Saturday, November 17, 2012

According to Erik Davis....

Over at Skeptic North, Erik Davis has written a humorous article claiming he lost 40 pounds (in six months) doing "everything wrong." In the comments he clarifies:

I looked at the research with a skeptical eye and tried to figure out what the science said. It was surprisingly consistent given all the nonsense out there: calorie deficits are the only driver, macronutrient composition doesn’t matter, satiety management does, supplements are useless, and cognitive reinforcement strategies are really important for long term success. No magic and not really that hard most of the time, if not a ton of fun.
According to Davis, then, three things and three things only contribute to weight loss:
  1. Creating a calorie deficit.
  2. Managing satiety.
  3. Using cognitive reinforcement stategies.
I'm not going to argue with any of that. A calorie deficit does matter. How much of one? He calculated 500 calories a day to lose one pound a week. (If he lost 40 pounds in six months, though, he as losing at a faster rate than one pound a week!)
I don't believe all calories are equally equal, though.
Something I have been meaning to do for some time is calculate how many calories I need to maintain my ideal body weight with a two mile walking workout at least four times a week. Of course, once I got to maintenance, I'd have to eat even less than that to maintain the weight loss at least until my endocrine system caught up with the changes.
To manage satiety, he mentions he ate whole foods high in fibre, food which fill you up without contributing a lot of calories: so, whole foods high in fibre, foods that aren't nutritionally dense, (fruits and vegetables) and "regular hits of protein throughout the day."
I'm not entirely sure that I need to eat whole grains and legumes for fibre, though. The protein seems to be doing its job.
Sounds like a very sensible diet.
As for the cognitive management strategies, he found recording all of his food and tracking the calories to be enough. In the comments, he mentions Judith Beck--the very same person whose approach I followed the last time I lost my own forty pounds! (Before this blog.) I need to have my on copy of her book though rather than depending on the library for it!
Right now, as I am following the protocol of the whole 30, the pounds are falling off of me. I'm not entirely sure how much I've lost because I'm not supposed to get on the sale, but my yoga pants are loose. Yes. My yoga pants!
Nonetheless, I will have to "venture out" into the real world out there and continue losing weight. I am undecided about whether I'll continue eating mostly the whole 30 way or whether I'll reintroduce grains, legumes, and dairy into my daily diet. I'll have to see how I react when it comes time for reintroduction.

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