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What I learned from reading over 100 weight loss studies (intentapp.com)
129 points by willsun 57 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 188 comments

The weight loss is not really what matters. anybody can lose weight. with a little education you can do it. the problem is doing it in a sustainable way and to actually keep it off.

the hardest part about weight loss is keeping it off. you have limited will power and unless you are willing to change the way you live your efforts are in vain. Sure it may make you feel good about yourself and your journey but it's doomed to fail.

i'm going to repeat this: if you are not willing to adjust your lifestyle and consistently make the better choices when it comes to diet you will fail.

also, weight loss in 90% kitchen, 10% gym. Do go to the gym, but if you are eating unhealthy it's not going to matter.

LE: while we're on this subject. If there is one thing you can do today that will have a positive impact on you for the rest of your life is to stop eating sugar and refined carbs. If you only do one change to how you eat and you do this, in the long run, you'll be most successful than 95% of "dieters". Also keep in mind that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

The hardest part of dieting is realising that in order to keep it off, you will have to continue like that forever.

In the back of your mind, you want to think that the diet is temporary. Once you have lost the weight, you can go back to eating all the great tasting foods that you ate before.

True success is the acceptance that, no, your life will be worse in very real ways. You will no longer be able to just eat whenever you feel like it. You will no longer be able to eat until you are full, ever again. And you have to accept that this trade-off is worth it.

The biggest scam the weight loss industry ever pulled on society was to redefine "diet" from "a description of what you eat" to "a temporary modification to what you're eating".

You don't "go on a diet", you HAVE a diet. And if your diet is what is making you fat, then to not be fat, you have to change your diet, permanently.

In German, they're still separate words, I think "diet" made its way into German and became "Diät".

Ironically, the wages of government representatives are also called "diets" in German. I'd say "diet" for "Ernährung" just fell out of use at some point and was reintroduced when diet fads became a thing.

The Vietnamese parliament is called the Diet but I don’t think it’s etymologically related.

In Danish there's both "en diæt" (what you eat, permanent) and "på diæt" (on a diet, temporary).

I didn't even think about the fact that that word didn't always have the temporary meaning of the word.

The meaning is more fluent. The doctor can put you on a strict diet with a mealplan "lægen har sat mig på en streng diæt med kostplan og det hele", that isn't necessarily temporary.

There is also "slankekur" which more or less translates to "slimming-cure"

True success is the acceptance that, no, your life will be worse in very real ways. You will no longer be able to just eat whenever you feel like it. You will no longer be able to eat until you are full, ever again.

None of these things are true. With a good diet and exercise, you will feel better and be happier, with way more energy. That makes your life better, not worse.

As another commenter mentioned, abstaining from sweets increases your sensitivity to sweetness. If you go long enough, you'll find most candy cloying rather than addictive. So throw away those cheap, mass market candy bars. By some expensive dark chocolate candy from a reputable chocolatier. Eat one piece instead of a whole bunch and just take your time to enjoy the flavours. It is sooooo much better!

The way I see people (including myself at times) eat candy bars and potato chips bears more resemblance to a starving dog than a human who really enjoys good food. Stop being a dog! Take your time and enjoy something really good instead of swallowing a whole bunch of junk in front of Netflix.

> None of these things are true. With a good diet and exercise, you will feel better and be happier, with way more energy. That makes your life better, not worse.

I never said your life won’t be better overall. I said it will be worse in real ways.

Eating pizza, Soda and so on are awesome. There is a reason these foods are popular. No amount of pretending is going to make that not true, and a life where you could eat them with no downsides would be better.

> Eating pizza, Soda and so on are awesome

It depends what you are used to eat. A few years ago I would have agreed that pizza and Soda is great. But today after changing my live style I cook for myself fresh vegetables from CSA and small bio farms I do not like pizza and all the crap any more. That goes so far that I can not go to restaurants anymore, because 95% of them serve crap for my todays taste.

> That goes so far that I can not go to restaurants anymore

I would call that a direct impact to quality of life (if only because you're missing out on the social experience), which is the exact point the GP made.

There are some restaurants with high quality food. And I enjoy them. After all my quality of live is way better than before. My social experience improved because I met interesting people with the same interest / taste at my local Foodcoop for example.

Pizza is only crap, if you eat crap pizza.

Making good pizza at home, with high quality ingredients is maybe not 100% perfect nutrition, but it is damn good, and much better than anything you'd buy from a pizzeria or (heavens forbid) frozen pizza.

Soda is junk, though. Only fit for extremely occasional use as a mixer in a good drink.

I moved off those a few years ago. It was painful for a year and a half. Now I can't even eat them anymore; they taste vile. It was the salt and sugar that made them addictive, but now that I'm off them, I can finally taste the rest of the ingredients that went into them, and they taste terrible.

>Eating pizza, Soda and so on are awesome

In a teenage-like definition of awesome.

You're completely neglecting that sugar is addictive. No matter how sensitive to sweetness you are, the very moment you eat anything sweet, you will need something that is either more sweet next time to get the same chemical "fix" in your brain, or you will need to abstain from sweet stuff until your palate and brain have reset.

So even when you cut back on sweet stuff, you will need to continually and consciously hold back, otherwise you will crave it more and your palate will desensitize to the sweet flavor - this is simple biology that no one can escape (except for rare medical conditions).

stop being a dog :| unless it's in another context where dog-like qualities are appreciated ;)

What's great though is that your body adapts. If you abstain from sweets for example, after a week or so fruit will taste much sweeter.

Very true. A few years ago I quit drinking sodas and switched to sugar-free flavorings (eg. Crystal Light, Mio, etc). After a year or so I ordered a Mt. Dew, my previous vice, while at a restaurant and it tasted like pure sugar syrup. Mind you, I got used to quickly ;)

> You will no longer be able to eat until you are full, ever again.

Wrong. I just ate and I'm very full. I could even fuck off and eat like shit more often than I do but I choose not to. I'm 6'0" about ~175lbs/80kg.

And yet I often have people approach me in the gym to ask questions, advice, etc: https://www.instagram.com/adamjmorgan/. It's possible to eat until you're full and still look good.

-Signed, former chubby kid.

It’s great that your body is in a place where you are able to do that, but let me ask you something.

Have you ever been more than 130kg?

I have, and getting down to being no longer overweight requires a substantial mindset change.

It’s extremely unhelpful to talk to people who have been as large as I have about how you can eat how you want and still feel full.

Maybe you can lose the weight and still few full, but it’s just not realistic to paint that picture because all you are doing is undermining the reality of long term change.

I’ve been 118kg, and I’m 5’9’’.

I started a keto diet 3 months ago and have lost 33 lbs. here’s the interesting part: I definitely feel full when I eat now, because fat and protein are just that much more satiating. It takes less food to make me feel full. Provided it’s high in fat.

The article references a few studies that conclude that there is "no significant difference" between a low carb and a low fat diet. It also suggests that whether a keto (or any other) diet will work is an individual thing:

> In this regard, saying that “diet X is the best way to lose weight” is probably not a globally-correct statement given the evidence so far. Instead, it should be the much less interesting: “no diet performs meaningfully better on average, but there exists some diet that is the best way to lose weight for you.”

