YOU CAN DROP A DRESS SIZE WITHOUT WORKING OUT

YOU CAN DROP A DRESS SIZE WITHOUT WORKING OUT, BUT IT COULD COME BACK TO BITE YOU. AND IF YOU’RE GYMMING WITHOUT ADJUSTING YOUR DIET, YOU COULD EVEN FIND YOU GAIN FAT. WELCOME TO THE WEIRD WORLD OF WEIGHT LOSS.

Gym has become synonymous with weight loss. Here’s betting most people who feel guilty for skipping spin class aren’t lamenting their VO2 max. With new year’s ambient preoccupation with all things slim, it is unsurprising that people make a beeline for the treadmill in January.

Yet the reality of exercise’s role in weight loss has been obscured by spin, leading many on a circuitous path to slimming down. Most trainers are quick to advise that 90 per cent of weight loss, toning and fat loss rely on diet. Yet any fitness or nutrition professional will warn against dieting alone.

In fact, in the 1930s, the idea of exercise as a weight loss tactic was a scientific taboo. When US obesity guru Russell Wilder lectured on obesity in 1932, he said his patients lost more weight on bed rest than a prescribed exercise program. Strenuous physical exercise, he professed, would only slow weight loss because movement demanded more food than it burned. Wilder and his academic ilk reckoned it took a helluva lot of effort to create the energy deficit that could be achieved in a second by skipping a snack, and that the amount of graft required to burn anything near the 3,500 calories in half a kilo of flesh was a slower burn than a wet match. Just try stair sprints in a petticoat. In a paper published in a 1930 issue of the journal of The American Society for Clinical Investigation, Louis Newburgh wrote that a 115 kg man would need to climb 20 flights of stairs to relieve himself of a piece of bread. So why not skip the stairs, skip the bread, and call it a day?

The idea of moving it to lose it remained seriously unfashionable well into the 1960s, when nutritionist Jean Mayer got the ear of the White House.

Fast forward 50 years and the notion of spinning off lunch is rarely questioned.

The reason the assumed theory is so seductive is that in the short term, tactics wont to fail over time can appear to workin the short term. Dieting without working out, for example, can promote faster weight loss than diet and exercise while exercise alone is likely to make little difference to weight without dietary changes. Reducing calories by the recommended 500 a day to effect half to a kilo loss a week can result in greater, faster weight loss – yet without exercise, a greater percentage of lost mass is muscle, and muscle loss or catabolism reduces metabolic rate.

The truth is that successful weight loss does not depend solely on what you put in your mouth. Yes, calories consumed should equal calories burned, but many more factors are involved in the process of putting weight on and the process of taking it off, says Dr Pamela Smith, nutritional medicine expert and author of Why You Can’t Lose Weight Certain types of exercise can indemnify against muscle loss – but only in the presence of certain macronutrients in appropriate ratios. Choose the wrong kind of exercise, however, and you will cause – not inhibit – catabolism.

The modern science of health and fitness has revealed a surprising and encouraging answer, says Jonathan Bailor, renowned personal trainer and author of the groundbreaking The Calorie Myth. At odds with dominant thinking, he advocates eating more -and working out less. We do not need to eat less and exercise more -harder. We can eat more and exercise less – smarter, he says.

The rationale rests on the fact that working out too hard or too much and eating poor quality food can cause compensatory appetite increases that cancel minor caloric deficits caused by moderate undereating, exercise or both. The focus should be on food and exercise quality instead of quantity. By eating plenty of higher-quality food and doing less (but higher-quality) exercise, we unconsciously avoid overeating and provide our body with a unique combination of nutrition and hormones, one that reprograms the body to behave more like one of a naturally thin person.

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