Fitness Trackers Don’t Cause Weight Loss (Psst…Neither Does Exercise)

Do wearable fitness trackers help you lose weight? Of course not. Why? Because exercise doesn’t cause weight loss. Yet, researchers who still believe in the calories in, calories out myth spent 2 years and some serious dollars studying the weight loss results of those who wear fitness trackers.

Since the researchers believe in the weight loss myth of eat less and move more, they’ve earned the Captain Jean Luc Picard Double Face Palm Award!

If you’re not convinced that eating less and exercising more causes weight loss, then I suggest you check out this article about the show The Biggest Loser. Your body fights you tooth and nail when you cut your calories and exercise more.  And as an added bonus, your slower metabolism doesn’t bounce back.

Not enough evidence? How about the famous Women’s Health Study that showed if you exercise 1 hour a day everyday for 3 years, you’ll lose a total of 0.25 pounds. Yep, 1/4 of a pound…over 3 years.

I learned this lesson the hard way. When I started on my health journey, I tried exercising like a demon to “burn” calories. The result was one injury after another and not a whole lot of movement on the scale. My doctor told me to stop exercising until I lost 50 pounds. I thought he was insane. But sure enough, I focused on learning the nuts & bolts of LCHF eating and the pounds fell off. No calorie counting. No exercising.

I’m not saying don’t exercise. I love working out. It’s good for you, especially exercise that builds strength. But it isn’t a great tool for weight loss.

As they say, you can’t outrun your fork.

Weekly Weigh-In: Eat More, Lose A Pound

weekly weigh in June 12

Yay! Down nearly a pound. And I did it by eating more meat. LCHF eating really does rock.

I’m just 2 ounces shy of losing a full pound this week. Not too shabby considering I made it a point to eat more this week. That puts my total weight loss at 141.1 pounds. The 170s are within sight!

But the real bonus this week was saying goodbye to my sweater. I no longer feel like I’m freezing all the time.

I bumped my protein back up to 6 ounces a meal (I cut it back to 4 ounces sometime last year). Not only did the cold hands and feet disappear, but I had a lot more energy and stopped snacking between meals.

If I added more protein to my diet, did I cut back on anything else? Nope. I still kept my daily net carbs under 20g. As for my fat intake, that’s still around 65-70% of all my daily calories.

I don’t count calories but of course My Fitness Pal tracks them. I’ve gone from eating 1400-1500 calories a day to eating 1600 -1800 calories a day.

So yes, I ate more calories and lost weight. Perhaps our bodies are more complex than the simple theory of eat less, move more. I’ll post more on this in my upcoming review of The Obesity Code this week.

When I decided to cut back on protein, my body essentially responded by turning down my thermostat. My resting metabolism slowed and I got cold…real cold. My energy level dropped and I had the focus of a gnat. And it is certainly one reason why I’ve stayed in the mid 180s for a year.

Yet I thought feeling cold, my brain fog and lack of energy was related to the weather — the winter blahs and all the blasted rain we had. Nope, my body wanted that protein back but I didn’t listen.

That goes to show you that no matter your success, you can still miss little (and not so little) signals from your body.

Why Willpower & Eating Less Isn’t The Weight Loss Magic Bullet

Want to lose weight? It's about diet quality, not calorie counting.

Want to lose weight? It’s about diet quality, not calorie counting.

Here’s an interesting New York Times article that examines the current calories in/calories out theory that’s dominated obesity thinking for the last 60 years. The piece poses an interesting question – What if it’s not overeating that causes us to get fat, but its the process of getting fatter that causes us to get overeat?

A matrix logic puzzle? Not really. Just science.

Part of the problem is how calories are distributed in our bodies. If calories are stored in fat tissue, then there are fewer circulating in our bloodstream to meet the body’s needs. So the body increases its intake. The result, we get hungrier because we’re getting fatter.

Read More

Weighing In On Heavy

My new favorite weight loss show - Heavy. It takes an honest approach to losing weight. I just wish it spent a little more time on nutrition.

My new favorite weight loss show – Heavy. It takes an honest approach to losing weight. I just wish it spent a little more time on nutrition.

Yesterday I stumbled across Heavy, a show weigh loss reality show. I’m a little late to the party – the show aired in 2011-12 and season 2 starts in 2014. But better late than never.

Each episode follows 2 people in a 6-month weight loss program. They work with trainers and dietitians to change their habits and lose weight. While considered a reality show, in fact, it feels more like a documentary. No one is voted off. It’s not scripted. You get to know these people, warts and all.

This show cuts close to the bone. At times it’s like someone is holding a mirror up to me, making the show difficult to watch. But that’s why I love it too.

Some weeks you lose weight and others you gain. Sometimes life kicks your butt and you binge. Heavy captures this in spades. You really feel for these people, even if you disagree with some of their choices.

Weight loss is awesome, but hard as hell.  Heavy takes an honest look at the journey.  Sure there’s help in the form of trainers, but the individuals’ success or failure is all their own. And the show pulls no punches with the health problems these people face  – diabetes, strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, skin disorders.

I wish they’d explore the nutrition side more. Food and nutrition are way more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. If you don’t get the nutrition right, no amount of exercising helps.

Also front and center is the “calories-in, calories-out” myth, which, if you read this blog, you know I think is BS.

If I owned a weight loss spa, I’d give all of my guests a copy of Why We Get Fat and hire only nutritionists who understand it’s not about how much we eat, but what we eat (in fact, what we eat can trigger us to overeat). But that doesn’t make good TV.

Criticisms aside, I really love the show. As a big bonus, after watching the first episode online, I ended my afternoon with 30 minutes of yoga followed by a 15-minute walk.

Yes, the show is a big motivator.