exercise and weight loss

I asked my personal trainer to read the article entitled: "Does Exercise Really Make Us Thinner?" Looking back on this request, I realize asking him what he thought about the article was like asking my tax accountant what they think about the flat tax. What would they think since it would put them out of business?

The premise of the story is that exercise has never been linked to weight loss by researchers. In fact, most research has suggested that you "work up an appetite" by exercising and therefore take in more calories after exercising, thereby off setting any potential weight loss. The idea of "will power" being the reason for a lack of weight loss in some people has also been debunked. So where does this leave us? I am not sure. Sam, however, did not believe the article, even though the citations are there throughout the article. He still is completely on board with the calories in - calories burned = weight loss paradigm. I am not really sure where I stand.

Don't get me wrong, going to Sam has been great. I am in much better shape and can tell every time I do some other kind of exercise. For example, stopping next to the curb on my bike with my right leg resting on the curb without getting off my bike used to be impossible. I know now, intuitively, that I can do it. I don't even have to plan to do it. I still tell Sam every time we do something new, though, that it is impossible. This, too, shall pass. (Jumping between bosu balls almost kills me. (Click here to see a bosu (both sides up) ball.))

Anyway, read the article; tell me what you think. I buy it, hook, line, and sinker. (Click here to go to the article.)


Katerina said...

Well, I don't really understand why there is so much research for something that seems fairly straight forward: of course if you take in less calories than the calories you burn, you lose weight. And that's the only way one can lose weight, it's an indisputable fact of life. But the way I see it, it is a bit funny to think that simply with exercise alone one can lose weight, when they continue to eat more than their body needs. Exercise burns calories, but not THAT many calories. Even if you run passionately for an hour a day, you can gain back the burnt calories in 5 minutes, by eating, say, a huge doughnut. Exercise may assist your weight-loss effort, but it can't replace it. If that fellow who was running 50 miles a week was eating a pound of chocolate ice-cream in the evenings, then why on earth would he lose weight? This is not to underestimate the benefit of exercise. Physical activity is a natural need for the human body to be healthy, not to be pretty.

harkinna said...

I completely agree with you...but there have to be other factors. In Taubes' book he tells of morbidly obese people in a hospital with no access to outside food, only getting 600 calories a day in food for three weeks and someone of them STILL gained weight.

I just know we eat too much sugar here. Too much. It is in everything, even meat.

So, yes, exercise alone is not the answer. I read today that to lose one pound of weight loss equals 3500 calories. WOW.