I’ve lost 70 pounds in the last ~7 months. 50 pounds to go. I’m successful for the first time because I’ve gotten over my image issues, I’ve accepted that losing weight necessarily involves being hungry at least some of the time, and I had a ‘spiritual’ experience.
They’re damn right that it gets harder to lose weight every time you do. My metabolism is miraculously “efficient”. The insight is that you have to accept that and eat to the amount that hits your goals, not try to find some miracle diet.
Also, IME, exercise makes me hungry for more calories than I burn. Exercise to get healthy, treat the metabolism boost as a bonus. Exercise does not cancel out foods (this is speaking to fat people like me - if you’ve been skinny your whole life your body probably works differently).
Thank you! Exercise should be completely supplemental to overall health, not to lose weight. The amount of times I've seen people eat an awful meal while trying to lose weight because they "worked out extra hard" is astonishing.
Losing weight is almost completely related to what you put in your body. While you can certainly lose weight from exercise, it's by far not the most profound way to do so.
Congrats on your weight loss by the way, former fat kid myself, I know it's not an easy process and keeping it off is just as hard!
I had a medical emergency early last year that caused me to cut my food intake (I feared too large of a meal would cause another medical emergency). So I looked at the plate of food in front of me, measured out what I thought was a "reasonable amount", and ate only that. No seconds.
Within two or three months I dropped 20 pounds.
Had surgery at that point. After surgery I no longer worried about medical emergencies so I resumed my original eating habits.
And steadily put the 20 pounds back on.
Conveniently summarized as "You can't outrun your fork". No amount of running replaces a calorie deficit.
Also, props for 70 pounds of weight loss. That's a huge number.
Walking, is helpful. And strength training is good to prevent muscle loss.
Anyway, the above is actually the conventional wisdom of those who go to the gym and try to get lean. This is not the message you hear in pop nutrition however.
Congrats on your progress! If you do ever do strength training (or for anyone reading this), one very simple metric to add is weight + waist measure.
After all, the goal is fat loss, not "weight", per se. When doing lifts, it can be discouraging to see the scale not moving. However, in lost cases the fat is still going away and the waist shrinks.
So, for most people, my advice is to first focus on how much they’re able to do: it’s faster and more reliable than weight loss, brings comparable health and social benefits, and puts you in a better position to appreciate the fat reduction when you start focusing on that.
So your approach broadens beyond weight and gives a win, even in the event weight temporarily increased.
Also per my previous comment, I suspect that if you got stronger, then you probably lowered your weight circumference too. At least if your weight was stable. Muscle mass and bone density take the place of fat as strength increases, at equal weights. Hard to go wrong with functional measures.
The types of fat may change in a good way too as function increases. I looked into the health of sumo wrestlers. Turns out that at an equivalent fat percentage of a non-athlete, they will have much less visceral fat. This is fat around the organs, and is the type of fat most linked to bad health effects.
I find your line of thought unconvincing. The thing in common among everyone I know who is overweight is that they don't even work out at all. The amount of people I know who don't do anything is astonishing. The problem people have with exercise is that they don't build the habit at all. That's where they fail, long before your hypothesis could even be tested.
"Better not exercise so I don't overeat!" sounds like every other self-sabotaging bargaining we do to avoid effort, like not jogging because you can't yet afford nice running shoes. This seems like the last excuse that we need to be peddling to people trying to turn their life around.
When I was overweight (I've lost about 80kg), just walking around the shops was a significant exercise, I'd be short of breath. Now I need a 15 mile bike ride to achieve the same level of exertion. Also, after any kind of exercise it used to be every joint would hurt.
Often weight is _the_ barrier to exercise. When I was at 300lb it was physically painful to walk more than a few minutes. The small muscles near my ankles just couldn't take it.
After I lost ~25lbs I suddenly could walk without serious trouble. I'm still working on actual exercise beyond walking 30 minutes to and from work each day.
You can use it as an excuse but really I suspect for most people sticking with a diet is actually much easier than sticking to an exercise plan. Especially if you didn't grow up exercising and don't have any happy memories of exercise.
When did you start exercising regularly? Any tips for the rest of us on sticking with it long enough to form a habit?
