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Medicine Science

Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds 496

reifman writes The CDC reports that 69% of adult Americans are overweight or obese. Techies like us are at increased risk because of our sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps you even scoffed at Neilsen's recent finding that some Americans spend only 11 hours daily of screen time. Over the last nine months, I've lost 30 pounds and learned a lot about hacking weight loss and I did it without fad diets, step trackers, running or going paleo. No such discussion is complete without a link to the Hacker Diet.
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Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

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  • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:14AM (#49327423)

    I did it by eliminating extra sugar. Doc warned me I was pushing hte pre-diabetic stage with my morning blood sugar.

    No more sweet tea, coke, or adding sugar to my coffee. Sucked for about a week, after that, no problems, and I've dropped 30lbs with no real effort other than breaking the sugar habit in that first week.

    Quit smoking 2 weeks ago, we'll see how that part goes and if I end up gaining weight back ('cause food will taste better, supposedly, or maybe just noshing as a replacement for having a smoke ... so far hasn't happened)

    • by Nemesisghost ( 1720424 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:29AM (#49327539)
      Keep off the sugar by replacing your cigarettes with veggie sticks, like carrot or celery. Sugar free gum works too.
    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:32AM (#49327581) Homepage Journal
      Eating concentrated calories that do not fill you up is the problem. All simple carbohydrates, chips, white bread, wheat tortillas, fried potatoes are an issue. An 8 oz steak is 25% of the calories most us need for a day. A Chippendale carnitas burrito is half.

      So there is also an issue of food availability. When I was young I split all entrees at restaurants with the person I was with. I don't do that anymore and it has become an increasing issue. Also, one does not burn off calories and fat as easily when one gets older

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I used to have 2 sugars in my tea or coffee. After I quit smoking, I found it disgusting because my taste buds started working again. Now I have tea with no sugar, and coffee with half a sugar.

      I believe my experience isn't the norm, however.

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        Think of sugar as "teeth rotting granules", because that is what it is and it should be easier to cut out.

    • By not eating or drinking a lot of sugar or sweeteners all the time, you will also rather quickly remove your "resistance" to sweetness, so you'll automatically start to avoid a lot of food simply because it tastes horrible due to being way to sweet.

    • First off - congrats on losing the weight. 30lbs is nothing to scoff at.

      Here's my take on it....

      There are three pilers to good health - nutrition, exercise and rest. A lot of people forget about the rest part but it's important. Exercise will make you feel better, and probably look better.

      For me nutrition is the most important factor. It's the fuel your body uses and the first line of defense on disease prevention. Eating the right foods can prevent things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabete

      • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @01:37PM (#49329595)

        First off - congrats on losing the weight. 30lbs is nothing to scoff at.

        Not to be too much of a dick about it, but I never congratulate someone for losing weight. If pushed, I'll tell them I'll congratulate them in 5 years, if they've managed to KEEP it off.

        Losing weight is actually not that hard. Some of us have done it many, many, many times. It's keeping it off in the years that follow that's really tough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:15AM (#49327425)

    Another thing is to eat slower. Put your knife and fork down between mouthfulls.

    • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:33AM (#49327585) Journal

      Not sure why you're down voted, but this is how I reduced my caloric intake. A drink between every single bite. Slows down intake, makes you feel fuller, satiety sets in sooner.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tx ( 96709 )

        Unless you have more on your plate than you need (in which case there's a better obvious solution to the problem), I don't see where this gets you in terms of calorific intake; eating slowly doesn't change the number of calories on the plate. It might make a difference to the rate of increase of blood glucose, which has its own benefits, but I doubt it will make much difference to that, because its the rate of digestion that's going to determine blood glucose levels.

        • by NatasRevol ( 731260 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:57AM (#49327829) Journal

          Not everyone puts the *exact* right amount of calories on their plate. Apparently that's not obvious to you.

          This helps you feel fuller before all the food is gone & not finish everything on your plate.

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )

          It takes a while for the body to feel full. If you eat slowly, there's more chance you'll actually feel full at the end of the plate/meal, and not go back for seconds.

        • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @11:04AM (#49327923)

          As far as I'm concerned this is the real problem. Most meals come with way, way more calories than you should have, particularly if you're eating any form of take-out. To the point where you may be eating two days of food in one sitting, and not really even realize it. I looked at one meal at a restaurant my wife likes, and calculated 4500 calories. We like to laugh at the imgur photos with the fat person and 5 buckets of KFC, but this particular meal did not look nearly so gluttonous.

          Eat slowly, take drinks, but if you clean your plate like mom asked then you just ate 2 days worth of food in one sitting and probably didn't even realize it (and will be hungry in a few hours, depending on how starchy it all was). I've lost 50 lbs by just packing my own food 19/21 meals a week (and actually eating 3x a day, which goes to OPs point about spacing things out a bit, which does help). Not only does it save a ton of money, it takes the pounds off.

          Take-out has a dilemma, in that labor and rent is a high cost to them, so they tend to give you too much food which is relatively cheap in the US to make you feel like you got your money's worth. But what we really need is half that amount of food, spaced better through the day.

          • No one is forcing you or anyone else to eat the whole plate full of food at a restaurant. Split the meal in half, eat one side and take home the rest. It's not that hard, folks.

  • Common sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by sadness203 ( 1539377 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:16AM (#49327441)
    Eat well.

    Everything else is plain wishful thinking.
    • True, some ways of eating well are easier than others, though.

      Personally, I have had some success recently by simply going with healthier starches. I could probably eat a pound of potatoes in a sitting, my body just loves that stuff, so for weeknight meals we do things like barley instead. Sub black or brown rice for white rice, etc...
    • In every thread about fitness we always see a lot of posts like this. "Just eat well", or "Use common sense". And that's great for people that are already in OK shape. But for those who have gotten themselves into a serious situation, it's not very useful. People who need badly to lose weight, or just want to get into really excellent shape, should consider working out their total daily energy expenditure and starting some macro counting. It's difficult, but reliable.
    • Re:Common sense (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:30AM (#49327545)

      You can do it without either of those, I dropped from 215 pounds to 170 pounds and have held it off for years with almost no exercise and a pretty poor diet. I really didn't change what I ate at all, I just strictly regulated how much of it I did. Smaller portions for everything to keep myself averaging around 1,500 kcal a day.

    • Re:Common sense (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @11:00AM (#49327875)

      Ayup. If there's one thing I've learned from hearing all of the success stories from real people (as opposed to people selling a product or service), it's that it always boils down to eating well and exercising, and that those two things look different for different people.

      Whether it means engaging in better portion control*, cutting back on specific food groups that your gut metabolizes better than the majority of the population, or simply exercising more so that you burn more calories, the only constant between everyone I've talked to who lost the weight and kept it off is that they found the right balance of eating well and exercising that worked for them.

      * I saw an article a few months ago that was talking about how doctors have been seeing a disturbing number of people coming in complaining of abdominal pain. Upon further investigation, it's turning out that these people are suffering from nothing more than hunger pangs because they've forgotten how they feel. That's when I realized it was time for me to do better portion control, since I couldn't remember having had a hunger pang in at least six months. That plus a budget that I needed to tighten led to less junk food in the house and less eating out. End result? I dunno, but I've been consistently losing weight (about 20 lbs. so far) at a slow but steady rate that's producing visible improvements, without making any other changes to my lifestyle. It won't work for everyone, but it is working for me.

  • How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?

    Calories and Macros []

    Basic Terminology
    1/ BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate): The amount of calories you need to consume to maintain if you were comatose (base level).
    2/ NEAT (Non-Exercise Associated Thermogenesis): The calorie of daily activity that is NOT exercise (eg: washing, walking, talking, shopping, working). ie: INCIDENTAL EXERCISE! It is something that everyone has a good amount of control over.
    3/ EAT (Exercise Associated Thermogenesis): The calorie re

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:30AM (#49327551)

      "How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?"

      Followed by a huge, complicated, wall of text.

      I suppose it's THAT complicated!

      Here's an easier alternative:
      1. Eliminate all sugar (read labels... do not eat anything over 2g of sugar)
      2. Eat vegetables (brussel sprouts, celery, broccoli, peppers, onions)
      3. Eat fish
      4. Eat nuts
      5. Eat salad
      6. Eggs and bacon for breakfast
      7. Drink lots of water, and eat salt as you crave it

      Fat is good, protein is good, carbs should be avoided, but if you must eat carbs, eat fresh potatoes.

