Why eating less and moving more isn't always enough
Here’s the article at a glance
- It’s a sensible idea to try and switch up the diet when it’s not working.
- Your friend’s perfect diet isn’t necessarily going to work for you.
- Eating less and moving more doesn’t always work in practice.
- Low carbs isn’t a sure thing. Fasting isn’t for everyone.
- There’s a lot of variability that you may well have to account for in order to tip the scales over.
Losing weight is incredibly basic. Just follow the generic advice that gets trotted out by anyone who wants to score a few IQ points. Eat less calories than you’re burning, start some exercise to help tip the scales, and your problem gets solved. All through the power of thermodynamics.
That’s why diets like intermittent fasting, paleo, keto, they’re just fluff. All you have to ensure is the calorie deficit. You can keep your carbs, your breakfasts, and it won’t make a lick of difference on the outcome.
If you’re ever having doubts, there will always be someone nearby who’s happy to explain to you how to science. Or tell you about that time they lost three stone just by counting calories.
And technically, they’ll be right. It’s just a gross oversimplification of the process of weight loss.
Eating less, moving more, it works perfectly well in a laboratory setting. It fails to account the myriad of extra factors that play a part in deciding whether you’re ranging towards excessively shredded or clinically obese. What genetics you start out with, your environment, psychology, hormones, they can all combine to mess up the simple formula you’ve been given.
You can see this interplay as a multiplier for your chances of getting to the finish line, one that’s skewed in favour of sending your diet off the rails. They can make weight loss a cakewalk, but it’s less likely.
An example of this is the body weight set-point, a genetically determined body-fat percentage that the body is always trying to return back to. When you cut below that, hunger hormones will typically rise in an attempt to drive the scale up again. If you’re unfortunate, that set-point starts off high, and refuses to budge.
Obesity is climbing rapidly due to the way the aforementioned factors play into the modern lifestyle. It’s definitely harder to lose weight compared to how it was twenty years ago. So it’s tricky to assume that everyone just collectively forgot ‘that one simple step’.
When you take people out of the lab and place them back in their office cubicles, they might well struggle to follow through on a caloric deficit, even those with the nutritional know-how.
And that doesn’t mean that for some of you, there’s no point in trying because life has decided you can’t lose weight. It just means that you may have to change a few things beyond dropping calories and whipping up a circuit or two.
- The type of food you eat
- The quality of those foods
- The timing of your meals
- The level of sleep you’re getting
- Your resistance to stress
Any of these can tip the balance and get you moving. If your luck’s out, you may have to comb through the lot. Some of us have big jumps to make in order to become fat burning machines.
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