Thursday, August 13, 2009

Exercise and Weight Loss

Extremely interesting and eye-opening article on Time about exercise and weight loss. It's eye-opening because when you think about it, it really makes sense.

People believe exercise helps you lose weight. While exercise is good for toning, muscle-building, and general health; it will not blast away the excess pounds you hope to lose. Diet remains the number 1 factor in weight loss. People will almost kill themselves in the gym to burn a couple of few hundred calories, which is promptly negated by the salty and sugary snacks and beverages that people eat and drink afterward. Amazing. I have been overlooking this in order to focus on my new workout plan when I had forgotten that when I watch what I eat, my pixie stomach pooch disappears. Crabby (my husband) just told me about his friend who has a friend who just lost 15 pounds in a month simply by cutting out all fast foods and soda (drinking only water) and not going to the gym once. I know people who were almost obese when pregnant, and got super slim without working out.

This is not a gym-bashing post at all; I just think people need to be realistic about their expectations when they go a-gymming (doesn't that sound delightful? A-gymming?). Get toned, get swoll, get beefcakey, build endurance and strength, YAAASSSS. Get rid of the excess poundage? Not so much. I don't advocate crash dieting or stuff that cuts out whole sections of food, like carbs. Just watch what you eat. Watch what you drink. Read labels. Pay attention to serving sizes. Look at the size of our dinner plates. They're huge! I read a study once that showed people will fill up their plate no matter what size, no matter how hungry they actually are. So huge plates=huge portions. Read your juice. I diligently hunt out 100% juices that have no corn syrup or added sugar. You'd be surprised how much of your juice says 3% juice or has high fructose corn syrup in the 1st 3 ingredients. Vitamin Water? Glorified sugar water. Fast food? Welp, you see where I'm going with this. Here are some excerpts from the article:

According to calculations published in the journal Obesity Research by a Columbia University team in 2001, a pound of muscle burns approximately six calories a day in a resting body, compared with the two calories that a pound of fat burns. Which means that after you work out hard enough to convert, say, 10 lb. of fat to muscle — a major achievement — you would be able to eat only an extra 40 calories per day, about the amount in a teaspoon of butter, before beginning to gain weight. Good luck with that.

If evolution didn't program us to lose weight through exercise, what did it program us to do? Doesn't exercise do anything? Sure. It does plenty. In addition to enhancing heart health and helping prevent disease, exercise improves your mental health and cognitive ability.

But there's some confusion about whether it is exercise — sweaty, exhausting, hunger-producing bursts of activity done exclusively to benefit our health — that leads to all these benefits or something far simpler: regularly moving during our waking hours.

The problem ultimately is about not exercise itself but the way we've come to define it. Many obesity researchers now believe that very frequent, low-level physical activity — the kind humans did for tens of thousands of years before the leaf blower was invented — may actually work better for us than the occasional bouts of exercise you get as a gym rat. "You cannot sit still all day long and then have 30 minutes of exercise without producing stress on the muscles," says Hans-Rudolf Berthoud, a neurobiologist at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center who has studied nutrition for 20 years. "The muscles will ache, and you may not want to move after. But to burn calories, the muscle movements don't have to be extreme. It would be better to distribute the movements throughout the day."

You regularly hear about the benefits of exercise in news stories, but if you read the academic papers on which these stories are based, you frequently see that the research subjects who were studied didn't clobber themselves on the elliptical machine. A routine example: in June the Association for Psychological Science issued a news release saying that "physical exercise ... may indeed preserve or enhance various aspects of cognitive functioning." But in fact, those who had better cognitive function merely walked more and climbed more stairs. They didn't even walk faster; walking speed wasn't correlated with cognitive ability.

In short, it's what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight. You should exercise to improve your health, but be warned: fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain.

13 jewels of thought:

Anonymous said...

A-Gymming = Glorious Wordmanship!

I also vote moderation thing is: If you dont do fast food or soda where else can you go? ya know??? like what else must you do? is my thoughts on that, MeH! I have a lardy waiting to get out in my life prison so I MUST continue working out like Is a part time

ChocolateOrchid said...

