Exercise May Aid in Weight Loss. Provided You Do Enough.

We make up for some of the calories we burn during exercise, but not all.


Comments: 202

  1. The mental and cardiac/aerobic exercises are for health. To lose weight and stay slender eating properly is a way of life and exercise can not substitute.

  2. Only...it sounds great, but it doesn't work for 98% of those who are overweight (or genetically prone to be so).

    "Eating properly" is so vague a piece of advice, as to be utterly worthless.

  3. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Even at rest. You cannot be a couch-no-potato and starve yourself thin and remain heathy.

  4. Walking consumes about 75 calories per mile. In 30 minutes of fast walking a person walks no more than about 2 miles, burning about 150 calories, not 300 calories. As a result, all the numbers here are off.

  5. On my computerized treadmill, I enter my weight and it shows the calories burned. I walk at a pace between 3.1 and 4.2 MPH at a slope of between 12 and 15 degrees. At my peak of 4.2 MPH at 15 degrees, I get a heart rate between 145 and 150. The treadmill shows 500 calories burned in 36 minutes.

    Is it right or wrong? Hard to say. But the guy who is walking at 2.8 MPH at a 0 degree angle only shows 160 after 30 minutes. So it's all in how hard you chose to work.

  6. That "about 75 calories" is a generic estimate for an "average" sized person (personally I had always heard 100). Somebody weighing 100lbs is going to expend far less energy walking a mile than somebody weighing 300lbs.

  7. I believe Anne E is talking about people more than 50lbs overweight. I wouldn't expect obese people to immediately start running. Someone weighing 400lbs is going to burn far more calories walking a mile than I can running one (150lbs). As they start to lose weight, they can start increasing the pace, but the impact forces at higher weights are just not worth it.

  8. I have had a body issue all of my life and have exercised since 1979 when I started running. As I have aged I have noticed that it is a losing proposition (not weight) that the same amount of exercise will not have the same effect. What I have found that matters is general activity. When I lived in a two story house, the stairs provided more exercise than when we moved to a small one story cottage. I could not create the same level of activities of daily living. I had been using my bicycle for transportation but have realized that I burn fewer calories than if I walk to my destinations. I enjoy a cocktail and/or wine with dinner and when watching a movie at night. I have changed to non alcoholic wine which is lower in calories and easier on the liver and have searched the internet for a non alcoholic gin. For the summer, I have volunteered in a kitchen that makes meals for the various childrens' summer programs. When I saw how much energy that I used, I increased my time doing this. The bottom line is that I have to look in every nook and cranny of my habits to find how I can increase movement and decrease calories.

  9. Can you manage to walk briskly 60 mins a day, like in this study? This way, you can keep your same eating habits and still control your weight- just like in this study.

  10. You nailed it! It's "activity" that does it -- more specifically, 'non-exercise activity thermogenesis', or NEAT -- an aptly named acronym. Google it.

  11. @Janet: OR you could accept your natural body and live a happy, moderate lifestyle without fixating on the numbers on a scale or the size on a tag in your clothing.

    @Dr. J: Lewis Carroll was NOT using that as an example of dietary advice, but to portray UTTER FUTILITY and stupidity. It is fascinating that you see it as diet/exercise advice! Continually to redouble your efforts in the face of failure and futility is the behavior of the "Road Runner" in the Warner Brothers cartoons.

  12. After I retired I took up exercise. I lost 40 pounds in two years, and made virtually only two changes in my diet: I stopped eating ice cream at home, and limited myself to two cookies a day. Of course the fact I exercised well over 20 hours a week...including walking 10 miles a day, 4 hours on a stationary bike, Zumba, etc. clearly showed exercise helps!

  13. People normally lose weight after age 65. It's part of the aging process. It might have had little or nothing to do with your draconian exercise regime or depriving yourself of ice cream.

  14. One thing not mentioned in this article is the impact that exercise has on your thyroid function. I dropped almost a full two points of my TSH level after undertaking a program of strenuous exercise (walking with a lot of uphill to the point where I could not hold a conversation while walking up steep hills, and my muscles ached somewhat afterwards). I found that my appetite, ironically, decreased after strenuous exercise. I lost five pounds in one month. I hadn't expected this result - I was exercising to increase my heart-lung capacity - but it was a nice surprise.

  15. I've found this too. A little exercise makes me hungrier. A lot of exercise and it's like I've somehow been distracted from food. It may simply be that it takes time when I might otherwise go home earlier and, having more time, eat more!

  16. It will make you hungrier but as you change your eating habits, you will find yourself thinking about fruit, water, nuts to satiate that hunger instead of chips, soda or a donut, stuff 5hat needs to be vanished from every single person's diet.

  17. Hello, this has been known since the dawn of time.

    You can lose weight by exercising but it has to be long and intense.

    The famous swimmer Phelps ate like 10,000 calories a day but was not overweight since he swam or exercised literally 24/7.

    If you are not willing to be a gym rat, the best way to lose weight is the tried and true calorie intake drop.

  18. Not true. You do not have to be a "gym rat" as humans can control and monitor what they eat and have the ability to decide and determine how to burn calories. Yeah, if you are going to eat a 800 calorie cheeseburger, you will have to exercise hard for 2 hours to burn it off. If eating that kind of junk is part of your daily lifestyle, then yeah, good luck maintaining a healthy weight. On the other hand, daily healthy, sensible meals, one hour of sweat producing exercising three times a week, plenty to lose weight, again, if your lifestyle includes a healthy, sensible way of eating.

  19. The 1995 study by Yates and Benton (summarized by Schneider and Sagan in their book, Into the Cool), seems to concur with this study. They said that burning around 2,500 calories per week from exercise is in the ideal range where you get the maximum metabolic benefit of building healthy cells without destroy them from over use.

  20. Unfortunately there are always many more factors that weigh in to our heath, especially in weight lose. It would have been interesting to see existing medical issues for each participant and how that interfered with their expected outcome. Sometimes we must start to heal the underlying conditions that make the battle of weight loss such an obstacle.
    So overall I enjoyed reading the article, because it was about something that trouble so many. And we suffer due to temptations. That also could weigh in with the article. I feel like people who live in a rural area, do not have the temptation of fast food and food delivery. It would be interesting to see how the region they live in would have affect that as well.
    So a follow up article would be something I'd be interested in reading.

  21. It is not rocket science. Any animal, including humans, will become fat is it eats more calories than it burns. The main difference is that a lot of humans use food to deal with emotional issues. Yes, I agree with you that weight loss must include dealing with what makes you eat garbage and excessively but until them, if you want to be a healthy individual you have to get a hold of yourself and get started. Just like so many people that have beat Alcoholism using the 12 steps while working on their psych issues, you have to start your "12 steps" and just like with other addictive substances, the first few weeks will stink but you will have to get thru it while working on your emotional issues.

  22. I don't trust the study or the conclusions made from the study. Subjects/Patients do not self report reliably, I know, I have been one.

  23. In a sense, the study measured the inaccuracy of self-reporting--both groups increased their caloric intake without noting it. However, the results---NOT the participants' reports---showed that both groups increased their unreported intakes by roughly the same number of calories. Thus, the study expected self-reporting failures but worked around them.

  24. Thanks for Share! Exercising to lose weight does work. But sometimes it does require a lot of effort and time. If you workout at home - yes. However, if have to go to the gym, that's a different story. It might take up to 2 hours to workout, and I am not talking about travel time. When you busy, it's too stressful and time consuming.
    Basically, all it takes is to have a combination of exercises and a healthy food. I found one article about the diet that includes both. Looks promising, what do you think? https://health-state.com/

  25. The anti-obesity effect of exercise is not just about (or even primarily about) calories burned while doing it. Regular exercise has long-term anti-obesity effects on the endocrine system (for example, improving insulin sensitivity), on gene expression, and on other processes such as thermogenesis. I wish everyone would stop focusing on the "calories burned" during exercise. Often the calories immediately burned are minimal but the effect on your basal metabolism, over the long term, are huge.

  26. Improving insulin sensitivity does not guarantee weight loss and may even make it more difficult, as fat cells also have insulin receptors. Once the exercising muscle no longer requires energy ( i.e. after you've stopped exercising) the fat cells stake their claim to some of any compensatory increased food intake.

  27. It's a long standing myth that our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) increases in the short or long term as a result of physical activity or physical exercise alone. It doesn't.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2706222

  28. Not sure why the researchers only had the subjects wear an activity monitor for a week when the experiment was for 12 weeks and they were using the monitors to measure compensatory behavior. But I'll assume any estimates they made were accurate. It's very impressive that only an hour of walking a day could induce weight loss.

  29. For context, the 3000cal energy expenditure group lost, on average, less than 6 lbs at 3 months (< 2lb/mo), for a net body weight loss of 3.01% from baseline. The authors of the study and this article note the statistically significant difference between the two groups, but to call the amount of weight loss significant in either group, including the high-exercise group, is a bit of an exaggeration in my opinion. Personally, I see greater fluctuations in my day-to-day weight than they saw month-to-month.

