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Friday, May 29. 2015
A book, Gary Taubes: Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
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Your weight or range of weight is pretty much genetic. You may be genetically predisposed to be morbidly obese. This isn't because you eat carbs. You may be a more normal weight until middle age then get a pot belly after 45. You may be normal weight until you get married and then gain 20-30 lbs. If you look at your parents this will probably be their weight history as well. If you are merely at the top of your genetic predictive weight range losing the 20-30 lbs to put you at the low end is easy and excercise will do it. If on the other hand your are grossly overweight your genes are fighting your efforts and simple diets or excercise won't do it. This does indeed lead people to think that excercise or diets don't work. It even makes sense. I knew a young man who started going to the gym to lose weight and then I didn't see himat the gym anymore. When I did run into him later I asked why he stopped going to the gym after a week. His reply was that it wasn't working! Hard to argue with that kind of personal experience, LOL.
The simple truth is regardless of your weight, be it 20 lbs overweight or 300 lbs overweight serious excercise WILL work. Try hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for 6 months averaging 18 miles a day. You will lose weight. What doesn't work is the 45 minute jazercise and fad diets (well they might work if your goal is to simply lose that 20-30 lbs). If you want to lose weight don't choose a paleo diet choose a paleo lifestyle. That means vigorous walking/working 8-10 hours a day seven days a week. Try that for six months before you decide like my young friend that excercise won't work.
Six months on any trail means you were eating something besides the usual American diet, heavily weighted (NPI) toward simple carbs, because most of them (potatoes, bread, pasta, cakes, donuts, etc.) aren't carry-able items! Chances are you were toting, cooking and regularly eating high protein foods, thus your DIET changed---diet in the sense of what you regularly eat, not some whacked-out faddish effort (as you decry).
Diet is the key. Simple math proves exercise is not and not everybody can take six months off to hike!
Most through hikers eat a lot of junk food. I do too, candy bars, gorp with added M&Ms. Other than junk food I go high in carbs and fat. My favorite hiking meal is PB&J sandwiches. Yes, I do put a whole loaf of bread in the backpack, but for longer distances I use flour tortillas, smeared with PB and jelly piled on and eat it like a taco.
There are some hikers who try to go organic and eat healthy. I see them at REI, they usually drive a Subaru or Volvo and they avoid meat, fats, sugar, HFCS and chemicals. They anguish over the freeze dried meals trying to decide if Monsanto was involved. Maybe those were the hikers you were thinking of.
I'm sedentary now for several years. I lost 60 pounds 3+ years ago and have kept it off basically by not any any [or much at least] "white foods". No sugar, no potatoes [and I loved potatoes], no white rice, no white flour [actually not much wheat or mixed grain flour at all], etc.
I eat enough protein, fat [I love bacon grease], and "slow carbs" [mainly cabbagey type sutff] to feel full and in doing so lost about a pound a week for a year. i also eat a reasonable amount of beans.
Now I eat the same and remain at the lower weight. Other physical problems have kept me from much exercise [I used to right a stationary bike around 15 miles per day at a high resistance but can't do that now]. Still, my weight remains within 3-4 pounds one direction or the other from my new low average weight.
Exercise will help you lose weight, if you are exercising you're not eating. Just don't buy a shelf for the exercise bike to hold your plate. ;->
WOW, "if your exercising you're not eating". If you're sleeping you're not eating either, so sleeping helps to lose weight?
It's simple math, the amount of weight lost through exercise is not significantly more than the amount of weight lost through for example reading or watching television.
That doesn't mean it can't have benefits, but the idea that "you burn calories" at a far higher rate than doing other things just because you're sitting on an exercise bike or lifting weights for half an hour or an hour is a pipe dream.
It's just as much a false mantra to shame people into exercising ("fatso should just exercise more") than that other one about eating ("fatso should just eat less"), and usually voiced by the same people who're not interested in knowing what you're eating and what your lifestyle is (I get told a lot I should exercise more by people who're not interested in the fact that I'm partially disabled AND have a full time job, a long commute, and run my household alone, leaving me only 1-2 hours a day in between work, commute, preparing and eating dinner, chores, and sleeping).
The documented best weight loss diet is vegan. The facts are incontrovertible and all the carb-hating in the world isn't going to change the facts. Vegans can consume huge carb calories and volumes - and plenty do - and lose weight or stay slimmer even in the absence of exercise.
