Maintaining a daily record of my calorie intake as well as my weight has really helped me keep my eating in check. It has also helped me get motivated to keep going to the gym - everytime I see that graph flat lining, I kick it up a notch.
Works for me.
Sneaking the weight back on - three weeks visiting the folks back home will down that, but getting back on the plan again and looking forward to seeing the progress again.
I wrote a super simple little web form for myself to input what I had eaten, and how many calories were in it. There were no fancy graphs or anything like this appears to have, but it made me very aware how what was going into my body. What made it great was that it was accessible from my phone, from my friends phone, from my computer at work, etc. etc. etc.
If you care (although I suspect that anybody here could recreate this in about 10 seconds), you can check it out here: http://www.gibsonandlily.com/getskinny
I've been going out running for about 30-40 minutes 2 out of every 3 days, and have pretty much stopped eating crap.
The phone really didn't have that much to do with it, though having an app that tracked my time and distance has made it something of a game to see if I can improve my time.
I got fed up with my gradually increasing weight, and started looking into what I was eating and the calorie cost. Granola will make you roly-poly! Who knew? Clearly I had some bad ideas on what to eat.
I'm really bad at tracking calories or keeping regular regular records of stuff. For me it's simpler to just not have something around to eat at all rather than try to limit consumption. Luckily, I have something of a short food memory so I can eat the same thing most days (oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast; raw vegetables with Wasa crackers for lunch) and not get sick of it.
A key factor was seeing real progress. I hate making myself get dressed and go out first thing in the morning, but losing belly fat and feeling (and looking) lots better makes me want to keep it up.
I still eat junk now and then, and don't go crazy over it, since I know that on average I'm still getting fitter.
What he is missing here is that lifting weights is anabolic and re-building damaged muscles from weight lifting takes lots of calories. Therefore, your metabolic rate increases and your fat burning increases 24/7 when you are progressively challenging your muscles by lifting increasing amounts of weight. Therefore, burning 400kcal in one hour lifting weights isn't the extent of the effect of that workout! This guy doesn't seem to know very much about physiology or metabolism...
Exactly! With a bit of effort and really no impact to my life schedule, I reversed a weight gain trend. I very well could have lifted regularly or gone running, but I didn't want to.
These guys are fantastic if you want to change your lifestyle. In the past, I've done something like this program and I lost about 70 pounds (meanwhile becoming relatively buff and, if I might say so myself, rather sexy). I like this program because it's a laid back version of most ketogenic diets mixed with a whole food mentality (read: it's sustainable for life).
There is good empirical data on how to eat and exercise to get and stay thin. There's no reason to rely on outlier anecdotes like this. The prescription is: minimize starch and sugar (hard to do without eating fat), eat infrequently (don't snack), brief bouts of difficult exercise (sprinting, lifting) on an empty stomach.
The headaches he describes are from very poor insulin sensitivity. He has a more serious health problem than body fat. The starchy/sugary diet he continues to eat leaves him at risk of disease. He says he still lives on junk fast food. What's the point of being thin but malnourished?
p.p.s. Caffeine is not an appetite suppressant.
I've since stopped counting and have stayed the same weight. Maybe calorie counting doesn't work for everyone, but it's certainly simple and easy.
(p.s. Where did I say I still lived on junk fast food? I eat a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables - my diet is all over the place. That just happens to include cheez-its sometimes. :))
I lost 60lbs in 40 weeks using this diet, and only felt healthier as I went along.
after (contains puppy):
I didn't get headaches, and caffeine is an indirect appetite suppressant in that it makes me more interested in what I'm doing and less distracted by hunger.
- count calories, and ensure that I maintain a calorie deficit (which is the only way to burn body fat).
- eat frequently, to reduce hunger and maintain an optimum metabolic rate.
- brief bouts of difficult exercise (3x30 minutes of anaerobic and 3x30 minutes of aerobic exercise a week) (the on an empty stomach part isn't very helpful).
- but, first and foremost, set goals and measure progress.
I've lost 25 pounds of body fat and gained 7 pounds of muscle mass in the last 14 weeks using this approach.
For the first 4 weeks I used the "Lose It!" application on my iPhone to help me better understand my calorie intake and burn rates. I couldn't recommend that application more.
My best source of information that I've found had been this...
(Note that the paperback is coming out in December.)
The human body is made to run off a gas tank of fat reserves, not to be tethered to an extension cord of continuous eating. Eating every couple hours is historically impossible, and just on that basis one can reason it's likely maladaptive. You eat a proper meal, insulin levels spike to put the energy in fat and glycogen, insulin levels drop, then you switch over to running on the fat and glycogen. You are not built to always stay in the "post-meal" state of elevated insulin and fat storage.
