Thursday, August 21, 2008

Should fat people just vomit?

That's what one commenter on this blog (Shelley) suggests to people in the ER Fat Burn program who had lost weight without exercising.

Appalled that ER Fat Burn does not mandate exercise to lose weight, she asks the participants: "if losing weight is your only goal, why not eat whatever you want and then just go to the bathroom and stick your fingers down your throat."

This commenter is not alone in insisting that overweight people must exercise to lose weight. If they don't exercise, that means they're lazy. And they might as well do what desperate people do...become bulimic.

Another commenter to the same post (Nancy) wrote:
"Some trainers and weight-loss experts automatically equate weight with laziness. There's a real Puritan streak making itself known here:

Fat= lazy = bad.
Exercise = penance = redemption."
Seems intuitive, doesn't it? Even the Surgeon General and the USDA insist on "physical activity" to overcome the nation's obesity and overweight.

But is that right? It was also "obvious" once upon a time that the earth was flat.

Rigorous research surveys of the effects of exercise on weight loss, show that
"it takes far too much activity to burn up enough calories for a significant weight loss." -Feinstein, Journal of Chronic Disease (in Taubes, 2007 p. 260).
And
"Recent reports from the USDA have advocated ever more physical activity for adults -- now up to ninety minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise. They have done so precisely because the evidence in support of the [weight loss-exercise link] hypothesis is so unimpressive." -Taubes, 2007 p. 268.
One reason exercise doesn't work for weight loss: it works up an appetite. Are you one of those who after a good workout, stops at a Starbucks for that latte and sweet thing? I know I did.
Another reason: relatively few calories are burned up in exercise. Ever notice the tiny number of calories you burn after 30-40 minutes on the treadmill?

A scientist at the University of Michigan calculated that a 250-lb man would "have to climb 20 flights of stairs to rid himself of the energy contained in one slice of bread!" (Taubes, 2007, p 260)
What if exercise is not critical for weight loss? It may be good for circulation, energy, and general well being, but may be of limited value for weight loss.

What then?

One answer: Change what we eat and what we don't eat. That's the basis of the ER Fat Burn program. It teaches participants how to forage for real fat burning foods that match their body type and health conditions. So far, so good. See here and here.

Bottom line: test in your own body and see what works for you.

Reference: Good Calories Bad Calories, Gary Taubes, 2007.

Related posts.
Are you losing sales because of your appearance?

Pills and shakes are not enough

"I was afraid to sign up for ER."

"I'm 55. I lost 20 lbs in 5 wks. Soon I will exercise."
Should fat people just vomit?

10 comments:

Lorian said...

Years ago I started a workout program and promptly gained 10 pounds. I looked great....but weighed more! (muscle they say)

For me, excercising is what is necessary for those ads that show not only losing weight but having a fantastic body BECAUSE you lost weight. HOGWASH. You have to excercise to sculpt your body....otherwise you have a lot of extra "you" with that weight lose.

But those are two different concepts.....not JUST losing weight!

Anonymous said...

I want to mention... I am not appalled that the ER program does not mandate exercise. I think it is wonderful that people are losing weight. or Kim's "last 8 pounds". (That's hardly obese though Kim is it?? :-)

I am appalled that "DR" Heidi (hopefully Kim will clear up what kind of Doctor... Nutrition??) and Kim advocate stomach stapling without even mentioning that exercise helps many people lose weight, and lack of exercise helps many people gain.

I am all for eating better, but recommending surgery and promoting sedentary habits is irresponsible.

I am ALL for eating better, and I believe that toxins in the crap we consume keep weight on us that we could otherwise lose.

Kim never did answer my question. If you feed 2 people 4000 calories and have one person sit on the couch all day, and have the other person train for a marathon, what do you think the result would be?

Shelley

Robin Plan said...

I repeat what I said before, in the first stage of fat burning exercise is not a factor. At least not for me and I lost 1 1/2 inches of my 10 year old baby fat. The missing link for me was eating real food. I thought I ate healthy until I switched to grass fed meats, pastured eggs, good oils, etc. THAT made the difference in burning the baby fat. I exercise everyday but it did nothing for that roll of belly fat. I was sick of having a pot belly.

