Exercise Makes You Fat

OK, so maybe that’s not exactly what this Time Magazine article says:

[T]he peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE ... published a remarkable study ... The findings were surprising.  On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised - sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months - did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. ... Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each. [...]

Whether because exercise made them hungry or because they wanted to reward themselves (or both), most of the women who exercised ate more than they did before they started the experiment.  Or they compensated in another way, by moving around a lot less than usual after they got home. [...]

"I see this anecdotally amongst, like, my wife’s friends," [Dr. Church] says.  "They’re like, ’Ah, I’m running an hour a day, and I’m not losing any weight.’"  He asks them, "What are you doing after you run?"  It turns out one group of friends was stopping at Starbucks for muffins afterward.  Says Church: "I don’t think most people would appreciate that, wow, you only burned 200 or 300 calories, which you’re going to neutralize with just half that muffin."

I recently discovered that my eating habits were affecting my weight far more than my level of exercise.

Sometime about 6-8 years ago, while I was in college, I noticed that I ate about every 4 hours.  At that point, I guess I subconsciously decided that that was when I was supposed to eat, because ever since then, that’s been the main determinant in deciding when I should eat.

A few months ago, I noticed that my stomach fat was getting a little out of hand, and for some reason it occurred to me that the whole every-4-hours thing was totally arbitrary.  I mean, sure I was hungry at ~4 hours, but what if I stretched it to 6 hours instead?  Over the course of a day that’d cut out an entire meal.

So I started doing that, and sure enough, in 2-3 months, I’ve lost 15 pounds.  I was previously right in the middle of the "overweight" range on the BMI scale -- and no the BMI theory is not perfect, but it’s a useful metric -- whereas now I’m just barely inside the "normal" range.

I’ve also started paying attention to the quantities of food that I eat.  For example, going out to a restaurant and eating the bread, the salad, the appetizer, and the whole entree -- which I used to do, even though I was stuffed afterwards -- is just ridiculous.  And for most of my life I’ve been able to eat huge amounts of everything and not gain weight; that of course changed in my mid-20s and it’s taken some conscious effort to stop eating that way.

But my point is that I achieved this not-insignificant change in my weight purely by adjusting my eating habits -- and only the timing and quantity, not what I eat.  I go for a 2-mile walk a couple times per week, and a ~10-mile bike ride maybe once or twice a week, which is the about same level of exercise I’ve done for the past few years.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Reply to this message here:

Your name
Website (optional)

HomeCreate PostArchivesLoginCMS by Encodable ]