  30. I assume "Kevin" is a guy, but any woman ages 12-52 knows that your menstrual cycle affects both weight and water retention, and during it, a woman can have weight fluctuate by 2-5 or even 7 lbs, and without the slightest change in her diet or exercise.

  31. Exercise is beneficial, but some of this rigorous activity is meaningless to the average person. Diet is everything. If you want to be healthy and not obese, eliminate as much sugar as possible. No orange juice, no cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream and limit alcohol. Keep carbohydrates to a minimum. Protein and fat are the way to go and do moderate exercise for muscle tone. It actually works.

  32. Why not eliminate alcohol since you're eliminating all the other unhealthy stuff? Seems like strange advice to me. Alcohol does nothing for your health (and even less for your will-power).

  33. Keep *simple* carbs to a minimum. All carbs are not equal.

  34. Do that and while you will NOT actually live forever....it is certainly going to FEEL that way.... an endless slog of misery until you die (skinny and hungry).

  35. I love to exercise and workout everyday for at least one, sometimes two hours, I can't imagine thinking a mild 30 minute workout would make that much of a dent in a week of sitting and eating. And then we're surprised when doubling that commitment to an hour helped make a workout more effective? The idea that previous studies were dismissing exercise entirely as an effective weight loss method based on a such minimal efforts seems, frankly, bizarre. Get onto your feet, engage and move your bodies, people. It's not that complicated.

  36. "walking briskly five times a week on a treadmill"
    If you are 75 years old this might count as exercise. For others, not so much.

  37. Especially since a brisk walk has been defined elsewhere in the NYT as 3 mph. For anyone who exercises vigorously, that’s a cooldown.

  38. Reinventing the wheel again. The book Fit or Fat was very clear, based on experimental evidence, that exercise less than an hour a day would not affect fat/weight. The author, Covert Bailey, went further to say that it should be aerobic, and he recommended a different form each day so as to keep up interest.
    Oh well, maybe the researchers hadn't done a lit review back that far. Or maybe they thought (truly I think) that walking for an hour was far more realistic than an hour of aerobics a day.
    In any case, all the research supports the conclusion that achieving the degree of weight loss people want will (also) require caloric restrictions.

  39. So it takes a combination of exercise and calorie restriction to lose weight. Did any tax payer dollars fund this ground breaking (not!) research? I hope not.

  40. Did you read the article or are you just commenting because the whole point to the study was that the subjects did not have to restrict their calories. In fact, they were specifically told not to.

    I think it's money well spent for the CDC to know precisely how many minutes, on average, a person needs to exercise to begin to reduce that terrible, disease-producing belly fat.

  41. Using only 31 people hardly constitutes a valid study of anything.

  42. Even worse, inevitably these studies are based on SELF REPORTING and not lab results, which means they are next to worthless.

    On top of that....the researchers to go into these studies, and design them, to prove their EXISTING beliefs. If you already believe in harsh, intense exercise as "punishment" for fat people -- if you hate fat people -- if you fear your OWN potential for getting fat -- if you think all fat people are lazy, and this will hector/nag/shame them into exercise -- then your bias will prevent you from getting usable results from this or any other study.

  43. Is this seriously considered “news?” A study with 31 people is hardly statistically significant. And, of course, it’s reasonable to think that more exercise means losing more weight...

  44. It was statistically significant, within this small study population, would not have been published otherwise.
    But a self-promoter above (below?) noted, it is very expensive and difficult to lock down and monitor 30 people-- much less 3,000.
    And there are ethical concerns regarding prison inmates and many laws, so forget that.
    Vote for the party that respects and funds science.

  45. Eat less!

  46. Lots of folk here know more than the researchers. Imagine that!

  47. Thanks for sharing, but losing weight is almost impossible when you have a bountiful appetite. It will take so much painful sacrifice to say no to those food you love just because they contain more calories than you should take in. I want to point out that HGH fights aging and can help you lose weight easily, and here’s why: When you increase the levels of HGH in your body, you increase your metabolism (or metabolic rate). This means your body can process nutrients faster and more efficiently, which leads to rapid – and effortless – weight loss. I tried this HGH ( http://bit.ly/Anti-AgingAndWeightLoss ) and I have success losing weight with it :)

  48. Now try incorporating intermittent fasting in your daily routine and watch the pounds really fly off! Its much easier than people realize.

    Bon appetite!

  49. I clicked on this article thinking, I'll bet it's yet another study with a sample of 30. Sure enough.

  50. Well, it's a start. For now, I'd rather go with the 30 than not.

  51. Baloney! Find a body builder and ask him or her what to do to lose flab and gain muscle. Then do it.

  52. Nearly all the qualified ones will tell you its all about diet. Yes, there are builders who lift heavy and eat cheese whoppers, i.e., put any old thing in their mouth, but their bodies always look bloated and fatty-ish, along with the big muscles.

    Ever wonder why body builders who stop working out almost always become chubby and dumpy and stocky? They almost never become slim, trim, skinny, etc.

  53. Many readers have already pointed out that 30 subjects doe not a valid study make....just too small of a sample to draw any kind of a conclusion.

    But it is interesting. As there was no six-month follow-up, we don't know if any of the subjects that lost weight kept it off.

    Those who managed to lose weight in this program lost 5% of "body fat"-- it is unclear how much weight they lost. A person @ 250 lbs losing 5% body weight would be at 237 - losing 12.5 lbs.

  54. "Calorie balance" is a true description but is never an explanation for _why_ a person is gaining or losing weight in any tissue.

    If one group lost more weight through exercise, the relevant question is "why weren't they hungrier to compensate for the extra calories burned?"

  55. Pooch: maybe they WERE hungrier? but wanted to please the researchers? or prove to them that they were not "fat pigs" but really TRYING to lose weight?

    What happened to them after a year? two years? five years?

  56. It's never addressed how the amount of time used for cardio exercise affects the limbs and joints (ex. knees, ankles). For some people it is physically impossible to exercise for long periods of time on a daily basis without weakening or spraining the limbs necessary to perform the exercise.

  57. I have a sprained ankle right now and chair Zumba helps me get a little exercise. I found some good chair workouts of YouTube. Give it a try!

  58. Try different exercise forms. Many enjoy swimming. Pilates and high energy yoga with well-trained instructors aware of damaged or aging joints can work. The way people move is very important, I see people jogging, running and even walking and cycling with body alignment that makes their exercise akin to taking a hammer to their joints. A good PT with alignment awareness can help people self correct.

  59. Good luck doing this type of "brisk exercise an hour every day" with a bad knee. Or two bad knees. Or arthritic hips. Or a bad back.

    Brisk exercise (walking, jogging) will literally pound the cartilage between your knee joints into dust. Then you get "bone on bone" osteo arthritic pain. Never gets better!

    You can have a double knee replacement, which is agonizing -- leaves awful scars -- and typically puts people on a cane or in a walker. The older you are, the worse your outcomes.

    @P Wilkinson: swimming? LOL! in my Olympic size heating pool, you mean? I'll do that right after I land my personal jet on my private island.

  60. It is astonishing that this study did not require participants to precisely monitor their caloric intake.

  61. What's more -- it involved two groups of only 15 or 16 people!

  62. Yes, astonishing, but typical. Many "researchers" are publishing papers just to get published and bolster their credentials in academia. They are not really contributing anything to our understanding of the issues.

    Precision in a study is difficult because the subjects can only be accurately monitored if they are locked up and every morsel consumed and every calorie expended is accounted for. Reliance on reports of their behavior by the subjects eliminates any claim of validity. They don't report the truth even when they try to. Most of the time, they report deliberately inaccurate information.

    Using a cooperative prison population for this kind of study would be ideal. They would be easy to monitor and the study could be done over a length of time that would be meaningful.

    Of course, a study like that would be costly, and who would be interested in funding it in this anti-science era where industries that are killing us fund "research" and pull the strings to have real the science by the CDC and NIH defunded?

    Read "The Anderson Method" to gain a good understanding of the obesity problem we have and how to fix it. It is really quite simple, physiologically. The minute thermodynamic factors are interesting to study, but don't give us the answers we need. The answers are in behavioral science, complex, but no mystery. I have succeeded with permanent weight loss with thousands of subjects. I have never had a client not succeed losing weight following my protocol.

  63. Take a look at Ross et al. Reduction in Obesity and Related Comorbid Conditions after Diet-Induced Weight Lass or Exercise-Induced Weight Loss in Men: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2000. They showed that creating a caloric deficit through aerobic exercise alone results in the same weight loss as creating a caloric deficit through dietary restriction. Either way, insulin resistance improved.

    This study is really nothing new.