This matches up with my experience. I know a lot of people like yourself who swear by a low-carb/keto diet, whereas I find I have no problem maintaining a healthy weight (BMI=22) with a fairly high-carb diet with a lot of rice, noodles, pasta, oats and bread. I actually feel very unsatiated when I'm just eating meat/vegetables alone.

I love to eat, and once or twice a week I'll literally eat until my stomach physically hurts (and I do mean literally, kind of like how some people feel after a Thanksgiving dinner). I exercise, but not a lot - probably 3-4 hours a week. I'm not saying this to brag, or to make overweight people feel bad (I'm sorry if I do), but just to give some anaecdata to balance out what the keto people are saying.

One thing that I should mention is that I don't really eat much sugar, apart from fruit, and sports drinks and energy bars when I'm doing long bike rides. I just don't enjoy the taste of soft drinks (I almost exclusively drink water, and sometimes coffee or tea), or most heavily processed foods (most of my meals are home cooked, or at non-fast-food restaurants). I also find the sauces that most restaurants slather on food to be overpowering and over-sugared, so I don't eat a lot of that either (although this seems to be a US-only problem).

I am not saying anything about the diet being successful or not for you. It is, I agree, an individual thing.

I am saying that, in general, fat is more satiating than carbs. And, in addition, that that applies to everyone, not just people who have never been “their size” as parent puts it.

I’m happy for you that you can eat whatever you want and not put on weight, or put on very little. My wife is the same. I’m not. I lost over 10kg for our wedding and put it on again quickly thereafter. Everybody has a set point weight that their body will naturally return to. This isn’t to deny exercise or changes in diet or environment can’t make lasting changes. Americans who move to Shanghai lose weight because the portions are smaller and you don’t need a car, you can take public transport and walk. I weigh about as much now as I did five years ago but substantially more of it is muscle because I go to the gym. But if I stop my weight will stay about the same and my body fat percentage will go way up.

Your set point will determine what happens to you with no willpower or discipline. It also effects achievable goals. Most men could look like the Rock given his fitness regimen, diet and “supplements” routine.

But your fat set point is no more under your control than your extraversion or conscientiousness one. The expression can change, the phenotype, just like I could start a conversation with anyone when I did sales and I’m now more nervous, or like the age related increase in conscientiousness but the genotype doesn’t.

In an obesigenic environment some people will still always be skinny. If that’s you great. It’s not everyone.

> I’m happy for you that you can eat whatever you want and not put on weight

I never said that.

I'm very meticulous about my diet and I'd say I'm more disciplined about it than 95%+ people. For that I can "even fuck off and eat like shit more often than I do".

Forgive me for having misinterpreted you. If that’s your position I don’t see much daylight between your position and the person you were originally responding to though. You have a diet to which you stick not quite religiously. They say you need to stick to a diet religiously to lose weight and keep it off. The difference between your respective positions seems nugatory.

I said the exact opposite actually. I stick to my diet religiously. That's why I believe I'm more disciplined than 95% of people and why I have the freedom to deviate occasionally if I wanted to to eat junk food.

>Wrong. I just ate and I'm very full.

May be some people aren't easily "full" as you do. I have big stomach and I eat a lot. Most of friends don't quite understand how I stomach 3.5Kg of beef ( Raw, more like 2.5Kg cooked )in two hours, along with meshed potatoes and all sort of other things.

I now eat and stop. I changed my diet and I am never really full again, I know I wont be hungry, but I am definitely not full.

>"You will no longer be able to eat until you are full, ever again"

This is totally false. Just eat a low-carb diet and you will feel "full" after consuming much less food.

Protein has as many calories as carbohydrate, and fat has even more. To feel full you have to stuff yourself with placebos like fiber instead of food.

It isn't the calories that matter. To feel full your brain needs to receive signals from your body that you should feel full. It appears that carbohydrates mess with these signals so that your brain thinks you are not yet full when you should be. You can easily try it for yourself.

>The hardest part of dieting is realising that in order to keep it off, you will have to continue like that forever.

Yes and no. It depends on your goals.

Some form of modification is needed from whatever you did that made you fat in the first place.

Some form of modification is needed from what is currently keeping you fat.

But you could 100% have a diet that is meant to shed weight quickly, and then switch to something to maintain weight. Add in moderate amounts of exercise and you can eat a bit more.

You need a sustainable, long-term, somewhat permanent diet. It doesn't necessarily need to stay the same for forever, because there might be less radical diets for maintaining. This might be a completely different diet than what got you to your target weight.

I don't actually think that's true. If you're making positive lifestyle adjustments (and not just going on a flash diet hoping for instantaneous results), then there really isn't a "there" to go back to. You gradually adopt healthier habits, replacing older ones, and they become learned behavior. Your tastes change. Your stomach gets smaller. Not to mention your "set point" average weight will decrease and your body/metabolism adapt to living at a lower weight.

This sounds a little vague, apologies. I've done many diets (paleo, keto, South Beach, etc.) and nothing worked. So instead, over the course of six months I gradually gave up sugar, I gave up meat, I stopped eating snacks between meals. I still ate delicious foods, but in smaller portions. Only sweets I had were fruit. I kept my exercise the same (3-5x/week).

I lost 15 pounds and have kept it off. Have no intention of gaining it back. I can't imagine reincorporating old ways, they are an older me. I cringe at the thought of eating a full pint of ice cream after dinner, which I used to do on a near weekly basis.

Tl;dr: as your body and habits change, so too do your desires and preferences.

> The hardest part of dieting is realising that in order to keep it off, you will have to continue like that forever.

Why would that be? To lose why your are taking a net negative mass balance, once the weight is lost you probably can't go back to the exact diet you had (otherwise you wouldn't need to lose weight) but an mass neutral one should suffice to keep you at the same weight.

I've tried mass neutral diet and it didn't work. Somehow my body was able to sustain 105kg on about 1000kcal daily for two weeks. After that, my mind broke and I thought about food like a narcotic, just couldn't continue that diet.

If you are a 300 pound person and want to be a 150 pound person, you have to eat like a 150 pound person. Forever.

You are both correct, not sure why OP is downvoted though.

If your caloric requirements are 2400 calories a day. You might eat at a deficit for your diet, say 1700. And after that you can eat 2400 again.

As body mass increases, the caloric intake required to maintain said mass increases. Likewise, as body mass decreases the caloric intake required to maintain said mass decreases. Fat people need to eat like the not-fat version of themselves in order to both lose weight and maintain their new mass. If "balance" is 2400 calories for their fat body, resuming eating 2400 calories will lead to them becoming fat again.

> The hardest part of dieting is realising that in order to keep it off, you will have to continue like that forever.

I'm going to reverse this. For me, the idea of having to eat what an obese person consumes every day to maintain their weight is an exhausting one. I think it's actually fairly easy to be a normal weight and only consume the amount of food necessary to maintain that weight and much harder to consume the amount of food required to be obese.

I think you're correct assuming you're eating a healthy diet made of stuff like oatmeal, beans, and chicken. It's hard to keep enough of that on hand and hard to fit it all in your stomach.

