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Old 23 April 2015, 02:30 PM
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Icon23 Exercise 'not key to obesity fight'

Physical activity has little role in tackling obesity - and instead public health messages should squarely focus on unhealthy eating, doctors say.

As someone who likes jogging and loves carbs, I had hoped they would balance each other out. No such luck apparently
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Old 23 April 2015, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
"That is unscientific and wrong. You cannot outrun a bad diet."
And the real problem to me is that it takes a lot of exercise to work off that cookie. I was pretty disappointed when my doctor told me that the 1/2 hour walk I was taking each evening was "nice but not all that helpful" when it came to helping me lose weight. If I wanted to keep eating the way I had become accustomed to eating and still lose weight I'd have had to start exercising like an elite athlete. So not going to happen!
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Old 23 April 2015, 04:38 PM
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Not very helpful for losing weight, but it will help your overall health.

I really wish people wouldn't discount the value of small steps like that. They may not get g-you back to your high school weight or fitness level, but that doesn't mean they're not worth doing.
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Old 23 April 2015, 04:44 PM
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Especially when that 1/2 hour walk was already a bit of a game changer for someone who had become a real couch potato! I mean I appreciated knowing that it wasn't going to help me lose the weight I thought it might but he could have been a bit more encouraging!
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Old 23 April 2015, 04:55 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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Exactly, Lainie. It is not an either or situation. Ideal is a healthy diet and moderate exercise. And daily (or most-days), moderate to vigorous exercise does have health benefits. And the problem with saying that the small steps are doing "nothing" is that it discourages further steps and people head back to the couch.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sultana of Beetroot View Post
As someone who likes jogging and loves carbs, I had hoped they would balance each other out. No such luck apparently
Yes, then there is this. On a running board I read, a lot of people ask about weight loss and "Why am I gaining weight?" Two issues that come up are that when you start running (I had this even worse with my very brief foray into swimming, and still do when I swim) is that you get this hunger a few hours later and can down say a bag of Goldfish crackers if you are not careful. Just for example mind you.

The other is that people overestimate their caloric burn and underestimate intake. An example- a newer runner was happy about her routine of a 3 mile run and then drinking a "recovery drink." Problem is a 3 mile run burns about 300 calories and the drink had more than that. And you don't need a "recovery drink" at that mileage, despite what the marketing people say. Similar is taking a gel or sports drink too frequently. Again, despite what the marketing people say.

All that said, most people on the board who ran consistently lost weight whether they were trying to or not, but it takes more than a mile or two. And a common saying was "Weight loss begins in the kitchen."
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Old 23 April 2015, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Sue View Post
I appreciated knowing that it wasn't going to help me lose the weight I thought it might but he could have been a bit more encouraging!
That's exactly how I felt after reading the article! Having gone from no exercise whatsoever, to being able to jog for 30 minutes several times a week (courtesy of the Couch Potato to 5 KM podcasts) this article really made me feel that there wasn't much point in continuing to jog if I was going to continue my love affair with bread.
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  #7  
Old 23 April 2015, 05:00 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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That really seems like a somewhat distorted view. Obesity is a big problem but not the only problem. Obesity by itself doesn't kill people, it is the diseases associated with obesity that kills. Heart disease, type II diabetes, even dementia are all reduced by exercising even if body weight isn't reduced.

From the link: "They said while activity was a key part of staving off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia, its impact on obesity was minimal."
and
"They said there was evidence that up to 40% of those within a normal weight range will still harbour harmful metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity."

Sounds like they are saying that exercise is very beneficial. In the second quote it is likely that many of the problems associated with normal weight but bad diet can be addressed, at least partially, with exercise.

So while "exercise 'not key to obesity fight' " might be true it is really off the point since obesity doesn't kill directly. Exercise clearly has a large beneficial effect on many of the health effects of obesity. So even if exercise doesn't affect body weight it does effect, at least partially, the health issues associated with obesity.

You can be healthy and overweight and you can be of proper weight and unhealthy. Health and weight are not such simple concepts that you can just graph one against the other. It is very clear that increased exercise in an overweight or obese individual will significantly improve their health (and longevity) even if it has zero effect on their weight.
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Old 23 April 2015, 05:18 PM
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I attended a health promotion workshop and the specialist doing the speaking for exercise summed it up nicely:

- weight is 80% diet, 20% exercise
- health is 80% exercise, 20% diet

That has stuck with me. And, I think that is why as a bit of a bigger man, I've kept such a good health track record, because in the army, we exercise all the time.
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  #9  
Old 23 April 2015, 05:41 PM
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I am currently the poster child for not eating right and not exercising. At one point in my life, I walked 5 miles a day, in about an hour. At this rate, I burned less than 400 calories. By watching my diet, I did lose weight. However, a single can of Coke could offset an hour of walking.
I take UEL's point--it is useful to exercise. Diet is important, but if the doctor in the OP wants everyone on a 1200 calorie a day diet, there will be resistance.
And resistance in this case is not futile. It could be fatal.