  64. I am one year out from starting what is called a VLCD (very low calorie diet) which was 600-800 calories a day from prepackaged shakes and/or lean protein and vegetable meals. Because the VLCD puts your body into ketosis and then burns your stored fat I was encouraged to keep activity levels on the diet low to support that work for the body. That was weird for me because even though I had managed to overeat into an obese BMI, I was still pretty active -- jogging multiple times per week for an hour or so. My excess weight was just too hard on my knees and the diet was undertaken to drop just enough weight to allow me to restart running without pain. In 4 months I lost 50 lbs. with no more than 25-30 minutes a day of brisk walking or light resistance spinning as my exercise (when I would try and add more the weight loss would stop because my body was overtaxed). Then I moved back slowly to more calories and restarted daily 60 minute workouts (running 11 and then 10 and then just under 10 minute miles). In the 8 months since I stopped the VLCD I have lost another 30 lbs simply via the gap between my food and energy expenditure. I am now at a BMI of 20.6 (I was 35 when I started) and trying to increase my food intake to maintain my weight. So I guess I am here to say that while I believed that exercise was mostly key for weight maintenance, my experience has proven that loss can be achieved with a combination of exercise and attention to food as well (duh, right?).

  65. In obesity and dieting, one year is a nanosecond.

    My own mother lost 100 lbs -- from diets alone,pills, "shakes", calorie restriction and exercise -- at least three times in my childhood and once before I was born.

    Every time, she ended up gaining ALL the weight back, and a few extra pounds as "punishment" for even trying.

    Of course you can lose weight TEMPORARILY on a starvation diet! the problem is, can you STAY on a starvation diet your entire life? and exercise this much, if you get older or get arthritis in your knees?

    Good luck, but if you succeed at keeping the weight off for 5 years....you will be an extreme outlier.

  66. Anecdotally, I know a woman who lost 75 pounds by jogging on a treadmill for 1 hour a day and just giving up candy bars. I know someone else who lost weight walking 45 minutes a day. I lost weight when I went to a daily 1 hour aerobics class. And losing six pounds in three months is great. That's 24 pounds a year! I'm going to do my binge watching while riding my recumbent bike. An hour should fly by.

    I also work part time three to four days a week as a picker for Amazon Prime. My step counter shows I do about 9,000 steps during a four shift of walking up and down the aisles of the warehouse picking items for customers. I thought I would have lost weight with all that walking, but I haven't because I haven't reduced my food intake. But I haven't gained weight either, and I'm more fit.

  67. She must have been eating a lot of candy bars.

  68. Study, study, study. Who pays for all of this? Eat a healthy diet, moderate in carbs, and exercise regularly. This is the way to lose and keep off weight.

    The diet needn't, indeed mustn't be a starvation diet; just one that is healthy and banishes all junk whatsoever.

    This has been known forever. Exercise is important to weight loss for a lot of reasons, but it is as an adjunct to controlling calorie intake.

    If I don't eat that 500-calorie muffin, than I don't have to spend hours trying to burn off that particular treat. Much easier!

  69. Exactly. Reduction in caloric intake, not surprisingly, is everything with regard to reduced weight. Exercise of any kind always healthy, but largely irrelevant to weight gain or loss.

  70. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat, even at rest, so more muscle makes weight loss and maintain easier.

  71. I'm 80 years old and just returned from a two-week trip to Italy with my daughter, where we (a) ate mass quantities of pasta, pizza and pastries and (b) walked miles each day over cobblestones and through museums. We both lost 8 pounds!!

  72. Finally, a diet and exercise program that I would love to do for the rest of my life !!!

  73. I read that the brain consumes 25% of the calories we burn.
    I’ve been trying to think myself skinny!

  74. Still nothing improves upon the strategy to eat less and move more. Ignore the details.

  75. This study does not prove much. Exercise is over-rated as a weight-loss tool and over the long haul does not improve life expectancy. Hawking was wheel-chair in his twenties yet lived to be 76.
    Exercise has many benefits in moderation, but without an eating approach to go with it any weight loss achieved will be temporary. And the proper eating approach will lead to long-term weight loss in and of itself.

  76. Exercise does work does work for me, but like this study says I have to do lots of it. Walking 1hr/day maintains my weight at about 5 pounds overweight. Adding 30-45 min of gym cardio 3x per week makes me lose weight slowly. Substitute 4x Masters Swimming workouts for the gym, and I lose weight like crazy (got to keep the walking too though, otherwise I gain weight). So basically I need about 1.5-2 hours of exercise a day to actually lose weight quickly. If I do not exercise I quickly gain weight and become borderline obese. I also eat a strict vegetarian diet, with no real room to reduce calories easily. It’s hard!

  77. Thinking that exercise is the answer to weight loss is a mistake. As this article shows, people exercising to lose weight are likely to gain. The answer to weight loss and weight control is in the psychology of eating.

    I teach people how to use behavioral psychology to automatically eat the right number of calories, of the foods they like, to reach and maintain their preferred weight for the rest of their lives. The key to permanent weight loss is creating a way to eat that you like, that you can live with forever, that maintains your preferred weight. It can be done. I lost 140 pounds 35 years ago after 25 years of failure with diets and exercise plans when I discovered this behavioral therapy for weight control. I've kept it off, and so have most of my clients.

    Exercise plays no role in weight control if one does not first get the eating under control. Once the habits are created to maintain the right weight, exercise can speed up the loss, but not that much.

    Consider this: exercise the 30 minutes a day described in this article and burn 300 calories. Then, thinking you've solved the problem, you get a Whopper, fries and a coke for lunch. That's 1800 calories. Then you have a "salad" for dinner at 1700 calories, and because you exercised, you have a slice of pecan pie, 500 calories. So what if you exercised for a half hour or even a whole hour?

    Until a person gets the eating under control, there is no hope.

    William Anderson, LMHC
    Author of "The Anderson Method"

  78. Then prove it. Publish your data.

    Because "anecdotes" are not the plural of data.

    BTW: I know fat vegans and fat vegetarians, who have literally NEVER eaten a Whopper or BIg Mac.

    I also know very skinny people who eat fast food every day and NEVER exercise.

  79. Where does the article state that those who burned 600 calories 5 days a week gained weight?

  80. a salad at 1700 calories? yikes!

  81. Exercise builds muscle, but it is not a route to lose weight. Reducing caloric intake, i.e. eating less, does the trick.

  82. Another way to lose weight is to increase one's exercise without increasing caloric intake. It worked for me. I lost 100 pounds 8 years ago and have kept every pound off by exercising everyday, but perhaps tempering my diet, but not severely restricting it. I never had to consume fewer than 2000 calories a daywhile I was losing weight and have never consumed fewer than 3000 calories a day while in maintenance. Trying to lose weight without exercise necessitates a very severe reduction in caloric intake, which I didn't have to do since I exercised everyday.

  83. As a serious female cyclist who rides 200 miles a week, races occasionally with some success, is 5’2’, 115 pounds and 55 years old my calorie intake is between 2250 and 2650 a day. I ride 4 times a week and sometimes walk 5 miles on my days off the bike. I also do exercises to strengthen my core and a bit of stretching. At times I am excruciatingly hungry because of the amount of calories burned on my rides! I still track my calories because if I come in at 2700 to 3000 my weight will drift up into the low 120’s.
    My husband (who is an elite age group cyclist) and I eat well. Wholesome food. Mostly home made. Sure we like the occasional “cheat meal or cheat day” but who doesn’t?
    I love my sport, and I don’t ride to eat, but being able to be fit and trim while eating heartily is a great side benefit.

  84. I can only access the abstract to the article being discussed, but it is hard to take away general recommendations from what Ms. Reynolds reports. There are several reasons:

    1. The study only involved 36 people. That is a tiny data sample.
    2. The study was short-term.
    3. The abstract does not stratify by age, but likely this is a younger crowd with certain exclusions for comorbid medical conditions. Older patients with chronic medical conditions might be expected to have a lot more trouble with protocol compliance.
    4. Long-term followup (say several years) might alter results.

    This is not to indict exercise, which can be beneficial at so many levels. But it is premature to push conclusions from the limited data available.

  85. I’ve been a gym rat for over forty years now. I’ve tried all sorts of diets and exercise routines. After monitoring myself and the others gym rats I’ve concluded that you basically have the body that you were given at birth. Yes, you can make small changes with consistent exercise and diet but nature ultimately prevails.

  86. If that were wholly true, we would not be a country that is significantly fatter than we were 30 years ago. We certainly have the genes we were born with, but we are in control of what we do with them. Some of us find it easier to lose weight than others do; some of us find it harder but we all (with rare exceptions) have the ability to maintain a healthy weight. I can't eat as much as my husband can and maintain a normal weight but when I eat and exercise in a healthy way, I can also keep my weight down. Thirty years ago when I hit forty, I gained a lot of weight. I would have told you that I was eating healthy food and exercising. I wasn't. When I changed both my eating and exercise habits I lost the excess weight--and have kept it off. The hardest part was accepting that if I wanted to lose weight I had to make and maintain changes to both diet and exercise.

