No no, this is too simple. Eat less? That’s it?

Just a quickie — interesting article in the NYTimes about weight and obesity.

The Times has run a bunch of articles like this. This one (click) is by a mathematician who makes it all sound so simple, just eat less and exercise more, although other articles have made it clear that some people almost can’t be too careful about what they eat because of their body chemistry.

Then there’s the food addiction problem, which is very real and not easily dismissed. Mathematics can explain the problem, but the solution is vastly more complex.

Still, this guy’s basic premise, that we eat too much because there’s too much food around and it’s too cheap is a good place to start.

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7 Responses to No no, this is too simple. Eat less? That’s it?

  1. Brent Glines says:

    When it comes to dieting, yes it is that simple. Stop eating and you will lose weight.

    People fail when it comes to dieting due to willpower. Not eating, or even reducing the amount you eat is not easy. Simple, but not easy.

    • Bob Becker says:

      In most cases, yes. But there are some people with glandular problems that lead to obesity so I’d be leery about makong categorical statements.

      • Brent Glines says:

        You can’t fight thermodynamics. If you stop eating, you lose weight. Even for people with glandular problems, if they stop eating, they will lose weight. If they don’t lose weight, they have not sufficiently stopped eating.

  2. Charles MacDonald says:

    Of course, activity level is also important. Just cutting out food will cause most folks bodies to go into energy conservation mode, which reduces their food requirements so they need to cut down more to stay even. (Presto- Instant Diet failure)
    Picking up activity will tend to raise the body activity, which will mean that you burn up more food, even at rest.
    And if you can’t keep it up, your body will promptly try to get the weight back. I got myself down to a 38 waist over two years of swimming about 6 hours a week at one time in the past. But once I could no longer spare that much time in the pool, it quickly came back up to a 48.

    • Brent Glines says:

      This is an indication that temporarily increasing your activity is an ineffective way to lose weight over the long run. You increased your activity temporarily, thus you lost weight. When you stopped exercising, you regained the weight. Had you permanantly reduced your intake of food, you would not have gained it back.

      Diet and exercise may be the FASTEST way to lost weight, but over the long run, permanantly changing your pattern of eating is the most effective way to keep it off.

      • willbike says:

        Diet AND exercise is the most effective way to keep it off. Exercise also has countless benefits besides just weight management. Being slim does not mean you are healthy. My uncle was always thin, he died at 44 from a heart attack.

  3. ScottH says:

    The math is simple, but both the problem and the solution are multi-faceted and complex, both psychologically and physiologically, with respect to both public and individual health issues.

    I decided to become health conscious 24 years ago. It took a year of sustained diet and exercise to drop 60 lbs. It has required constant (almost fanatical) dedication and effort over the past 23 years to keep it off. I have had to vary both my diet and exercise regimens to deal with my evolving psychological and physical conditions.

    I have worked with a number of people to try to help them achieve healthier weight and body composition. Since each person’s mental and physical condition is unique, each individual requires a unique approach to find a healthy lifestyle that works for them on both levels.

    Almost everyone is aware that being overweight leads to more health problems and earlier death. It may surprise the anti-obesity scolds, but a lot of people are willing to accept those outcomes. To them, being healthier just isn’t worth living a life of dietary austerity and fitness fanaticism.

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