It's easy to consume 3500 calories in a day in cheese curls or going out to eat ribs.

Good luck eating 3500 calories of ribs. Easy calories come from carbs so unless you drink the sauce the ribs are glazed with you’re not gonna make it.

2 full racks of ribs will bring you pretty close: https://www.nutritionix.com/i/nutritionix/bbq-ribs-1-rack-12...

No wonder that almost everyone who attempts this is certain to fail, and it will always be so.

The common theme for many people who succeed in losing weight and keeping it off through making a sustained lifestyle change seems to be some form of "hitting bottom" experience. Sort of like the experience that some drug addicts go through before getting sober (although food isn't really addictive in the same way). For some it's a health scare like a heart attack or diabetes diagnosis. For others it's an embarrassing social incident like being unable to fit into an airline seat.

But that's all anecdotal. It wouldn't be practical to codify "hitting bottom" experiences in a clinical study since they're so individualized.

>although food isn't really addictive in the same way

While broadly true, specific things such as sugar seem to be addictive in similar ways to drugs.

> if you are not willing to adjust your lifestyle and consistently make the better choices when it comes to diet you will fail.

This statement applies to anything in life you want to get better at.

If there's a pattern that I've noticed amongst the people in my life who struggle with their weight is that they all have an emotional relationship with food. They eat not to serve their metabolic needs but to serve their emotional needs. They say they are counting their calories, but they aren't being honest with themselves about it. They can't make clear headed diet decisions because their feelings are so wrapped up in the act of eating.

100% this. I've been overweight to varying degrees for most of my life, but my weight has been at its lowest when I'm happy and highest when I have high stress or anxiety. Anxiety especially seems to lead to poor eating because you go into survival mode and stop being able to think long term, while loading up on food as if you were a hunter gatherer about to go through times of extreme food uncertainty.

yes. people don’t normally see it as getting better at eating. it’s a problem they’re solving.

You're right! I agree with your "90% kitchen / 10% gym" for weight loss, but to maintain your weight I think the gym is more important than that.

The problem with people doing hardcore diet is that they will lose a high % of muscle, and after their weight loss their basal metabolism will be really low.

The gym itself doesn't burn that many calories, but increases your muscle mass, leading to a much higher basal metabolic rate, which in the long run, help you not to gain fat easily.

If you're not looking at it from the point of view where weight is about the food you eat, and health is about the exercise you get - you're bound to run into trouble at some point.

The only way to control your weight is to control your diet. It doesn't matter what your basal metabolic rate is. Will it play a role? absolutely, but it's not what you adjust to keep your weight in check. If you can manage your weight with a low metabolic rate, you can manage it with a high metabolic rate. Gaining muscle mass will make your body signal for more food, so it can be counter productive if you want to lose fat.

Disappointing that the 100 studies neglected long term success so much that the author didn't have much to say about it after reading them all

Your comments while I agree with the correctness are incredibly disheartening and demotivating.

Not as disheartening or demotivating as dieting with a target body shape in mind, achieving it, rejoicing, and being right back where you were before the diet 6 months later.

Source: it me.

Sure. It’s me as well but after 2-3 years.

When you start eating less, you’re body adapts after consistent dosage, and you will no longer feel as hungry. The OP is wrong, as in the long term you’re quality of life that can be derived from food is no different.

Yes, perhaps in the short term you will experience cravings/withdrawal, but this is temporary.

I heard this perspective once.

People struggle getting of cigarettes multiple times even after a year long break. So sure you fail at weightless, but you can try again.

The only issue I have with the view is that losing and gaining weight over and over again can place a toll on your body.

sorry. it's meant to be motivating.

it's telling you in compressed form what you need to do to be successful

A couple of years ago I found myself weighing 250lbs. Basically morbidly obese.

I decided to change that. I went through all the food I bought during the week and decided to do some culling.

I removed anything with sugar and replaced it with Stevia. Removed the soft drinks, alcohol, and carbs.

I follow this diet 6 days a week. One day a week, I indulge myself: a pizza or burrito or have a few beers.

I also go to the gym 5 times a week. Run 5k in 25 minutes plus one hour of weight lifting. Nothing to intense mind you.

I have lost nearly 80lbs with the last 24 months. The trick is to do it slow and steady.

I always cringe when I read about the latest fad diet: Lose 5 lbs in one week or some crap like that!

In the end, it takes time and will to achieve results but once you get into a routine, if very easy to keep going.

During my holidays, I usually drink, smoke and eat whatever I want but as soon as I get back home, I go back to my routine.

Some people think that this is boring but honestly, unless you are an athlete competing at a high level, you don't need to eat carbs every day.

This is just my experience. Results may vary.

I lost 30lbs just removing sugary drinks and side dishes. In other words instead of burger + fries + coke it changed to burger + diet coke. Went from 210 to 180. No other changes, no exercise. Just my results. I don't remember how long it took but I don't remember it being more than a year.

I gained maybe 100lb over a 4 year period while in college. I went from 200lb to 300lb. I drank nothing but water that whole time.

After I graduated I cut how much I was eating and stopped snacking between meals. Lost 80lb in 6months... it was crazy and scary.

> I also go to the gym 5 times a week. Run 5k in 25 minutes plus one hour of weight lifting. Nothing to intense mind you.

You consider running 5 kilometers a day, and doing one hour of weight lifting to be non intense? wow.

Yeah, 5k in 25 minutes is by no means an easy jog for most people, and places OP in the average race pace, according to https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-a-good-time-for-a-5k-291... (grain of salt, but they have more data than I do). Mind you, I interpret OP to mean that this is their current workout routine, after their dramatic weight loss and increase in fitness.

This is my current fitness level. When I first started going to the Gym I was averaging 2.5 km in 30 minutes. I should also add that I was a heavy smoker. Nowadays, my routine consists of 5 different exercises and 25 minutes of running but I am not looking to break a record or become completely ripped. Just toned. So when I say that it is not too intense, I mean it as of now. When I first started, the workouts were a pain but I finally got used to them after a while.

Fasting is the ultimate weight loss tool. It also facilitates (muscle) growth and healing.

It also can put a strain on your organs if you are not too healthy. Consult a Doctor before trying it.

Any references for that claim (assuming 5 days water fast or less)?

"[I]ntermittent fasting diets may actually damage the pancreas and affect insulin function in normal healthy individuals, which could lead to diabetes and serious health issues." (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/may/20/fasting-diet...)

The National Council Against Health Fraud "strongly advises against the use of prolonged fasting for health purposes, and believes that requiring children to fast is a form of child abuse." https://www.ncahf.org/articles/e-i/fasting.html

Your first link talks specifically of fasting every other day, and is about rats. That is completely irrelevant to 5 day fasting in humans, whereas [0] is.

Your second link is from 1995; A lot has happened since. Yes, children should probably not fast. Other than that, more recent data (as well as old, but ignored, data) show that water fasting is good for you. And Valter Lango's research (see [0], and google for more) shows that it's actually extremely beneficial in many cases, especially during chemotherapy.

[0] https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/02/five-day-fasting-die...

My labs started deviating from normal in the wrong diection during 36 hr fasting in the hospital. Granted, I am very sick.

