Comforting Lie of the Day

Photo by Faeryan

From TIME magazine:

Ah, yes. We'd all like to believe this, wouldn't we? So Michael Phelps ingests 12,000 calories a day and yet doesn't get fat because of--just dumb luck? Some obvious issues with the article:

1. "Weight" is probably not the metric that most people are really interested in. Dropping fat and adding muscle in some cases leads to an increase in body weight while the individual slims down. Body measurements or percentage of body fat might be more meaningful.

2. Even the most strenuous exercise group in the study worked out for less than 30 minutes a day. Puh-leeze. It takes me longer than that just to drive to the gym.

My own theory is that a major factor in the success (or lack thereof) of an exercise program is mindset. If you're going to spend 20 minutes on the Stairmaster while flipping through a magazine and then whine about how much willpower you've used up, it's probably not going to happen for you. (Willpower is required for this type of exercise program, because it's just so damn boring.) On the other hand, if you're really interested in finding out what your body is capable of, and pursue the goal intelligently, it will be far more enjoyable and effective at the same time.

1 comment:

Matroid Theory by James Oxley said...

My thoughts exactly. Today, I went waterskiing in the morning, did a 60-minute dance aerobics class, and then went for a 50-minute evening run. 30 minutes of exercise daily is way too little to expect would lead to weight loss. In 30 minutes, I could burn at most 300 calories. It's probably simpler for people eating an unhealthy diet to cut 300 calories from what they're eating than it would be to maintain an exercise program. But the combination of both diet and exercise can't be beat!.

The article argues that exercise will increase your appetite, but I find the exact opposite is true. Once I'm done exercising, I almost never feel hungry until a couple of hours have passed. I thought it was well established that aerobic exercise is appetite-suppressing. Here's a reference:

I think the article was talking about the compensating that people do when they feel that exercise is an awful chore that must be endured. Exercising is the highlight of my day, the most fun thing I do. There's exciting music playing, and I get to dance around or jump up and down or balance on my hands... it's exhilarating to accomplish something with my body.

Negative attitudes toward exercise, and deliberate evasion of simple facts about calorie balance, are responsible for the author's failure to lose weight. How dumb do you have to be to exercise in the hope of losing weight but finish your run with a massive blueberry muffin? Very, very, dumb.