If real food is so wrong then I guess I'm on the wrong side of the media because it works for me.

Another huge benefit of the ER program; My 10-year-old son is learning about good food, healthy food. He is excited to go to the farmer's markets with me and find pastured eggs and chickens. He watched part of a feedlot video with me and told me "we cannot eat that kind of meat, ever again." He tells all his friends and our family what we eat and why. That is priceless to me. I know I got off track with this but it was a big turning point in teaching our child how to eat real food.

It's so sad that something intended to offer HEALTHY options for weight loss has turned into such a debate about right and wrong. Try it and see how it works before slinging mud.

Robin - www.wholefoodandmoreblog.com

Kim Klaver said...

Lorian, thanks. There's an ER participant who joined Curves three years ago and says she gained weight almost right away. She says they told her it was the extra muscle, but she laughs and says she doubts it.

Robin - thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Shelley -

You had stated in your comments before, "However telling people that exercise is not mandatory to lose weight is a MISLEADING way to sell your product. "

Did I misunderstand that? Although I have never promoted ER as a weight loss program for people who don't want to exercise, it is true that people need not exercise for the ER I Fat Burn to lose weight. The evidence of the success of the ER graduates speaks for itself.

Dr. Heidi's degree is an Ed.D. from Harvard (she also has Ed.M from there). That is a Doctor of Education. See here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_Education

Re my and Dr. Heidi "advocating stomach stapling without even mentioning that exercise helps many people lose weight, and lack of exercise helps many people gain."

The evidence is that exercise is NOT an effective strategy for weight loss, and recommending it to weight loss clients for weight loss just increases their frustration, loss of self-esteem and guilt. Because it does not help them lose weight.

Dr Morton Glenn of the NY University College of Medicine wrote,"my patients all seem to be thirstier after tennis and find it difficult to stick to plain water...exercise can and does increase thirst and appetite in most persons, in most situations, and most people respond to these sensations accordingly."

As to the 4000 calorie question, no on is advocating anyone sit on a couch all day. Neither Dr. Heidi nor I. Nor is anyone, including exercise promoters, advocating that everyone do marathon training.

In fact, Danish investigators reported that they trained sedentary individuals to run marathons. After an 18-month training period, the 18 men in the study lost an average of 5 lbs of body fat. The 9 women had no change in body composition. (Reported in Taubes, p. 267.)

Dr. Hedi's ER Fat Burn program is in line with Gary Taubes' meticulous analysis of 150 years of weight and obesity research described in his 2007 601-page book (featured in the NYTimes), Good Calories Bad Calories. Dr. Andrew Weil has fully endorsed Taubes' work, telling Larry King Live:

"[Gary Taubes] has done a meticulous job of showing that many of the assumptions that are held by the conventional medical community simply rest on nothing…It’s very important to get these out to the medical community because a lot of the ways we try and prevent and treat obesity are based on assumptions that have no scientific evidence.”

Hope that helps.

P.S. The ordered list of five is Dr. Heidi's way of getting people AWAY from the magic bullet approach of starting with weight loss drugs or just supplements or commercial shakes. And focus on real foods first. People can exercise or not. It's not a requirement for weight loss because it doesn't work for most people.

She never "recommends" stomach stapling, but people do it, and so it's there as a last resort. It's what a desperate person does, who has tried EVERYTHING for years.

So there you have it.

Lots of people feel like you do, including the USDA and many health professionals. So you are not alone. Dr. Heidi and I know we are in the minority. Believe me, we know.

Anonymous said...

Well Kim Thanks for your well thought out and comprehensive reply. While I am still somewhat annoyed at how you intimate that lazy and desperate are my thoughts :-) this is what I hope at the end of the day.

And I do want to say yes... you misunderstood [i]"However telling people that exercise is not mandatory to lose weight is a MISLEADING way to sell your product. " [/i] and the 'vomit' comment. My point was EATING is not mandatory to lose weight either. There's been research done on that too!! LOL The small picture in isolation is one extreme or the other so it seems.