There is no basis to the idea that eating frequently boosts metabolism. I think the practice really has origins in the body building community where they want somewhat elevated insulin levels in order to pack on mass. Body builders pack on fat along with muscle and then shed the fat later for competition.
Some recent studies indicate that the same life extending benefits of calorie restriction can be had by eating only every other day. The point is to spend much time with low insulin levels.
> I've lost 25 pounds of body fat and gained 7 pounds of muscle mass in the last 14 weeks using this approach.
Notice how you never hear from people who have stayed thin for years by counting calories. The research indicates it just doesn't work. Even in the short term we only get these anecdotes of success and the data indicates it's not very effective.
My change from 'three squares' to 4-5 smaller meals a day has had quite a positive impact on my health and my lifestyle. As such, I'm not about to give it up. I really like never being really hungry. (note that I define a meal as 'eating something', even if that something is simply a banana.)
> Notice how you never hear from people who have stayed thin for years by counting calories.
No, I didn't notice. In fact, a lot of the people I know that have stayed fit for years have used calorie counting as part of their tool-set. The author of the book linked in my above comment is one of those people. However, that's just my experience.
Like the author of the original author stated, counting calories is used more as an educational tool than a micro-management tool. It helps people understand their own personal energy (im)balance. That may well be the crux of your point though.
I find it interesting that the research indicates something doesn't work that I have seen work with much success. I've always thought that calorie counting makes sense, since "you can't manage what you don't measure."
Besides, people get really hungry if they don't eat for long stretches between meals, what to do about that? Turns out if you have a couple pieces of fresh fruit, every couple hours, it will suppress the hunger and you also won't gain fat. This is because the body handles the sugar differently than more complex sugars, and also because fresh fruit is more filling than a calorically-equivalent ball of white rice. Our primate cousins like the chimps are mostly-frugivores too, by the by.
If you follow garbage diet advice and eat a bran muffin, banana, and skim milk, yeah, you'll be starving two hours after eating. For breakfast I had four eggs scrambled in butter and full fat yogurt with blueberries. I'm just getting hungry now, 12 hours later.
> the hunter-gatherer duo usually do not have to search far for food
Are you kidding? They walk miles and miles.
> !kung san
I don't think the san illustrate your point, but in any case they are a bad model. They are stunted and generally unhealthy, scraping by on marginal desert land. They were forced off the good land. There really aren't any representative modern day hunter gatherers. There are only historical accounts.
You need to force yourself to become the first type, from the second type. It can be done.
I work in IT, this is my theory, I am not a nutritionist.
p.s.: I frequently work out and bicycle. That certainly adds to it.
Exercise is fundamentally hard for weight loss. It takes a lot of time exercising in order to make a difference. Eating 600 calories less is not that hard - but from a bit of googling it looks like it would take 1.5 hours of continuous aerobics (plus time for changing and shower - that's over 2h every day). I'm not terribly out of shape, but I'm pretty sure I can't do 1.5h of aerobic and still stand. Also, I'd be famished afterwards.
If you have good data for exercise, please share. Otherwise it's still anecdote vs anecdote.
The other issue is that simply eating less will cause you to lose muscle, not necessarily fat. Lifting will let you keep the muscle.
So, maybe not an 2 hours of aerobics each day, but 30 minutes of something, for your heart and bones.
The value of exercise for weight loss has little to do with burning calories. It's about hormones. Brief, intense exercise boosts growth hormone and testosterone, which make you shed fat independent of calories burned. Your body reconfigures. Note that endurance exercise doesn't really have this effect.
Anaerobic exercise on an empty stomach directly burns fatty acids released from body fat. A quick lifting session (20m) while hungry followed by a one or two hour fast will burn a lot of fat. Aerobic exercise with a focus on calories is fairly useless, as you indicate. It simply burns down glycogen levels which are then replenished at the next meal with little impact on fat reserves, unless you go for a very long run or bike ride. But then this has the effect of dramatically boosting appetite, which can negate the effect.
But that's the entire point. Reducing your caloric intake causes your metabolism to drop, for reasons that ought to be fairly obvious if you think about it. If you think about it, it also should become obvious why that's the only possible direction of causality, too.
However what you say about anaerobic exercise sounds interesting. I'll google it more thoroughly when I have the time.
The issue is working out hard enough to take out all the glycogen stores, and not eating for a while (which just replenishes them).
Note, I have no idea what I'm talking about, but it sorta makes sense. Post any research you find here.
If my Internet wasn't capped, I could easily list a dozen academic papers describing clinical studies where subjects lost considerable amounts of weight after being put on low calorie diets. In all of these studies, the addition of regular exercise had a measurable but small affect on weight loss.