Sunday, May 17, 2015
All my life, I’ve wanted to weigh less than I do. Except for the summer of 1961 which I spent in Mexico – at the Summer Institute of Linguistics Jungle Camp in the State of Chiapas.The fall of that year was the only time I can recall weighing close to “what the charts indicate.” Of course it didn’t last.
I’ve been called “husky,” “big-boned” and “stocky.” Never “thin.” I’ve tried exercise, conditioning, and diets of every variety known to mankind. Nothing has ever worked the way I wish it would have worked to get my weight where I wanted it.Now, apparently, we have scientific evidence that there is a very good reason. Evidently, exercise + diet = no weight loss (you eat more to compensate for the exercise). It’s looking more and more like the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in as food. Sounds so simple, but doing it is so hard.
Sugar and refined carbohydrates in our American diet are likely the most significant culprits. And the food industry is not without guile in often blatantly misstating their effects and, in fact, promoting fitness while at the same time encouraging the use of carb-loaded “sports drinks” and such.None of this is revolutionary. But it sure is disconcerting that all those workouts and laps around the track didn’t take off anything that gravity pulls on.
Here is the science: In a current article in the Washington Post by cardiologist Aseem Malhotra, he cites a large body of studies that show that basal metabolic rates tend to drop as people lose weight in spite of exercise.“A comprehensive 2013 literature review by Amy Luke, a public health scholar at Loyola University of Chicago, concludes that ‘numerous trials have indicated that exercise plus calorie restriction achieves virtually the same result in weight loss as calorie restriction alone,’” writes Dr. Malhotra.
Now don’t misunderstand. Exercise is good and beneficial. It does many good things (reduces risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). But, alone, it does not take weight off. And further, exercise is not even needed to lose weight.I just knew it would turn out this way. I guess the good news is that I don’t have to push the exercise bike quite as hard, but the bad news is I may have to get counselling for separation anxiety from the absence of deep dish pizza and bacon cheeseburgers.