I hope you get better mate. If there's anything that might help and is doable by a stranger on HN, lmk.

I agree. One normal meal a day for a long period. It quickly becomes a habit and you no longer feel hunger. No requirement on the meal as long as it is reasonable (life is too short to eat things that taste bad!). And some exercise (45min cardio daily, doesn’t need to be high intensity), though I suspect losing weight is 80% food intake, 20% exercise. Worth taking some vitamin complements though.

I agree. Fasting is good and simple for weight loss. My first step was removing snacks. Now I am skipping breakfast. I see results. Take a look at this blog: https://simplelifeweightloss.blogspot.com/ Author has been on intermittent fasting for 12 years. It's quite inspiring.

I've read that fasting can increase GH levels. Do you know of any studies that directly link fasting to muscle growth? Intuitively I would guess that increased GH in the absence of a calorie surplus might lead to good muscle maintenance but poor muscle growth, particularly in people who already have a decent amount of muscle.

I do not know of studies, other than anecdotes such as this one:

> So, during the FMD I lost approximately 4.2 lbs of body fat, while GAINING nearly a pound of muscle! There was also a nice muscle building “rebound” effect once my fast ended and I began to exercise again.


That seems extremely dubious, given:

> during my fast I refrained from any physical activity – no workouts or sports


> for this experiment my Omron scale had to do since I didn’t have access to more accurate body composition tools

As someone who regularly fasts for a variety of reasons, I would agree -- it's nearly impossible to gain muscle while fasting anyway, and without working out in any way I can't imagine how that could happen at all.

But most likely the tool is measuring inaccurately.

> it's nearly impossible to gain muscle while fasting anyway

Fasting may not affect muscle gain during the fast, but it may during the following refeed.

I'm sure that's possible -- I've never experienced it. Perhaps if I were more disciplined about recovery.

I did a water fast for 2 weeks. It was...kind of amazing actually, recommend to try it at least once if you can. One tip: when you are done and are ready to break it, introduce food very slowly, I didn't and it was unpleasant to say the least.

> One tip: when you are done and are ready to break it, introduce food very slowly

Is that relevant even when doing a 3-5 days fast?

After 3 days I was OK with just eating normally (or even excessively TBH)

Removing soft drinks and alcohol came easy, but removing carbs in a daily diet became extremely difficult for me and hence I plateaued. I am curious to know what you replaced it with?

Sweet potatoes and broccoli. Lately, I have been eating a lot of cauliflower rice. It looks like rice but its cauliflower.

Oh and if you find that your food is a bit boring for some reason, you can add some spicy sauce(without sugar) on your meal.

> In the end, it takes time and will to achieve results but once you get into a routine, if very easy to keep going.

I think for perspective it's good to consider how long it took you to gain the weight in the first place. Say if you slowly went up 80 pounds over the course of 5 years, then remember that time frame. Expecting it to be gone in a month is crazy. Even losing it in a year is 5 times faster than you gained it.

I had read somewhere that after about 45 minutes of cardio your body will start using it's fat stores, and continue burning fat for 6 to 8 hours afterwards. So when I found myself overweight I started doing long trail runs or bike rides, about 2 hours long, 3 times a week. Insomuch as I looked forward to doing the exercise, losing 3-5 pounds a week was nearly effortless. My appetite actually goes down during these periods because I'm burning my fat stores and my body isn't demanding that I replace those calories, and it's doing it for hours after I've stopped.

I've had people tell me that getting exercise is not a good way to lose weight, but my experience tells me that if you're doing the right kind of exercise, then, yes it a good way. Maybe there's just no reasonable expectation that most people will do enough cardio at a high enough level to activate fat burning.

I've always been told the same thing but my experience pretty much matches yours.

I can eat what I want as long as I keep up my daily 7km walk which takes me about an hour or so. I've always found walking easy but I've never been able to run more than 500m probably due to being a somewhat sickly kid with annual bronchitis and a limited lung capacity.

The handful of times I've stopped walking for various reasons over the last twenty years I've quickly got up to about 120kg (I'm 6'7") but as soon as I start walking again the excess 20kg falls off pretty quickly in a month or two and maintaining 100kg is simple.

I've never had any luck modifying my diet.

What was your starting weight? Losing 3-5 pounds a week sounds like a lot, unless you were starting from a high weight to begin with. Also, most people trying to lose weight aren't fit enough to run/ride for 10 minutes long, let alone 2 hours.

The first time I had 20 pounds to lose, from 195 down to 175. Last fall I lost 15 pounds using the same method. I've been active enough through most of my adult life that I can snap myself back into good fitness pretty fast presuming I haven't been on my ass for more than a few months, and it wasn't until my mid-30s or so that I would start to gain weight during sedentary phases if I wasn't being careful. Throughout my 20s my weight didn't change much at all. So my weight issues have been minor, and I dealt with them handily before they had a chance to become not-minor.

Exercise is good, but you need to have your diet it check first. Otherwise you will explode as soon as something prevents you from training. It's also easier to not eat 1000 kcal that to burn 1000 kcal.

Amphetamines were popularly used to suppress appetite in the mid-20th century, but addiction and abuse proved disastrous.

He glosses over amphetamines. They are highly effective at weight loss. So much so that ADHD patients have the stereotypical "Adderall skinniness" after 1-2 years of use. Addiction is a problem with stimulants, but psychiatrist routinely assess for addiction in the ADHD population. Why not prescribe Adderall for weight loss and similarly monitor those patients?

Which is better? A BMI of 40+ or a BMI of 25 and taking a daily stimulant?

The FDA agrees with the latter in at least one case. In 2015, the FDA approved the amphetamine lisdexamfetamine (brand name Vyvanse) for the treatment of binge-eating disorder.

> Which is better? A BMI of 40+ or a BMI of 25 and taking a daily stimulant?

That's a false dilemma. You would have to be certain that "A BMI of 25 without taking a daily stimulant" cannot be achieved. Otherwise, that's the third option to consider.

Certainly abuse and addiction management has improved since the 1960s - but companies have struggled to get more stimulants to market because of other side effects as well (e.g. fenfluramine was quite effective, but withdrawn in the 1990s since it was found to cause heart valve disease / pulmonary hypertension). At this point, broader adoption of medications seems to be blocked by a combination of physicians choosing not to prescribe, payers unwilling to pay (e.g. $300/mo indefinitely), and patients who don't like the non-trivial side effects of existing options. Perhaps future drug discovery will alleviate these issues.

I have lost kilos post raves just from not being inclined to eat for days afterwards, but even just a dexie leaves me feeling scattered and non functional the day after. I assume you adjust to ongoing rather than occasional usage?

I've been on a low dose of Ritalin for about half a year now, I experience very few side effects, but appetite inhibition is definitely a thing.

Even after half a year, it has barely changed at all. I usually don't really feel hungry until I'm at the point where I get a bit lightheaded because I haven't eaten for too long.

The most annoying part isn't even the inhibited hunger impulse, it's that even if I take that into account, and plan my meals accordingly, I don't really feel like eating much, and I'll eat like you would if you were daydreaming about a potential lover.

