Monday, June 09, 2008

Why Traditional Diet and Exercise are Mediocre at Best

Traditional diets and exercise plans are mediocre at best when it comes to helping us lose weight. But don't blame the diets, and don't blame the exercise either.

After all, it's our extremely poor ability to estimate how many calories we burn and how many calories we eat that is their downfall.

Take this study as an example.

Women exercised on a treadmill until they burned a set number of calories (the researchers new what the number was, but the women did not). After they were done exercising the women were asked to guess how many calories they burned during the workout.

Shockingly, the researchers found that the women overestimated how many calories they burned by 300 to 400%!

If you find this surprising, it gets better.

After exercising the women were then instructed to go into another room where there was a buffet set up. The women were instructed to try to eat the same amount of calories that they had just burned during the workout.

The subjects ate double to triple the amount of calories that they had previously burned during exercise!

And this is just one study. Research consistently shows that we are very poor at estimating calories. We constantly overestimate how many we burn working out, and underestimate how many we eat.

When left to eat as we please, our mind and body will try and convince us to overcompensate and eat more than we need.

This is why diet and exercise often fail for so many people. If we overestimate how many calories we burn during exercise, and underestimate how many calories we eat AFTER exercise, we could very easily end up in a positive calorie balance after each and every workout if we are not careful.

This is why I like the Eat Stop Eat method of fasting for weight loss so much. Simply, you don't need to count ANYTHING. This means you have absolutely no chance of messing up your diet with faulty calorie counting.


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Denise said...

This is such a good post. So true. I have been a calorie counter for so long, that it just comes automatic. Did you stuggle with this, Brad? If so, how did you get over it. I've been doing Eat Stop Eat now for close to 1 year, & I still find myself counting calories. Probably overestimating in a big way.


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