    • How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?

      Like I stated above, having an office job and not exercising, one would only need ~1300 calories for equilibrium. Eating under that, let alone 300-500 calories less than that to start shedding fat is not only HARD, it may be damn well impossible for some people
      • So you weigh only like 45 kg/100 lbs? Do you even lift, bro?

      • Like I stated above, having an office job and not exercising, one would only need ~1300 calories for equilibrium.

        Let's see:
        1300 = 370 + (21.6 x LBM) Where LBM = [total weight (kg) x (100 - bodyfat %)]/100

        With an average BF% of about 25%, this gets us :
        (1300 -370) / 21.6 = total weight (kg) x 0.75

        So, you're talking about the "average" 57kg American?

        And, even if that was true, a person that small would need 57~85g of protein and ~57g fat per day, which is 741 kcal per day to which that person could perfectly well add 300 kcal of carbs, some vitamins and minerals.

    • by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:32AM (#49327571)

      How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?

      It's not complicated, just hard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?

      Obviously it is more involved or you wouldn't have felt the need to go into a damn-near novel length dissertation that included (GASP!) numbers and talk about such concepts as protein intake...

      Seriously, if you think you have it all figured out with a simple sentence then good on you. Some of us know that it's not as simple as taking in less than you expel. The point isn't just to lose weight but to do it in a controlled fashion that

    • Ugh, one of the things that I hate about BMR calculations is that they always seem to think that you're going to have an active job AND be an athlete when you get to high activity levels. I've got a sedentary job, but I'm an active competitive swimmer.

      And then not all exercise is created equal. I burn more calories training 6 hours a week as a swimmer than I did training 10-12 hours a week as a cyclist. Part of it is just biomechanical efficiency--bikes make everything easier--but there's actually an effect

    • How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?

      Somewhat complicated, for most people this involves calorie tracking. Additionally, if all you do is pure calorie restriction you're going to end up with metabolic syndrome and fail.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Yup. That's why you need to EXERCISE. Excercise will increase your metabolic rate for about 18 hours afterwards. This will help counteract your body's tendency to go into panic shutdown mode due to lack of food.

        Diet and exercise.

        They go together like a horse and carriage.

    • Goddam ...


      It's way to fucking complicated.

    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @04:02PM (#49331009) Homepage Journal

      How fricking complicated is it to eat less than you burn?

      It's way more complicated than you make it out to be. You're offering the very best advice 1983 had to offer.

      Until you factor in the rates of digestion, the enzyme production rate of the individual, the hormone response of the individual, and the freaking liver and pancreas, not to mention the brain which mediates the whole thing, the very best you can offer is an order-of-magnitude estimate. There aren't seven billion different metabolisms out there, but there is at least an n-by-m matrix of them for every variability in the human metabolic system.

      This is why so many people fail even at strict calorie-counting diets. Humans are NOT bomb calorimeters! Say it again and again until it sinks in.

      For Pete's sake, there are leptin-resistent people who can put weight on at 500 calories a day.

      Until we have mastered DNA analysis on this to genotype individuals, cutting out simple and refined carbohydrates is at least a way to claw back the worst of the modern diet, and avoid big swings in the leptin/ghrelin/insulin feedback systems - most people eat because they are hungry.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:19AM (#49327461)
    If you "go on a diet" you are defeated before you even start.

    If you want to lose weight, you have to go into the process with the goal of changing your lifestyle permanently, otherwise the weight will return when you finish the diet.

    Go into the weight loss process with the right mindset - a permanent change of what and how you eat, along with any changes in your activity regimen.

    The reason most people regain the wieght they lose on a diet is that they view a diet as something temporary, which it is.

    Don't go on a diet (Hacker's Diet or otherwise), but do make a permanent change to your lifestyle.

    • by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:33AM (#49327593)

      Don't go on a diet (Hacker's Diet or otherwise), but do make a permanent change to your lifestyle.

      In other words: go on a diet, but never quit.

    • by dave562 ( 969951 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:40AM (#49327649) Journal

      This is spot on and should be modded up.

      Enter personal anecdote...