  87. These articles always draw out the personal anecdotes, which I kind of enjoy, so here goes. When I first met my husband to be, he weighed about 240 lbs. At almost 6’ 3”, to me he didn’t seem overweight. He was a large man, but I thought he was hot (and if otherwise, I doubt we would have been celebrating our 15th anniversary yesterday). Around this time 2 of my brothers were trying the popular Atkins diet and having some success. I became my future husband’s Atkins coach, shopping and preparing a lot of his meals (I like to cook, plan meals, etc., he hates anything to do with food preparation and would eat fast food all the time if on his own). He lost 40 lbs. Then about 5 years later, 3 years after we were married, he got interested in spinning as a workout. He always liked sports like soccer and basketball, but had a bad knee that was getting worse and spinning was better for him. Within about a month, he was dropping pounds. I then also got into spinning and we eventually both got into cycling and he now rides about 150 hard miles a week with the local cycling club (alas, I can’t keep up with them, though we still ride together). He now weighs 180 lbs. which is quite lean for his height (but I still think he’s hot). He usually gains about 5 lbs. in the winter when he’s only spinning. The key here—for him this workout is fun, a passion, not a chore. Using exercise to control weight would be difficult for people who just don’t like to exercise.

  88. Also...he's a man! he doesn't menstruate or use artificial female hormones for contraception -- has never been pregnant or given birth -- has never gone through perimenopause, menopause or post menopause.

    You don't say how old he is. In general, relatively young (under 50) men have a far, far easier time of losing weight than women of any age.

  89. Let's add into the fitness equation a happy home life and romantic partnership!

    Overeating and under exercising can be related to relationship and emotional issues.

  90. Now that I got my personal anecdote out of the way...this article also made me think about the concept of stasis—an organisms attempt to keep equilibrium with equal and opposite actions and reactions canceling each other out. Isn’t that what’s happening with the moderate exercise group? It seems you have to shock a system out of stasis (or just not get into the state that needs fixing in the first place).

  91. The goal should be loss of fat, not of weight. Intense workouts increase muscle (heavier than fat). Watch your waistline, not your scale. (But, as the article says, overcompensation by overeating - esp. bad foods - might still leave fat deposits, despite new muscle growth).

  92. To jump start - and maintain - your weight loss, incorporate regular fasting into your life! You will be shocked and pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to fast for 48 hours. Nearly 100% of the game is mental!

    Do you own research - there are copious and diverse amounts online - and make your own conclusions, but why settle for losing 4 or 5 pounds a month when you can truly permanently lose 15 pounds so much easier by fasting. Plus - you can reset your taste buds and palate by fasting, i.e., the usual devilish cravings start to disappear.

  93. Alright, personal anecdote time, make of it what you will.

    1. I was always on the thin side up to my early 30s. Put on 5 pounds. Didn't even need to change my diet, ran a few extra miles, lost the weight within a week and didn't put it back on.

    2. Mindlessly gained about 35 extra pounds in grad school, by 50 was 200 (5 ft 10 in). 2003 - started paying attention to calories and working out - down to 173 in 3 months and kept it off since.

    3. Always wanted to lose "the last 10 pounds." it was easy to maintain 1200-1300 calorie days, adjusting it to suit my own food preferences, but never lost more than a pound or two and always gained it back, even though I maintained about 6 hours a week of exercise - aerobics and strength training.

    4. Very reluctantly started aerobics classes in April of this year. Easily lost weight, still the same 1200-1300 calorie daily intake. Down to 167 and holding steady. Did NOTHING different but do the classes (1 hour, 5 times a week, also - early morning, 6:15 or 6:30, enormous help for the day, and doesn't motivate me to eat extra).

    Ok, just one person, can't extrapolate, and maybe it won't last. It's the first time, though, in 15 years, that I've found a reliable, predictable way to get under 170 and stay there.

    FWIW

    www.remember-to-breathe.org

  94. A grown man eating 1200 calories a day? Yikes...

  95. Yikes!!

  96. What kind of exercise? Just walking on a flat surface with a slightly elevated pulse rate for 30 minutes has an entirely different effect than running on a treadmill aka aerobic exercise for 30 minutes. Add in “interval training” and the aerobic activity can be cut in
    half with equal benefits. Recent studies prove this.

    If the researchers were themselves athletes these critical distinctions might have been considered for a more valuable report.

  97. Similar to a couple of other anecdotes already graciously presented in the comments section, I find exercise really makes a difference. (And thanks people, I do enjoy reading those anecdotes!)
    I did masters' swimming for a long time, then stopped when I had young kids. I went back to it just about a year ago, swimming for an hour, 4 times/week. Masters' workouts are more vigorous than the typical lap-swim workout. First few months, no weight changes. Then after 3 months, I lost about 1 pound a week, amazingly consistent - it didn't seem to matter how much I ate or what else I did. Then after 13 weeks and 13 pounds, I stabilized. It's been another 6 months since then
    The bad news is that I was so hungry during those 13 weeks that I did eat more (and was well aware of it the whole time). Now I am trying to get back to my pre-swimming diet, but it is tough. I'm still 13 pounds less than when I started though, and feel better, so no complaints.

    So I can't help but wonder how much researchers can get out of a short-term study. They would have had to study someone like me for 6 to 9 months to have found anything out.

  98. Everyone wants to look fit and healthy. Exercising is good for health as it helps people somehow lose weight. It helps burn calories. But life and metabolisms are not predictor or fair, as multiple exercise studies, involving people and animal show. In these experiments, participants lose weight than would be expected, given energy they expand weight. Generally, 30 minutes of exercise improves health. Intense workouts increases muscles that are heavier than fat. Exercise is over-rated as a weight loss tool and over the long haul does not improve life expectancy. Some people see no change in their body. Exercise can also cause inflammation. Simply, to keep yourself just eat healthy diet and walk 1hr/day.

  99. Eat well to lose weight. Lose weight to exercise well. Exercise well to feel great. Feeling great helps me eat well.
    Using this approach I've dropped an average of 2 kilograms/month over the last 15 months. The nutritionist I see has been the key factor in my success.

  100. Walking briskly does not burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. Maybe 200 if the walk is truly brisk. Makes it hard for me to accept the researchers conclusions.

  101. I think people who weigh more burn more calories in an allotted time then trimmer people. A 200lb person burns more calories resting than a 150lb person. It takes more calories to maintain basic body functions in an overweight person.

  102. The number of calories (energy) which one burns in 30 minutes of walking depends upon how much one weighs. Also, remember that the calories burned includes the normal "background" calories that one would burn even if one were asleep.

  103. These people are quite obese, it sounds like. Moving as much weight as they do, and at a brisk pace, especially if they are kept at that pace by a treadmill or other machine, will certainly burn them more calories than a skinnier person along side them.

  104. My experience is that exercise does indeed help a lot for weight loss - but it has to be a lot of exercise. I have never (NEVER) been able to lose weight on a typical "diet and exercise" approach. I need to monitor calories, but I also need to significantly increase exercise to lose weight. Once I have knocked off the weight I maintain fairly well until something happens to upend my exercise routine (broken leg, hip replacement, etc.).

    I suspect that it is linked somehow to genes and that this is not advice for everyone. Both my nieces discovered this independently for themselves, and continue to practice and maintain normal weights. We have similar cardiovascular histories so that may be part of it.

  105. Diet matters. Exercise is not a license to eat card.

    Weight happens only with a proper combination of exercise AND diet.

    This should be obvious.

  106. Something interesting this study brings to mind is that so many of us counting steps, like myself, tend to look at our total calorie burn and steps/day- but according to these results we should be more concerned with total "active minutes" exercising- I just looked and noted that while I reach or exceed 10,000 steps/day I seem to only have 60 "active minutes" a few days. If trying to lose weight and cleared for exercise, use 60 active minutes/day as a goal, rather than the other numbers. Good information.

  107. The longterm attendees at my exercise program are all fit. One woman I know is 89 but she looks 50 and still works. She pulls herself out of the side of the pool without using the stairs.

    We all pay a monthly rate not extra for classes, so the more you go the better value. We do a lot of intervals jumping, kicking, running, as fast as possible. Because we are in the water, we don't worry about falling.

    Everyone tells me I look great. It is not just my thinner waist. My skin looks better. My ophthalmologist said the tissue around my eyes and the blood vessels to them is in great shape.

    As far as dieting, everything changed when I started exercising for 90 to 120 minutes per session. I think my metabolism is higher at least temporarily. The pool was closed for a week for cleaning and I went to two parties and ate a lot more, richer, than usual but I still lost weight.

  108. I'm 73. My Fitbit daily goals are 3,000 calories burned and 90 "active minutes". On the (alas, too few) weeks that I hit those goals, I lose weight; when I hit only 2,600 or so calories and 45 active minutes, I don't. And I'm pretty sure that I eat more when I hit the goals ... but, as the article mentions, I don't eat proportionately more.

