Dieting is big business, even among dudes. Just look at all the commercials on tv lately that tout how much weight dudes can lose by signing on to an online weight-loss program.
Dieting can also be more than a little confusing. I mean, there are diets that recommend you stay away from fat. There are diets that are just as sincerely recommending you stay away from carbs and start gorging on fat and calories. Diets based on Greek culture. Diets based on consuming nothing but air. (No, seriously.) But I think that’s taking things a bit too far.
To make matters worse, science keeps coming up with different, conflicting advice with every new study, it seems. For instance, a new study is saying that the old adage that you have to cut 3,500 calories (or do 3,500 extra calories of work) to lose one pound might be more than a little wrong.
That is the conclusion reached by Dr. Kevin D. Hall and his colleagues at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Recently they created a more realistic model of how the body responds to changes in caloric intake and expenditure, basing their calculations on how people of different weights responded to caloric changes in a controlled setting like a metabolic unit.
Their research also helps to explain why some people can lose weight faster than others, even when all are eating the same foods and doing the same exercise, and why achieving permanent weight loss is so challenging for so many.
The model shows that lasting weight loss takes a long time to achieve and suggests that more effective weight loss programs might be undertaken in two phases: a temporary, more aggressive change in behavior at first, followed by a second phase of a more relaxed but permanent behavioral change that can prevent the weight regain that afflicts so many dieters despite their best intentions.
Even worse, according to them, just 10 extra calories a day can lead the average person to gain 20 pounds over 30 years. I know that doesn’t sound much, but imagine you weigh 200 pounds at 45. By the time you’re 65, when you’re struggling to hold on to your physical prowess, you’ve got 20 extra pounds to lug around. That does not make for an easy road.
In an interview with the New York Times, Hall said people who expect dramatic weight loss could be in for a bad surprise.
A more realistic result, he said, is that cutting out 250 calories a day — the amount in a small bar of chocolate or half a cup of premium ice cream — would lead to a weight loss of about 25 pounds over three years, with half that loss occurring the first year.
Many people get discouraged when weight loss slows even though they are sticking religiously to their diets, but Dr. Hall said a gradual loss is nearly always more effective because it allows the new eating and exercise habits to become a lasting lifestyle.
There’s lots more at the link. Go check it out. And put down that cookie!