Walking was a great gateway drug for exercise since I really hated the idea of exercise and sweating, plus I felt so awkward and out of place going to a gym. It always felt like everyone at the gym was staring at me and I felt stupid not knowing how to do things properly. Walking was a solo activity and pretty hard to do wrong, so it eliminated the self confidence barrier at least. Listening to podcasts and audiobooks made the walking more enjoyable, sometimes I’d walk for hours and not realize how sweaty and tired I was until I stopped due to a phone call or something.
Beyond walking, a friend got me into rock climbing. It seemed super daunting since everyone at climbing gyms is so buff and I had no muscle and lots of fat and couldn’t do a pull up to save my life. But it turns out with proper instruction the entry level climbs are pretty easy, no harder than climbing a ladder. But then when you get to the top there’s adrenaline from the height looking down, plus a real sense of accomplishment. It helped me build momentum. Eventually things got easier as I did it more often. And once I started looking in the mirror and seeing actual muscle on my arm it was a huge confidence boost and I doubled down on my efforts. Getting over that initial hump where you don’t see any benefit yet is the hardest part. I never fully lost my belly fat even today, but the visible muscle growth was something I could latch onto to keep motivated.
TL;DR: start small, avoid situations that hurt self-confidence, find things that are enjoyable or exciting, look for signs of progress in order to stay motivated
Edit: to be clear my diet changes made a huge difference as well, I’m not attributing my weight loss entirely to the exercise. But I was responding to the question of how to start exercising. I do think it made a difference. I found regular exercise improved my mood which probably helped me limit overeating from depression/stress.
Exercise does not help people lose weight, and it may make it harder for people to lose weight.
Exercise is important, and we need to help more people exercise, but we should avoid suggesting that exercise helps weight loss. It does not.
Exercise is absolutely essential for healthy weight loss unless your sole focus is on lost mass. Exercising while dieting (meaning restricting calories) minimizes the loss of muscle tissue when trying to lose >1 lb/week. If you're losing >2lb/week dieting without exercise, a sizable portion of the weight loss is actually muscle.
It is possible to take the exercise to an unhealthy extreme, such as on Biggest Loser, where they exercised to the point of causing muscle damage/rhabo, but that's the exceptional case, not the norm.
Exercise absolutely helps weight loss. 100%.
Exercise is essential for health. From a purely scientific numbers perspective, it has little impact on weight loss in the morbidly obese. The vast majority of impact is from food consumption.
Too much Aerobic exercise can be detrimental to weight loss as it encourages metabolic slow down and increases cravings for easy energy. It also has near zero impact on preserving lean body mass. Modest aerobic activity is always healthy, but in the morbidly obese, any more than that is counter productive.
Weight lifting on the other hand does have a major impact on preserving lean body mass during a diet, but it also depends on you eating a lot of protein. Without the protein, you’re also not going to be conserving lean body mass.
Again, what you eat is the most important. You can lose trmeendous fat , water, and muscle mass purely by eating less. It’s going to be fat-loss with with 20-30 minutes of walking 5 days a week, and some modest dumbbells or resistance band work, and a decent amount of lean protein ingestion.
Also: water! As an obese person I kind of had to learn what thirst is because I almost always interpreted it as hunger. Also vital while your stomach is shrinking if you're used to overeating (as I was).
Obviously no pressure here, but are you willing to share your experience?
I ended up a lot more in touch with myself and more in tune with my body. After that it was just unfathomable to not lose weight.
The tricky thing about LSD is you don't learn anything you didn't already know, it just clicks in a real way for the first time. Having a mental model/ knowing something is a distinct process from internalizing it in a way that affecrs behavior.
I finally decided to make a significant change last year. It started with me doing meal prep for my lunches. Previously I would eat out for lunch every day, and I would never make good choices. I was able to lose about 35lbs by just doing that and making no other changes in my life.
In August, I decided to start the keto diet. I started not for the weight loss reasons, but for the lifting of the "brain fog". I didn't realize how much carbs controlled my life until then. Eating keto 100% changed my life for the better:
* My relationship with food has completely changed. I am now concerned about what I'm eating, nutritionally speaking, instead of just quantity and taste. I am eating a lot more whole foods.
* My overall pain level has gone down significantly (I have back problems).
* I literally crave vegetables. My first couple of weeks I ate nothing but bacon and other unhealthy meats. After a while, all I wanted was a big plate of broccoli!
* I have much more energy and mental clarity. I also noticed my recovery time from working out is lessened.
