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Exercise Might Not Help Lose Weight


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2 hours ago, Big Lex said:

The whole "speed up" (or slow down) your "metabolism" thing is a very murky topic and is quite confusing to me. I'm an MD, and I don't ever remember learning that the "metabolism speeds up" under x, y, and z conditions, or whatever.

This is definitely one of those things that is blown way out of proportion. Personally Ive only really seen this with bodybuilders and other weightclass athletes who at the end of their cuts become extremely lethargic and their bodies simply arent losing weight even at what are obviously extremely low calories for their size. Theres definitely a survival mode ther bodies go into but remember that this is really going into extremes and this sort of end of cut diet is not sustainable in any way.

People who "dont gain weight" just simply arent eating. Ive done this so many times with people who say "they cant gain weight". When you start looking at their diets their calories consumed are always very reasonable. Compare that to people who claim they "gain weight easily" who in contrast eat way more than they think.

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(edited)

You have to run for 50 minutes to burn off a can of Coke.

I often see things on TV where a family is sitting around a dinner table with a large bottle of Coke or similar on the tabl - and this would seem to be a daily thing.

Most people who drink soft drinks like that can lose considerable amoubts of weight if ALL THEY DO is switch to diet version (with their own issues) or remove soft drinks from their diet completely.

Also, things like muesli bars and most breakfast cereals are the same as Kit Kats and Mars bars - but people think they're "healthy". Likewise fruit "juice". 

I walk on average 5K a day, not counting golf. I have NEVER associated that exercise with weight loss. 

And golf is not "exercise" that helps control weight. In all seriousness, the fact that for 4 or 5 hours you're hopefully drinking water and eating nothing else is the greatest health benefit in a physical sense.

When  I was training on my bike and cycling racing, I ABSOLUTELY did.

Weight maintenance is all about restricting calories and having a sensible diet.

Anyone who thinks they can eat crap and drink "soda" every day and counteract that with light exercise are always going to struggle with weight.

People are always ( and rightfully) criticised for saying insensitive things relating to "no fat people" in certain famine ridden and poor countries and concentration camps, but it's simple biology. If you don't burn what you eat, you are gaining weight every day. 

Edited by Shorty
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4 hours ago, Big Lex said:

There are a few things to remember: About 65-70% of the calories we burn every day are "couch potato" calories, they are the minimum amount needed to keep us conscious and keep all of our organs alive. So with exercise, we are really only talking about changing a portion of what our metabolism serves. In a typical person, the liver, brain, and muscles each account for about 20% of our total calories. So again, exercising or using more muscle activity is only affecting a portion of a portion of our total calorie use.

Huh, this is interesting and new information to me.  I've walked 5-6 miles several of the past few days (and a few times a week for the past few weeks, plus some bicycle riding of similar lengths) in addition to decreasing my intake.  I'm down a few pounds, which is nice.  But I didn't realize that it's contributing to such a small portion of the calories I'm using each day (or maybe I'm misinterpreting, that's possible too).  Similar with whatever muscle work I've done lately (bench press and deadlifts yesterday, for example). 

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10 hours ago, saevel25 said:

In the end you are saying that 95% of the people who gain the weight back sat down and consciously thought that what they were doing before hand would be a good thing to go back to. I think that no one thinks that at all. I think most people just let the body control their subconscious actions and which tells them they been losing weight for to long. 

No, I don’t think they lose weight and one day think, “I’m going to eat a dozen donuts like the old days, that’s a good idea.” What I think they do is they lose a bunch of weight and are happy with where they are and think, “Well one donut here and there isn’t going hurt anything.” Or a cookie. A piece of cake. And then they remember they liked eating that stuff and start eating it again, which even in smaller amounts is enough to tip the balance the other way. Or they’re not conscious of portion control unless they’re actively “dieting,” and once they hit their target weight they lose focus on it.

This is why I tell people all the time, I hate the idea of dieting. If you want to change your eating habits to lose weight, it should be a lifestyle change. A diet implies a temporary state and the results will likely be exactly that.

I don’t believe it’s a matter of your body telling you you’re starving and forcing you to eat with little self control. If that were the case, there would be no point in dieting in the first place. You absolutely have the willpower to overcome those impulses. 

