than I am but probably only by a few degrees, if any.

You're right that you can increase your metabolism by adding muscle. I agree. Just by a magnitude far less than most people think. Every pound of muscle adds about six calories per day to your BMR. So adding 10 lbs of muscle increases is about 60 calories per day.

At the same time, fat is also alive. Losing fat lowers your BMR by 2 calories per pound. So losing 30 lbs lowers your BMR by about 60 calories.

On an interesting somewhat related note - I think everyone should wear a Gowear Fit for a couple months. It is amazing how much small movements over the course of a day really add up to signifigant calories. This is known as NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis.)

ncuneo
05-29-2011, 10:22 PM
Ncuneo you don't need to apologize I don't feel you're attacking me at all.

Oh good, I felt like I was being a little fiesty:)

Nola Celeste
05-30-2011, 04:27 AM
I'd far rather read a lively discussion than participate in an echo chamber in which everyone has the same viewpoints. It's a lot more educational to read different takes on a subject, so I'm heartily glad for threads like this one. :)

I've been following a few threads that are making me take the NEAT stuff into account to a much greater degree. My job necessitates a lot of desk work, but just remaining conscious of how much NEAT matters reminds me to walk to the store for oranges, get up and clean that sink NOW while I'm thinking about it, take ten minutes to hop on my stationary bike rather than spend four hours straight at my desk.

Don't know how much it will affect my weight loss, but it definitely falls into the "can't hurt, might help" category. Considering I gained 60 pounds in a year going from a retail job in which I was constantly on my feet to a completely sedentary desk job, I should be the first person to realize how much incidental activity matters!

yoyoma
05-30-2011, 07:46 AM
I'm very interested to understand more specifically what you mean here. It sounds like what you're saying is that you can eat 1,700 calories of "healthy food" and lose weight just as quickly as eating 1,200 calories of crap.

If that is what you are saying than there would have to be a scientific explaination for it. Ironically the ideas you suggest such as digestive and nutrient value would likely have the opposite effect of what you claim. One would think that a healthy food would have greater nutrient and digestive value thus adding more net energy to the intake side of the equation.



Healthy food contains more fiber which results in less efficient metabolism of the ingested calories, so X calories of healthy food results in fewer calories absorbed than X calories of "crap". This is especially true of uncooked plant foods vs highly processed carbohydrates (e.g. white sugar and flour).

While it does all come down to net energy deficit or surplus, the input side needs to take factors into account beyond the number produced by a bomb calorimeter. For example, studies have shown that intestinal bacteria play a big role in how efficiently people metabolize foods. In dieting, the big question is really, how do we find a sustainable lifestyle that temporarily provides an energy deficit (then, on maintenance an energy balance).

Exercise, grazing, and macro-nutrient control are all techniques which are effective for some people in helping to create an energy deficit. When the rationales behind these techniques are oversimplified and stated as rules that all should obey, they become myths.

We all recognize that exercise expends energy but increases hunger. So, if someone exercises and continues to eat as much as they want, depending on the individual, this may lead to a net energy deficit or surplus -- and probably more often a surplus. But, health benefits aside, exercise may still be a useful adjunct to calorie restriction to aid in creating an energy deficit in many of those cases. First, simply having a higher calorie budget allows some dieters to feel less deprived -- their meals can more closely resemble a "real" meal. Second, it helps some folks to see their bodies start to look toned. This can help motivate their calorie restriction (some folks might get the same boost from a manicure or new hairstyle). The point is that *at least in some cases* exercise can be a helpful technique for living an energy deficit lifestyle.

But if that becomes simplified that into "You have to exercise to lose weight," it's a myth.

Grazing is a technique that many use to help control how much they eat. Grazing does help maintain a more stable blood sugar (as does eating unprocessed foods, btw). Folks who find this technique useful might otherwise sometimes find it irresistible to binge at meals if they go without food for too long. But other folks will find this technique counter-productive, since the mini-meals may make them feel deprived when they see the "real" meals that others are eating. Also, some folks find eating several times a day means that they are constantly thinking about food -- planning their next meal or eating it -- and they may find it easier to eat just two meals a day. In your case, grazing simply doesn't fit with your lifestyle.

Whether all the effects of grazing make it easier or harder for any given person to maintain an energy deficit is highly individual. To say that one must eat several small meals a day to lose weight is a myth.

Macro-nutrient (carb/protein/fat) control is another technique that some folks find helpful in maintaining an energy deficit. Some folks find that increasing the percentage of protein results in faster weight loss (calorie counts do not take into account the energy required to digest food; protein requires significantly more energy to digest than carbs or fats). Other folks find that a diet high in complex carbs satisfies them the most (possibly due to a large amount of natural fiber). And some folks find a diet low in carbohydrates and higher in fat to be the most satisfying (possibly by controlling blood sugar levels).

So, controlling the percentages of different macro-nutrients can be helpful for some people in adhering to an energy deficit lifestyle, because they find a particular mix of macro-nutrients more satisfying. But, even among those people, the ratios which are helpful to them are different. To pick one and advocate it as the secret to weight loss is a myth.