As of this morning, I weigh 196lbs. I don't know how long keto is sustainable for, but I plan on sticking to this for the long term. If I do stop, I will definitely apply the lessons I've learned from going keto: mostly eat whole foods and carbohydrates that have nutritional value.
How did you stick with it though? I can do the diet, but find it hard to do with social stuff. For me, doing keto was quite a lonely thing.
Eating out, most cuisines you can adapt. Nowhere serves a keto pizza, for example, but even stuff like Indian, there's a buffet where if you avoid the rice and legume-based stuff and stick to meats and veg, you're in good shape.
Eating at friends' places is the one tricky thing, but these days people are pretty cool with it if you decline food based on a dietary restriction.
Giving up snacks or junky foods like breakfast cereal is the hardest for me, but there's a great keto porridge recipe I like -- add a handful of berries and it's still 2-3 grams carbs but filling and good.
Longest I stuck with it so far was 6 months, for accelerated weight loss, and now I prefer a lower-carb diet but am no longer strict about keto stuff.
Best outcome was breaking my relationship to food -- like it rewired the part of my brain that was all "satiate your hunger with sugary junk" to where I can satisfy hunger cravings with a handful of nuts, or even a hot tea with cream. That seems to be permanent so far.
Those things have been harder than retraining myself not to eat when watching TV in the evenings.
I purposefully broke keto once (for my birthday). I had Pho and some cake. It was deliberate and delicious, and the next day I felt like complete garbage. That also helps motivate me as I like feeling good :)
"Being in ketosis" is hard to track; the urine test strips are helpful but not always accurate. Someone came up with a breath analyzer at some point but I lost track of the project.
Some recent stuff has shown that a 24-36hr fast can "kick start" ketosis as well; anecdotally it seems to work for me, but again I have to kind of go by feel. (Or if I note that I suddenly drop the 3-5 lbs of water weight that came on when out of ketosis.)
I don't track myself being in ketosis on a daily basis, but I can definitely tell if I go over based on how I feel.
Definitely up the fat, especially cause grilled chicken won't be particularly fatty itself...
Also high stress = high cortisol = high glucose production (even from fat/gluconeogenesis) = high insulin = increased rate of fat storage and insulin resistance/diabetes
Unfortunately I’m back up to 225 but my life’s in a different place with new demands and stresses to figure out how to work healthy eating around. It’s a constant struggle!
I'm really glad that exercise is being called out as useless to treat obesity more and more. I hope that trend continues and things like Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaigns never happen again.
Carbohydrate addiction is no joke, even though most don't believe it exists.
I am obese according to the BMI, but I run 3 times a week and my resting heart rate grazes into the "athlete" territory. My doctor is very happy. But I don't look it, that's for sure. I do not like running. I see it like brushing my teeth. I don't like it, but I do it because I have to if I want to maintain my body.
Eating towards keto macros if you are diabetic and at least intermittent fasting are really helpful too. Not snacking is the hardest part to start with.
edit: as to the exercises, form over function... slow for both up and down movements.
deadlift (hexbar if straight is too difficult) at near max weight for 4-5 reps.
sandbag lift and press, go as heavy as you can handle, for as many slow reps as you can handle. (if you're over 25, increase the bag weight, go s-l-o-w, requires more effort)
trx or regular pushups, 4 sets of 25 reps (100 total)
trx row, or pullups, 4 sets of 25 (100 total)
standing squat / deep knee bends (no extra weight), 4 sets of 25 (100 total)
walk to the nearest convenience store, buy a bottle of water, walk back.
Can generally get it all in well under an hour total.
aside: yes, there is more that you can do, and you may want to increase from a walk to swimming, cycling or an eliptical a few times a week as you are able.
there's also more weight training techniques you can do... that said, if you are over 2x the typical weight for your gender and height (mostly from fat), you are so far off, you can get away with just this. Also, if you are looking for just general health, it's a good place to start from.
If it only focused on the latter, I'd agree with you. But nearly everything I heard about it had to do with the former (healthier food options for schools and such).
As an example, here is a PDF with 5 ideas for kids:
2) Try new fruits and veggies
3) Deink plenty of water
4) Break up TV time with jumping jacks
5) Help make dinner.
Those are headlines, but when you look st the details for exercise, for example, these are the benefits it points to, in order:
Feel less stressed.
• Feel better about yourself.
• Feel more ready to learn in school.