You can’t eat at caloric deficit and gain weight. You can’t really eat at maintenance level and gain weight, though it will still fluctuate as you’re not going to eat or burn off the same amount every day. The problem most people have is they don’t realize how few calories that actually is or how many calories the food they ingest contains.

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4 hours ago, Shorty said:

You have to run for 50 minutes to burn off a can of Coke.

I often see things on TV where a family is sitting around a dinner table with a large bottle of Coke or similar on the tabl - and this would seem to be a daily thing.

Most people who drink soft drinks like that can lose considerable amoubts of weight if ALL THEY DO is switch to diet version (with their own issues) or remove soft drinks from their diet completely.

Also, things like muesli bars and most breakfast cereals are the same as Kit Kats and Mars bars - but people think they're "healthy". Likewise fruit "juice". 

I walk on average 5K a day, not counting golf. I have NEVER associated that exercise with weight loss. 

And golf is not "exercise" that helps control weight. In all seriousness, the fact that for 4 or 5 hours you're hopefully drinking water and eating nothing else is the greatest health benefit in a physical sense.

When  I was training on my bike and cycling racing, I ABSOLUTELY did.

Weight maintenance is all about restricting calories and having a sensible diet.

Anyone who thinks they can eat crap and drink "soda" every day and counteract that with light exercise are always going to struggle with weight.

People are always ( and rightfully) criticised for saying insensitive things relating to "no fat people" in certain famine ridden and poor countries and concentration camps, but it's simple biology. If you don't burn what you eat, you are gaining weight every day. 

Agree with your points and I would add the a good diet also contains essential nutrients in addition to the correct amount of calories.

Off topic, but did you have a flat coke at the end of long races? We did that for the sugar and caffeine.

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37 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

Agree with your points and I would add the a good diet also contains essential nutrients in addition to the correct amount of calories.

Not just nutrients, but caloric density matters.

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9 hours ago, billchao said:

Not just nutrients, but caloric density matters.

Agree. It was hard finding good protein to eat for breakfast when I was working. Protein bars back then contained a lot of sugar and you can only eat so much tuna.😜

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(edited)

I have a sweet tooth, does this help? Seriously, I would like to gravitate to a more vegetarian diet with some meat in the diet.

Edited by Billy Z
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Metabolism does count for a lot.  I had a classmate in school.  A 5"0' girl, who ate more than most of the 6"0' guys and yet never gained weight.  She was skinny too.  Did play sports like all of us, but her metabolism was pretty much off the charts.  Have kept in touch with most of my classmates via social media and she is still the same today aged around 45 and 2 or 3 kids down

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3 hours ago, pganapathy said:

Metabolism does count for a lot.  I had a classmate in school.  A 5"0' girl, who ate more than most of the 6"0' guys and yet never gained weight.  She was skinny too.  Did play sports like all of us, but her metabolism was pretty much off the charts.  Have kept in touch with most of my classmates via social media and she is still the same today aged around 45 and 2 or 3 kids down

I’m not going to say metabolism isn’t a factor, but what I’ve read online in various fitness circles from trainers and such is that a common mistake people make in assessing another’s diet is that they make assumptions based on what they see them eating, but don’t see what those people don’t eat.

You may see someone eat a large portion, but that single meal is not indicative of their total caloric intake for the day. I’ve often had people ask me how I can eat so much food when they see me eating a meal and stay skinny and what they don’t realize is that meal may be the only one I have for the day.

I haven’t eaten all day now that I think of it. Had a cup of coffee in the morning and three bottles of water. I’ll end up eating more than usual for dinner and I’ll still end up consuming fewer calories than I would on a normal day. 

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8 hours ago, pganapathy said:

Metabolism does count for a lot.  I had a classmate in school.  A 5"0' girl, who ate more than most of the 6"0' guys and yet never gained weight.  She was skinny too.  Did play sports like all of us, but her metabolism was pretty much off the charts.  Have kept in touch with most of my classmates via social media and she is still the same today aged around 45 and 2 or 3 kids down

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you knew nothing at all about this girl's metabolism or how her calorific intake compared to her male counterparts.

