Scientific studies on weight loss, my thoughts and ramblings

20 Feb

My friend sent me this cool (though confusing and slighty depressing) link from the NY Times, which discussed how exercise does not lead to weight loss.

It left me confused. So by working out so hard and so intensely (running/cardio that is), I’m not being successful, according to the article. I personally think that to get real results you have to push yourself, the harder you work, the more calories/energy you burn, regardless of where they come from. I think I understand what it’s saying. You expend a higher percentage of calories/energy from your body’s fat stores if you work out in the fat-burning zone (ie, low intensity) than if you work out in the high intensity cardio zone. However, if  you do high intensity and use up your carbohydrate fuel instead, you are still using a higher amount of fat than the low intensity activity, even if the percentage of useage is lower. Does that make sense? Plus, I would think that if you use your ready stores of carb fuel during high intensity activity, that uses it up before your body can convert it to fat, so you will at some point have to use up additional fat since the carb fuel is no longer available (this would be after you completed your physical activity, during the course of the day or night).

Science and studies are funny to read. They look at a microcosm of information through a blinder, and not at the whole process.

If you read this article, I would highly recommend you read through the comments – they are very enlightening, moreso than the article. I also started reading a link that a doctor posted about weight loss:

Along with the comments on this doctor’s blog entry, and all together, they give a much better idea of what to do to be successful. However, that second article is partially depressing me since so many people seem to be having real difficulty losing weight. It’s like wondering if you’re going to get cancer or MS (am I the only person that worries about what debilitating disease I’m going to get as I age?)  – am I going to end up with diabetes or a thyroid problem? Well no, I’m making changes and they *are* working and I am succeeding. But it is a lot of weight-loss horror stories, along with some successes thrown into the mix.

My favorite thing I read was a commend by “Dave” about what he did. He decided rather than buy larger clothes (since he no longer fit in his current clothes), he would lose weight instead. As he lost weight, he set a line in the sand. As he dropped under 200 lbs, 200 lbs would be that line he wouldn’t cross. If he approached it, he would have to increase the intensity and duration of exercise and restrict his eating. As he went down below 190, 190 lbs became that line. I think this is brilliant!

How many of us have lost weight only to gain it back? Losing is hard and takes a lot of effort. Gaining is as easy as can be. I myself have had this happen multiple times. The problem is that it’s hard to start back up again. I think keeping an eye on your weight fluctuations is important so that you don’t reverse the trend and start going in the wrong direction. Stopping that behavior early on is the key to keeping fit and not regaining weight. I never thought of this concept before, but I am going to make sure that if I do get to that point that I slack off, I don’t let it get out of hand, at least not much, and not for very long. Major aha moment here!

Anyway, really focused on thoughts of diet this weekend. I am not going snowshoeing after all today, and I didn’t make it to the weight workout at the gym this morning (thought it was 930 instead of 9!!!!). So that means I am overdue a weight workout. I may try and go in extra early tonight and do it before my 7 pm Iron Chef/treadmill date. I think John wants to do both too.  Oh, and I did that walk last night. I’m guessing I burned 250 calories over the course of 30 minutes. There are some really steep hills in my neighborhood (actually, all of Seattle has ’em!).


Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Scientific studies on weight loss, my thoughts and ramblings

  1. Rachael

    February 20, 2011 at 18:12

    I am one of those people who have lost only to gain it back. Why do we do this to ourselves when we know how hard it was to lose? We like easy even when it leads to results we don’t like. It sounds like you zone train? I love training with my heart rate monitor, knowing whether I am burning fat calories or sugar calories. I fully believe in this type of training to lose weight and get healthy and anyone that says exercise does not lead to weight loss is FULL OF CRAP! Only my opinion but look at everyone who posts about success due to exercise. I just realized I have strong opinions about this. LOL! Keep working out to continue moving forward! 🙂

  2. dietmaven

    February 20, 2011 at 22:42

    Not sure what zone training is. I definitely believe in “moving one’s ass” however, so I’d rather push and push hard than do a half-assed attempt! I think the more energy you put into a workout, the more energy you expend and the more weight you’d lose. But I’m certainly no expert! I too believe exercise is essential and necessary for weight loss. I’m just trying to work hard, keep at it, and not be lazy about it. So far so good!


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