That doesn't mean that these techniques should be dismissed. There are also other techniques which can be useful to some folks that have similarly become mythic. Folks need to understand that dieting is primarily about finding an individual sustainable lifestyle that incorporates an energy deficit. Perhaps the only one-size rule that applies to everyone that isn't a myth is that you have to find what works for you.

kaplods
05-30-2011, 06:35 PM
I have a similar experience with being able to eat significantly more calories of healthy whole food (low-carb and low-glycemic food) to lose the same amount as when I'm eating high-carb foods, and I've always been stumped regarding the science behind it, but I am getting closer to understanding at least the feasible explanations.

First of all, it's very important to be sure that you're observations are as objective as possible, and that's the hardest part. We have to be scientist and lab rat - and that's not real science. We're doomed to pseudo-science at best, but an educated guss is better than a random guess). For me the HealthMinder journal I bought on amazon.com was a huge help in seeing and analyzing patterns, but it takes months to see true patterns, and it's hard to have the patience to document that diligently. Even for myself, I have to say many of my observations are best guesses based on the data I did collect. I can't be confident that some of my theories aren't as much superstition as fact.

Some of what I've concluded (which may or not be certain even though I'm fairly confident in my conclusions):

I'm most confident in this one, because it's entirely based on hard fact rather than observation. One source of calorie discrepancy can be accounted for by dietary fiber. If you're a cow, fiber has calories. If you're human, it does not (you can't digest fiber, so the calories in fiber leave your body intact). In the USA, a nutrition label may or may not "count" the calories in fiber. It's perfectly legal to count either way, and the label does not have to specify whether fiber was or was not counted. Many calorie-counting resources online do include the fiber calories (which is why you can find such a huge discrepancy in calorie counts between various calorie-counting resources for the same food. Some are counting the fiber calories and some are not).

Many of us use the highest calorie estimate "to be safe" but it probably comes at the cost of accuracy.

For example, if you're eating 30g of fiber per day (the FDA recommendation, which is probably on the low side of optimal), that means you could be overestimating your actual/used calories by as much as 120 calories if you're using a calorie-counting source that counts calories in the fiber.

Fiber is not the only calorie that leaves the body intact. Sugar alcohols also do (though there's been some recent disagreement over how well the body digests/use sugar alcohols. There's even evidence that some people are better able to digest sugar alcohols than others. It's possible this is a genetic trait, or that some other factor attributes to the abililty to fully digest certain foods.

"Resistant starches" are a new discover which may or may not affect calorie absorption from these foods. The theory (and some evidence supporting the theory) is that not all of the calories in a resistant starch are digested.

There are other ways in which it's possible to not digest all of the calories consumed. Human digestive tracts are pretty efficient, but we're not as efficient as a furnace - not everything gets burnt up. Cats have such inefficient digestive systems that their poop contains a lot of unburned food/calories, so much so that it can be hard to teach a dog living with a cat that the litter box isn't a buffet.

It's possible (and even probable) that some foods may be more fully digested than others. Whole foods I suspect (but have no proof) could be more difficult to digest than junk food. To be blunt (and gross), you'd have to burn your crap in a calorimeter to discover whether there's a difference and what the difference might be. It's also possible that whole foods require more calories to burn than junk foods.

There are also so many ways that what you eat can affect your metabolism. For example, I've found that my body temperature is a full degree higher on relatively low-carb than very high-carb. I also have more weird health symptoms on high-carb. It's likely that more calories are being used to "turn up the heat" and perhaps more energy/calories are being invested in my immune system. Calories are fuel - the energy source for our bodies, which means every operation of the body depends on those calories. If any system isn't working properly, it would, or at least has the potential to affect how those calorie resources are used and allocated.

On healthy food, I sleep better and am better rested on less sleep than on high-carb junk food. That can make a tremendous difference not only in basal metabolic rate, but also in how much energy and interest I have in voluntary movement/exercise.

But I didn't even know that I was sleeping less and better (I didn't notice any difference on a conscious level). Without a health journal (initially I was using the HealthMinder journal that I bought on amazon.com, and then patterned my own after it), I would have never noticed the connection. Without recording my waking time, bedtime, how well I'd slept, how many times I woke up during the night, I never would have seen this difference, especially if I hadn't recorded what I was eating on those days as well.

For most of my life I believed that all calories were created equal for all bodies for all purposes. Now I'm surprised that I was that naive.

Still, that doesn't mean that calories can be ignored, especially when dealing with weight loss. You've got to find some way to increase calorie deficit, and you've got to experiment to find which way of increasing that calorie deficit maximizes your physical and mental ability to maintain that deficit.
Ideally without picking up a whole bunch of superstitions about what's going on physically to account for it.

Diet superstitions are so rampant, it's hard to tell fact from assumption, even in our own heads. The first challenge is realizing just how susceptible we all are to superstition, how "seems true in the moment" doesn't say much useful or true at all.

JohnP
02-08-2012, 11:52 PM
Update:

I gave this speech in my club's speech contest and won. So I'll be giving this speech in the area contest next.

It is absolutely amazing to see how impactful this speech is to certain audience members. You can almost see a light going on inside their head as they relate to the utter confusion about what they should be doing to lose weight.

The speech now has a title too. "The simplest most confusing topic known" :D