The FastDay Forum

61 posts Page 1 of 5
I have been thinking about exercise, as it is easier than doing it. One of my basic beliefs is that exercise is detrimental to weight loss and causes well intentioned people intent on losing weight to abandon their diets and remain fat.

Let me first say that exercise is without doubt the number one thing you can do to improve your health – even above weight loss. Recent studies show that a fat person that is physically active lives as long as a thin person that is physically active, and longer than thin people that are physically inactive. So mine is not an anti-exercise rant. You will find an excellent thread on this site discussing 5:2 and exercise, and, yes, you can exercise on your fast days (unless you want to do 50 consecutive 100 meter dashes).

Mine is a comment on expectations. For as long as I can remember (and I’m old with a good memory), we have been told (even by our doctors) that to lose weight we must combine diet and exercise. There is an entire industry of health clubs, personal trainers and exercise equipment makers pounding in the message that if you just use our services and equipment, you can lose weight. Yet we seem to have an obesity epidemic.

So let’s get real.

A pound equals about 3500 calories. To burn 3500 calories and without eating one extra calorie as a result of the exercise, an average fat person needs to walk about 25 miles at about 3 MPH. Or run 18 miles doing 9 minute miles. I do not know too many average fat people that have the time or ability or willingness to devote that kind of effort to lose one pound (just think if they want to lose two). Put a more realistic way, I would have to walk 2500 miles, or run 1800, to hit my weight loss goal. Let's face it, people have been taught and believe that by beginning to exercise at whatever level they will lose weight. They have been taught that by people that should, or do, know better.

In addition, when you start exercising after not exercising for awhile (years?), your muscles are damaged and rebuilt (that is how you ‘grow muscle’). This process requires that your muscles retain water to repair and grow themselves (sorry for being so unscientific). That means you gain water weight as a result of exercise.

Finally, when you exercise you become hungry (just like you become thirsty – although you get thirsty before you get hungry). When you layer hunger from the calorie restriction of the diet on top of hunger resulting from exercise, you are really hungry and your body is constantly reminding you that you really must eat. It requires a real mental effort to resist that demand to pick up and eat that (whatever).

So, you go on 5:2 and begin to exercise. You exercise like heck. Your 5:2 way of eating is a slow weight loss process – perhaps a pound a week. Your exercise really isn’t burning enough calories to make much of a difference to your weight loss. You hop on the scale after a great week of fasting like it says you should and exercising more than you have in years. You expect to be down at least 3 or 4 pounds, if not more.

But because of slow weight (fat) loss from 5:2 combined with water retention from exercise, you don’t lose anything and maybe gain. And you are really hungry. Second week, the same, and you are really, really hungry. Third week, the same, or maybe down a pound if you are lucky, and you are starving.

So clearly this 5:2 does not work (only one pound after three weeks of pain and suffering), and you are almost dying from starvation and tired of fighting the hunger, and say what is the use, and quit.

If you must exercise, at least don’t blame your slow or nonexistent weight loss on 5:2, and quit! Your exercise is helping you become more healthy, and 5:2 is helping you lose fat weight. You just have to be patient and wait for the slow acting 5:2 to overwhelm the effects of your exercise! KEEP GOING!
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Re: Why Exercise?
29 Jun 2013, 23:11
Agree with this. I ramped up my exercise, knowing it would affect my weight loss. It did but as I was expecting this, I carried on with a net loss for the month of April of 200g. However now that I've stabilised in my routine, I'm losing faster as I've more muscle. I'm also pain-free for the first time in 20 years from being in better shape.
Re: Why Exercise?
29 Jun 2013, 23:14
I've always been a consistent exerciser and I've always been heavy.

I've walked miles in my shoes! High/Low Impact... weights, yoga... 5 - 6 times a week! And all the while eating very sensibly. I don't know... it must be like Dr. M said that some people's genes just are not the kind that will react to exercise in with weight loss results.... that part of his documentary on exercise really struck a chord with me!

I really am very very sensible in my eating and exercise, and while my skin glows, I sweat, my blood oxygenates, muscles define themselves, and my heart is happy... people may judge me and think my outsides look like I watch tv and eat bon bons all day.