  109. Could the compensation in calories come from an increase in digestive efficiency?

  110. 300 calories walking at a moderate or even brisk pace for half an hour. So this doesn't make any sense!

    Maybe 300 calories for an hour.

  111. Depends on how much you weigh. I burn about 60 or 70 calories a mile. Certainly not a license to eat much extra...

  112. A small study but an interesting one. If the average American gains a pound per year, ending up with 40 or 50 extra pounds by the time they are senior citizens. You only need to burn an extra 3500 calories a year to halt this progression, but this suggests you compensate with more food below a threshold. Which may explain the dramatic difference in weight between moderate exercisers and folks who push the envelope. Makes sense.

  113. Consistency is key. Don't diet; eat well. Exercise to stay fit, every day, for the rest of your life.

  114. I have a Fitbit and track my steps (and other things). I enjoy eating and eat well. I've found that when I walk less then 10 miles/day I start to gain weight but when I maintain the ten miles and a little more my weight is stable and may drop some.

    In 2002 I set a 10 year goal to lose weight and lost 35 pounds by 2012 with exercise and gradual elimination foods that were not good for me. Now at age 75, my weight is a few pounds below that goal and I'm healthier.

    Over the years I've eliminated donuts (2003), soda (2004), fast food restaurants(2006), and more. The gradual changes were easier than immediate major changes in my behavior.

    That's the only way to successfully lose weight permanently.

  115. So... to lose weight, the idea is to spend more calories than you ingest.

    I've been on a diet since 1964. I have learned to occasionally overcome my willpower and have a glass of scotch or a chocolate chip cookie.

    A diet isn't a fad. It's a religion. It only works if you practice it.

  116. If you have HAD to be on a diet for 54 years...that is proof positive that it doesn't work. It means that it requires continual slow starvation and hunger for over HALF A CENTURY simply to maintain your weight.

    There no evidence here you were ever significantly overweight. It might be you have tortured yourself for nothing.

  117. One only looses weight if one consumes less food than what is required to maintain weight.
    There is no way around it. Challenge is the wrong average daily recommended 2000 cal standard.

    You have the most solid grasp on weight. Less than you need is the key. When one does that, if all other body systems are fine, you feel hungry. Period. Eat what you need, not what you want.
    If any chart gives you daily calorie needs, unless you are 6 feet tall, European male between the ages of 18-25 and not pregnant, subtract an average of 600-1000 calories from your daily intake.

  118. Most people don't exercise for the amount of time or at the right intensity to make it a primary reason for weight loss. I think people think about Olympian workouts and the amount of food they eat to just stay at their weight goal and overestimate how much they really burn.

    The goal to weight loss is just to stop eating and you do that by eating low calorie but filling foods: nuts, oatmeal, lean meats. You burn way more calories sitting at your desk for 8 hours than you do bicycling for 30 minutes at a reasonable persons clip.

  119. Can't lose weight, how's your thyroid? Hypo? If so, low metabolism.

  120. Huh. "Stop eating candy, and get up from in front of the TV and go outside! Get some exercise!"

    Who knew my non-scientific mother, and her mother before her, had the secret to healthy weight management? (Other than all the other neighborhood mothers?)

  121. I am 62 and retired. I have taken to biking in a serious way. My rides are between 20 and 30 miles a day at least 100 miles a week. When riding I'm seriously pushing sometimes doing intervals sometimes consistent force.

    I eat good food and plenty of it as much as I want. Full fat butter bacon and eggs for breakfast. Plenty of vegetables nuts hummus avocado was during the day. For dinner meat fish vegetables as much as I want. I stay away from fast metabolizing carbs. I eat considerably more now than I did before my biking regime.

    When I retired I weighed 208 pounds. I now weigh 190.

    If you are serious about your exercise you can eat as much as you want (Quality food that is )you will lose weight there is no argument to be had.

    Serious exercise means that you are not able to read a book while you're on the treadmill Serious exercise means that you're not able to concentrate on watching a TV while you're on the rowing machine don't kid yourself you need to push and push hard results will come guaranteed.

    Stay away from fast metabolizing carbs... eat quality food that means grass fed dairy whenever possible, full fat. nothing that has diet on the label nothing low fat or fat reduced. Locally raised and pastured meat. Spend money on your food good food is expensive.

    The human animal is an alpha predator you are a serious beast. Act like one.

  122. My husband and I are both serious cyclists. If you have a power meter(watts)you will know exactly how much energy you use. Kilojoules. A fun but hard 55 miler for a 115 pound 55 year old woman burns about 1100. You bet I am eating bacon and butter too!

  123. Who the heck has the TIME to exercise that much on any given day, let alone daily, over the long term, to see these supposed results?

  124. The average American spends 4.5 or 5 hours/day on their phone or watching TV.

  125. Anyone willing to skip a TV show or two each day in order to improve their health - Americans watch around 5 hours per day!

  126. I lost 32 lbs. in 7 months, exercising for at least an hour a day and up to 2.5 hours, mostly cardio and swimming, light dumbells, and calisthenics. Diet consisted of fruit, nuts, salads, and broiled meats. I still had pizza once a week, and drank alcohol daily. My body didn't drop the weight until about 5 months into my regime, and it came off fast for 2 months after that. I then backed off my exercise to every other day for an hour, again cardio and swimming. The simple truth is that dieting and exercise in combination will lose weight, but exercising for a half an hour seems almost worthless. Keeping it off is all about consistent exercise, eating healthy food, and getting plenty of sleep, none of which most Americans practice. It's no wonder they look the way they do.

  127. I enjoy candy, ice cream, and cake once in awhile and also eat good food. I exercise 2 hours daily: one hour total walking or biking, then a whole body workout either boxing or spinning. It works for me and I weigh what I did at 20, am a size 4-6, and resist the temptation to be fat

  128. Wow, congratulations on being able to devote all that time to not being fat!

  129. My diet is excellent. But I can only lose weight cutting further back on calories by starving myself. And then what kind of weight am I really losing? There is no point to a lower number on the scale of it means a loss of bone density and lean muscle.
    My only option for a trim physique is to weight train. Cardio is a warm up, it's for walking the dog, and for getting to and from work. It's also for fun -- playing games or dancing. But exercising must build and tone muscle.

  130. I’ve long known this to be true for myself. I run 20-30 miles per week year-round, but when training for the NYC marathon, which I run each year, I add in long runs on the weekends and boost my mileage to 40-50 miles per week. During my normal months I maintain my weight at what is considered to be a “normal” level, though 10-15 lbs. heavier than I’d like. When I add in the long runs, my weight looks like a downward staircase, level or slightly increasing during the week but dipping several lbs. after my long run on the weekend. I never quite gain back what I lose on the long runs each week, so my weight gradually decreases during marathon training and increases the rest of the year. I’m 60 years old and never diet. I know not everyone is going to run 20 miles at a time, but the statement that “exercise” (presumable at any level) doesn’t promote weight loss always seemed wrong to me. I’m glad to see it corrected.

  131. I’ve experienced the exact same. Amateur marathoners offer a pool of easily replicable studies on this.

  132. The several pound dip after the long run is from dehydration. The sustained weight loss is the result of epigenetic reprogramming of metabolic genes required for fat burning.

  133. A mere half hour of exercise would not satisfy me emotionally or physically. I have always felt like at least 45 minutes is necessary for whatever.

  134. Yes, because that's how long it takes to deplete glycogen and fully switch from anaerobic to aerobic fat-burning metabolism. I know that phenomenon very well from my ein experience, but you can push the time up to 25 min by pushing harder at the outset.

  135. Due to physical limitations, I don't exercise. But Atkins has always worked for me. When I first tried it 20 years ago I lost weight so fast I thought I had cancer. Over the years, carbs crept back in. Now I'm older, with the metabolism to match, and so this time on Atkins I've added the 5:2 fast, keeping at least 2 normal Atkins days between fasting days so my metabolism is not affected. I have not needed to do any exercise to lose weight this way.

  136. This is obvious to anyone who works out regularly. The idea that exercise doesn’t lead to weight loss is a strange meme that is based on faulty data and logic. The last part of this article is wrong, however: we don’t need to count calories or weigh portions to lose weight. The study itself didn’t require that and the high exercise group lost weight. Similarly, anyone trying to lose weight should exercise more and eat smarter. Eat a healthy smoothie for a meal five times a week. Snack less. Eat less meat. Workout more. And stick to it.

  137. “Exercise May Aid in Weight Loss” really!? When I want to lose weight and get in shape I really step up the exercise and mountain bike 90 miles a week. My weight just melts off. So this seems rather obvious combined with a healthy diet.

  138. We can have all the studies and research money can buy, but your not going to lose weight exercising. case closed.

  139. Totally agree. E=mc2

  140. One thing I see in the gym is that people do not strain themselves much when they exercise. They lift fairly light weights and do not go fast on the elliptical trainers or treadmills. I may be mistaken, but I think when I started going to the gym in the 80's people pushed themselves much harder. They screamed, sweated, and made faces while exercising. Of course the men and women went on separate days back then.

