Traditional weight loss theory calls for reducing calories and increasing activity, i.e. exercising more. Sounds simple and logical but ask any dieter how it worked for them and you’ll likely hear “not very well” (but in stronger, possibly unprintable, phrasing).
Dr. Tien Tran Chanh (the developer of the Ideal Protein Diet) writes in his latest book “…Because It’s Your Life” that exercise will not make you lose weight but adds that it is still an important part of your weight management program. He estimates that you would have to walk 40 hours, swim 20 hours, or jog continuously for 16 hours to burn 2 lbs of fat. And that’s without eating anything extra! As we all have experienced, exercise makes us hungry, so this is a formula for frustration and failure. Our bodies are designed to keep us in homeostasis and will increase our appetite or reduce our metabolic rate in order to preserve our body’s fat reserves. Research [reported in “Weighing the Evidence on Exercise” New York Times, 16 Apr 2010] has shown that the increase in appetite from exercise is stronger for women (I know, life’s just not fair!).
Where exercise is helpful is in keeping the weight off after you lose it. Dr Tran teaches that the body can’t be both catabolic (burning fat) and anabolic (building muscle) at the same time. He found that strenuous exercise during the weight loss phase leads to excess muscle loss. Instead, adding exercise – particularly resistance or muscle building exercise – after the goal weight has been achieved helps the dieter to keep the weight off. One type of exercise that is recommended for this is called “Slow Burn” popularized in the book “The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution”. Michael Eades, one of the book’s authors, explains [in a blog post] how strength training also improves cardiovascular fitness – it has more to do with the efficiency of getting oxygen into the muscle cells than with the heart and lungs themselves.
The more muscle you build, the more calories you can burn so staying slim and fit becomes much easier. And the best way to build muscle is with strength training.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.