• Keep a healthy weight. 1 • Build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints.
• sleep better at night.
Only the 4th out of 6 benefits of exercise mentions weight.
Children don't have the same "big picture" view. They're not going to perceive it the same way. And facilitators have to take that into consideration. All those benefits of exercising are correct. But if the facilitator emphasizes the weight part, then that's what the kids will hold onto as well. If the facilitator doesn't emphasize the diet part (or only emphasizes eating healthy with fruits, vegetables and things, but not portion control), then kids will get only part of the message.
Also, I only ate "healthier food options" during that time. I ate too much of it, sure, but "portion control" doesn't mean much when there's healthy carbohydrates everywhere to eat.
Completely believe it, although I think it depends on an individual's metabolism, which is why it's so tricky.
I stop having an insatiatable hunger after dropping carbs; my hunger feeling is more muted and in turn more managable. I have often wondered if "normal" people simply always feel that way, and so portion control is easier for them. I'd do keto more, but it isn't great for one's social life.
The other thing that helps me was Firas Zahabi's advice on Joe Rogan, that consistency and flow are key (to excercise), not intensity. I think his advice generalises to almost everything, how I became good at programming, playing an instrument, and also how I became fat. None of these happened overnight.
I agree with you about carbohydrate addiction.
> A 27-year-old male patient fasted under supervision for 382 days and has subsequently maintained his normal weight. Blood glucose concentrations around 30 mg/100 ml were recorded consistently during the last 8 months, although the patient was ambulant and attending as an out-patient. Responses to glucose and tolbutamide tolerance tests remained normal. The hyperglycaemic response to glucagon was reduced and latterly absent, but promptly returned to normal during carbohydrate refeeding. After an initial decrease was corrected, plasma potassium levels remained normal without supplementation. A temporary period of hypercalcaemia occurred towards the end of the fast. Decreased plasma magnesium concentrations were a consistent feature from the first month onwards. After 100 days of fasting there was a marked and persistent increase in the excretion of urinary cations and inorganic phosphate, which until then had been minimal. These increases may be due to dissolution of excessive soft tissue and skeletal mass. Prolonged fasting in this patient had no ill-effects.
> During the 382 days of the fast, the patient's weight decreased from 456 to 180 lb. Five years after undertaking the fast, Mr A.B.'s weight remains around 196 lb.
I don't know why I haven't seen more studies where extremely obese individuals just stop eating.
Primarily because it's not considered medically safe, and a study along those lines would be too dangerous to the patients to be permitted.
In this particular case, the 27yo male patient informed the doctors of his plan and said, "This is what I'm doing, you can monitor me or not." They didn't propose the study themselves.
> Otherwise being that size is a death sentence.
Being any size is a death sentence. Balancing tradeoffs more or less well determines the appeals process length.
 People quibble with for all sorts of reasons, some of them even somewhat reasonable. But
> Experimental treatments that may be more risky should be encouraged.
Eh? Do whatever you like with your body, and more power to you. But this is the same flavor of ignorant social pressure game the anti-vaxxers get up to, and is deeply irresponsible.
Compared to a normal-weight BMI, a BMI of:
40-44.9 leads to a loss of life of 6.5 years
45-49.9 leads to a loss of life of 8.9 years
50-54.9 leads to a loss of life of 9.8 years
55-59.9 leads to a loss of life of 13.7 years
Assuming a 445 pounds at 6 feet tall is a BMI of about 60, at about the top of the highest range. I think extreme obesity is a big enough health risk that it should be studied with more experimental treatments
Since a couple of months the hunger suppression is no longer an issue, but it has been surprisingly easy to maintain a healthy weight and healthy eating habits since.
I suspect one part of the problem is that the body takes a long time to adjust to what it considers a new "normal" weight, which is why diets often don't work. Maybe if they were specifically oriented towards staying at a certain weight for an extended period of time?
I currently intermittently fast very frequently and that has helped immensely with my weight. I have never done more than a 5 day fast, but even that much can do great things in combination with almost-0-carb.
I was being grumpy about the death of Google Reader, and you said that that's what you use Twitter for. So you're basically the reason I'm now on Twitter actually.
