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Why exercise won't make you lose weight
Old 08-19-2009, 07:12 PM   #1
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Why exercise won't make you lose weight

Interesting article which may well ring true with many on this Forum, including myself. It was interesting as just a few weeks back I was having a lunchtime discussion at work and saying that this last 2 years I have really kicked up my exercise intensity a lot and can see the difference in my overall health and well-being, but my weight has not really changed significantly - I gain a little, I lose a little, around a range of about 10lb. (170 -180)

Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin - TIME
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Old 08-19-2009, 07:23 PM   #2
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Very true. I had a big week of exercises last week, and Saturday morning I woke famished and ate pretty much everything in sight, and this week I weigh just a bit more. Oh, well, if I had to go back to the days when I tried to be Marco Pantani by exercising like a demon and eating nothing but pasta sans sauce, then I'll take a few more pounds. Speaking of which, instead of skipping dinner, maybe I should make myself a grilled cheese.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:04 PM   #3
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Interesting article. It's definitely harder to keep the cravings down after a hard work out. It all comes down to willpower, knowledge of what is happenning in your body, and having a good plan. In short, it ain't easy getting skinny and staying there. That's the cold hard truth!
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:07 PM   #4
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I went from 215 to 180 by lifting weights for 30-45 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week, and have kept it off for about 5 years. I really did not make any conscious changes in my diet during that period. Guess it was just an unrelated accident that I suddenly lost weight during the exact same period of time. The article is ridiculous IMHO, except that if you exercise and eat more, they can offset each other (isn't that profound). But TIME wants to sell magazines and many readers probably want to be told that exercise isn't beneficial WRT weight loss. Same nonsense that has sold thousands of diet plans that don't work, telling people what they want to believe when they know better. YMMV
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:29 PM   #5
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There are too many variables here.

Some people barely exercise hard enough to break a sweat and spend more time sucking on their water bottles than pumping iron. Others knock themselves out, relative to their level of fitness.

Some people eat more after exercise. Others lose their appetite after exercise.

Some people monitor what they eat, add exercise, and eat no more than before. Others look forward to exercising because they feel they can then eat more pizza or whatever they are craving.

Some people have a metabolic level that is relatively steady, and others find that exercise really ramps up their metabolism.

When I was 30, trying to lose weight after having a baby, I was walking ten miles a day pushing a baby carriage and probably eating way too much because I was nursing. I joined a gym, did nothing but a little moderate exercycling there and (no surprises here) I didn't lose any weight.

More recently, having been very sedentary for many years, I have found that working out at the gym has been more effective for me.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:34 PM   #6
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I have found since I started exercising regularly (4 or 5 days a week, 60 to 90 minutes) that I have lost weight because the more I exercise, the LESS I want to eat. I think my body just gets so pumped with endorphins that I just don't feel hunger. I eat a good evening meal, as healthy as possible, and can even have some unhealthy snacks at night. I have lost nearly 25 pounds this way and plan on another 25. So exercise CAN help some people lose weight if they react like I do.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BlondieMM View Post
I have found since I started exercising regularly (4 or 5 days a week, 60 to 90 minutes) that I have lost weight because the more I exercise, the LESS I want to eat. I think my body just gets so pumped with endorphins that I just don't feel hunger. I eat a good evening meal, as healthy as possible, and can even have some unhealthy snacks at night. I have lost nearly 25 pounds this way and plan on another 25. So exercise CAN help some people lose weight if they react like I do.
Congratulations on your weight loss!

I like the way you put it - - that exercise can help some people lose weight. There is a huge temptation to try to perceive ways in which people are all alike, but the truth is that our individual differences are huge and we simply are not all alike. What works for one person, may not for another.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:46 PM   #8
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I had the same impression as Midpack when I read that. If you exercise and use that as an excuse to eat poorly, you can gain weight. But the impression they give is that exercise doesn't help you lose weight. If you exercise and still eat sensibly, you should lose weight. It's a simple matter of burning more calories than you consume. You can lose more weight by either burning more calories, or consuming less. Whichever works best for you is the way to go. Personally, I find that the more I increase my running mileage, the more weight that drops off. When I take a break or cut back on running, the weight goes up. I'm not really as disciplined as I should be about what I eat, but sometimes I measure my runs in hours. Works for me, not for some.