That's why I need the fasting, to force a change in the way my body holds on to it's weight! Some stressor long ago flipped a switch to make me hold on for dear life to extra weight... not sure what it is! But I feel like I've been fighting it my whole life. :curse:

I guess that's why I am so hopeful about this. :clover:

I don't feel starving with 5:2 like you said above simcoeluv... in fact, I do feel hunger like Dr. M said, in waves, but not all the time.

And I have energy stores to burn, so hopefully that's the switch I'm talking about.

In the meantime, I'm 5:2ing - 500 calories on fast days, eating regularly on eating days, and still exercising, because I know/see/feel that it's great for me. :like:
Re: Why Exercise?
29 Jun 2013, 23:40
interesting topic. I am in a mini dilemma myself at the moment with 5:2 and exercise.

Approx. 8 week ago (after losing 2.5 stone already) I began both 5:2 and started cycling again. My first ride was 3k and I was completely knackered.. heart racing, lungs burning and sweating like a pig....

I persevered with both the diet and exercise, I also quit smoking 3 weeks ago. I am now doing 15k 3 times a week ( just done week 2 of this)

Next weekend I'm planning my first 30k !

My dilemma is .. if I had stayed eating the same , would I of still had the same weight loss without 5:2. even with the 3 cycles I do now the weekly burn is only 1800kcal (but boy does it feel more !)

My shape is definitely changing, I have muscle in my legs showing for the first time in 20 years and although my waist is not moving a great deal the bulges are flattening out and the love handles vanishing...

I've come to the conclusion that 5:2 was the catalyst that enabled me to get into cycling again. the smaller weight loss now is due to an obvious muscle increase which will drop off soon as my legs get the strength needed.

I do notice a drop in energy on fast days (I do a shorted 10k loop on fast days but REALLY push it) .. but always feel really good after.

I keep thinking of dropping 5:2 and just keeping to my TDEE and hoping the cycling will keep the weight loss going. but then I think of the progress made with both together and would be gutted to go backwards.

Last week I only did a 24hr fast on Thursday.. I usually do 36 hr. when I got back from the evening ride I was craving carbs and gave in to it. I felt guilty for all of 30 seconds... sometimes you also have to listen to what your body is saying.

Yes, I will be keeping to 5:2. It is why I can now enjoy my cycling again.
Re: Why Exercise?
29 Jun 2013, 23:48

Once, when I was young, foolish and just overweight, I was talked into doing a 24 hour team running race. I think it was about 120 miles. I felt training for the race would cause me to lose weight.

After 5 months of training (I was running about 30 miles a week at the end) and running a successful race, I gained 5 pounds. So I was overweight but in better condition.

If you want to lose weight, stay with 5:2!
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 00:36
I'm the opposite, pretty much - to continue at my current exercise level and not get any thinner (BMI 19.3) I have had to stop 5:2 because I need the calories but do not have the appetite any more. Obviously as the summer passes things will change but for now the fasting has been put on hold to ensure I can run/bike/climb like I want to.

PS - it's 100 cals per mile, ie 35 miles per lb approximately, not as bad has you suggest for running...

PPS - I don't exercise to lose weight, I Just enjoy doing stuff...
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 01:53
I think being healthy is more important than being thin, though I'd like to be both. The downsides of exercise can be dealt with. Water retention goes away after awhile after muscles repair. And if you're monitoring what you eat, the fact that exercise makes you hungrier doesn't mean you gain weight.

I'm an overweight runner, or maybe jogger is more accurate. I've always loved running as a head-clearing exercise. Before 5:2 it was hurting my knees, but now they're doing really well.
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 01:58
Simmer, I wonder if those of us who have low energy while exercising on fast days haven't gotten efficient at burning fat yet. I think I need to read more of Peter Attias blog...
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 06:11
I guess I have mixed feelings on the whole topic. Exercise has more benefits than just the calories burned. Especially for me having a metabolic disorder. It improves metabolism which benefits you more long term than just today's calories in/calories out. I have to be careful not to overdo it with exercise though. This is somewhat common among women with PCOS (according to other sites/boards I frequent.) My body responds best to walking, yoga and low impact/long duration. If you have autoimmune diseases and your body is already under stress and duress; it can respond to high impact exercise by producing more cortisol and holding on to weight. It seems to be true for me.
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 08:12
I walk most mornings because I enjoy it. I listen to music through my MP3 player, either a classical station or whatever I'm learning for choir. It seems to do me good psychologically and physically. I have more energy on walking days and don't get the urge to nap in the afternoons. It just puts me in a better place mentally. Doesn't seem to matter if I'm fasting or not.
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 09:41
I agree with what most of the others are saying. Whether or not exercise works as part of 5:2 depends what you expect from it and what you get out of it.

