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Old 05-19-2011, 09:35 PM   #1
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Default Speech on dietay myths

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!

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.

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.

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Old 05-19-2011, 09:52 PM   #2
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Preach it brother.

You don't want to do the "1200 calories of junk food" route though, sugar poops are no fun at all.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:32 PM   #3
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Very good info! Thanks for posting. I always enjoy your insightful posts here at 3fatchicks.
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP View Post

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!
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Old 05-19-2011, 11:50 PM   #5
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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!
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Old 05-20-2011, 02:11 AM   #6
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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.

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Old 05-20-2011, 02:59 AM   #7
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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.
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Old 05-20-2011, 03:55 AM   #8
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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!!
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:12 AM   #9
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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?
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:19 AM   #10
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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!
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Old 05-20-2011, 07:39 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:34 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:02 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:11 PM   #14
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Great post John!!! Something I've been meaning to say forever & haven't said it yet. Partially cause giving speeches makes me nervous

But I do take issue with something you said:
Quote:
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!!
(Ooops! MY BAD! that's "will power dust"... sorry, carry on )

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... It's enough to make you completely 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!

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.
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Old 05-20-2011, 12:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggie2006 View Post
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.
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