Glad to hear the intermittent fasting is working well for you! Hope you'll have to buy a new wardrobe for yourself soon ;)
I've gratefully already given myself a new wardrobe and another one will be coming in a few years. I'm on a slow descent and have been for over 2 years, since cutting out carbohydrates
I read somewhere that people who go on hunger strike, consuming nothing but water, die without becoming completely emaciated: they don't look like chronically underfed people at the end. There are plenty of well-known examples of prisoners dying while on hunger strike: they seem to last about 60 days. If you lost weight for 60 days at a constant rate taken from the 1973 case then you would lose about (456-180)/382*60 =~ 43 pounds. I would guess that most people could survive losing that much weight. But unless your aim is to kill yourself then I would advise not doing it with a hunger strike.
The patient did supplement with yeast, for the branched-chain amino acids. And strangely, at the end of the fast, he didn't have all of that loose skin that you typically see in those with rapid weight loss. They were speculating if the BCAAs helped with that or not.
It's probably not common because you'd be trying to study the one thing they have the most trouble doing. To understand what I mean, you have to understand that asking an extremely obese person to stop eating is like asking an Alcoholic to stop drinking. All of them know that's what they have to do but that's literally their problem, they can't stop drinking and extremely obese people can't stop eating. More importantly, the drinking and eating in these diseases is not the problem per se, they're typically symptoms of less obvious root problems.
In the case of food, these people get a dopamine rush each time they eat. It makes them feel good. But then they feel bad because they're getting fatter (for various physiological, social and psychological reasons), which then makes them want to eat more because that at least makes them feel good (temporarily). It's pretty easy to spot the mental illness and similarity to drug addiction in this feedback loop.
I know this is hard to swallow for people who find it easy not to be alcoholics or overeaters but here's a journal article that studied the connection:
They say there is strong evidence that food addiction is similar to opiate and other psychoactive drug addictions. It also calls out alcohol and carbohydrate binges as stimulants for the brain's production and utilization of dopamine. The carbohydrates part is interesting since of course, that's literally what pig farmers use to fatten up pigs. So of course, if eating those makes you feel good and eating too many of them makes you fat then problem really starts to make sense.
I used to be obese. When I moved to a new city and found a new doctor, I asked him if there was anyone I could talk to so I could get more help. He told me it's simple, I just need to eat less and exercise more. I've been called a lot of lousy names in my life, but what he said was the most insulting thing I had ever heard... that it was simple.
You don't tell an alcoholic it's simple not to be an alcoholic, "Just stop drinking!" or to a drug addict, "Just stop taking drugs!". It's simple for you, but it's not simple for them. That's what makes them an alcoholic and not you.
I had lost 50lbs about 10 years earlier, so I knew the technical requirements to lose weight. My problem was not with dietary knowledge or exercise. But, as many doctors do, they give you advice/pills/creams/etc to improve the symptoms rather than trying to understand the root problem. I don't blame the doctor though, he didn't understand my problem.
In these cases, it has to be treated as an addiction and that's how I approached it. Once I realized my problem was one of addiction, I started to make some progress. I started to realize I would zombie walk to the kitchen like an addict in a daze, looking for a fix. I was thinking about something else completely but my body was on autopilot looking for food. I had a problem with food itself. Definitely carbs (especially sugar). I read a lot about eating disorders to better understand the problem and hoped to find a solution to the problem and not just the symptom.
I wish I found out about the link between carbs/dopamine a lot sooner. I discovered it accidentally when I found out about the Keto diet around 2013. When I cut out almost all carbs, I quickly discovered my brain fog went away, I felt happy most of the time, I wanted to exercise, I had more energy, and finally... I didn't want to eat all the time.
So, that was the basic solution for me, but even then it wasn't easy or simple. I did a lot of research and it took many false starts to finally make good progress.
I'm sorry for the wall of text, and for hijacking your comment, but I hope this helps some people understand why it's not simple to do (or study) and I hope it helps some people who have an eating disorder find their path or get professional help (if they'll listen).
I think this is the point though. You don't tell an alcoholic "just have a couple drinks not the whole bottle," you help them stop drinking completely because they can't handle moderation. It's not simple for an alcoholic to stop drinking, but it's doable in a way that just cutting back (the alcohol equivalent of "eat less and move more") is not.
Obviously, a person will eventually need to eat or will simply starve to death, but I think the point above is that fasting as a way of breaking the cycle is underexplored.
Without trying much I dropped to under 380... where I've hovered mostly for the past year. When I'm strict and track I get closer to 350#, but getting below that has been incredibly hard.
