Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back bend on a Donut

I read this today and it kind of bugged me. If you read it knowing it's based purely on the fact that adding exercise is not the post effective way for you to lost weight, then it is somewhat logical, but if you think harder, you might say, "Why did they waste four (online) pages on this? And wouldn't you be healthier if you stayed the same weight with exercise than lost weight but were still a couch potato?"
Also, it's not like if you eat less and don't exercise you'll drop 25 pounds immediately. That's going to be incremental, so you may as well gain a little fitness while you do it.

Yikes, so below are some excerpts from Time's article "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin":,8599,1914857-1,00.html, and then my comments on them...

The conventional wisdom that exercise is essential for shedding pounds is actually fairly new. As recently as the 1960s, doctors routinely advised against rigorous exercise, particularly for older adults who could injure themselves. Today doctors encourage even their oldest patients to exercise, which is sound advice for many reasons: People who regularly exercise are at significantly lower risk for all manner of diseases — those of the heart in particular. They less often develop cancer, diabetes and many other illnesses. But the past few years of obesity research show that the role of exercise in weight loss has been wildly overstated.

Uhm, you're not saying much here, and what you are saying sounds a little contradictory. Wouldn't you rather have lower risk of diseases than weigh less?

What's going on here? Church calls it compensation, but you and I might know it as the lip-licking anticipation of perfectly salted, golden-brown French fries after a hard trip to the gym.

Please, find me one person who wants to scarf fries after a run? I prefer a granola bar, dry cereal, slice of (whole wheat) bread.... Something that's not going to make my stomach unhappy.

A standard 20-oz. bottle of Gatorade contains 130 calories. If you're hot and thirsty after a 20-minute run in summer heat, it's easy to guzzle that bottle in 20 seconds, in which case the caloric expenditure and the caloric intake are probably a wash. From a weight-loss perspective, you would have been better off sitting on the sofa knitting.

If you're hot and thirsty after a 20 minute run in the summer heat, you can drink water and be a-ok. You don't need any electrolytes under half an hour, and you don't need 20 ounces of electrolytes. In fact, it's more like 4-8 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise. And again, let's talk about making the stomach unhappy (or at least mine, I'm sure you're glad to know this)... Plus, so I've heard, better absorption of gato or other sports drinks occurs when it's about 1/2 strength. I tend to drink flavored seltzer with an ounce or two of juice in it post-run.

"If you're more physically active, you're going to get hungry and eat more." Gortmaker, who has studied childhood obesity, is even suspicious of the playgrounds at fast-food restaurants. "Why would they build those?" he asks. "I know it sounds kind of like conspiracy theory, but you have to think, if a kid plays five minutes and burns 50 calories, he might then go inside and consume 500 calories or even 1,000."

Uhhhh they build those so kids can have fun, play, you know, do kid stuff. Also, have you known anyone to burn 50 calories in 5 minutes???????
And wouldn't McDonald's prefer if you bought 1,000 calories of food for the little one??

We all need to move more — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says our leisure-time physical activity (including things like golfing, gardening and walking) has decreased since the late 1980s, right around the time the gym boom really exploded. But do we need to stress our bodies at the gym?

Sure, we don't need to. But sometimes doesn't it feel kind of good? Also, I'm curious, since I don't have a garden to garden in: all else equal, are people who live in smaller (sqft) homes heavier than people who live in larger ones?

Actually, it's not clear that vigorous exercise like running carries more benefits than a moderately strenuous activity like walking while carrying groceries.

What kind of benefits are we talking? Running will better prepare you to run a race or escape a tiger than carrying your groceries will.

In short, it's what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight. You should exercise to improve your health, but be warned: fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain. I love how exercise makes me feel, but tomorrow I might skip the VersaClimber — and skip the blueberry bar that is my usual postexercise reward.

It's what you don't eat, not what you eat too much of because you think you've earned it. And most people don't exercise to "work it off" but to "work out." You shouldn't have a postexercise reward, you should have a post exercise refuel.
Besides, fries and gatorade - not part of a diet that helps you lose weight, regardless of whether you work out or not.

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