The most effective solution I've seen so far is to not chain the doses like it's usually advised, ie, one pill every four hours, but to plan your meals and your pill timings such that you'll eat when the medication is wearing off. It's annoying, because of course this half-hour to hour period after medication wears off is very annoying, but it's the better alternative, especially if you take into account that Ritalin has a more stable and gentle impact if you take it on a full stomach.

Taking Ritalin on an empty stomach is like drinking two double-espressos on an empty stomach after a bad night's sleep, right after you wake up. :c

I believe there is a significant risk of heart conditions arising from stimulant use.

To me, it would seem that there's a couple things that aren't considered in most of these studies. A lot of them have a lot of controls in place for the starting size/weight range of the individuals. Given this, and the change in hormone (particularly insulin) response it's not always the same advice depending on how overweight you are, how much you are showing insulin resistance or elevated/deflated insulin response.

I think that resting insulin levels should be part of annual exams for everyone. It's much easier to explain, hey you're heading towards diabetes clinically when people still feel relatively well and healthy.

My own advice to younger people, and to those who aren't very overweight is to limit meals to 2-3 a day, don't snack between meals, and don't drink anything sweetened or containing calories during the day outside of meal time. Limit sugars to around 20-30g/day, and if having more, limit it to a single treat/dessert every other week.

If you're more overweight, or "pre-diabetic", then I suggest reducing total carbs to 100g/day, and limiting to 1-2 meals a day.

If you're obese/diabetic, omad (one meal a day) and ketogenic macros.

If you're on higher doses of insulin, add a 3-7 day fast once a month. And a 48hr fast at least once a week.

The worse off you are starting the harder it is... fortunately, you can work your way up the scale/advice above as you reach closer to an ideal weight.

After you get used to not snacking and reducing sugar/sweetened things between meals, it gets easier. The first week or two can be grueling and if you're a social eater, it can be very hard too.

Every annual physical and every work-related health exam I have had here in the US has included some kind of fasting glucose test.

An A1C test will only show problems after you've gone through a cycle of your body resisting insulin and your pancreas being overworked (resting insulin 4-7x normal) and then your pancreas wears out (damaged beta cell production) and then your resting glucose rises. This process can take many years. A resting insulin test will show resting insulin rising years before an A1C test shows a problem.

A1C is not the fasting glucose test.

It's not, the same stands... you'll go through years of elevated insulin before you see fasting glucose or A1C rise. A glucose tolerance test could be useful too, but a bit of a pain compared to simply testing insulin levels and comparing to the prior year.

There has been quite a lot of new, exciting and actually useful science in recent years about how to have a healthy body, but I think most people only look at calories. Some may look at fat/carbs. And some may also look into excercise as well. But in order to have a healthy body long term it seams you need to look into all of that, and sleep quality, and mindfullness/stress control.

That may sound like a lot, but each piece helps you out a little to keep the other pieces in check. Having a full night of sleep keeps your impulses in check. Excercise helps you sleep, keep muscle mass and fat at desirable levels. Eating healthy makes sleep easier etc. And they reinforce each other.

So keeping yourself in this healthy steady state is actually quite easy, as long as you take a holistic apriach and not over specialize in each area.

This is a hunch of mine though I havent really found any studies that take all of those things into account, just the specific interactions between those things.

Interesting review (that first graph in particular is definitely non-obvious to me), but under the diet section I think it understates the current body of research regarding low-carb/keto diets - some studies have begun to show energy expenditure[1] and insulin[2] benefits that uniquely exist with low-carb. I think we'll find out soon enough that a lower-carb approach, given the current American diet, does definitively perform better than other dieting approaches on average.

[1] https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583

[2] http://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/718265/effect-low-car...

First study:

>"During the test phase, high, moderate, and low carbohydrate diets varied in carbohydrate (60%, 40%, and 20% of total energy, respectively[...]We randomly assigned participants who achieved the target weight loss to high, moderate, or low carbohydrate test diets for a 20 week test phase.)"

Second study:

>"14 days of a low-carbohydrate diet (21 g of carbohydrates per day)"

So the first study went for 5 months but didn't include an actual low-carb diet:

  100 g -> ~400 cal -> ~20% of 2k cal/day
The second study only went for 2 weeks but did include a low carb diet:

  21g -> ~84 cal -> ~4% of 2k cal/day
Now someone just needs to combine these methods into one valid study.

Those are both very short term studies. The only critical factor in weight loss is how much people weigh in the long term as in 5+ years.

“20% of overweight individuals are successful at long-term weight loss when defined as losing at least 10% of initial body weight and maintaining the loss for at least 1 y.” Things get much worse in terms of 5+ year weight loss.

I'll just say that American culture in general makes it extremely difficult to stick to a healthy and disciplined lifestyle, no matter the specific diet. In keto communities I see people who have met lots of success but find it rough being bombarded by family, friends, and dining out options in general all going against their way of eating.

It's getting better, with restaurants especially. But it's still a large hurdle to any diet and/or healthy lifestyle. I'm sure it's better in some areas of the country than others.

I find that I do okay (with keto) at most restaurants, usually have to modify a meal, but can usually find something.

The vegetarian centered places tend to be much harder for me. I'm allergic to legumes, cranberries and blueberries, and just don't do well with grains anymore.

Last week, I had a cheat day with out of town friends and I'm still recovering from it. It's actually worse than the keto flu when starting out on keto in the first place, followed by increased hunger after eating carb heavy one day.

It is a problem in India too. Moreover people here consider being overweight to be healthy and equate being lean to being malnourished!

Agreed... I will personally say that it's far easier for me to eat very low carb or keto most days than other diets... I'm usually 1-2 meals a day, under 50g total carbs and under 20g net carbs. Getting used to not eating/snacking helps a lot, but I do notice when I have sweetened drinks between meals or dairy I don't lose as well.

I imagine very few people stick to a diet for 5 years, partly because they're not fun, and partly because many are unhealthy when done long term. Also, many health professionals recommended a max of 500 calorie deficit, which would mean ~50 pounds of weight loss in a year.

When would you need to follow a diet for 5 years if most people can reach their goal weight in 1-2 years? Once people reach their goal weight, they'll transition off to something else, which usually isn't a specific diet, but "eat more veggies" or whatever.

Given that long term diets are quite niche, I think limiting the study to 1 year makes a lot of sense.

Fat burns calories.

Generally, to maintain X pounds of weight loss you must consume ~10X fewer calories every day. In order to more quickly reach a new weight most people exceed that difference, but they can’t go back to old eating habits without regaining their original weight.

PS: Metabolism and exercise have real impact, but you can easily out eat any reasonable exercise plan.

  Fat burns calories.
Only brown fat (BAT) does, and humans have very little.

All cells require energy to survive.

On top of that strapping an extra 10+ pounds to your body and walking around would require extra energy for the same movements.

I lost 20% of my wheight with this diet (under 20g carbs daily), in 1 year. my fat ratio was too high, now it's good. I would never eat carbs again... Benefits are really great: mood, energy (no peak or bottom), clear mind (no dizzy when hungry or full), actually never hungry (my stomach never scream), full very fast (fat will make you full fast).

