Feed on

There’s a lot of information on the internet about diet and exercise.  One thing that seems ridiculous to me is the argument that there’s no point in exercising because it won’t help you lose weight.  See, for example, this NYMag article or this blog.  A lot of people also think that you can be healthy when you’re overweight or obese (which can be true, I’m not talking in absolutes here).  There are also a lot of skinny-fat people in the world, which for those of you who are not familiar, is shorthand for the concept that people can be skinny but unhealthy because they eat unhealthy food and don’t exercise.


Many people argue that genetics is the greatest determiner of weight and, as a result, there is no point in trying to diet and exercise because your weight is predetermined by your genetics.  But that doesn’t make sense because people in the United States are gaining weight.  Just look at this graphic by the CDC.  Interestingly, the percentage of overweight people seems to be staying steady at around 33-34%.  But the percentage of obese people in the United Stated is skyrocketing.  From 1988-1994, the percentage of obese people was 22.9%.  The number is currently 35.7%.  It seems pretty obvious to me that we’re eating more, eating things that are terrible for you and exercising less.


I understand that it’s not as simple as calories input and calories output.  I also understand that some people have metabolic issues where they can exercise constantly and it doesn’t do anything.  But for me, there’s a direct correlation between (calories consumed – calories burned) and weight loss.  See here:



Do you see how in the first image, during May the different between calories consumed and calories burned was narrowing?  In the second image, my weight loss plateaued during the same period.  Conversely, the difference between calories consumed and calories burned in August  is increasing and my weight loss is accelerating.  It’s not just me, either.  Mihow is a freaking marathon runner and she wasn’t losing any weight until she started restricting her calories.


This was all inspired by looking at my website analytics data because someone found this blog with a question about why they weren’t losing weight when they were meeting the Fitbit goal of 10,000 steps per day.  The answer is probably because 10,000 steps is only 5 miles and you’re probably not restricting your calories.  The conventional wisdom, and what has worked for me, is restricting my calories to 1200-1500 calories a day.  And that is a pathetically small amount.  I can keep within that amount by having yogurt for breakfast, a veggie sandwich or salad for lunch, fruit in the afternoon and a salad for dinner with fake meat.  How much does that suck?  A lot.  Having a piece of cake can set me back for days.  But I like fitting into these smaller pants, and I like having more energy.  So it’s about priorities.



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