Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight - 60+ studies

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    Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight - 60+ studies

    Point #1, here, is "how our bodies burn calories"
    Point #2 is "exercise is excellent for health"
    Point #3 is "exercise alone is almost useless for weight loss"
    Point #4 is "exercise accounts for a small portion of daily calorie burn"
    Point #5 is "it's hard to create a significant calorie deficit through exercise"
    Point #6 is "exercise can undermine weight loss in other, subtly ways"
    Point #7 is "exercise may cause physiological changes that help us conserve energy"

    ... and it goes on.
    Concluding with: "The calorie restriction groups lost more weight than the group that both dieted and exercised."
    ...
    and: "Pretend you didn't exercise at all," she said. "You will most likely compensate anyway, so think of exercising just for health improvement but not for weight loss."

    #2
    Originally posted by DaithiMeyer View Post

    Concluding with: "[I]The calorie restriction groups lost more weight than the group that both dieted and exercised."
    But they look better, once they are done...

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      #3
      This is a brilliant article. Thanks for sharing.

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        #4
        HellYeah ... and were healthier, as well. So, don't quit the exercise! Just realize it isn't there for "weight loss".

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          #5
          However, it does need to be recognized that some people do need to use exercise for weight loss. Sometimes calorie restriction or using other traditional means just don't work. I always think that getting fit and weight loss are more mental and behavior modification of all else, and the most important of those is motivation. If you don't have the right motivation it won't work. I lost weight so many times using a scale and "eating right" or looking at calories and all those methods failed me.

          At the end of the nth time, I decided to listen to my brain and using exercise only as my main means of getting to a happier, and healthier weight. Two years into the process I am way happier, and I wish I had used this method years ago and save myself psychological stress.

          We are all different.

          Happy training everyone.

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            #6
            KalePower ... thanks for the opportunity to delay some exercise!
            I don't believe that is the case. I do agree that many people - me included - can lose weight more easily if they exercise 'strategically' in conjunction with their reduced eating.
            I know I can put off eating for longer if I do at least a short workout when my body claims to be 'hungry'. And I doubt I eat more when I finally 'give in'.
            Your methods matter, too.
            My scale is but a guide, I'm more concerned about being able to 'walk young' and continue to move better than most elders than about how many pounds I carry. I weighed in at under 186 this morning. I'd rather tighten my belt a notch! Thirty pounds lighter and I'd rather be seen as slimmer!
            Because that means healthier. That's MY five-year story!
            Yes, exercise helps me lose flab. Just not a lot of weight. Except to help me push back on eating.
            PLEASE don't think I'm against exercise. Check my 'blog. I put in the effort! Just not counting on that effort to lose weight.

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              #7
              Here's the problem with this: Everyone is so focused on the actual number on the scale, they lose sight of what it really means.

              For example, I was 145 lbs five years ago. I am 165 lbs now. Guess which time I was stronger? Guess when my heart was healthier and I was more endurant? Now. I'm in better shape now than I was at a lighter weight.

              Weight is the 27th most important factor to health and there are plenty of other indicators of health. Weight, without body fat %, hip-to-waist ratios, cholesterol and HDL/LDL ratios, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, iron and calcium levels, thyroid performance, weight fluctuation, etc, etc, etc. are all more important than that number of the scale.

              And muscles get more dense and become more heavy when they strengthen. I have gyms (still do) and I hear time and time again about people getting frustrated that the scale isn't dropping from their lifting but they're down four dress sizes.

              Stop worrying about the weight. That number isn't as important as all the others.

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                #8
                Warmaker ... totally agree. I just brought up the old "use a fabric measuring tape on problem areas" rubric for someone wanting to look great for a wedding in a few months. There is no way she is going to meet her goal without massive surgery, not in a few months. Still, with a combination of strict diet and a major workout program, she should be able to look much fitter by then.
                I've never been an advocate of serious dependence on scales. They don't really measure anything significant. They do offer a snapshot - through a foggy lens - of you at a moment in time.

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                  #9
                  DaithiMeyer I did not mean to say anything wrong. I just wanted to voice my opinion because many people need different methods. I am in the minority and I am odd. So what works for you and most people does not work for me. I am awed that counting and portion control do work in the long run for others. It is just not sustainable for me.

                  But, I do endorse that exercise is beneficial for many reasons. There are many personal reasons why I do all the exercise I do, and I normally work out for a couple of hours a day. It is my time to think, be by myself, feel empowered, and focus. I am able to use that focus to get other things done. And it just so happens that if I work out that way, over time I reap the rewards of sustainable body recomposition changes. When I was younger I knew that if I ever gained weight it would be a problem. I was right. And the traditional ways did not work.

                  Things are working now though. Score.

                  By the way, since you seem so wise, do you have any suggestions on how to communicate to someone your age who does not really work out to work out more. My Dad is about your age and he had carotid artery surgery a year ago and the only exercise he gets is super gentle walking on a treadmill. I just found out that he does run for I think a mile but I think his exercise awareness is off. He used to do serious calisthenics when he was young but I think life got in the way and he did not prioritize his health.