Yes sometimes i would like to eat a cake. I did it once. there was too much sugar, and it made me sick off it, i'm vaccinated!

“made me sick”

Convincing myself a particular food is disgusting has been an effective way to cut it from my diet.

Started with donuts. Horrible greasy dough blobs, dripping with artificially colored sticky, bug-collecting sugar slime. Blehhhh. (Unless it’s hot out of the fat at Bob’s or Leonard’s, then it’s something completely different.)

Next up was fries/chips. Horrid frozen potatoes coated in preservatives, sugar and salt, then boiled in rancid grease. (Unless it’s the Anstruther or Fochabers chipper, local potatoes, barely fried, mashed potato insides.)

Sweetened drinks are on the block now. May as well inject that lab-made carb goo straight into my pancreas, let those guys fight it out.

Fruit juices have been tough. I’ve been doing a trick I saw in Zurich, which is serve the only the best, fresh squeezed juice, but in a shot glass.

Damn though, I like a bowl of cereal (unsweetened, whole grain) at midnight. Will back it off to a small glass.

I watched an ancient Tony Robbins video where a member of the audience came up and said his biggest food issue was pizza. Robbins spent 7 minutes getting him to reimagine pizza as a digusting, mold-covered triangle.

I don't think that strategy would work for me. I understand trying to reframe things in a different way, but come on, unless they find a way to make pizza smell bad, I'm never going to believe it's a "disgusting" food I should avoid. It's just an unhealthy, carb-loaded food that's easy to binge on.

I feel like the studies of specialty diets bring misleading conclusions, because they always count calories for both sides.

If you’re on a calorie controlled diet, then calories in calories out holds. But most speciality diets (I’m on something pretty similar to slow carb) are targeting adherence, a factor that’s removed if you’re only measuring calories in and calories out.

Without white carbs I find it much much easier to reduce my calorific intake. To compare my diet with any other — if you’re enforcing the same number of calories — is kind of pointless, as I specifically don’t want to count calories, nor do I want to feel hungry.

Sometimes feeling hungry is ok and likely healthy. Always feeling hungry is brutal.

For me, low carb works like magic and with limited aggravation once past the first week. The problem is, if I never learn to be (sometimes) hungry, it all comes apart when I go off the diet and back to living in the land of infinite crap carbs.

You should spend some of each day feeling at least a bit hungry. If you're not hungry when you sit down for a meal, you've eaten too much already.

There's a huge difference between "a bit hungry" and actually properly hungry. Most people with weight problems probably never let themselves feel more than peckish, and so their perception of hunger adjusts to amplify that feeling. When I'm below my target weight (sitting at a fairly low body fat percentage) and I try to maintain a calorie deficit, the hunger I start feeling is insanely more intense than when I'm a bit chubby and losing weight.

Yah. I think the biggest thing for me has been learning that I feel two distinct types of hunger, and also getting more in touch with feeing full/hungry in a way that the rush I get from eating carbs seems to hide.

Overeating without white carbs just feels uncomfortable and I rarely do it. The rush I get from pizza or fries (which I hadn’t identified until I stopped) masks that discomfort.

The always hungry thing is generally why severe calorie deprevation doesn't work in the long run. Pretty much everyone gains it all and then some in a 5year term.

Most of the studies I looked at would "enforce" diets through direction, coaching, and meal plans, while a few provided meals to participants. Very few required daily calorie tracking. So while it is possible there is an adherence improvement for certain diets (e.g. low-carb has better satiety, better adherence, and therefore better weight loss), that improvement doesn't appear to be significant enough to regularly appear in research studies. Of course, one could make the methodological critique (e.g. "the studies aren't good enough yet to detect this"), but at least it seems to set a ceiling on the magnitude of a possible adherence improvement.

I have a friend who I watched try a bunch of diet systems. Pills from amazon that she researched. Trying to not eat as much. Calorie counting. More expensive pills. Doing one of those "we send you all your meals" programs. Nothing worked or was even close. Maybe she'd lose 5 pounds and then immediately gain it back.

Finally she went to a clinic. The Dr. gave her a prescription to phentermine and she had to show up every week for evaluation. It worked great, the pounds melted off her, and she has kept it off. She lost something like 35 lbs in a few months (from 160). It basically made her not want to eat, her daily calorie count was stupid low, but it never really affected her energy levels - she didn't have any health issues.

The doctor said her body would get used to the drug in about 3 months and it would be less effective, and that was true. So you can't really stay on it continuously, I guess..

That isn't addressing the underlying problem of eating too much. There was quite a study at Odense University Hospital where they enrolled women that had tried everything to lose weight. They was asked to meticulously write down everything single thing they ate. They they was admitted to the hospital and they was fed exactly what they had written for the past month.

Every single woman lost a significant amount of weight.

So if your friend have counted calorie counting without losing weight she didn't count correctly or truthfully.

Maybe it does. People eat too much because they have cravings, low pleasure response to food (so they need to more to feel the same as healthy people) and maybe low dopamine levels (that's my hypothesis based on my problems and some experiments).

I think eating too much is a symptom of an underlying problem and drugs may help with it. This is also why I think regular exercise is very important for weightloss. Not because calories burnt but because neurotransmitters levels and their impact on mood and impulse control.

>>So if your friend have counted calorie counting without losing weight she didn't count correctly or truthfully.

She very likely knew she is eating too much. It's not rocket science and calorie counting won't help unless you are in very deep denial. The problem is controlling yourself and constant cravings you have to fight. It's just way more difficult for some people than others the same way some get easily addicted to drugs and some use them recreationally for years without problems or sign of addiction.

> The problem is controlling yourself and constant cravings you have to fight. It's just way more difficult for some people than others

And that is the problem people should be focusing on. It's easier to take a pill from the doctor, but that's a last resort when your health dictates that you must lose weight right now. You will have to somehow control your eating one way or another at some point if you want to control your weight.

There is no easy solution.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say most people are probably aware that a substituted amphetamine will help you not eat.

From personal experience * with weight loss, diet is good for short terms but will not work in long terms.

I have tried limiting calories, intermittent fasting, and keto. The only thing worked long term was loving exercise and setting challenges (cycling 20 miles a day, running 10k .. etc). Exercise will allow me to eat the food I like (within limits) and not caring if I will gain some weight as I will lose it potentially with exercise.

* I lost 20% of my body weight in 8 months doing strictly 1500 calories a day for 8 months with moderate exercise then gained 10% of it back and since then I will lose/gain 5% every now and then.

Is there any major weight loss system that looks at genetics?

According to this article there are a few genes which will alter your success with either any excercise cersus only high intensity exercise, and low carb versus low fat being a better weight loss diet.


The problem with this meta analysis is that it doesn't really account for the motivational factor related to money and other things.

Moreover, that people with more weight to lose might likely opt for the more major programs.

When your doctor says "You now have diabetes, and you're going to die young unless you get your weight under control" ... well, that might motivated people.

As opposed to someone who just wants to lose 10 lbs and is otherwise fairly healthy.