Besides, I'm not a huge fan of weight numbers. How you feel is more important in my opinion, and things like cholesterol levels and blood pressure mean more than what your scale reads, in my opinion.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:49 PM   #9
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There was a TV show on a while back that took a group of people and had them train for a marathon. While most made it to the marathon few lost weight. Conclusion was no surprise. Diet AND Exercise! I will say however, when I was in college, I weighed 165 lbs. I also ate just about everything in site. However, I was also running 17 miles a day!
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:03 PM   #10
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I'm sure many people lose tons of weight exercising, but I can't seem to lose weight with exercise. I don't gain weight either, but I tend to eat much more food when I exercise. If I want to lose weight, I just change my diet.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:09 PM   #11
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One of the things that caught my attention is that the main study quoted was done at The Pennington Research Center right door to where we live and we actually know 2 people who have volunteered to undergo their programs and studies on weight loss. Neither of them had any success whatsoever even though they claimed to have followed the program of eating and exercise. Maybe it's that the folks that volunteer are mostly those who have "tried" everything else like our 2 friends.

Until I stopped playing and ref'ing soccer at age 40 I could and did eat anything and everything, but once I stopped I piled on the weight. When I decided to lose weight I combined a completely different way of eating with regular exercise and the weight came off very quickly.

DW and I always eat after we exercise as we are hungry but it is at a normal mealtime and we don't eat crap. eg we exercise in the gym after work and then we eat dinner, we cycle to the coffee shop and then eat breakfast and on a Saturday we play tennis for a couple of hours and then have lunch.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:47 PM   #12
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I'm sure many people lose tons of weight exercising, but I can't seem to lose weight with exercise. I don't gain weight either, but I tend to eat much more food when I exercise. If I want to lose weight, I just change my diet.
Drink more water before during and after exercising. That should curb your appetite and result in weight loss.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:29 PM   #13
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Doc says calories in vs calaories out. I lost >15lbs last winter without changing exercise and dramatically increased exercise the last four months with no change in weight. You need to manage both.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:30 AM   #14
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Yeah, I knocked off about 17 pounds in my first year of biking (about 100 miles a week) but this year it gained back about 7 of those pounds despite the exercise. No change in diet in either period. I just hope I stay where I am. I don't want to discipline myself on the eating side
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:33 AM   #15
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Doc says calories in vs calaories out. I lost >15lbs last winter without changing exercise and dramatically increased exercise the last four months with no change in weight. You need to manage both.
Well, you have the old issue of muscle weight increasing from exercise which offsets a bit of the weight loss you otherwise would notice, at least initially. And remember that running a mile only burns 110 calories or so for the average size person so it's costly (in terms of exercise) to offset that 300 calorie dessert.

The calories-in-calories-out mantra has always been assumed, basically the laws of thermodynamics. But it may not be quite that simple. When you ingest calories beyond those required to maintain your current weight and energy needs, proteins are handled differently from fats and carbs. When taken without carbs, rather than being stored for future use proteins seem to be at least partially discarded by the body in the form of "thermogenesis" or heat generation internally. The body temperature rises much more after a protein feeding then after a carbohydrate feeding of the same calorie count. Eathing both carbs and protein together may offset this effect - the insulin surge from the carbs might ruin the thermogenesis effect of the protein handling.

The real-world implication of all this is unclear but does point out that some of the old assumptions may not be quite accurate.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:59 AM   #16
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I think a big problem with weight loss is that the average dieter doesn't know enough about nutrition. Exercising or eating less to lose weight is comparable to making more money or spending less so one can FIRE. The less people know, the greater the chance for failure and vice versa.

I read one study that the average American gets 7% of their calories from soda. I think it also said that the average teenager gets 33% of their calories from soda.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:28 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I went from 215 to 180 by lifting weights for 30-45 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week, and have kept it off for about 5 years. I really did not make any conscious changes in my diet during that period. Guess it was just an unrelated accident that I suddenly lost weight during the exact same period of time. The article is ridiculous IMHO, except that if you exercise and eat more, they can offset each other (isn't that profound). But TIME wants to sell magazines and many readers probably want to be told that exercise isn't beneficial WRT weight loss. Same nonsense that has sold thousands of diet plans that don't work, telling people what they want to believe when they know better. YMMV
Well put.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:36 AM   #18
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dh2b lost over 20 lbs by going to the gym 4 days per week since January 09. Some diet changes happened, but nothing radical.
Case closed.
I however liked the article. Just the excuse I needed. (...kidding)
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:02 AM   #19
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The following is a different perspective on the Time article. If you read the Time article, you should really read this one as well: Why Time Magazine Owes the Fitness Industry a Big Fat Apology: Burn The Fat Blog
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:26 AM   #20
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The following is a different perspective on the Time article. If you read the Time article, you should really read this one as well: Why Time Magazine Owes the Fitness Industry a Big Fat Apology: Burn The Fat Blog
Good rebuttal.
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