The truth about weight loss
One of the biggest myths of our fast paced and immediate gratification focused society is that exercise= weight loss.
This is simply not the case my friend. In fact, some of you who exercise may actually find yourself hungrier for that piece of golden Korean deep fried chicken topped with their unique signature sauce lol.
National Institute of Health of the United States (NHI) has done over 60 studies, and they conclude that exercise is USELESS for weight loss.
What is the science behind weight loss?
Lets go back to basics.
To lose weight, we need to burn calories more than we consume.
So, calories out >> calories in
What is the energy expenditure for an average person?
Total energy expenditure = Basal metabolism + Physical activity expenditure + Energy used to breakdown food
For majority of people, physical activity only occurs for 15% of energy expenditure (calories burnt). Bulk of our calories expenditure is from our basal metabolism (which cannot be altered much).
Of course for Olympians, *think pin up swim stars, runners, triathletes*, physical activity accounts for 50% of their energy expenditure. But hey, these are folks who wake up at 430am and exercise 3x a day! Not something that we, the average Jane and Joe can accomplish unfortunately.
One study by NHI found that a 90kg man were to run 1h – 4x a week for a month, he would only lose 2.3kg weight at most, assuming everything else, diet, lifestyle stays the same.
Research shows exercise changes physiological changes to our body after an exercise. Remember craving for more mala Hao Di Lao after a run? Either that our our body slows down after a run, a term known as compensatory behaviour, think what happens to you after completing that Stanchart Marathon!
What is metabolic compensation?
If we look at African hunter gatherers, there is a group known as the Hadza who are known for their high rate of physical activity. The study shows that in comparison to the average Asian, European, American, Hadza people do not burn more calories than us. Why is this so? Herein lies metabolic compensation, which is the body starts conserving energy by reducing basal metabolism expenditure for these highly active folks.
Would a low carb diet help?
The Lancet Public Health found that people who get half of their total calories from carbohydrates, may be at a lower risk of early death compared to those who follow either very high or very low carb diets.
The study examined over 15,000 people from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC) and found that low carb diet is associated with early deaths. Remember the time you staved off carbs and found yourself grumpier and moodier?
So carb lovers around the world, lets rejoice lol! * high five*
So how then can we lose weight effectively?
Back to basics.
Ghrelin release triggers hunger
Research shows we are most hungry during our mealtimes. Our body adapts to our mealtimes and triggers hunger at those same times each day. So close to breakfast, lunch and dinner, our body releases Ghrelin a hormone that triggers our hunger. If we practice self discipline and control the urge, very soon this hunger dissipates before rising the period before the next mealtime. Meaning Ghrelin is released in waves and falls back automatically, even without food.
Of course when hunger comes, majority of us falter and we give in. Thats where we eat, and dine, and feast like a king. But it is good to know that if we hold out for 2 hours, that hunger will die down.
Now the crucial thing is, if people go without food for 3 days, your hunger urge will miraculously reduce. Meaning people who go without food for 3 days will not get progressively hungrier.
So my secret weight loss diet is?
In my humble opinion, the secret lies in HOW you eat, not WHAT you eat. I advocate intermittent fasting. That means fasting for 18 hours at a stretch, then consuming food only during those 6 hours. Do not overeat. Eat 75% full, and after 30min, your brain will tell you yeah, I am full boss. Do this 3 – 4x a week, on alternate days and in a month, you will lose weight, withouth the grumpiness of a carb free diet, and without the risk of dying young. Not that I wanna live til a 100 years old, but you get the idea.
Fasting triggers glucagon, and glucagon keeps hunger in check. Glucagon helps body breakdown its carbohydrate and fat reserves. And from fat breakdown, there is ketone bodies, which are excellent for brain health function and keeping our hunger in check once again.
- Exercise is not a SOLUTION to weight loss. Exercise only helps us get fitter and healthier.
- Diet = weight loss. But we need to be mindful of the right diet
- Intermittent fasting is the key
Dr Daniel Chang
- Tsai, Adam Gilden, and Thomas A. Wadden. “Systematic review: an evaluation of major commercial weight loss programs in the United States.” Annals of internal medicine142, no. 1 (2005): 56-66.
- Black, David R., Leon J. Gleser, and Kimberly J. Kooyers. “A meta-analytic evaluation of couples weight-loss programs.” Health Psychology 9, no. 3 (1990): 330.
- Wing, Rena R., Deborah F. Tate, Amy A. Gorin, Hollie A. Raynor, and Joseph L. Fava. “A self-regulation program for maintenance of weight loss.” New England Journal of Medicine 355, no. 15 (2006): 1563-1571.
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So I hope this has been helpful. Feelfree to leave your comments and enquiries below. Have a bold and beautiful day!!