  141. As I've gotten older, I find that if I exercise a lot I'll v slowly loose wt. if I do the 18:6 diet and lay off the sugar I get skinny. Some of the commenters seem to be saying they can get rid of serious pounds just with exercise. Good for them. That doesn't work for me. I'll get in good shape, but to really loose wt, I have to eat less no matter how much I work out. The paleo type diets work best. Maybe I'm one of those Neanderthal hold overs?

  142. When I increased my exercise about 50% ran/rode longer my weight decreased and stayed down but it also helps to change your diet - eat healthier - more fruits and vegetables. Ever since I increased my exercise and changed my diet my weight has remained about 5% lower and my appetite shrunk - I naturally eat less.

  143. More fruit simply means more sugar and more calories

  144. The study as reported here seems valueless. The calorie measures seem worthless if the researchers disbelieve reporting after exercise but believe the base line report from each subject. The math used to determine what the subjects “must” have eaten is full of assumptions and the sample size isn’t large enough to cancel individual anomalies such as blood chemistry variations that, with one odd case, can throw off the whole data set. And then are they cutting off one standard deviation or more and on what basis?

  145. I lost 50# in 6 months by walking vigorously one hour daily and radically changing my intake. I eliminated sugar, flour, rice and focused on vegetables, legumes, beans, and a modicum of non-animal protein. I eat the same menu for the same meals everyday. In my late 60s I feel I have one last chance to succeed at this, so I made it my job to lose weight and plow ahead to do that. I feel great, have a low appetite, sleep well, and my mental fitness is good. Weight loss is the whole package. Find what succeeds for you and do it until you reach goal. Then don’t revert to failure.

  146. You are my hero. :)

  147. I have pretty much given up on these studies & just do what has always seemed to be the best common sense & basic thing for weight loss & health. How many of you have read where they say just 15" a day will work? Also, I believe genetics is why plays the largest part in exercise & diet. What works for one is not necessarily going to work for another. One will have to work harder at both to lose weight while it may melt off quicker for the other. I believe in moderation of everything & trying to eat healthy & have a daily exercise regimen & so far has been working. We all need to find what works best for each of us.

  148. In other words, calories in vs calories out. If you want to successfully lose weight you have three choices that lead you to the same result: eat less, exercise more, or a combination of both. The last makes it easier and, as a bonus, you get to become stronger and have more energy and have the occasional treat. What's not to like? Why all the whining?

  149. @Ceilidith:
    Except there is no reason to expect that we need to _consciously_ count calories in or out, any more than we need to consciously count ounces of water or number of breaths per minute.

  150. Those who believe that they must work out longer than 30 minutes for satusfactory results; both physically and mentally are mistaken. I have been a regular exerciser for almost 40 years. I spin, run, and lift weights. I also do hiit training. I can tell you that 30 minutes of hiit will yield the same benefits as a longer workout. Intensity is the key. I’m 64 and just did a 4 mile hilly run in under an 8 minute pace; thanks to the emphasis on power and intensity in my interval training.

  151. Truth about mass.
    E= mc2.
    All living beings regard a loss of weight as an existential threat, weight loss is nothing but killing part of one’s own body,auto digestion. On a cellular,organ and at organism’s level, there are millions of not yet fully understood feedback mechanisms that impact the organism and its behaviors in order not to die.
    Among food, shelter, and sex,hunger is supreme. For example, two people get stuck on the island, when one passes away, there are anecdotal reports of cannabilism but not that much of necrophilia or necro-buildemia.
    The fundamental challenge in weight management is knowing “how much” to eat, yet libraries are full of knowing “what” to eat.
    The dietary recommendations of the 1930’s depression era of 2000 cal on average seems to be the basic culprit.
    Ideally, we would know, exactly how much each of us should eat. We, that is
    nutritionists, life coaches, and doctors, do not know. We use faulty, empiric nomograms.
    The second challenge is knowing how the organism responds to deprivation in what it needs to maintain itself. Many unproven postulations including adjustments in metabolism, extra cellular ketosis and increased hunger.
    After doing this for a living, my three empiric suggestions from upwards of 15k patient experiences:
    Find out as close to as possible, how much food is needed to maintain weight in one’s own unique body and lifestyle.
    Consume less food than what is needed.
    Eat omnivorous,vegetable dominant less processed food

  152. 30 minutes is a joke. That’s a warm up, not exercise. I’ve never trusted a story or study that recommends 30 minutes daily as “exercise.”

  153. Is this really supposed to be new? I mean, I've heard all my life (and I am 74) that the two keys to weight control are diet and exercise. Imagine that! Calories come in via your diet and get burned up when you exercise. But you can't just do a few push-ups and expect the flab to vanish into the night. No, we all know from personal experience that it doesn't work that way. You've really got to exercise A LOT. So, what's the news here? If any.

  154. In the kettlebell world, for which I have participated for about 10 years, there is an old saying that “ you can’t out snatch a donut”. I believe I am living proof that refutes the findings of these studies. I train hard, not as hard as before I had cancer, and regularly, including walking when I golf, but do not lose significant weight without caloric restriction. Perhaps with sedentary people the increased exercise will cause some weight loss but after the body adapts I wouldn’t hope for too much progress. Drop the martini and pizza and increase your activity and watch what happens! Ugh sounds so boring.

  155. "Calories In, Calories Out" is Bankrupt and Worthless,
    Part 3,156

    (I particularly love his "blame the victim" mentality when researcher says subjects MUST have eaten more than they reported.)

    This study only reinforces what has been true for me: the gym for health, the kitchen for weight loss.

  156. A few rules to follow about eating if you want to lose weight.

    Never drink soda, not diet not sugar. Never means never ever.

    Don't drink your fruit in juice form ever. Never ever. Eat fruit, as much as you want, never ever drink it.

    Stay away from any food that comes in a box or can that is labeled diet.

    If you eat dairy make sure it is full fat and whenever possible grass fed.

    Keep carb intake low stay away from fast metabolizing carbs.

    Prepare all your food yourself, nothing institutional, pre packaged or pre seasoned. Beware of foods soups especially marketed as a low sodium or 40% less sodium...less than what?
    I am looking at a can of Amy's organic soup split pea lowfat light in sodium yet it contains 330 mg of sodium per serving that's too much. I am now looking at a can of Health Valley organic minestrone with no added salt this contains only 50 mg of sodium per serving which is just fine. Beware of salt bombs masquerading as low sodium.

    Spend money on your food don't cut corners.

    Healthy eating combined with serious vigorous exercise will lead to weight loss you do not have to bother counting calories. Serious exercise means uncomfortable & sweaty. It means working your body like an animal because guess what you are in animal and your body is built to be worked like one. Your body is meant to toil as though your life depended on it comfort is not what you're looking for.

    Stop kidding yourself and maybe you'll make some progress.

  157. As much as fruit is full of necessary micro-nutrients(vitamins and minerals), it's full of sugar. It'll skyrocket your blood sugar through the roof.

  158. I dropped about 30 lbs eating lean cuisine and drinking diet cokes. It's all about the calorie counts. No more than 1200 calories a day for me.

  159. The manifold benefits of exercise would make it worthwhile even if you never lost a pound.

  160. Anyone who starts jogging for about 10-15 minutes after their weight lifting session can tell you that the extra calorie burn has a definite slimming effect.

  161. The best benefit of exercise (cardio) to weight loss is stress reduction. This makes exercise and sound diet the best strategies for reducing size, improving mind and body.

  162. My observation for myself is that increases in activity will have an impact on weight loss for awhile, then my body seems to adjust to the new level and the weight loss tapers off. I wonder if this study isn't seeing something similar, and that if they continued it longer the weight loss would stop for the second group too. Dieting has always been more effective for weight loss, although exercise is great for overall health and I will continue to exercise as long as I can.

  163. A dozen years ago, my weight topped 325 lbs. and I had developed diabetes and HBP.
    On my dr.'s advice, I started walking 30 min./day, every day. My first six months, I lost close to 60 lbs. or more, BP was normal and diabetes headed toward being controlled.
    I did also make a number of dietary changes, cutting way down on sugars and carbs, and eating less overall, but gradually, without effort or feeling deprived.
    Today, I am more than 100 lbs. lower than my highest weight and walk an hr. a day, five or six days a week. I eat fewer calories than I used to but I've never counted them up or weighed my food. I just follow the generally accepted advice of more fruits and veggies, and excess in moderation.

  164. I am a much older woman, initially, daily exercise allowed me to lose about ten pounds of weight. But over time, although I continued to exercise the ten pounds returned. So I added more walking to my time, this made no difference. I wonder if it is true that our bodies do indeed sabotage our best efforts.

  165. I have recently started working to lose weight. I've done it before but this time it is proving to be much easier and more effective than previously. No matter what else you want to say about weight loss, it ultimately must come down to burning more calories than you consume. It's just math.