This is of course after the "Frito Pie" post. ROFL...

Yes, I do believe that what you eat is most important to weight loss and a healthy body & mind. Although, I am one who loves a great workout I am also aware that you can overdue it. I also feel that it's okay to indulge every now and then. Geez, you gotta enjoy living just not to the point where it will kill you or pose a threat to your health. It's all about balance and really what you personally want to achieve.

Wish you the best, Lady!

Lina said...

I love working out...when I actually get my lazy ass up and do some...cause it makes me feel spectacular my chest uncaves But the point that ppl miss is that in order to lose weight with diet and exercise is that you must burn off more than you intake...and with the portions we eat, it'll never work. Thats why you see so many ppl who crash diet gain the weight back. I think, like you said, watch that damn portion control and watch what you put in your body.

The Jaded NYer said...

I co-sign... I've lost almost 15lbs by restricting my food intake alone. much smaller meals w/the essentials & tons of water, milk or OJ only.

Now the smallest dish makes me full... I've actually trained my stomach to not over eat. Tis a beautiful thing!

5 more pounds & I'll hit the gym to start working on some Michelle Obama arms & Janet Jackson (on tour) abs.

and then I'm gonna walk around, nose in the air, acting like I'm too good to writhe on the floor of your blog comments. Watch.

InnyVinny said...

Interesting...and a good look. I hate the gym.

And that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you! Has mercury in it. Watch the labels, y'all.

Anonymous said...

Another tip that I do is drink ONE LITER of water a day. No matter what I eat or drink (I LOVE Dr. Pepper) if you drink one liter a day it will curb your appetite, your body temp. will be cooler, and you'll feel more refreshed.

What I tell folk is to drink while eating if you can't drink it straight out the bottle (like me)

You'd be surprised how dehydraded people are! When I started to do this water drinking (and its DISCIPLINE to do it; like going to the gym) when I started; I drunk the whole one liter and peed like ONCE. WOW I know right?! When drinking lots of water you should be peeing constantly (love the flush)once you start making this a daily habit; notice your body will want water even when you're NOT thirsty

good article :D

karrie b. said...

damn...iont read SHIT. nutrition facks, none-a-dat.

maybe i should. cause while i dont have weight probs i do have excess shitting (not to mention gambling/losing on a poots problems)

Gem said...

QQ: True and valid points as well. But you also eat pretty decent, no?

CO: BWAAAAAAH! I just noticed that! And I had a small pie tonight. Moderation is key! LOL

Lina: YAS, which is why exercise is wonderful for health; you can't deny the way it makes you FEEL!

Jaded: Yes! A success story! I'm signing you up for my infomercials. And floor-writhing will be in your contract. Only I'll tell you that part AFTER you sign.

InnyVinny: I rejoiced last week when I found and bought some high fructose corn syrup-free ketchup.

Thehoustongirl: Ooh that reminds me! I always drink after I'm done eating rather than drink WITH the food. I bet that would help me not overeat too. Wow, you only peed once! I just bought a Brita pitcher and have been drinking water a LOT more. I have a glass bottle that I refill for work.

kb: *fights your hair* for that entire paragraph. Yeah girl you gotsta start reading. The key is the 1st 3 ingredients because that's what will be the bulk of the product. If the 1st 3 are high fructose corn syrup, pork fat, and blue #2 food coloring...whatchu gon do then? And I just know your diet needs some improvement. I know they say house always wins but you losing too many gambles lately.

Beautifully.Conjured.Up said...

Yea, people hear "exercise and diet," but all they can understand is exercise...then they get pissed when they can't get smaller. Duuuuhhhhhh, you can't work out in the gym, work up a funky sweat, then eat sweets/fried food/fats and expect results.

Which brings me to another point...I met this girl who just bragged she was a vegeterian and healthy she was becoming...yet this trick (yes, I said it) eats french fries, cheese pizza, cookies, etc. Ummmmmm, no ho. These people really have it fucked up, then want to complain when things go wrong.

Chanel said...

i like how you post this after posting about the Frito pie, which I KNOW has an ass-load of calories when people don't use vegan meat ::shakes head::

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