5 Reasons “Eat less, Exercise More” Falls Short For Fat Loss

Tue, Jun 19, 2012

Natural Weight Loss

5 Reasons “Eat less, Exercise More” Falls Short For Fat Loss

We’ve all heard it before…“Weight loss is simple! Just eat less and move more. It’s all about calories in vs. calories out.”

Yeah, that sure is a nice soundbite, but too bad reality doesn’t always work in such a simple black and white fashion. In fact, a large percentage of people who actually manage to lose weight with that approach end up gaining all that weight back just a few years later!

Now I’ll be the first to say there is nothing inherently wrong with “eat less, move more.” There is quite a bit of truth to it as portion control is a hugely critical component of fat loss, regardless of the types of foods eaten. And overall, obesity is generally an epidemic of easily available calories combined with a general lack of prudence when it comes to eating habits.

Fat Loss picture

Burning fat requires more knowledge than just eating less and exercising more.

The problem however with “eat less, move more” as the be-all-end-all of fat loss is that, like any short and simple guideline, it leaves out a few important caveats and details that can make or break a person’s success.

Shortcoming 1: Not All Foods Are The Same

Rather than argue about the benefits of a low-carbohydrates vs. a high carbohydrates , raw vegan vs. paleo, or any other diet debates, I’ll simply provide something that is relatively undisputed: Organic quality whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, and other things from nature do NOT have the same impact on the body as processed and refined oxidized vegetable oils, trans fats, appetite stimulating additives, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, refined grains, etc.

In short, many people may be overfed, but they are paradoxically at the same time undernourished. They actually need to be eating more, but more of the right types of foods.

When an individual is starving for nutrition, the body only has one way to try to get those nutrients in: increase the appetite.

Rather than listening to the body and giving it the vital nutrients it needs however, most people resort to more junk food and empty calories that feeds the fat cells while robbing the rest of the body of the nourishment.

The stupid simple solution:

“Eat less of what’s crappy, eat more of what’s healthy.”

Jack Lalane offers some simple (although like “eat less, move more” is not always absolute) advice: “If man made it, don’t eat it.”

A simple way to approach this is by thinking in terms of simple substitutions.


A few examples include:

  • Steamed vegetables instead of fries at a restaurant.
  • Steel cut oats, berries, kefir, and green tea instead of a bagel, cream cheese, and orange juice for breakfast.
  • Water in place of soft drinks.
  • A piece of real fruit instead of fruit loops.


Shortcoming 2: It’s not always practical

The “best” approach to anything may not always be measured in terms of how well it could get results, but perhaps how well it does get results with actual human beings using it. And while I always advocate developing greater levels of willpower, there’s something to be said for going with what ispractical over what is ideal at times.

The fundamental problem with telling people to do anything less or not at all (and I know I advocate restriction myself) is that people hate when something limits their freedom and they naturally want to rebel against it. This is why I often give alternative options so there is never a feeling of “lack.”

The stupid simple solution:

For myself, instead of thinking about “eating less” or what I’m no longer eating, I like to think about all the new and delicious foods and recipes I caneat. This way I feel like my options are equal if not greater than before as opposed to feeling like I’m locked in the cage of a dreaded “diet.”


Shortcoming 3: It’s fighting the body’s fat “set-point”

A person who’s attempted to lose a lot of fat may notice that their body is “fighting” them every step of the way. The reason is that chronic overeating and obesity can lead to a condition known as leptin resistance.

Leptin signals “fullness” in order to shut down appetite. When one becomes leptin resistant, their body reaches a “set-point” and it will “fight” in order to maintain a certain amount of weight. When this leptin resistant person goes on a heavily calorie restricted diet, their leptin levels drop and their body goes into survival mode fighting to prevent weight loss.

New research is now showing that leptin also plays a large role in regulating thyroid function. That means many obesity related thyroid problems may in fact be leptin problems.

The stupid simple solution:

For starters, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not gaining excess weight in the first place is critical. But for the vast majority of people already overweight, they need a solution.

There are a few strategies and approaches to overcoming leptin resistance, and one key is to take a steady approach to fat loss and make healthy habits and dietary choices a lifestyle. Quick-fix solutions may have their place, but how great is it to lose weight only to gain it all back and then some?

Here are a few “tricks” to overcoming leptin resistance.