Food doesn't just evaporate. And classmates don't eat every meal in front of you, strangely enough. :-)

 

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10 hours ago, Shorty said:

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you knew nothing at all about this girl's metabolism or how her calorific intake compared to her male counterparts.

Food doesn't just evaporate. And classmates don't eat every meal in front of you, strangely enough. :-)

 

Oh, I knew enough.  We were in school together for 4 years and it was a boarding school, so we all ate our meals together 10 months a year.  Make no mistake, she could eat more than most guys twice her size.  I will admit that she is an exception, but her metabolism was truly off the charts.

 

As much as you say food doesn't evaporate, metabolism burns food and calories.  Her high metabolism meant she burnt a lot more than many other guys and girls out there.  Even today she eats the same way and doesn't gain weight

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10 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

Oh, I knew enough.  We were in school together for 4 years and it was a boarding school, so we all ate our meals together 10 months a year.  Make no mistake, she could eat more than most guys twice her size.  I will admit that she is an exception, but her metabolism was truly off the charts.

 

As much as you say food doesn't evaporate, metabolism burns food and calories.  Her high metabolism meant she burnt a lot more than many other guys and girls out there.  Even today she eats the same way and doesn't gain weight

 

It probably wasnt. Women have an inherently lower BMR and since she was of much smaller stature by your description its even less likely.

In fact, I would go as far as to say there is no way you know the full story here as this is very much in line with the common misconceptions about metabolism that people often hold. BMR falls within very narrow parameters between comparable individuals and ignoring medical conditions. Its also very much dependent on lean mass.

Here is a short article referencing 10 studies. You can find a lot more on this subject.

208.png

Yes, metabolic rate (the amount of calories burnt a day) does vary between people. Most of the time, it isn't that much of a difference and isn't causative of obesity (where caloric intake and exercise are better predictors), but...

 

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28 minutes ago, Alx said:

Here is a short article referencing 10 studies. You can find a lot more on this subject.

208.png

Yes, metabolic rate (the amount of calories burnt a day) does vary between people. Most of the time, it isn't that much of a difference and isn't causative of obesity (where caloric intake and exercise are better predictors), but...

 

It gets a bit more strange than that...

We Burn as Many Calories as Hunter-Gatherers, So What Makes Us Fat? | TIME.com

Quote

Those results are all the more surprising because the Hadza did appear to expend much more energy in physical activity, as they hunted and foraged. But activity differences did not translate into differences in total energy use. What’s more, even among members of the same society, Hadza people who walked a long way each day did not have measurably higher total expenditure than individuals who did not walk so much. It seems that people’s metabolisms may compensate somewhat for activity level....

“We hypothesize,” they write, “that [total energy expenditure] may be a relatively stable, constrained physiological trait for the human species, more a product of our common genetic inheritance than our diverse lifestyles.”

This whole study totally really throws what I thought was true out the window.  

For me, I am 100% in the camp that what and how much you eat matters more than exercise. Though, studies have found that people in the same weight range, if you exercise, have better health markers. So, it is beneficial, just not in losing a lot of weight.

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5 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

Looking at single studies is always a bit iffy but I recall similar ones done with some other african tribes and isolated populations(sherpa maybe?)

 

12 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

This whole study totally really throws what I thought was true out the window.  

When you think about it these tribes tend to live a lifestyle where they can go for extended periods at restricted calories. Now we know that has an effect on BMR and longevity by slowing the body down. Now in addition these people are quite active so they are likely in much better shape and their resting heart rates are likely again much lower and our bodies do get more efficient at dealing with workloads when we train for them. But again I think the key here is that we are talking about a lifestyle not something people do for a month or two.

 

19 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

For me, I am 100% in the camp that what and how much you eat matters more than exercise. Though, studies have found that people in the same weight range, if you exercise, have better health markers. So, it is beneficial, just not in losing a lot of weight.

For strictly weight loss especially with the extreme overeating nowadays, youre completely right.

When we talk about metabolism it seems that people often forget that theres more to it than just BMR. Our bodies simply work better when we are active. For an extreme example look at what happens to coma patients or people dealing with paralysis.

