Day 5: Why Eating Less and Exercising More Doesn’t Work

These are the notes from last night’s video in the 28 Day Challenge.  You can join us in the 28 Day Challenge FaceBook Group here, get our FREE 28 Day Ketogenic Meal Plan here, and pick up our recipe and instructional books here.

Why Eating Less and Exercising More Doesn’t Work

 

The reason the old Calories in/Calories out or Eat Less, Move More models of weight loss don’t work is because they are based upon a flawed view of body fat.  The popular view of body fat says that all calories are equal and if you want to lose weight, you just need to eat fewer calories than you use and presto! Magic fat loss will happen.  The truth is a bit tricky though.

 

What we now know is that eating less and exercising more works great….for a while.  You don’t need to look any farther for proof of this than the hit show The Biggest Loser.  Those trainers put these poor people through a extreme exercise program while cutting their calories down to nothing and it works!  These people lose a ton of weight, until the cameras cut off and then slowly but surely, all the weight comes back on and most contestants end up fatter than when they began.  Ever wonder why there isn’t a reunion show?  

 

What exactly is happening here?  To better explain this, here is an analogy.

 

Let’s say you are in charge of a coal electric plant and to make the necessary electricity you have to burn 2000 lbs of coal a day and you get that 2000 lbs delivered to you daily.  You have a little coal in reserve to cover any shortfalls but mostly you just burn what comes in. Then, all of a sudden your daily shipments get cut back to 1500 lbs a day.  What do you do?  Well you might pull from your reserves for a few days to see if things go back to normal but after a few days, if you are smart plant manager, you are going to cut your output to 1500 lbs a day and just try to make due with what you have coming in but at the same time you are going to be on the phone screaming at your suppliers to get you back on the regular shipment amounts.  In fact, if you are a REALLY good manager, you are going to call for MORE than your 2000 lbs so you use the extras to bump up your reserves and make sure you are prepared for the next time your shipments are interrupted.  

 

Your body is essentially this coal plant.  Once you cut back your caloric intake, your body will try to go along as normal, pulling from your fat and glucose reserves for energy.  This is why the first week or so on a new diet you see some impressive results.  But then, your body starts to realize you aren’t feeding it enough and begins to take steps to preserve those reserves by cutting down your energy output.  You will generally begin to feel more lethargic as the body reduces the amount of energy available for movement.  You will also begin to feel more muddle-headed as the body reduces the amount of energy for cognition and colder as the body reduces the amount of energy available to heat the body, especially the extremities.  This is why the effects of a new diet that relies on caloric restriction begins to taper off until you “plateau” and sit forever at the same weight.  But as soon as you start listening to that screaming voice in your head telling you that you are hungry and need more food, not only do you quickly gain all the weight you lost back but usually a few more pounds as well as the body tries to protect itself for the next time you decide to starve it.  This is what we call yo-yo dieting.

 

Now let’s go the other way.  The coal plant is used to operating at 2000 lbs a day of coal to meet demand but for whatever reason demand has increased to require 2500 lbs a day.  What does the plant manager do?  He pulls from his reserves for a while to cover the overage but he also gets on the phone to the suppliers and tells them to increase his daily shipments to 2500 lbs.

 

Your body is no different.  When you increase your physical activity by starting an exercise program, your body responds by making you hungrier and you will generally eat more food to cover the caloric imbalance keeping your weight roughly the same.

 

So if you can’t lose weight by eating less and you can’t lose weight by moving more, what else is there?

Tomorrow we will look at a different way to think about weight loss.

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