    I have gone on a low carb diet for the first time. I read a study in the NYT Smarter Living section and was convinced to try it. It makes sense to me because I see most of the meals I normally eat as a simple combination of protein, vegetables and carbs. The carbs make up what I think of as the "stodge" that you eat to make the protein go further - pasta for bolognese, rice for curry, bread for chicken salad, potatoes with steak and three vege.

    So I just dropped the stodge. I now eat basically as I have always wanted to eat - meat, poultry, fish, dairy, fruit and all the veggies I like in unlimited amounts. I've always thought of carb-based meals as peasant food, so now I eat like a rich man - or like the voracious teenager I used to be (eating a whole leg of lamb at one sitting was an orgy for me at 15).

    The trick with making exercise work is that you just keep your diet the same - don't try to eat less - and then increase your amount of exercise until you start losing weight. The magic is that exercise will distract you from eating and the more you exercise, the more fit you become and the more you can exercise.

    Weight is about lifestyle, not diets - and simple math.

    Have fun!

  166. Yet another NYT attempt at "undercutting a widespread notion that exercise, by itself, is worthless for weight loss."

    Won't work. Because it has been well-confirmed by literally hundreds and hundreds of more-than-30-person studies that, indeed, "exercise, by itself, is worthless for weight loss."
    (Good summary by Physical and Health Education Canada
    at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7FK8noIc5I.)

    And, more important, confirmed over and over by your readers in their own lives.

    It would indeed be great if you could exercise your way to permanent weight loss. But, unfortunately, the world just doesn't work that way, no matter how many times the NYT tries to imagine it. This is fake news. Give it up, please.

  167. I can only respond with my own experience. I have gone from 250lbs to 180lbs almost exclusively through exercise and I have kept the weight off for about eight years now.

    Of course it took me over five years to do this with an exercise regimen in which I was doing an hour of cardio from three to seven times a week. It was a slow process to be sure and there were times when months would go by with no apparent effect.

    Despite losing and keeping off about 70 pounds I continue to engage in vigorous exercise and intend to do so for the rest of my life. Fortunately I enjoy being my own company for the hour or so it takes to do my combination of rowing machine, stationary bike and whatever else my mood takes me to make me sweat and breath hard.

    Yes,"It would indeed be great if you could exercise your way to permanent weight loss"

    And the way to do it--at least for me--is to permanently exercise.

  168. I actually learned this verity 20 years ago though my own experimentation and experience. When I tried to share it through letters to publications, I got the same rejection. In fact I learned an added factor to achieve it that isn't mentioned here.

    I wasn't too overweight, around 25 pounds, but I had to constantly fight cravings for unhealthy foods. I began jogging after marrying my jogging wife. I learned to jog regularly—average 5 days a week—starting at 30 minutes. But it seemed to stimulate my appetite; and since overweight ran in my family, and no other familiar methods worked (especially diet; I can resist anything but temptation), I tried running longer.

    I discovered that if ran at least 50 minutes at a pace that had me breathing hard but able to maintain conversation, it actually killed my appetite for about two hours. And when I regained my appetite, for the next two hours I didn't WANT junk food; I craved bran muffins! So I scheduled my runs during lunch, in effect eating two meals on exercise days. Weighing 170 to start, I kept it at 155-160 for 30 years. I no longer jog and do aerobics only a couple times a week, but have gained only 5 new pounds.

  169. I know this is the cliched criticism, but: only 29 individuals completed the study (14 in one group, 15 in the other). I feel like this isn't even enough sampling to account for sex-related differences. The key problem, though, is, "The volunteers also recounted in detail what they had eaten the previous day..." Food recall is terribly flawed as evidenced by, "Their food recall did not show differences."

    Further, the groups were told to exercise for a certain period of time until they had burned 300 or 600 calories. Was this exercise on their own time or under the supervision of the researchers? Was the intensity the same among individuals and between groups? I'm guessing no judging by, "While some used a treadmill, others used an elliptical machine or a stationary bicycle." How do they know when they hit the calorie mark?

    Finally, 12 weeks is not nearly enough time to conclude that "exercising even more will produce weight loss." Technically, yes, but it does not account for long-term effects. The results showing that one's exercise compensation essentially is not proportional to the duration of the exercise are very interesting but shouldn't be used to say that one can sustainably lose weight in a healthy manner this way.

  170. Thank you for this comment Tommy I strongly agree with you. This study has a small number of participants, short duration, and too many variables i.e preexisting medical conditions, medications, measure of exercise and food. Food recall is very inaccurate for determining foods consumed. Also, it depends who did the interviewing of study subjects? A registered dietitian is expert at interviewing people to draw out the most complete responses possible. Also, we know that urine and blood tests may have shed light on some of the changes noted. We know that hormone levels change throughout exercise and are directly related to weight loss. An exercise physiologist should have been involved. All change effects individuals emotionally, a psychologist and behaviorist could have been made part of this process to make the study more valid. Since there are sophisticated studies available on weight loss I’m disappointed that the NYT chose this report to publish.

  171. I think "sabotage" is not what the body tries to do, but by reasoning, our bodies were designed to be able to use energy efficiently so that we have enough reserve while looking for food, like hunting or foraging. So naturally we would have evolved to lose strength (meaning muscle mass and fat reserve) slowly and replenish quickly, because you never know when you can't find food and have to withstand significant stretch of famine. If it's the other way around, we might not have made it out of the stone age. But today, if we don't live in areas that are stricken by famine regularly, just about everybody has easy access to food, and tasty ones that entice us to overload, and that's the problem. If we go back and live like our cave-dwelling ancestors (only in terms of food) for a couple of month, I doubt there will be anyone overweight.

  172. Healthy diet and moderate exercise will do it. I do not obsess with calories but do focus on healthy food choices and I don't mean celery sticks for dinner. The most amazing thing I found was that small changes to my diet helped me lose dangerous abdominal fat (from 215 to 196 lbs and 6 ft tall). I always thought I could keep my weight down by exercise and drinking zero calorie ice teas, sports drinks and diet sodas and consuming low fat diary products. I was completely wrong. Without changing my exercise routine, I switched to low sugar ice teas, reduced my intake of sports drinks, gave up diet soda, and ate whole fat yogurt and used whole fat milk in my cereal. My abdominal fat melted away. I'm convinced artificial sweeteners are poisons. The fatty yogurt and milk reduced my cravings for snack food.

  173. Anecdotally I was told that if we eat low-fat/fat-free yogurt, we lose the probiotic effects that make yogurt so beneficial to our health, and your conclusionary comments make a lot of sense.

  174. The curse of the modern age. Of course, exercise may very well help you lose weight, because it does. However, one has to remember that we live in a world now that the majority of people do not do heavy labor jobs. That's the key, do not think 30 minutes of exercise is going to be that beneficial.

    People used to work hard all day long. Now people think 1 hour a day of exercise is the same, it is not. That is why people struggle with weight loss, they aren't working physical labor all day.

    I would imagine that it would be helpful if people exercised for 8 hours one day a week, instead of 30 minutes every day.

    It's all about the physical exertion, not the fancy exercise routines. They don't want to tell you that, though. They don't work 8 hours a day either.

    Modern people are just too spoiled, thinking technology is all there is to achieve. It is true, if you want to lose weight, work.

    How hard is it to figure out that working does good things for the body? It's like people forgot the simple truths of the past and how our ancestors lived. They sure didn't sit all day long eating and then wondering why they can't lose weight. They got out and hunted their food, and then did it every day. Then they farmed all day, every day.

    But rural people are stupid, aren't they? And physical labor is for the low classes, right?

  175. @Kara, good comment until those last two lines, unfortunately.

  176. IDK, fat farmers do exist. And why so defensive about rural people? People who live in densely populated areas such as NYC do get exercise because they walk everywhere.

  177. Years ago I heard someone say that he never drank diet pop because it was fattening. He knew that was so because he only ever saw fat people drinking it! :-)

  178. Why not just eat less and the right balance. You don't need any study. It's self-evident, and it's the way nature intended, because living things were supposed to go forage for food, not opening refrigerator every hour. You eat less, you don't tax the environment so much, you prevent all diseases that come with being overweight, you are more productive, you are also mentally healthier. In other words, so many wins from just not over-eating, but in the mean-time, study after study are being done so people can keep eating as much as they want but still keep normal weight. It's ridiculous.

  179. Adding my story to the many other similar stories only augments the concept of common sense. Several years ago, my wife and I moved to the Yukon Territory for a year and a half. We were both active and neither of us overweight. However, when we began a regime of 8 hour hikes climbing (not technical) new peaks, two to three times a week, I suddenly found myself having to awl in a new hole in my pants belt. Belly fat melted away and our conditioning vastly improved. Bascially we were doing long base workouts that consumed calories. Did we eat pure, sugarless and fat-free diets?
    No but with higher grocery costs that far north you tend to dismiss sweets and poor foods.

