Dieting trumps exercising

We hear a lot that a little exercise is the key to weight loss – that taking the stairs instead of the elevator will make a difference, for instance. But in fact it’s much more efficient to cut calories, says Samuel Klein, MD at Washington University’s School of Medicine. “Decreasing food intake is much more effective than increasing physical activity to achieve weight loss. If you want to achieve a 300 kcal energy deficit you can run in the park for 3 miles or not eat 2 ounces of potato chips.” It’s as simple as that. Some studies have borne out this dichotomy, pitting exercise against diet and finding that participants tend to lose more weight by dieting alone than by exercise alone. Of course, both together would be even better. The problem is that when you rely on exercise alone, it often backfires, for a couple of reasons. This is partly because of exercise’s effects on the hunger and appetite hormones, which make you feel noticeably hungrier after exercise. “If you walk briskly for an hour and burn 400 kcal,” says Klein, “and then have a beer and a slice of pizza afterwards because the exercise made you feel hungry…you will eat more calories than you have burned.” It may not always be beer and pizza, but people do tend to naturally compensate for the calories they expend. “This is an adaptive system,” adds David Allison, PhD. “For every action there’s a reaction; that’s a law of physics, not of biology, but it seems that it also works in biological systems. This is why we often overestimate quite radically an effect of a particular treatment.” He points out that public health campaigns that, for example, urge people to take the stairs instead of the elevator or go on a nightly stroll – or, for that matter, even eat fewer calories – are unlikely to work, since they may fail to take into account the body’s compensatory mechanisms that can totally counteract the effect. The other problem with exercise-without-dieting is that it’s simply tiring, and again, the body will compensate. “If the exercise made you tired so that you become more sedentary the rest of the day, you might not experience any net negative energy,” says Klein. Some of the calories we burn come from our basic movements throughout the day – so if you’re wiped out after exercise, and more likely to sit on the couch afterwards, you’ve lost the energy deficit you gained from your jog. Visit GO TRUCK CAPITAL portal for more.


Your diet holds the key to a slim physique, and by eating the right foods in sensible portions you'll almost certainly lose body fat. To shed the weight and keep it off, focus on making dietary choices that you can maintain for life. This doesn't mean giving up your favorite foods for good -- just fit the small, occasional treat into an overall healthy meal plan. STEP 1 Eat fewer calories than your body burns for energy each day. For every 3,500-calorie deficit you create, you'll lose approximately 1 pound of body fat. Calorie usage varies among individuals, but for moderately active people, Harvard Medical School recommends multiplying your weight times the number 15 to estimate daily expenditure. So at 155 pounds, you probably burn about 2,325 calories a day, and will drop 1 pound a week eating 1,825 calories per day. STEP 2 Substitute refined carbs for whole grains. This simple switch may reduce visceral fat deep in your belly by as much as 10 percent, according to a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in 2010. Skip breads, pastas and tortillas made with white flour, and choose products made with whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa and spelt instead. STEP 3 Trade saturated and trans fats for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are less likely to lead to weight gain, according to a study published in "Obesity" in 2007. Saturated fats mainly come from animal products such as butter, cheese and meat, while trans fats are found in meats, processed snack foods and baked goods, sometimes under the label "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil." Instead of these, choose nuts, avocados, olives and canola oil for healthy unsaturated fats. STEP 4 Fill half of your plate at each meal with fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories but high in dietary fiber. Fiber slows digestion to keep you feeling full, thereby reducing food cravings that might spur overeating. STEP 5 Avoid diet sodas. They may seem like a smart alternative to sugary beverages, but diet soft drinks are linked to weight gain, according to a review published in June 2010 in the "Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine." Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners, which may induce sugar cravings and prompt you to seek out unhealthy foods. Sip on plain or sparkling water instead, and add a spritz of lemon or lime if you need more flavor. TIPS & WARNINGS * Eat main meals off of a small salad plate to help control portion sizes. * Regular strength training and cardiovascular workouts will help you lose body fat faster and keep the weight off for good -- and may even help ward off heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. * To avoid poor nutrition, don't eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day if you're female, or 1,500 calories per day if you're male. * See your doctor before starting a new weight-loss plan. Visit MURRAY LAMPERT for more.

Exercise can help fix a broken metabolism, especially during maintenance

“People used to come into the doctor’s office and say, ‘My metabolism is broken!’” says James Hill, PhD, at the University of Colorado. “We never had any evidence that it actually was, until recently. We were wrong – it was!” While exercise may not be as important for weigh loss as calorie restriction, as Hill says, it’s important in another way: It begins to repair a broken metabolism. “A lot of what we know in this area comes from NASA, of the bed-rest studies,” he says. “Within a couple of days of non-activity, the metabolism becomes inflexible. You start moving again, and it does start to change.” Your metabolism may not ever go back to “normal” (more on this below), but the evidence indicates that it can indeed pick up again, in large part through moving your body every day. This is a large part of why exercise is critical in the maintenance phase, which is well known to be more difficult than the weight loss phase. Essentially, it buys us some wiggle room, says Michael Jensen, MD at the Mayo Clinic. “Exercise is very, very important for maintaining lost weight, and people who are not physically active are more likely to gain weight. We think it’s partly because in the extra calories burned from physical activity, you have a bit more flexibility in food intake, so you’re not so much relying on ridged changes in eating habits; it makes it more tolerable.” Visit THE SHAW CENTER for more.