      About fifteen years ago I was starting to struggle with sciatic nerve pain due to years spent driving a car with a heavy racing clutch in traffic, and a lack of exercise. I considered my options and decided to start practicing tai chi. I caught a bit of a break and found a legitimate sifu. After a couple years of tai chi, I started training kung fu as well. It has been over a decade and I train on a daily basis. I can eat whatever I want because I burn it off.

      None the less, it is a struggle. Despite all of the benefits, there are plenty of days when I would rather go home after work and play video games instead of heading over to the temple to train or teach classes. I still have not overcome the "exercise sucks" mentality. Sure, the endorphins are great and being able to defend myself is great, and have a strong and healthy body is great... but it is still work for me, not fun.

  • by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:24AM (#49327503) Homepage

    Wow! The guy ate less calories, and he lost weight!

    • by nucrash ( 549705 )

      Apparently you missed the part where he worked out as well.

      I think the thing that many of us have trouble with is wanting to change the overall processes to how we live. Sure, I can live without a computer for a day, but that second day I am going to want to have a all day gaming session.

      Strangely enough, I seem to be open to some of these changes now that I am older. I don't care to game as much anymore and I do enjoy going for a walk every night when the weather doesn't completely suck.

      • True, I was simplifying. But basically he just said he ate less and exercised. Why would this be a hack? It's just common sense. A hack implies some kind of clever nerdy invention.

  • dyson mod (Score:5, Funny)

    by xombo ( 628858 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:25AM (#49327507)

    Was I the only one who went to his site hoping for an Arduino mod for my dyson that will turn it into a liposuction machine?

  • ... by heating it in hot water before pressing the Brew button on your Keurig 2.0.

    Cold cups suck the heat out of your Sumatra dark roast just like TFS/TFA sucks time out of your day..

    • Stop using Keurig. I had one, and while I really liked the ease with which I could make a coffee, I decided it was too expensive for the quality of coffee produced. Also, I'm not a big fan of the amount of waste it produces. I got an Aeropress and I'm very happy with my coffee now. It's cheap, tastes good, and produces no garbage. I can use any coffee I want. Clean up is a little more time consuming than with Keurig, but it doesn't really take that much effort.
  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:29AM (#49327543) Homepage Journal

    I realize that randomized, controlled trials in peer-reviewed journals may not be the whole, final truth, but this is a nice catalog of everything that you can argue over. []
    Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity
    Krista Casazza, Kevin R. Fontaine, Arne Astrup, et al.
    N Engl J Med 2013; 368:446-454. January 31, 2013. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsa1208051 [FREE]

    Results. We identified seven obesity-related myths concerning the effects of small sustained increases in energy intake or expenditure, establishment of realistic goals for weight loss, rapid weight loss, weight-loss readiness, physical-education classes, breast-feeding, and energy expended during sexual activity. We also identified six presumptions about the purported effects of regularly eating breakfast, early childhood experiences, eating fruits and vegetables, weight cycling, snacking, and the built (i.e., human-made) environment. Finally, we identified nine evidence-supported facts that are relevant for the formulation of sound public health, policy, or clinical recommendations.

  • Don't forget to read the excellent Brain Over Brawn from []. It's free and you will learn a lot.
    • The bro-science book that says you should eat 6 meals a day? It has some good ideas on lifting at home if you are poor and can't afford weights or a gym membership, but that's about it. Later, the author went to jail for transporting loaded assault rifles across state lines.

      • by itzly ( 3699663 )

        You can lose weight on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6+ meals a day. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

  • That's it really...
  • Stop eating so much and exercise more. And at a societal level stop normalizing obesity.
  • by lordmage ( 124376 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:35AM (#49327609) Homepage

    My Fitness Pay is a great "Food log" which was told I should use 25 years ago when I first started noticing the "behind the desk" effect. I still play sports constantly but the weight gain was huge.

    I lost 50+ lbs on MyfitnessPal. I didn't need to eat the crappy "whey" and other tasteless stuff. I chose to eat a bowl of cereal in the morning, low cal lunch (100-200 cals from a frozen quick meal) and I would eat a big dinner. Big dinner? Steak and Potato with a Salad at Outback. All that under the calorie limit to sit sedentary and lose 1.5 lbs a week.

