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I blog about intermittent fasting (IF) for becoming lean and staying lean.
As such I blog far more about diet than about exercise because getting lean is based on how we eat, not how we exercise, as any public gym can testify with the shear number of long-term members who shake their bootie for years but still jiggle in places they’d rather not.
In fact, most personal trainers can tell you how many of their long-term clients can lift more, run faster, and jump higher over the years, but never got any lighter.
Exercise has its place for better health and improved function, and I believe that, on rare occasions, it can contribute to weight loss because it burns calories. But that’s just the problem — the calorie expenditure can easily be negated by that second helping at dinner, or by that afternoon snack.
There’s evidence that the rise in obesity rate in the past several decades is not caused by physical inactivity; in fact, the fitness industry has grown exponentially through the same period. And overweight and obesity are observed even in people in manual labor jobs.
This evidence suggests that obesity is a result of not physical inactivity but of overeating.
The abundance of cheap calories fuel corporate profit and public obesity. People today simply have too much access to calories, and energy consumption might outpace energy expenditure. Physical activity, in other words, can’t seem to keep up with today’s overeating.
While many individuals may have the genetic propensity for weight gain, in the end it’s still the overeating that triggers this genetic expression. Further, this obesity gene didn’t just appear only 35 years ago at the start of the rise in obesity. It was the abundance of food that appeared.
Portion size has changed dramatically. Compare the hamburger of the 1950s to that of today, not to mention the supersize-everything within the same meal. Or compare the size of a soda pop bottle enjoyed by the previous generations to the Big Gulp clutched in the pudgy hands of today’s teenagers.
Meal patterns have also changed. Grandma smacked our hand from the afternoon snack, demanding us save our appetite for dinner.
Now so-called pop-nutritionists and weight-loss zealots warn that if we don’t snack between breakfast and lunch, and then between lunch and dinner, then our metabolism will slow and we’ll gorge at dinner (a combination, by the way, that makes little sense — a slow metabolism typically induces a low appetite, so there would be no compulsion to gorge. But really, a slow metabolism occurs only during sleep, while in a coma, or after long-term severe calorie restriction. Just more industry gibberish).
While obesity has dramatically increased in the past 3 decades, physical activity hasn’t diminish. Numerous studies show that physical activity remained the same through the past 30 years, yet health and fitness professionals continue to blame obesity and overweight on physical inactivity (yet more industry gibberish).
So it appears that physical inactivity does not cause obesity, but that overeating in a culture of food abundance may be the culprit. Additionally, evidence shows that exercise is often not effective for weight loss.
Exercise can, however, increase many health markers, improve physical function, and help prevent weight gain (or weight regain).
In the end, it’s overeating that seems to be the greatest contributor to weight gain; and on the flip side, it’s under-eating that’s the biggest contributor to weight loss.
Intermittent fasting makes under-eating achievable and sustainable… aside from the health benefits, the fat-burning metabolic profile, and proper energy regulation.