Everything I've read and understand leads me to believe that longer fasting periods are what I need to do to break through this. But I tend to get fidgety around day 5 and stop early. I also do pretty consistently when I only eat one meal a day.
I don't think it's for everyone, and it isn't magic. More fat is more sating, and a lot of disinformation starting in the 60's has now been disproven. I do think that the majority of human kind was keto for significant portions of the year for most of human history. I feel that refined sugars are the single biggest factor in terms of obesity, followed by refined grains and vegetable oils.
In general, low fat and lots of sugar has spun society into obesity. Not understanding the role of hormones, or underestimating their effects are another compounding issue. Doctors need to start testing against resting insulin levels as part of a regular checkup. They need to push for changes in diet over supplemental insulin. And absolutely need to convey the message of why refined sugars (mostly the fructose component) are bad for you.
> I’ve never been anything but fat. Is there something in the fat version of me that also makes me likable and creative and a decent human being? Are the best parts of me all knotted up with the worst? Is there some way to untangle it and keep just the good stuff? Most of the time I think of my fat as a husk—something I have to shed so the best part of me can come out. But sometimes I wonder if I’m more like the shells you find on the beach, where the outer part is the attraction, and the animal inside is dull and shapeless.
Two years ago, I was ~300. I had been constantly gaining weight since I started taking Seroquel. I also had ankle surgery (unrelated to my weight), and was completely bedridden for 6 months, then in PT for another 5. After that, my doctor put me on those two medications.
I still had to be careful about what I ate, but the occasional snack was occasional; I could eat something bad for me once a week and not lost much progress. After a while the exercise was more pleasant, too.
I hit 220 a few months ago. When I switched jobs and stopped taking the two medications (doctor and I just wanted to see if the weight would stay off without them), my weight jumped back up to 250, but stabilized there. A good bit less than the 300. I started taking the two medications again, and now I'm losing it again.
I recommend people lose weight via fasting until they're "normal" weight. Best done with doctor's supervision, but it basically boils down to eat nothing, drink only 0 calorie drinks and take a daily dose of multivitamins and get some sodium + potassium.
Barbieri took vitamins on various occasions throughout the
fast, including potassium and sodium supplements.
He was allowed to drink coffee, tea, and sparkling water,
all of which are naturally calorie-free. He said there was
the occasional time that he'd have a touch of sugar or milk
in tea, especially in his final few weeks of fasting.
At the end of his ordeal, Barbieri tipped the scales at 180
pounds. Five years later, he'd still kept almost all the
weight he'd lost off, weighing in at 196 (89 kg).
Try deliberately reducing your serving size instead.
In terms of what is useful the first thing is that people need to be eating a diet that is very low in processed carbohydrates, with lots of fiber and moderately low calorie foods, and they should eat until they are full, instead of counting calories.
Now people's bodies are different, so this won't work for everyone, but for most people it will.
If someone isn't eating this way, it is either because they don't know that is the way to go, or they do but they have other problems, like psychological issues, so they need to try to deal with them, if possible.
That's pretty much it.
I am curious why you say this. In my experience counting calories works great to put into perspective the caloric cost of everything you consume. You don't have to always do it, but do it for a while and you can eyeball pretty well if you can or cannot handle something in your diet.
What does work much more often is focusing on eating foods that are filling but low or moderate in calories, and eating when hungry.
Hardly anyone eats lots of veg because they taste bland compared to the other processed treats we are sold. It suits the food industry to sell us processed food because it is cheap, it has a long shelf life and they know it tastes so good we will eat loads of it.
I'm not blaming them, they are businesses with a profit to make, but somehow doesn't feel like a fair fight.
It is also very much discipline (not motivation..) and hard work to get started and maintain for a while. Like pretty much anything. But after a few years of feeling great you will wonder why you ever lived your previous life.
At least in my experience :)
How can that be? If you burn more calories and you take in less calories, then surely at some point your body must start to lose mass. At very least is the equation that you're breathing out carbon and you're not getting that mass back from anything apart from what you eat.
Long term weight loss is the big issue.
Let's be honest, anything that you have to maintain indefinitely - relationship, business, health/weight/muscle mass, finances - will eventually fail at some point.
And food does have that unique component of that it can't be totally avoided. You can't just cut it out of your life to become healthier (unlike say alcohol).
They're all hamster wheels. And then we die.