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1 hour ago, pganapathy said:

As much as you say food doesn't evaporate, metabolism burns food and calories.  Her high metabolism meant she burnt a lot more than many other guys and girls out there.  Even today she eats the same way and doesn't gain weight

You hear this kind of story alot. I don't believe it. While there are always details about things known only to experts, for the most part "metabolism" is simply the sum total of chemical processes which sustain life; they are comprised of chemical reactions which generate energy for cellular function and the conversion of food to building blocks of tissues such as muscle proteins, adipose tissue, etc. The products of metabolism are either energy which is consumed, or energy which is converted to matter for growth or storage. It is by definition in constant balance, meaning what you consume and the end products are always equal. A person cannot have "faster metabolism" than someone else, because oxidative processes cannot produce one unit of energy in one person and 2 in another person. It's just not how things work. The example you gave seems far-fetched. I know, you've been challenged on it and insist you're right, but I'm sure if we could really do a true accounting of her caloric intake, her actual activity expenditures and basal metabolic requirements, and compare it to the hypothetical 6' tall male, we'd see she didn't really have any different metabolism. Either she was more active than you thought, was still growing in some way (stature, etc.), or wasn't consuming the actual relative number of calories it seemed. 

 

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(edited)
11 minutes ago, Alx said:

Looking at single studies is always a bit iffy but I recall similar ones done with some other african tribes and isolated populations(sherpa maybe?)

 

When you think about it these tribes tend to live a lifestyle where they can go for extended periods at restricted calories. Now we know that has an effect on BMR and longevity by slowing the body down. Now in addition these people are quite active so they are likely in much better shape and their resting heart rates are likely again much lower and our bodies do get more efficient at dealing with workloads when we train for them. But again I think the key here is that we are talking about a lifestyle not something people do for a month or two.

 

For strictly weight loss especially with the extreme overeating nowadays, youre completely right.

When we talk about metabolism it seems that people often forget that theres more to it than just BMR. Our bodies simply work better when we are active. For an extreme example look at what happens to coma patients or people dealing with paralysis.

I think you are correct...articles such as this are written as clickbait; who doesn't want to see "proof" that you can be a couch potato and burn as many calories as some indigenous person who runs around for 8 hours a day? 

The headline of the article isn't the whole story; in fact, the article itself is pretty thin on it's recounting of the actual clinical study, very inexact. Again, I am reasonably sure that - apart from some gender, race, and age differences which are probably very small, percentage-wise - metabolic rates do not differ very much from person to person. If I require X calories per Y units of mass to sustain life while sleeping, I can guarantee you there aren't people who require 1.5X to do the same thing. We are all much more similar than different. 

I am sure if we could read the actual study referenced in that article, we would find that there are reasonable explanations for the "surprising" differences. 

All that said....I completely agree with @saevel25 that with regard to maintaining and/or losing body weight, it's probably 90% diet and only 10% other things. Exercising alot is just chasing your tail with regard to weight, because it induces hunger from increased energy demands. In the end, you need a delta of negative calories to lose weight; or to manintain a weight of X, you can't go over Y caloric intake. It really is that simple.  

Edited by Big Lex
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1 hour ago, Big Lex said:

You hear this kind of story alot. I don't believe it. While there are always details about things known only to experts, for the most part "metabolism" is simply the sum total 

 

2 hours ago, Alx said:

It probably wasnt. Women have an inherently lower BMR and since she was of much smaller stature by your description its even less likely.

In fact, I would go as far as to say there is no way you know the full story here as this is very much in line with the common misconceptions about metabolism that people often hold. BMR falls within very narrow parameters between comparable individuals and ignoring medical conditions. Its also very much dependent on lean mass.

I know that I am going to seem defensive in my response, but I am telling you what I saw with my eyes every day for 4 years.  A slim girl at 5 foot nothing who ate all her meals with us, eating as much as classmates of mine who were 6 foot 4 and around a 100 odd KG in weight.  She was probably 50 kg at best.  And she never gained weight.  It isn't like she was anorexic and threw up her food or that she played an extra amount of sports.  I admit she was an exception, but the only explanation is that her metabolism was off the charts, rather than everybody else in that school had low metabolism and we all gained weight, or maintained a much higher weight, when eating a similar amount of food.

I definitely stand by my statement that metabolism can make a huge difference under certain conditions.

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