Pardon me, got to eat.

Ali
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  #10  
Old 23 April 2015, 05:57 PM
Onyx_TKD Onyx_TKD is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
I mean I appreciated knowing that it wasn't going to help me lose the weight I thought it might but he could have been a bit more encouraging!
I hear you. I recently went to see a dietician for the first time because my weight has been slowly creeping up during grad school. She wasn't outright discouraging--it's not like she told me my diet was crap--but she still managed to make me feel like most of the parts of my diet and exercise that I thought I was doing right were wrong. One of the highlights: She suggested I swap my daily glass of skim milk for yogurt, when we had already discussed that I don't really care for yogurt; when I sadly protested that I love milk, her response was a "Well, you have to take your preferences into account..." It's skim milk, darn it, not soda! If there's a problem with drinking skim milk, explain it to me, don't just expect me to swap something I love for something I sorta tolerate just on your say-so! I nearly started crying in the grocery store that evening when I realized that after a 45 minute appointment, I still had no idea what to get for dinner that met her healthy eating guidelines, and all of my normal "healthy" meal standbys were tainted by her vague disapproval. She found time to tell me what brand of olive oil I should be buying, but never managed to give me information useful for deciding what to eat that night. Holy useless micromanaging, Batman!
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  #11  
Old 23 April 2015, 06:08 PM
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It's a hard lesson to learn, especially when so much focus is placed on exercise in the media. I had a bad year in 2014 where I gained about 10-15 pounds that I'm still struggling to drop. I also ran two half marathons and a full that year, but it wasn't enough to combat moving to the suburbs and going through several months of eating poorly compared to what I was eating at my peak. I still had the fitness and training to cover the distance, but I definitely felt it. Now I'm shifting to very carefully balancing my diet and getting more background activity in, and it's having an effect. The running keeps me fit and I'm still healthy with a little extra weight, but carrying the extra pounds over 42 kilometres convinced me that I really couldn't keep shrugging off the food part of it all.

Logically, I know that (especially since I initially lost 50 pounds with tracking and reasonable dietary changes), But I sometimes find myself getting resentful that I can put hours into training every week and still have to be mindful. The truth is that I work an office job in and I'm not a very big person to begin with. I simply don't need as many calories as I've been eating. It's not unfair, it's just the way bodies work.

I can tell you that I definitely wouldn't want to lose the exercise component of my lifestyle. There are benefits far beyond weight loss, and I feel it if I go even a week without my normal workouts. I've been doing weights for the last six months too (which is why my pant size is beating my scale for progress), and all three components go together. You can't just focus on one thing and ignore the rest.

Eta: what I hate about the 1200 calorie suggestion is that you basically have to sacrifice physical activity to eat at that level. At that point, you're harming yourself to focus on one specific goal. I could also chop off a limb if I wanted to see a lower number on the scale, but I'd rather take the more complicated route to find the right balance that allows me to be strong and active without too much extra.

Last edited by quink; 23 April 2015 at 06:22 PM.
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  #12  
Old 23 April 2015, 06:26 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onyx_TKD View Post
" It's skim milk, darn it, not soda!
A 12oz soda has 143 calories.
A 12oz glass of skim milk has 124 calories.

Calorie-wise, it's pretty close.

OY

Last edited by overyonder; 23 April 2015 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 23 April 2015, 06:29 PM
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Skim milk is closer to 90 calories per cup and has more nutritional benefit than pop. And I say this as someone who hates milk
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  #14  
Old 23 April 2015, 06:35 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
Skim milk is closer to 90 calories per cup and has more nutritional benefit than pop. And I say this as someone who hates milk
Read carefully what I wrote. 12 oz vs 12 oz, and comparing calories only.


OY
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Old 23 April 2015, 07:00 PM
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My mistake, I missed the serving size.

I don't think you can ignore the nutritional benefits when comparing foods though. Pop offers nothing nutritionally, so it's a little like comparing spending $124 at a store for merchandise vs. throwing $143 into the wind. You're out of pocket around the same amount, but what did you get for it? You could lose weight on the Twinkie diet based on calories in vs out, but you're probably not going to feel very good.