I think this is a fair point, and the final section of the post attempts to address this. For what it's worth, most studies do not selectively draw from a highly-motivated cohort - participants are rarely the most severely obese, and they also usually aren't people who are actively looking for clinical trials or free weight loss programs. Money is also controlled for, since the interventions are almost always offered for free, and any time or work involved with the study will be compensated as well. From my perspective, if anything, the motivational factor may actually be _too_ well-controlled in many of these studies, so the observed result does not translate properly to real-world settings.

My anecdote: I lose weight very easily by CICO. Over the course of of a few months in college I ate a very strict diet of x calories. At the time it was something like 1100/day as a ~200lb 21 year old. Supposedly dangerous, but a lot of things are. Anyway, by keeping an excel sheet of the exact calories I ate every day, minus my calculated metabolic rate, I knew exactly what %/lb I lost per day/week. I kept such good track that by measuring my weight every day I was able to reverse calculate my metabolic rate by the daily weight loss (it was very close to online calculators so I wouldn't bother going out of your way to try it).

The most important thing for me is seeing it as a game. Being able to see daily results even if they are fractions of pounds a day or week. Knowing exactly what I'm aiming for at the end of the week and how I'm getting there.

The most difficult party is meticulously counting calories and ratios when making things. A kitchen scale is essential.

Anyway I was 50 lbs lighter when I quit. It has come back over the course of 6 or 7 years but I'm a pig and I will just lose it again when the time comes.

I'm about 145lb 22 y/o, and also doing 1100 calories/day but usually in the form of one meal for dinner. How did you calculate the amount you should lose per day/week? I'm interested in filling such a spreadsheet myself.

When I started I used a metabolic rate calculator.

https://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/calories for example.

The amount of calories lost per day = the metabolic rate from the calculator - the amount of calories you eat that day.

The amount of pounds lost per day is: burned calories (above) / 3500 (number of calories in a pound of fat).

After a couple months of measuring my weight daily and knowing exactly what my caloric intake was, I calculated my real average metabolic rate by doing the reverse.

total calories lost in a period = lbs lost * 3500

calorie burn (metabolic rate) = total calories burned + total calories eaten

The above is per period so I calculated the average values for the days in a month and used them.

I didn't exercise much so the basal metabolic rate was fairly close to my real burn.

If you aren't exercising much,the assumption that all loss is fat is optimistic, and lean body mass has only 600 kcal/pound instead of 3,500 for fat.

Yes that is also true. I accounted for about 20% of lean mass loss included and then had to hit the gym after the few month diet :)

Though it wasn't my biggest concern since I overshot my loss by about as much.

I feel like this article neglects the most important thing, which is sustainability.

I've recently come across the idea of fasting for weight loss. Turns out most people can safely fast (eat nothing, only drink water that is) for many days, sometimes as long as 40 days if they are overweight. Switching to a diet of eating minimally processed food afterwards - which is what we're used to from an evolutionary standpoint - can apparently be quite sustainable.

I'm young and thankfully don't have weight problems, but if I had I think I'd give it a shot.

I remember seeing an article about a long term study of former participants of the show "The Biggest Loser." If I recall, almost all of them had gained the weight back and due to the extreme caloric restrictions they had placed on themselves during their time on the show the reduced their base metabolic rate significantly.

You can still fast, like I do, despite being lean. 4-5 day water fast regenerates the immune system.

While we are discussing diets, anybody has a good replacement for snacks? Few years ago I realized I am really prone to stress-eating.

If I am not stressed, I can go about my day, eating 2 big meals a day (and a small breakfast), and even slowly loose wight.

But if I am under pressure I can eat another large meal worth of snacks. And I really don't like it, because then I am gaining weight really fast :-/ Anybody in similar situation? What helped you there?

Snack on something like carrots, cucumber, and other vegetables that aren't sweet or fatty. You'll significantly cut down on the calories and gain some healthy food too. Just don't create dipping sauce or the like. Raw vegetables only.

You could go with the route other users are suggesting and eat something that is filled with water and will probably leave your system undigested (e.g. fiber-filled vegetables). Or you could also try ingesting mud, for that matter.

I suggest you give almonds, macadamia nuts and pork rinds a go.

Carrots, celery, cucumber, 0% fat cottage cheese.

Fizzy water here.

Got a sodastream, keep a couple of bottles in the fridge at all times.

Snack on vegetables.

Over a decade ago I DIY'd going from 225 to ~165 and have kept it off.

The main success factor in my opinion was becoming single and staying single, as well as restructuring my life in general, especially how/who I socialize with.

It's pretty easy to do what's right for you when you go solo.

The process isn't really different than a drug addict trying to go clean and avoid relapse. It's all about the friends and environment, you have to change it all.

Not gonna lie when I got married and had a kid and started a new job all at the same time my weight went up like almost 30kg.

To be fair, it's entirely possible to enter a family, social, and employment situation that reinforces healthy choices.

My point was more along the lines of the existing environment being largely responsible for the emergent property of being overweight/unhealthy.

Unless you change the environment, it makes it very difficult to sustainably alter the emergent outputs, which is what we are.

I found it easiest to simply replace and/or eliminate the major environmental problems rather than try modify them in-place. Nobody likes to be forced to live differently, and in my experience, the relationship's happiness was largely derived from the shared unhealthy activities.

After enough time living the healthier life as an individual, access to the healthier environments improves. Healthy members of the opposite sex that have also figured it out become attracted to you, employers who secretly discriminate against unhealthy employees start making offers, same for friend circles. But it's a privileged lifestyle, so it's not the easy/likely default option open to all.

I quit sugar five years ago, didn't diet, and was surprised when I lost of ton of weight. It never came back. I can't be the only one.

What I'd like to know is if there are any studies into whether the frequency with which a person weighs themself can have an effect on weight loss? The theory being the quicker feedback would lead to quicker results by motivating more change and making it easier for the person to stay motivated and correlate changes in lifestyle with weight loss.

Yup - there are several studies [1][2] that have looked into this, and regular weighing (e.g. daily) looks like it has a small but significant effect that helps with weight loss.

[1] https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa061883

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788086/

Thank you!

(It also looks like it helps with keeping the weight off once it's lost.)

They seem to have focussed on Diets but neglected diet.

As in rather than going on a Diet, adopting a different diet, a new habit if you will.

A Diet is a New Years resolution, a diet is for life.

The article says 75% of Americans are overweight. Therefore 25% aren't. What are they doing right? I doubt they're all having liposuction.

Everyone has their own thing that works. Personally I calorie counted and lost 90lbs (250 to 160). I think the hardest part is keeping it off, especially if something is causing you to eat more than you should be in the first place or if you use it as a coping mechanism.

As somebody who went from 240 to 180 lbs (I'm about 6 5" tall btw) and stayed there for long, the hard thing to cope with is homecooking. Once i had kids I had no more time for cooking, and hurried pasta/pizza dishes just drive me fat.

Thorough and thoughtful.

Under Medications he writes “Unfortunately, none of the drugs have generics yet, so they cost between $200-300 per month.” ...and they are not too effective. ...and amphetamine is illegal and addicting

So: read more studies and discover DNP. A molecule that once was. Safer than many meds (of course unless you are an idiot and overdose). More effective than anything on Earth. But one that will never come back because guess what, it can’t be patented. So happy research if interested. Just keep in mind there is plenty of misinformation (even on Wikipedia) that doesn’t have any ground in scientific trials.