All else equal, you are right, but practically, for most people who aren't young, or athletes, hard endurance physical exercise triggers eating behavior that overcompensates for the number of calories burned.
Sure, if you force exercise upon and deny the extra calories to someone, they will lose weight, but that's not a desirable solution for most, sustainable for the individual, or scalable in today's society.
Solutions that acknowledge the existence of and work with human eating behaviors are needed.
IMO that would involve reconfiguring our society to enable people to have quotidian implicit forms of exercise (vs dedicated gym sessions), like walking as part of their commutes, or gardening, and of course reducing the amount of sugar in the food environment.
But that's a challenge because the current environment that most people inhabit is configured to encourage the opposite. There certainly appears to be a statistical correlation between car based commute frequency and obesity rates in a given area:
The issue in the case of most overweight people is that their body is trying to maintain a set point at a high level of body fat. Hunger serves to maintain this weight set point.
The way to sustainable weight loss is to eat in such a way that the body starts to target a lower set point and decreases hunger.
Obviously this also results in less calories taken than expended, but if it were as simple as a math formula most people would have six packs.
Definitely disagree here. These are the only things that work. How else can you lose weight other than by moving more and eating less?
I find that when I am inactive, I am constantly hungry.
Part of this I think is exercise helps me sleep better, and better sleep reduces my appetite.
I am speaking as someone who has lost about 75-100 pounds (no clue I was too ashamed to step on a scale) and kept it off for 10+ years. I can guarantee you that exercising more and eating less works even if it's not what anyone wants to hear.
I substituted the prodigious amounts of refined carbs I used to eat (pasta, rice) with meat, vegetables and a reduced amount of carbs. The proteins definitely helped with the hunger (and being a carnivore, it didn't take much to convince me to eat more meat -- though for me it's mostly white meat and eggs). I actually ended up eating more
I also started lifting weights. Exercising increases appetite for sure, but proteins satiates it.
I didn't lose that much weight (10 lbs), but I managed to convert what used to be flab to muscle.
Exercise + protein/vegetable diet (even if eating more) = body shape change.
In severe cases of obesity, something else may be going on. In a nutshell, the bodies of some of these sufferers could be on some sort of fat storage rampage. The fat cells extract an "energy tax" and store it; the body then has to do with what is left.
If there is a broken, runaway fat storage mechanism at play, such that a percentage of your intake is stored as fat, and not easily released again, it will be difficult to overcome the accumulation of fat with diet and exercise.
But, yeah, diet and exercise work for many people. And in many cases when they are reported as not working, they weren't given the proper effort.
Excercise that works is probably 2-3X more voluminous and intense than exercise people think
ought to work, damn it! And sane eating plans have to be adhered to forever, not just for a couple of weeks.
If you stick with exercise and become a long-term dedicated athlete, it will change how the body works. You have to change your self-image into one that includes you as an athlete. A durable, self-image that persists even if you take a break from sport which gives you confidence to get back into the game.
Even if famine does work, and does so for everyone, that still plausibly leaves regular diet and exercise not equally effective for everyone.
> Nobody in those situations stays overweight due to 'some sort of fat storage rampage' do they?
I actually have no idea.
Does there exist anyone who died at close to zero fat and muscle in a death camp, or due to famine, who had been confirmed to have been a 450 pounder?
It's imaginable that in such a predicament, such an obese person will die of starvation long before losing the fat; that it simply won't be metabolically available to sustain them.
Without any actual data, "nobody came out fat out of Auschwitz" is just a dumb Internet meme.
There are cases of incredible body transformation from people quite severely obese to basically skin-over-muscle; yet that doesn't prove it's possible for everyone.
There obviously is. It's frigging' delicious for once (might sound easily dismissed, but pleasant things are worth being experienced) . And eating a portion is obviously not going to lead you to have 460 pounds.
Your dismissal of "fried chicken" is all the more puzzling considering that 100g of the stuff has 246 calories  whereas the 100g "grilled chicken" has 226 calories . Sure, it's a bit less calorie dense, contains more protein, so it is a bit better but by no means the astronomic difference you seem to suggest.
The man obviously has problems, but your dismissal, lack of empathy and misplaced sense of superiority are really not called for.
> This is the kind of decisions that lead to being 460 pounds.
And this kind of over-simplification of a complex neurological and physiological disease isn't constructive.