    When I stopped Myfitnesspal, I gained weight. Its a simple equation: Get a real Food Diary and use it.

    Now, to get that my fitness pal back on track.

    Oh, and avoid Diet Drinks. This guy mentions he ate high protein to make sure he burned FAT but diet drinks just make you crave food. I really think high protein foods = less sugar = less cravings. Thus the steaks are much better than burgers effect for losing weight. They stay in you longer and are half the calories.

  • Hacking? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jdharm ( 1667825 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:37AM (#49327625)
    You didn't hack crap. You just acted like a reasonable person and not a mindless sedentary eating machine. That's like walking and saying you "hacked sitting" to get you from point A to point B.
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:38AM (#49327631) Homepage

    The best way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. One problem is that it is really easy in our society to consume calories. You just ate a plate of whole wheat pasta with veggies. Healthy right? No, because you likely had about 3 servings of pasta.

    I used MyFitnessPal [] to help me track my calorie intake. One helpful feature is the bar code scanner. You can scan almost any product and get the nutritional information right into your mobile device. I dropped about 20 pounds while using that.

    • by Strider- ( 39683 )

      One helpful feature is the bar code scanner. You can scan almost any product and get the nutritional information right into your mobile device.

      And there's the problem... Good food doesn't have a barcode. Very little of what I bring home from the grocery store has barcodes on it, and what does usually just has the internal store code on it (meat), or is a bulk package (20lb bag of flour, etc...). All these food tracking/diary apps are really built for tracking packaged/prepared foods, and are a pain to use when you make stuff from scratch. As such, unless you're going to weigh and add all the ingredients manually (I'm way too lazy for that), you

  • by mseeger ( 40923 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:41AM (#49327651)

    To (miss)quote Mark Twain: Nothing is easier than loosing 70 pounds, I've done it several times ;-).

    Original quote: []

    Loosing weight is always easy, not picking it up again is the hard part.

  • "Whee! 30 pounds! I'm a weight loss wonder story fit for the front page!" It's a good start. Maybe it was all you needed to lose. I know several people (myself included) down by a hundred or more. None of us claim to be experts.
  • extreme narcissim (Score:2, Insightful)

    by peter303 ( 12292 )
    Among young people with all this attention to detailed fitness numbers and the gadgets that generate them.
  • I know I am obese, and way a far bit more than Jeff does, but what what was his initial height because that does factor into weight loss.

  • Eat right, Exercise Properly, Manage your hormones.
  • I too had problems losing weight and keeping it off. 2 1/2 years ago I tried and lost a pound a week (roughly) for a year and have kept it off. I went from 210 lbs. to 160 lbs. and my knees don't hurt anymore and I don't take glucosamine any longer.

    Lose It! is a simple free app that runs in a browser and on IOS and Android devices.

    There is also which is similar.

    Either one will get you the weight loss you want if you are serious enough to stick with a weight loss and exercise prog

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @10:58AM (#49327833) Homepage

    Eat less.

    Not losing weight?

    Eat less.

    Still not losing weight.

    Eat less.

    Granted, you still want to be having a mix of foods and not just less "burgers and only burgers 24/7", but it's a pretty simple rule to follow.

    So long as you're eating a mix, you won't veer into malnutrition like this unless you ACTUALLY have a medical problem that requires constant treatment.

    Of every person I ever see who diets, or who over-exercises in order to compensate, etc. I'm always just shocked that - rather than follow some faddy diet that's complicated and expensive and has all sorts of problems with it - they don't think to weigh what they eat over the course of a week and eat less the next week.

    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      I'm always just shocked that they don't think to weigh what they eat over the course of a week and eat less the next week.

      I'm equally shocked that smokers don't count the cigarettes they smoke in a week, and smoke less the next week.

  • you make it sound like its hard to maintain. Not to belittle a 30lb loss in 9mos, but after 9mos of my lifestyle change (including a shift to paleo nutrition) I had lost ALL of my excess body fat. That turned out to be about 100lb from my heaviest. But, had I been heavier, I have no doubt I still would have shed every bit of excess weight, whatever that number has been. I often encourage people to take up the paleo diet because its fairly simple to maintain (avoid grains, starchy foods, legumes, and the oil

  • How I lost weight (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EdMcMan ( 70171 ) <> on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @11:06AM (#49327947) Homepage Journal

    I've lost over 45 pounds and kept it off for over three years so far. And best of all, I didn't do it by starving myself.