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                    #10
                    KalePower ... ah! And there's the rub. "Sustainable".
                    You benefit from what you can sustain, and you give up on what you can't.
                    Your Dad. Did he get into a cardio-rehab program ... after? Has he a reasonable heart monitor?
                    Maybe not a FitBit ... mine measures my pulse pretty well, but the doctors I've seen don't believe it until their own devices say the same. (my "resting" pulse is in the 50s to low 60s)
                    If he doesn't get his pulse up over 90, walking at 2.5 MPH, he's wasting his time.
                    Have you asked his doctor to help you with this?
                    It sounds to me like he isn't taking his pending mortality seriously. Or, perhaps he is just committing a slow version of suicide?
                    The weather is getting nice, even in Wisc., take him out for a walk in the hills. Not too long, to start, but keep walking just ahead of him.
                    Calisthenics may be too robust for him at the moment.
                    Did you catch it when I asked about a heart monitor? He needs to be getting his pulse up to near (not over) a certain limit.
                    Reliably monitored. Let him know you don't want to lose him.

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                      #11
                      DaithiMeyer thanks for your answers... no on the cardio-rehab, and no on the heart rate monitor. He did do a program at the y to introduce recovering patients to various fitness activities and that did not last. The doctor suggested "breathing based activities" like tai chi but that did not last because it was too hard for him coordination wise. I was pretty adamant about him exercising a month or so after wards so I suggested swimming because he used to like that. He went a few times but that did not last because he just was not feeling well.

                      When you are in massive surgery it takes a bit to recover and I think he was expecting to bounce back and it has been psychologically hard on him that he is not. I think he is just scared of many things now. I call home every night ( I live long distance from home right now) and ask him what he did during the day. He is a former soils conservationist and outdoor enthusiast. So his main activities are bird watching, nature strolls,"going for coffee" expeditions, library adventures, and socializing. He was an exerciser prior to marriage.

                      Being an adult child is challenging because I never know where the line is. How much can I say without angering people? He is incredibly sensitive, and I am sorry to say that I realize I have to pick my battles. I don't even feel comfortable telling him he should not be having ice cream nightly. ( I was disappointed that my sister got ice cream for the both of them for Christmas. Prior to Christmas ice cream was finally not making a home in the freezer but after that reintroduction, it came back. I asked my Mom about it, and she was like "he likes it". ) I gave up on healthy food suggestions years ago. ( As I child I was always into healthy eating and I always worried about his health). I still am the healthy eater of the family. My parents do eat mostly vegan now but the occasional "cheats" are fairly more than occasional.


                      It does not help that my Mom is negative either.

                      So I feel that it is just my job to be positive and to be there so to speak for them without making any waves. I tend to not share my exercise habits now too because I don't want him getting any ideas on things he really should not be doing. My Mom just encourages him to "move his legs". So sometimes a Home Depot adventure is his exercise for the day.

                      I have fun looking at your blog and I am like, man that is a version of someone that age taking his life proactively. So I applaud you for your efforts. You definitely are an inspiration for everyone else. Thank you.

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                        #12
                        KalePower ... that thing with the 'Y' was likely the equivalent of cardio rehab. Mine involved 2 2-hour sessions a week for ~a dozen weeks. 2 hours of using machines shooting for a walking rate over 2.5 mph. An hour of light-weight Yoga. An hour of talking about "food". Mostly I used the treadmills. The Yoga was not nearly as rough as the Yoga Week Workouts.
                        There are Tai Chi and, more importantly, Qi Gong videos on YouTube. Qi Gong is a simpler, less complex, version of Tai Chi. Easy. Light exercise, not confusing.
                        Bird watching - and walking between sightings - keeps someone on their feet. A good thing.

                        I also suffer from Autism. You do not want to be seeking, or taking, interpersonal advice from me. If only because I'm Autistic. I'm not good at that.

                        Don't look at my (lack of) entry today. My legs hurt. Hurt yesterday, too. Don't know why. Garden work? I put in 7k-steps today. Not a lot of DareBee efforts.
                        I exercise more than my wife appreciates because - big scar or not - I'm dying faster than most. (we are all 'dying') I have five - FIVE! - stents around my heart. Each telling me that if I back off on exercise, bad things are going to start to go very wrong. I'm OK, with dying, just not eager. I'm glad you get some pleasure out of my writings. I do what I can. It's nice to know I'm successful. Thank you.

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                          #13
                          DaithiMeyer , I found this and this. HIIT exercise seems really efficient to melt visceral fat, the one you don't see but the dangerous one.

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                            #14
                            Louve rose ... glad I never claimed it wouldn't help loose FAT!
                            Yeah, exercise can easily help you lose fat. But you tend to gain a similar weight in MUSCLE as you do so.
                            This helps you LOOK slimmer and actually be healthier. But you still weigh about as much.
                            So. Not good for losing WEIGHT.
                            And so many body-dysmorphic folk seem to think that is the significant statistic. The one that, if fixed, will bring better health, happiness, or the attention of a desirable mate.
                            None of which even vaguely resembles the facts of life.
                            And doctors don't always help. Relying on simple BMI stats (body builders are all obese!) or telling patients "ya gotta lose WEIGHT!".
                            Life ain't fair, yeah?

                            Still ... exercise is GOOD FOR YOU!

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                              #15
                              DaithiMeyer , I understand what you meant now, and I totally agree.

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