I recommend reading the negative reviews for this misleading book. There is copious valid information in them, and this valid data is taking root in the general public.
The industrialized, barbaric, grain-fed, three-squares, drive-through American meat industry is a fad, a less than century old diet phenomenon that has almost nothing to do with ancient "paleo diets", such as they may be reputed to be sans evidence. For starters the ancients had no meat industry and certainly no surplus production to waste on one. Growing meat is inefficient.
The same is true of the meat-and-dairy protein myth - it's recent and it's simply faulty. It's a fad and it's proven completely unnecessary.
What Taubes has done is is document that eliminating carbs and converting to fat will indeed starve a body to a lower weight plateau. Of course it will. What Taubes hasn't done is present nearly all the data: The vegan diet reforms the metabolism naturally which is always the better weight-reduction efficiency, it restores vastly more natural nutrients in a correctly broadened diet, it prevents intake of a large array of artificial hormones, chemicals, and poisons, and it offers the best documented weight loss option. Plus it tastes better.
It's unfortunate that the modern meat fad has been conflated with healthy weight loss, social tradition, and especially, good cultural standing because it's presumed to be against urbanism. It's documented to be deeply unhealthy, it's a fad, and it has nothing to do with any presumed originalist American flag-waving and thumbs in leftist's eyes and all that.
My mid-20s grand daughter, who's pretty svelte for a school teacher, used to say when she was a teeny-bopper, "Eat what you want, quit when you're full".
My sister lost weight (admittedly, there wasn't much to lose) by becoming a disciple of Covert Bailey.
Vigorous exercise/cross training is part of her daily routine. At age 60 she can still shinny up the rope like we had to do in 3rd grade.
I had a great conversation with my doctor several years ago. I think I've mentioned it here before, but worth retelling. We were talking weight loss. He pointed out to me that it was 95% diet and 5% exercise. His words, "There were no fat people in Auchwitz."
That freed me so much. I felt incredibly guilty that I was not exercising regularly. It turned into a cycle of hopelessness. Even when I did a LOT of exercise, my weight barely shifted, which led to a lot of frustration. At one point I was going to the gym, at least 4 days a week lifting weights and doing cardio for months. I lost NO weight. NONE. It was discouraging. Sure, I had tone, but I was still the same size.
The minute I stopped worrying about exercise and watched my food intake (with a handy app on my cell phone), the pounds melted off. I don't rigorously calorie count today, but get back on the regimen when I notice myself putting on some weight in the wrong places.
Works every time. Also made me more conscious of what foods pack more fullness factor than others for the calories.
FYI, my doctor also pointed out that eating one or two cookies could take up to 1 hour of walking to burn off. Lots of exercise to burn a very small amount of food...if it's the wrong kind of food.
I offer this as a theory; an idea that refutes the often stated claims of small amounts of calories burned during what seems like large expenditures of energy. Not as a challenge.
Intuitively I know that excercise, serious excercise like running a 10k or a marathon or hiking 26 miles etc. burns a lot of calories. I know of extreme hikers who burn 12,000 calories a day in 12 hours a day more or less. It is impossible to claim that 1 hour of walking will only burn 100 calories (or whatever number the "experts" claim) while at the same time having emperical evidence that 12 hours of walking burns ten thousand or more calories. There is a disconnect somewhere, perhaps the experts are wrong or there are assumptions made that are inaccurate... something missing in the calculation. This isn't simply my opinion, anyone who is involved in extreme sports or particularly excercise experiences the same calorie burn and the need to consume massive amounts of food/calories to keep from wasting away to nothing.
All I know is that if I don't walk ~2 miles a day I gain weight.
Yes but... starting in our mid 30s we are all - men and women - losing 1 percent of our muscle and bone mass.
It takes some calories to maintain that muscle mass, and muscle tissue puts testosterone and other hormones into our system - which counteract the carb-endocrine cycle described by Taubes.
AND we need that muscle to maintain "quality of life" - the ability to actually function.
Exercise - particularly strength training with weights - is the other part of the fitness equation.
For weight loss it's only 5 percent of the story - but it plays a much larger role for overall health and "fitness" - which is the ability to function at life's tasks.