You might have seen some TV over the past 3-4 weeks, such as “The Fattest Man in Britain“, “Will My Crash Diet Kill Me?”
The biggest one (pun totally intended)…… that everyone is talking about is ” The Biggest Loser” – a Weight Loss competition-Reality-TV-Show . This is actually one of my clients favourite programmes, and makes for quite entertaining TV!
Anyway, I get asked A LOT of questions – but probably no more so than about this particular TV show. There are a few…………but they all follow along this variation.
“How come I can’t lose that much weight?”
This article will go through the main reasons – The adaptation principle, The weight loss analogy, and the time factor.
1) The Adaptation Principle
Basically, your body will ADAPT to the STRESSORS you put on it.
So….say a women can lift 20kg overhead once (this is an example of a woman – all fit and healthy men reading this should be able to overhead press 20kg……or check where they last felt 2 things swinging between their legs).
If you are male, you should have no problem with an empty bar!
Say this woman can lift 20kg ONCE but no more, and she then starts to lift this weight frequently – she will soon be able to lift 22.5kg overhead. Her body has responded to the stress placed on it – and has adapted to meet this for the future. This is a survival mechanism – that many people ignore with their training – and I am shocked!!!!
Likewise, if she was eating 4000 calories a day full of junk food, and sitting down watching TV all day – she would expect to gain weight. However, If the same person then ate 3-3500 calories of REAL FOOD, and exercised 4-5 hours a week (of anything………..their body will adapt – because the increase in stress (no matter how small) is an increase in stress nonetheless.
I have had clients 20 stone+ (just like on The Biggest Loser) lose weight through simply walking a little more, and eating REAL FOOD.
Do it regularly – and your bidy will respond.
2) The weight loss analogy
I know you might have read my well-thought-out article “The Calorie Conundrum” several months ago. (If you havent, go read it now – you will re-think that 100kcal bags of cookies are NOT good for you.) Since this article, I regularly get emails asking whether calories matter – and some people actually saying low calorie food is better than real food!!!!!
The following is what we get told:
But we KNOW that it would better to eat 3000 calories of meat fish fruit and vegetables…………..rather than 2500 calories of cookies and cakes!!!!!!
The bottom line is that if you want to lose weight (be it fat and muscle) A low calorie diet will work. Do you want to look exactly the same – but as a smaller version?
Therefore if you re several stone overweight…….a low calorie diet will help a lot. Most people need to have operations for loose skin etc – the best way to avoid this is to eat real food with plenty of high quality protein – and use resistance to retain muscle.
A low calorie for the ‘slightly overweight’ person is no way going to be as effective as real food and some gut-busting exercise – and this is still preached by many doctors, slimming companies and the many forms of media. (By the way I believe the recommendations are still “30mins of “moderate” exercise 5 times a week.)
If you want my advice, ‘moderate’ is not enough.
In a nutshell, low calorie will help you lose weight…………..it probably wont help you lose much fat, and you will likely lose some body-shaping muscle.
3) The time factor
The biggest loser show is very dramatic and has amazing feats of weight loss. Like a stone weight loss in a week!!!!
I have been asked “how can they lose this much weight when I cant?”
My answer is usually along the lines of:
a) You are nowhere near as fat as they are – so you need more than a low calorie diet
b) You do not have time to do around 30-40 hours exercise a week………or do you? (Because that could be a little sad if you do!)
The thing is that the contestants on The Biggest Loser are exercising a hell of a lot.
I have heard 8 hours a day, 6 days a week……………and i have also heard 4 times a day every day.
Either way – that is excessive.
More importantly – it is not doable in real life!!!!!
Its interesting to note that a few of the past contestants have regained upwards of half what they lost – and some even regaining nearly it all. (Kind of like the poor man who wins the lottery and blows it all……..we have all heard about them – and its simply because they were not educated to change their bad habits…..in the REAL WORLD).
IN FACT a previous contenstant said exactly this about 6 months ago:
Also 2 contestants from the american programme here: (http://www.diet-blog.com/07/the_biggest_loser_where_are_they_now.php)
In a nutshell, 1 contestant regained about 2 stone in the 5 days after the programme ended – basically because he had lost so much weight from sweating water – and not due to fat loss. The other is still losing weight – but exercises 6 days a week (great!!!) ……for 1 to 4 hours….(Not so great!!!!).
This guy even gained half his weight back again!!!! http://sharonquinn.blogspot.com/2009/01/biggest-loser-champ-regains-122-pounds_19.html
As a side note, I consider it extremely dangerous to be doing high impact running at the weight these contestants are. Last week they had a medical team in telling the contestant not to go as hard. This isnt what the TV producers want!! They want ratings! Its sad but if something really bad happens – the show will get a ton of publicity – and there will be some waiver signed that says the show isn’t responsible. I never have very overweight clients run – because the stress on the knees hips and ankles is just too much.
So there you have it…..3 reasons why contestants on The Biggest Loser are guaranteed to lose a lot of weight!
You may or not be in their position………….either way, you need to increase your bodies need to change.
Keep it real this week – and don’t lie to yourself.