    Admittedly we had the time to indulge on such long hikes because we were able to work online and on our own schedules.

    The message is clear. Become a self-propelled nomadic species again. And gather, forage and hunt our own food as we see the world.

  180. Honestly at first I thought this was a parody/joke article. Then I read it, and read the comments, and found there are people who really do believe exercise is a non-factor.

    I'm sure you've read at some point about athletes who consume many thousands of calories just to maintain weight with the amount of intense physical activity that they do. Clearly there is some amount of exercise that affects weight loss, and my own experience has validated that. One to two hours per day of intense physical exercise will get the job done.

    For the first six weeks or so, it may seem painful and that you aren't accomplishing much. Then, in the ensuing weeks and months, your body adapts and even starts to crave the exercise, while at the same time, your capability continues to increase, and the amounts of calories burned climb to become something substantial.

    At the peak, when I would do a couple hours of exercise a day over the 9-month period where I lost around 150lbs, I could burn off around 1,500 calories per hour. One session like that in the morning, and another in the evening, had me burning close to a pound's worth of calories per day.

    As long as I didn't absolutely gorge myself, there was no way I would compensate for all of those calories through eating more, and hence, I rapidly lost weight from it.

  181. To effectively lose weight over the last 35 years or so, I have found I need at least 40 min of brisk walking -- nonstop or about 40 city blocks total along with the diet. (Less does not do anything.) Now a dotard, the exercise also helps control the blood sugar and the triclycerides -- not so much the LDL -- trying to give up cheese!! and less meat. Improved A1C numbers correlate with improved vision in one eye afflicted with macular edema and lipids. I also find exercise helps my body temp self-regulate to summer and winter conditions. IMO nothing new here.

  182. An anecdote: A friend from Spain arrived and lived for awhile in California-- the same climate, and the same food (she cooked Spanish dishes)-- the only difference was the 90 minutes of daily walking around her city in Spain, sometimes up and down hills.
    In California, she gained weight because she didn't walk as much, and could not lose it by initiating more exercise, but only by eating less food.
    Avoiding gaining weight, and losing weight, are completely different dynamics.

  183. No need to hunt and gather food makes us too heavy. Plus too many of us grow too old.

  184. “It looks like you can lose weight with exercise,” Dr. Flack says.

    Yes you can, but only if you're young and fit. In college cross country I could eat anything but, 50 years later I cannot exercise to that same level. I am exercising way more than people my age but still I can't just eat anything. I go to the gym every day and there are really not many people over about 45 there on any given day.

    A good basic rule is that adults can't really lose any significant weight by exercise. This rule is based of 50 years of personal research starting when, at 18, I started to workout hard and regularly.

  185. Walking? Of course that accomplished almost nothing for these participants. I wonder what 30 minutes of heavy weightlifting would've done for them. Got dang scientists and their got dang walking.

  186. Who pays attention to any of these articles any more? Just listen to what your body tells you.

  187. My body is telling me right now to get out of bed and have pie for breakfast. But I won't. Because one of "these articles" turned me on to intermittent fasting, which is working for me. As a scientist and statistician, I really appreciate the Times call my attention to interesting new research.

  188. The current obesity epidemic was not caused by people eating too much fruit.

  189. Provacative? This article just reinforced a proven theory...you cant outwork a bad diet. The study involved overweight sedentary individuals. They ddint change their diet so they lost hardly anything if nothing. Duh! Unless you are an elite athlete you dont have the stamina to train as long as an elite athlete. SO you are not burning the calories. The role of physical activity in this study is largely undercut.

  190. Honestly, the main benefit of low-impact, high-duration exercise re: weight loss is not the calories burned, it's that it makes it harder for people to eat during that window. Most overweight people graze; they are more or less constantly consuming, pretty much throughout the whole day. As long as they aren't eating *while* exercising, exercise represents a period of the day (perhaps the only one, along with sleeping) when calories are not being consumed. Even if you only burn 50 calories walking, if you don't eat a chocolate bar during that time, your net gain may be 250 calories. In contrast, high impact, short-duration exercise may burn more calories, but people are also more likely to "reward" themselves with a calorie-heavy "snack" afterwards, negating all their good work.

    But of course you *can* lose weight through exercise. It's just that very few people do.

  191. @A "Most overweight people graze;" Please show me the study that proves this. This is your opinion, but it's not based on fact, just prejudice.

  192. Once again they try to float the old canard that if you work hard enough you will lose weight. I would really like the data on the dietary changes made. Yes one group lost more weight than the other. How much. What else were each of these groups doing.
    I do know that exercise can assist with weight loss in evacuating some of the materials used by muscles to burn for energy, but this only goes so far. Which is only a small amount.
    Once reason the hard core athletes don't gain much weight is their diet.
    I suppose the best summation to this is exercise alone, will not reduce your weight substantially. Dietary changes alone will. Combine exercise with diet. It helps, only somewhat.
    That said, the arguments for exercise for cardiovascular and health reasons unrelated to weight loss are compelling. It even helps with certain aspects of mental health.

  193. Based on my own experience, I've concluded that exercise is necessary not to burn calories but to trigger the "I'm alive" response, telling your body it's OK to be lean. I moderately exercise on a treadmill for about 30 minutes most days. However, the exercise alone is a wasted effort without dietary changes. Mine is focused on eliminating sugar (including artificial sweeteners) and other "fast carbs," but not on going hungry. The effect has been magical, I believe related to inflammation.

  194. Exercise works. I'm a retired sales exec and took up part time work as a package handler with FedEx partly for "garden money" and partly because the ground facility is only 2 miles from my home and convenient. It is intense hard physical work handling heavy and awkward items for 3, 4 or sometimes 6 hours a day. 2 1/2 years ago I was 220 lbs and out of tone. Today I'm 185 lbs and fit. I went from a 38 waist to a 32 waist. I eat like a horse and it doesn't affect my weight now. I know that I will have to pick up my weight set and modify my diet when I drop this part time within the coming year. Exercise and diet in combination work but you must have the discipline to balance it. Less exercise and less calories are not a good idea unless you just want to shuffle along in life.

  195. We adopted a dog in May 2016 and I started walking a lot more with her and gradually I noticed my weight going down. Over the 13 months we had her I lost about 4 lbs. without changing my diet. Sadly we lost her and while I still work out every day I'm not walking her and my step count went from 19 - 21,000/day back to around 15,000/day most days. My weight it back up to my goal range.

  196. I dare you. Adopt a primarily plant-based diet high in fresh vegetables, with plenty of greens, topped off with small portions of lean protein, whole grains and fresh fruits. Watch dairy closely. You don’t need all that much. These diet changes go a long way to improving weight loss and good health. It’s a bit more work but the benefits are outstanding. Get rid of the sugar, sugar subs, everything white flour and processed snacks. Gradually your taste buds will change and certain things, like ice cream, won’t even be attractive or taste good.

    Plan, plan plan your diet just like your exercise regimen. They really go hand in hand. In a relatively short time you will feel better and see a difference.

  197. @JKB:
    Funny that your "plant-based" diet requires getting rid of the sugars, white flours, and processed snacks (all plant-based!) in order to produce results.

    Lots of us omnivores have the same results, by removing sugars, refined starches, and other highly processed foods.

  198. It takes a lot of exercise to lose weight if that's all you take into account, but if you do one thing right you're likely to do 5 other things right. Even light exercise might reduce the ice cream craving, or motivate one to skip the second cookie, or even the first.

  199. I am a 67 year old guy, and a strong believer in a holistic approach: strength training, yoga for flexibility and serenity, and regular, vigorous aerobic exercise. Diet choices also crucially important: eliminate junk food, starches and unhealthy oils/fats. Consider meditation, occasional fasting to clear the mind.

  200. How your body processes various calorie sources, what proportion of your weight is adipose vs muscle are big contributors to the weight equation. If an individual can sustainably move more,, eliminate processed foods including drinkables , individual physiology will be affected in a positive way. For most, it isnt practical to work out hours per day every day but some change is possible for everyone. Building more muscle- eventually modifies metabolism of an individual it takes time and consistent effort

  201. Having dropped 40 pounds 36 years ago (I'm now 57) and kept it off, I find that exercise is the key, keeping my metabolic rate higher and burning off excess eating. My approach has been to attempt consistent activity throughout the day, avoiding long sedentary periods. At work this involves getting up from the desk and moving around regularly, doing sit-ups, push-ups and other light calisthenics on and off during the day; at home this involves walking, bicycling and house & yard work. I also observe what I eat and compensate with additional activity or a break in eating if I've overeaten at any point.

    My understanding from research is that muscle at rest burns more calories than fat or other tissues, so the development of muscle through exercise has been a constant goal. Incremental gains have served me best, slowly increasing my capacity over the years and seeing muscular growth slowly increase in tandem. On diet, finding the source of rich foods and reducing them is also a goal - dropping dairy in my 30s was challenging, but has served me well into my 50s.