At the end of the day I hope that you have a desire to HELP people and make a difference, and that over the long run that difference manifests itself and does not cause harm to the people. And my sincere hope is that you are not exploiting overweight people who already "have tried" or will try anything. (THAT is not a judgement Kim. It is a very sincere hope that I carry for everyone, since neither you nor I can know each other's true agenda)

Good healthy food is not a bad thing. It would be ludicrous for me to argue that. I have the book by Taubes on my "to read" list as well, thanks to this discussion.

As for Dr Heidi, she is a Dr of Education, but you earlier referred to her as a "Professor of Nutrition" which is why I was confused.

To Robin, there is a difference between expressing one's beliefs passionately and 'slinging mud'. The difference is often which side one is on. I certainly feel a little splattered having someone (KIM?) attribute the "lazy and desperate" comments to me. Whose mind actually interpreted my comments and decided that is what I meant?

Kim I do know no one is advocating someone sit on the couch. That isn't the point. The question has been deflected again :-)

If you feed 2 people 4000 calories and have one person sit on the couch all day, and have the other person train for a marathon, what do you think the result would be?

Enjoy your weekend and keep on keepin' on!
Shelley

Kim Klaver said...

Shelley -- Dr. Heidi is also a professor of nutrition at a CA University.

Kim Klaver said...

Readers:

Shelley has asked me to clarify her comment here. She wrote me:
"Kim I politely pointed out that I did NOT say "if they don't exercise, that means they're lazy. And they might as well do what desperate people do...become bulimic." YOU did."

Shelley is right, I posted that. Based on this comment of Shelley's to the post, "Are Pills and Shakes Enough?" here

(http://tinyurl.com/6pebwu)

Shelley wrote there:

"I am happy for the people in the ER program who don't find it reasonable to take an hour a day for exercise that they are finally losing weight. However if losing weight is your only goal why not eat whatever you want and then just go to the bathroom and stick your fingers down your throat."

Shelley said that "I was not addressing the participants of the program...I was addressing YOU."

There are different ways to interpret the words people use.

Kim Klaver said...

Shelley - I am happy to post both of your last two comments here. Please advise. My email address is on the front page of this blog at the top right. (You said you didn't have it.)

Dean said...

Kim, you stated, “Although I have never promoted ER as a weight loss program for people who don't want to exercise, it is true that people need not exercise for the ER I Fat Burn to lose weight.” You go as far as referencing one book repeatedly that suggests that exercise has no affect on weight loss and can actually be the cause of making people gain weight. “The evidence is that exercise is NOT an effective strategy for weight loss, and recommending it to weight loss clients for weight loss just increases their frustration, loss of self-esteem and guilt. Because it does not help them lose weight.” And your latest promotional email included the line “Fat burn is about weight loss without exercise.” You are definitely promoting to people that don’t want to work out. I have no problem with that and yes weight can be loss with diet alone. What I have a problem with is suggesting that working out does not work and can actually be the cause of weight gain. I personally work with individuals that get excellent results from exercise and whole food, much better in fact then they could get with diet alone. So when you say “People can exercise or not. It's not a requirement for weight loss because it doesn't work for most people” You need to look at the common denominator of most weight loss success stories (most have an exercise component). Your exercise (even at an hour a day) was recreational and for fun, not for specific improvements or specific results. People appreciate what they earn and there is a sense of accomplishment when people make progress in getting fit. Going on a crash workout plan is similar to going on a crash diet it is given out soon after it is started and feels like another failure. Promote you program even exaggerate the fact that no exercise is necessary to get results, but don’t tell people that exercise doesn’t work and can cause weight gain.
Make it a great day,
Dean Mincer

Jo E said...

Well what do ya know? Diagnosed with type II diabetes, I took control! My daily walk went from: "Wow, this is hard work!" to: "Give me my Walking time!" Seven months and over 100 lbs. lighter, I advocate and insist on my daily time of walking. No medications for me! Hay everyone, enjoy!