  1. Having a “cheat day” once a week can help overcome the reduction in leptin that comes with dieting. This is a day where you can more or less eat what you want and fill up. I wouldn’t go overboard with junk food or addicting foods, but you actually want to eat a bit more than usual to prevent metabolic shutdown that comes from prolonged calorie restriction.
  2. Have a “fast day” once a week, ideally after the cheat day. Fasting and calorie restriction is a great approach to fat loss and overall health, the key is to keep it in balance. Follow up a cheat day with a fast day where you consume perhaps just some fresh vegetable juice or two small meals. Between those two days you’ll have balanced your calorie intake while preventing a host of metabolic dysfunctions that can come fromprolonged over or under eating.
  3. Watch your food quality. Insulin resistance and leptin resistance are highly correlated. Limit vegetable oils (olive oil is ok) and refined carbohydrate sources while increasing protein intake. There is much debate as to what exactly is the root of insulin resistance (excess fats or carbohydrates), but going back to the “If man made it, don’t eat it” advice is a good starting point.


Shortcoming 4: Fat loss is different than weight loss

I’m not interested in “weight loss,” I’m interested in “fat loss.” Whether you’re a man or woman, losing 10 pounds of fat looks a whole lot better than losing 2 pounds of fat and 8 pounds of muscle, glycogen, and water.

A big issue with extreme dieting is that while the numbers on a scale may go down, it doesn’t always mean favorable changes in body composition. The wrong approach to weight loss can lead to more muscle being burned than is ideal.

This is important because having more muscle means your metabolism is firing red hot all day long even while you’re sitting around. Don’t worry ladies, you don’t have to be as big (nor can you be) as Arnold Schwarzenegger to get these benefits.

The Stupid Simple Solution:

In addition to simply “moving more,” I recommend high intensity forms of exercise and resistance training for those healthy enough to engage in it as that will have the biggest bang for the buck in terms of time invested and results. Check out full comparison of some popular exercise equipment that can help you achieve your goal.

These forms of exercise not only preserve and build muscle for an athletic “toned” look most men and women want, but they increase the metabolism all day long and help fight off insulin resistance and prompt nutrients ingested to feed the muscles rather than fat. You can visit a Boston Medspa, and get coolsculpting done to get that toned looked. This means less boring hour long cardio sessions, and more sprinting and interval training sessions.

I like 30 seconds of all out effort with 1:30 of more relaxed effort with sprinting, cycling, jumping, or other forms of activity repeated for 4-6 cycles in a session, 2-3 sessions a week.

For those with joint issues they can engage in fast walking, optionally on an incline, for 15-20 minutes 3 times a week or 30-45 minutes of rebounding.

Strength training is equally important for men and women to preserve and build muscle on a calorie deficit. Engage in heavy resistance training that challenges the muscles and builds strength and power.

Note: Most women cannot build “bulky” muscles even if they tried due to lower testosterone levels, and “toning” is essentially building muscle while losing fat.


Shortcoming 5: Diet and Exercise Aren’t The Only Elements of Fat Loss

While “eat less, move more” covers an important part of fat loss, it doesn’t address some things that can be just as important. The body works holistically, and things that affect the mind will also affect the physical body.

The research on epi-genetics as shown that the thoughts a person thinks can actually affect the genetic expression of a person, and one of the biggest culprits behind obesity and other health problems is something almost everyone is afflicted with: Too much stress.

Although a little stress is beneficial, if excess stress isn’t managed through things like meditation, emotional releasing, and limiting exposure to negative people and environments, fat loss can be slow to non-existent.

A great tip to not get stressed out is to remember this is all a journey. Strive to do things a little better today than yesterday, and forgive yourself for being human and making mistakes.

Above all else, the simplest key may be to simply love, accept, and respect yourself and your body no matter what it looks like or what state it’s in. When you stop treating yourself and your body like the enemy, you may be surprised at how willing your body is to work with you at letting go of those unneeded pounds.

About The Author: Derek Doepker is the founder of the blog Excuse Proof Fitness which provides cutting edge nutrition, exercise, health, and motivation strategies to assist people in overcoming the “real world” challenges of losing fat and staying sexy forever.

P.S. Want to get healthy, fit and lose weight? Not sure what to do or who to trust?

If so, click here to grab your free copy of Dr. Corson's Top 5
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