It is very simple. There are 8000 calories in 1kg of fat. If you want to lose 10 kg you'll need to burn 80,000 calories through deficit, either through diet or exercise.

Personally I find it easy to live on a strict diet and limiting alcohol intake to once every few weeks

Everybody who's trying to lose weight knows it is about sustaining a calorie deficit. The problem is how.

Pick any number of options!

There goes that simplicity then. How do you pick one? How do you stay on it? How do you decide whether to switch, when to switch and what to switch to? How do you motivate yourself to try again once you've failed? And on it goes.

How do you pick any activity that encourages you to burn more calories than usual?

I would expect that comes down to finding something you enjoy doing.

Exercise and eating well is a way of life. If your life dictates you do neither, you will get fat. I don't really understand how its complicated. You just do it for the benefits.

Personally I eat chicken and veg 5 days a week (with occasional carbs when I train), train for 3 days and climb once a week. I also mostly hit my 10k steps per day.

I mean this respectfully. Think about it this way:

If there's an obvious solution that so many people are having trouble implementing, what is more likely?

1. That all those people are stupid or have no willpower, or 2. that the obvious solution doesn't work for everyone?

They have no willpower. You are the only person who controls what you eat everyday. If you are in stuck in an office you need to block out time for exercise.

How can there be any other excuse?

I know people who look great and eat entire cakes each day but they do 4 hours of high intensity exercise everyday. I can't do that as I am fundamentally lazy and only exercise/diet for vanity.

IMO you have an oversimplified view of this based on limited experience. You have abstracted away the diverse and complex reasons this doesn't work for everyone behind the excuse that people make excuses. It's not so simple. People are different; their circumstances are different; we can't just write them off by blaming them for being obese or addicted.

A legitimate reason I can think of is that eating healthy food is expensive and people in poverty can't afford the luxury or spare the time.

I have meals prepped and delivered twice a day and a trainer 3 times a week which obviously helps somewhat

sridca 56 days ago [flagged]

No the problem is gluttony. Why do we complicate this so much?


Yeah, the same way you tell heroin addict or an alcoholic to quit today. Many of those people know they want to quit and they "re-affirm" daily but it's just constant struggle for them which is very difficult or impossible to win every hour, day and week. When people ask for help with weight-loss most of the time they need something that makes the struggle manageable.

I drink alcohol recreationally. I can't imagine being addicted to it. I don't even know how alcohol cravings feel like. I can stop at any moment without wanting more and I can and often go months without a drink. Still I wouldn't ever tell an alcoholic to just decide and re-affirm it daily to stop drinking. I know the problem is deeper than that for alcoholics. It's high time we start treating people who overeat and can't stop similarly.

Oh honey, if it was that easy I'd have abs instead of angst.

This 'just try harder' approach doesn't work for everybody. For one, an affirmation might feel strong and decisive when you first make one, but it can simply lose its hold as the novelty wears off. You can say the words to yourself but they'll begin to seem more and more hollow. I don't see how this is a choice.

This isn't so much "just try harder" as a mental approach which worked for me when "eat less" didn't. You look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and instead of just saying "yuck I'm fat", you say "I can control this by choosing what I eat." You open the fridge mid-morning for a snack and you think to yourself, "do I want to eat this more than I want to lose weight?"

Affirmations only start to seem hollow if they're not backed up by action. The first time you say "I can control this" it does sound hollow. After the first day when you've eaten healthily and chosen not to snack, the next morning it'll sound a bit less hollow. After a week you'll actually feel in control. It gets better, not worse.

Of course, a crucial part of this is eating healthily so that you're not starving. Some protein, a bit of fat, and limited low-GI carbs, along with fresh fruit and vegetables. If you have a handful of potato chips for breakfast then of course you're not going to be able to stop yourself scoffing the rest of the packet by mid morning.

Well fuck, why didn’t anyone think of that?!

Fasting works best for me

Do you mean intermitten fasting or longer than 24h? Did you consult your doktor before longer fast?

You ever read about other people's experiences and it seems utterly alien to you? SSC had a post sort of on this theme[0]. I just don't understand how people can fail to lose 5% bf. Over 12 months, even! Just eat a bit less. 100kcal per day is enough to lose 5 kilos in 12 months, how hard can it be to eat 100kcal less than normally? It's literally one slice of cheese.

I have regular cut periods where I lose more than 5% in a matter of weeks and it's the most trivial thing in the world. What are these people doing?!?

[0] https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/03/17/what-universal-human-e...

As someone who has never smoked, never had more than a few drinks, and never done heroin, I find that it takes zero effort to not buy cigarettes, not buy drugs, and not drink to excess. What could be easier than not doing something, after all? I just have to sit here and play on my computer. And yet, obviously, many people find doing these things (or not doing them, rather) to be incredibly difficult. I can't just shrug that off, even if I lack any personal experience with it.

> I just don't understand how people can fail to lose 5% bf.

Depends where you start, getting from 50% to 45% is a whole other story than getting from 10% to 5%.

> What are these people doing?

Responding to their metabolic and emotional needs, which are complex beyond comprehension.

Eating when they're hungry/thirsty/anxious/bored/depressed?

> What are these people doing?!?

Eating too much.

If that stat that almost 25% lost 5+% of BW using a placebo is true, then the most cost-effective treatment is to give everyone placebos.

This is a good point - I'll caveat this in the post. Most medication/placebo studies tend to involve a bit of coaching in addition to the medication, usually 1 session per month or less with instruction on diet and exercise. So the 25% result is essentially "coaching-lite + sugar pill", which may be considerably more expensive than a simple placebo. This result could be much weaker if it's just the placebo alone.

Not only that, but tracking alone raises a lot of awareness and a tendency to be more "healthy" or compliant.

ALL DIETS WORK IN THE SHORT TERM... The problem is keeping it off.

Please, please, please read the Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung: https://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Code-Unlocking-Secrets-Weight...

He provides all the science behind the current obesity epidemic, backed up with studies done on humans.

Obesity is a hormonal problem... Insulin makes us fat.

Current fads suggest eating ALL THE TIME.

This puts people in a state of high insulin all day, everyday. This is bad.

Intermittent fasting based around a common sense diet (limit sugars and starchy food to special occasions) will lower insulin levels, and cause the body to burn fat instead of insulin.

The keys is not what to eat, but when to eat and how often... and drink Apple Cider Vinegar. :P

You are probably downvoted because there isn't enough convincing evidence for insulin hypothesis. I like Jason Fung and I love the idea of fasting for health and weight-loss. I think though that advocates of both fasting and low-carb make a mistake getting too attached to insulin. They may die on this hill while being right all along but for different reasons.

My understanding is that we don't know if it's insulin or something else that makes many people wanting to eat less once they are accustomed to regular fasting or low-carb diet. It would be better to focus on a proven fact that it does work for many people and trying to understand the mechanism instead of picking just one possible one (insulin) and staking everything on that being full explanation.

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