It kind of goes back to what I was saying about causing harm by focusing only on calories and weight loss and not what the food you're consuming is actually doing for you. If weight loss is the only goal, you can get away with just looking at that one number, but most people probably have to look a little further, especially if they're looking at long term dietary changes.
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Old 23 April 2015, 07:19 PM
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The Exercise Myth

This is an article that I thought did a good job of explaining why exercise isn't a cure-all for obesity and why the focus needs to be more on diet and general movement (the message is really that all is not lost if you hate to exercise). The author himself is actually pretty hard core when it comes to exercise (I follow him mostly for his fitness articles), so he's not the type to say exercise is useless or even harmful, but I appreciated this more realistic look at things.

Some people genuinely like exercise, but many don't. It's good to move your body, but you don't need to be doing 100km bike rides or running marathons to do it, unless that's what you enjoy. A lot of people actually miss out on getting a reasonable amount of movement in because Biggest Loser and other similar things have taught us that you either need to go all out to the point of exhaustion, or you might as well pick up a bucket of ice cream for dinner. This is actually what spurred me to add an extra half hour walk into my work day, even on days where I hit the gym or run hill for an hour after work, just so I could get my body moving a little more (it also convinced me that I really need to watch what I'm eating after a workout, because no matter how difficult that hill run felt in terms of effort, it doesn't give me a free pass to eat a meal-sized snack after).
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Old 23 April 2015, 09:10 PM
Onyx_TKD Onyx_TKD is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by overyonder View Post
A 12oz soda has 143 calories.
A 12oz glass of skim milk has 124 calories.

Calorie-wise, it's pretty close.

OY
She wasn't suggesting it for calorie cutting, but rather for nutrition, although again, she never bothered to explain why except for citing "probiotics". She didn't suggest replacing milk with water to cut the calories. Instead, she suggested eliminating milk (presumably replaced with water) and adding yogurt. Yogurt is more calorie dense than either skim milk or soda (about 154 calories per 1 cup for plain, low-fat yogurt, i.e., 231 calories for 12 oz). Granted, it's not a like-to-like substitution so I'd eat a smaller amount of yogurt than I'd drink a beverage, but by my calculations and the nutrition data I found, yogurt is also more calorie dense than milk for the same amount of calcium. And that's for plain, unflavored yogurt, which I don't like. Yogurt with fruit that's actually palatable to me has even more calories.

Like I said before, my main objection wasn't the suggestion, but that she was basically pooh-poohing the foods I had been thinking were healthy choices without ever actually explaining why, which leaves me no way to adapt the spirit and reason behind her suggestions to a diet I can enjoy enough to keep up. Telling me to replace favorite foods with foods I don't enjoy without explaining why is not helpful or sustainable. It's simply discouraging. After talking to her, I was about ready to scrap this whole healthy eating idea.
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Old 23 April 2015, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
...people overestimate their caloric burn and underestimate intake...
I think this is the crux of the issue.

The other big issue with losing weight is that it often takes a drastic calorie intake to make any noticeable progress when one is significantly over-eating.

If my body is a perfect weight parity at 2000 calories a day, and I'm eating 2500/day, it would take a 1000 calorie reduction every day to lose a pound a week which doesn't seem like much progress despite a reducing intake by 40%.

I have recently lost a considerable amount of weight via a combination of diet and exercise. I found that I could reduce my intake by 500+ calories a day and burn another 500+ calories a day to double my results.
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Old 23 April 2015, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
Two issues that come up are that when you start running (I had this even worse with my very brief foray into swimming, and still do when I swim) is that you get this hunger a few hours later and can down say a bag of Goldfish crackers if you are not careful.
Swimming makes me hungrier, quicker, than any other exercise. I took swimming lessons in college (as a refresher) and my stomach would be growling by the time I climbed out of the pool.
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Old 23 April 2015, 09:41 PM
overyonder overyonder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onyx_TKD View Post
She wasn't suggesting it for calorie cutting, but rather for nutrition
Understood + Agreed. The problem is that sometimes some people tend to view 120 calories from a healthy source as "not calories at all" because of the nutritional value, when comparing to 120 calories from another source.

Whether you take in 2,000 calories from sources A, B, C, or D, E, F, you're still taking in 2,000 calories. If you don't expand 2,000 calories per day, you will gain weight whether those calories came from ABC or DEF (not to mention that you will not get the nutrients you need).

It's wise to pick better choices of calories when you eat, indeed.

OY
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