If you think exercise is horrible and you're forcing yourself to do it to lose weight, you probably will be bitterly disappointed and quit early because it's too much work and stress.

But if you use exercise to relax, have fun, to see results in how your body changes appearance more quickly, to feel physically better etc. exercise can make 5:2 easier.

I like achieving mini goals, and having both my measuring tape and my exercise schedule gives me new victories regularly, which is encouraging me to continue this way of life. If I evaluated my fat loss by the scales only, I might have felt discouraged by all the water weight.

I disagree that exercise does not burn significant amounts of calories, because for the obese even a short daily walk can make quite a difference. For someone like myself with plenty of free time and an interest in nature, long rambles looking at birds and plants also makes a measurable difference, and I only have to remember that I find it as entertaining as watching TV at home, so the "effort" is minimal.

And I disagree that exercise provokes hunger. That really depends what kind of exercise, and if you plan ahead even the exercise that does make you hungry can be capped with food you were going to eat anyway.
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 12:40
It's taken me years to grudgingly accept that exercising will not see the numbers on the scales plummet. In the past I've been guilty of eating more, justifying that I could burn it off or that I earned it, and then getting disheartened that I wasn't losing weight.

I've got a trekking holiday coming soon so I've been determined to get fit, not just slim. I've been doing lots of hill walking and a Fitness Blender programme for the past 2 months: my weight loss has slowly continued around 0.5 pound a week, but I've had so many comments from people that my weight is "falling off". I feel and look healthier, I'm getting good muscle definition and my stamina is much better. Plus I try and remember my NEAT (keeps the house tidier anyway).
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 12:49
I shot up a hill the other day, no puffing or panting.

The main reason to exercise is to resist getting weaker and less mobile as you get older. You need muscle tone and bone strength to manage when you're older. If you train 80 yo's then they gain the functionality of someone much younger.

I'm really interested in this as I live in a retirement town and see people who would benefit all the time. Got my neighbour working out on small weights under the supervision of a physio and she's going great guns, after being debilitated for many years.
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 13:40
Interesting topic -- I can't exercise with moderate-to-high intensity until mid week this week (will be two weeks total of no running) because I'm recovering from surgery. Before this I was running 3-4 times per week at 4-5 miles per day, with intervals where I would raise my heart rate to near 100% maximum, and some longer days where I'd keep a moderate 70-80% heart rate for a longer duration/distance.

What I've found is that moderate-to-intense exercise during the lunch hour on fast days does temporarily suppress my appetite and makes for a good tactic for hunger management on fast days. I've found that not exercising, or low-intensity exercise like walking, on fast days is more-challenging in the afternoon (I skip breakfast and lunch and eat all 600 calories at dinner).

The last two weeks without exercise I feel like my appetite is actually higher, though I haven't tracked my calorie intake. My weight loss has basically stopped (I was worried I would gain, but I'm flat for two weeks) and I gained an inch on my waist.

I hear you when it comes to discouragement and such, especially at the beginning of combining exercise with 5:2 -- muscle is more-dense than fat, and muscle building starts with inflammation and water retention and the scale will not reflect any fat loss you may be getting with your program.

That is certainly discouraging, but the key is not to stop exercising so the scales respond -- the key is to stop using the scales as your sole source of encouragement! :-)
Re: Why Exercise?
30 Jun 2013, 13:58
Been new to this forum and for that matter new to 5:2 I was a little surprised by this post and assumed that it was posted mainly tongue in cheek. Move more eat less, is the basic principle of weight loss in my opinion and any 'weight' gained by exercise is 'good' weight in comparison to weight gained by overeating.

One of the things that appeals to me in regard to 5:2 is the flexibility and the process of discovering what works for you, I respectfully suggest that flexibility also comes into place in regard to levels of exercise taken by individuals.

Good luck to everyone on 5:2
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