    I've considered myself overweight for most of my adult and childhood life. Oddly enough, I had always been fairly athletic, and exercised regularly throughout my life. I had strong willpower. But I just couldn't seem to keep weight off.

    I lost my weight by signing up for weight watchers online. Weight watchers online is a program that allows you to conveniently keep track of the food you eat. All of it. I don't think weight watchers is magic; instead, I think the process of making eating a deliberate and measured action is what helped me. I like numbers. I can do numbers.

    What I found by recording everything I ate is that a small number of foods accounted for a large amount of calories. Beef, fries, bread, snacks. I've largely eliminated these foods from my diet. It's not that I can't eat them, I just don't feel that the value is high enough for the calories to eat them a lot. I was able to decrease the number of calories I ate without starving myself by eating smart. The other benefit of recording food is that there are some replacement foods that are significantly healthier. For me, I started snacking more on pretzels, which I found a lot more filling, but contained less calories than many of the other snacks I ate.

    After about a year, I stopped using weight watchers. I had internalized most of the good behaviors, and no longer needed to record everything I ate. I continued to lose weight, slowly but steadily. Eventually I stopped at a healthy weight, and I feel great. Over time, even though I was never starving myself, I started eating higher calorie foods and exercising more regularly to offset it. On that note, for burning calories, exercising longer and with lower intensity is better than short, intense workouts. I like to use the elliptical; I can exercise for 90 minutes without killing myself, and burn over 1000 calories. I've found that playing video games at the same time really distracts me from the act of exercising, and even makes it enjoyable.

    If you're skeptical, and think you know enough about dieting to not record everything, think again. There are simply too many surprises. Go to your favorite restuarant's website and look at the nutrition information. I used to go to Chili's quite often. I haven't been there for a long time. I don't know how they cook their food, but it's insanely high in calories. Even seemingly safe foods like salad can be high in calories depending on the dressing. The opposite is true as well. Some fast food, like KFC, can be very low in calories (although probably bad for other reasons). Over time, you'll learn what fills you up and doesn't have a ton of calories. If you just start "eating less" without any data, you'll still be eating the same inefficient foods, and you'll probably gain your weight back after you can't take it anymore.

  • by Average ( 648 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @12:07PM (#49328639)

    The flip side of the question is "Why are skinny people not fat?".

    It's a more interesting question than you may think. One bit of semi-famous research is the 1970s Vermont 'prisoner overfeeding study' ( Like bits of Nazi science, this is probably irreproducible, as it'd *never* get past a human subject review committee today.

    A number of lifetime-normal-weight prisoners were fed substantially over their basal metabolic needs for an extended period. Their input was rigorously controlled (being prisoners), and their exercise regimen was pretty easy to monitor and control. Most of them gained weight, but almost none of them nearly as much as the standard "3500 kCal is a pound of fat" Standard Model would predict. Several plateaued on weight gain, and a few lucky (?) prisoners were *never* able gain 10% of their body weight when eating nearly 10,000 Calories a day. Simply couldn't do it.

    A lot of people are overeating in the western culture. A lot more that, by the numbers, should be in the 300-pound range. And while there are no shortage of very-very-fat people, they're not nearly as common as they should be if you study individual diet patterns. This is part of the problem. People look at their skinny friends' diets, and some of those skinny friends are like the luckier Vermont prisoners.

  • by DMUTPeregrine ( 612791 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2015 @03:12PM (#49330621) Journal
    One way to passively burn more energy that I don't see mentioned enough is to simply lower the ambient temperature (and don't add more clothing). Staying in a cooler room (or not using a heavy blanket when sleeping, etc) can use a significant amount of extra energy. Sleeping humans use between 20 and 80 kCal/hour, depending on ambient temperature, blankets, etc. (80-20)*8=480kCal potential burn, per night of sleep. Over the course of a week that's 3360kCal, or nearly a pound of body fat's worth of energy. Use your basal metabolic rate to burn more energy by staying in cooler environments.

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