Sunday, October 21, 2007


I was watching the Larry King Show the other day on CNN, guest-hosted by Joy Behar. She had a panel of weight loss and physical fitness experts as guests, including the notable health guru, Dr. Weil.

What grabbed my attention the most was what one of the guests, Gary Taubes, had said -- that contrary to common belief, exercise does not make us thinner. And that it only makes us work up an appetite; thus making us gain weight in the process.

So right after the show, I googled the name Gary Taubes. Being a well-published writer, the results listed a few links. I clicked on his New York Magazine article, "The Scientist and the Stairmaster," in which he discussed with certainty his theory that exercise can be a significant factor in making us gain rather than lose weight. Maybe not immediately, he asserted, but eventually. "Burn more calories and the odds are very good that we’ll consume more as well. And this simple fact alone might explain both the scientific evidence and a nation’s worth of sorely disappointing anecdotal experience."

He went on to say, "It’s difficult to get health authorities to talk about the disconnect between their official recommendations and the scientific evidence that underlies it because they want to encourage us to exercise even if their primary reason for doing so is highly debatable."

Taubes cited Steve Blair as an example. A University of South Carolina exercise scientist and a co-author of the AHA-ACSM guidelines, said he was once short, fat, and bald when he started running in his thirties and he is short, fatter, and balder now, at age 68. In the intervening years, Blair claims, he estimates, he has run close to 80,000 miles and gained about 30 pounds as well.

Originally a science journalist, Taubes was in MIT interviewing an economist about another story, a guy who runs a laboratory of financial engineering. He told Taubes about being on the Atkins diet, and how effective it was. The man was an Asian-American who had lost 40-50 pounds by giving up white rice, in effect.

Taubes later on tried to do the same as an experiment since he was going to write about fat and whether it is a cause of heart disease and weight loss. He lost 20 pounds in six weeks, and stopped exercising. It was a surreal experience for him and in a sense, formed his opinions from there on in. He has since authored two books on the subject of weight loss, The Diet Delusion and Good Calories, Bad Calories.

Incidentally, the Google search results also listed
his New York Times op-ed article, "What if it was a big fat lie?" I then remembered having read it when it was first published. Its basic premise was, "what if the American medical community who has been accusing the unrepentant Dr. Atkins of quackery and fraud were to discover that he was right all along?" The article attracted national attention and proved controversial, for in essence, it was sort of perceived as a New York Times nod of approval for the low-carb high-protein diet advocated by a Manhattan doctor, Robert Atkins.

So for those contemplating on shedding some pounds in time for the holidays
without doing any of those strenuous exercises. you may want to check out more on what Gary Taubes has to say. After all, he lost 20 pounds in six weeks without it.


posted by Señor Enrique at 5:59 AM


Blogger jon go said...

i have to agree with gary since that is what i used to do when i was stick thin before.. i went to the gym to work myself an appetite so i could gain weght.. so i i am now in better shape.. could be better but i'm not complaining.. i am fortunate to have been blessed with "good genes"? i'm not really sure.. but i haven't gone to the gym in over 2 years and have maintained looking fit.. i think the secret to losing weight is very simple... eat less... :)

October 21, 2007 9:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly an exercise of futility.

October 21, 2007 9:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true that after exercising, you'd feel like eating. I guess we still need to exercise but lookout on the food that we are consuming.


October 21, 2007 9:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Good point, Kyels. I was playing badminton for a couple of hours a day but didn't lose a pound that entire summer. Must be the kind of food I was eating. As for the portions, I was never a heavy eater.

October 21, 2007 10:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Lol ... how true, Anonymous. Losing the excess pounds isn't all that challenging; it's keeping them off for good that can be exasperating.

October 21, 2007 10:19 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Eating less of the right kind of foods, too, Jon. That may be the key.

You are indeed fortunate to have such good genes. Having an energetic metabolism would be good enough for me ... hehehe.

October 21, 2007 10:25 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

I always play tennis during weekends, but in my younger years, wala pang araw sa Victoria Tennis court in Intramuros, nanduon na kami. I was able to maintain a good regimen until I went to basic training, kaya okay naman until a few decades. Pero pag tumatanda na nga, medyo tinatamad na, I hardly go to the tennis court or jog with friends, my reason? umaabon o baka umulan -- hahaha!
Maraming salamat sa TV remote control at pagupo ko sa harap ng tv after dinner, hindi na nila ako kayang buhatin. :)
Lean, mean, eating machine, that's what I am now!

(Masama ata yung losing 20-30 pounds in a rapid time, I've seen a friend who was asked to lose weight and go with a certain diet, ayun, parating nasa hospital for a check-up, dahil parating masakit ang katawan.)

Just eat right and stay healthy(do some form of exercise).

October 21, 2007 11:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's also smart thinking, Reyd -- masama nga din biglang malaki ma-lose in a short period of time. Hinay-hinay din dapat.

The best exercise for me is brisk walking. I've always enjoyed it and whenever the opportunity presents itself, I even do it early in the morning in Luneta. Daming nage-exercise doon.

Hanggang badminton na lang ako these days, wala ng tennis ... hehehe.

October 21, 2007 1:22 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

a lola of my friend would scold me for drinking a glass of water before and during meals..."kaya ka payat!" she would tell me. I also noticed that a lot of westerners (Europeans and Americans) either drink a lot of wine and soda while eating---water is a no-no to them and would always offer me sparkling mineral water. I feel it's so different from natural water. But then, I'm always told I'm "skinny" of which I think I'm not. Inggit lang ba sila?

October 21, 2007 2:03 PM  

Blogger wernicke said...

I lost weight when I did the South Beach diet without doing any exercise. (Oh gosh, I gained back all the weight when I stopped the diet.)I couldn't exercise anymore cause the low carb diet made me weak and unable to play badminton as long as I used to.

Exercise is good for your body but not merely to lose weight but to strengthen your heart, increase stamina, etc. I think what is ideal is to diet to lose weight and then exercise to firm up.

October 21, 2007 5:55 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It took me some time to get used to Perrier water myself, Nutart, but I do prefer San Pellegrino, though carbonated. In Manhattan, there's a place you can order and have delivered some seltzer water (carbonated). It supposedly helps digestion.

You are one very lucky woman to have no excess weight problem whatsoever :)

October 21, 2007 7:23 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's what's exasperating, Wernicke, to gain back the lost weight -- tough top stay away from white rice, bread and pasta ... hehehe.

Yes, to lose the weight and then exercise to firm up (as long as you don't eat too much afterwards) to firm up is the ideal :)

October 21, 2007 7:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a very radical idea as I see it. It's like Copernicus changing the general view on how the Earth moves and situated.

However, it make some sense and could possibly be true; even just half the time.

October 21, 2007 10:15 PM  

Blogger Android Eyes said...

I too am fortunate for having great genes, no, not LEVI's... LOL, all jokes aside, I simply am not the gymrat type, altho I keep active by walking, dancing and eating healthy. I'm glad that my family is not a fan of processed food n meats... I stir clear from packaged meals, frozen or otherwise. Healthy eating is the key to maintaining ones health or weight. I admit I possess a great appetite, but I do small but frequent meals... and when I feel the munchies calling, I often opt for cruditee, salad n fruits.

but certainly DANCING is my main form of excercise!

Heck, If I can't dance in their revolution, am not joining!

Have a pleasant weekend Sr. E! and to everyone!

October 22, 2007 2:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I heard in the news, Major Tom, that obesity in the UK will become as great a dilemma as climate change by the middle of the century, in which if the trend should continue, about half of UK's population will be coping with obesity. Unfortunately, I can't find anything online about this particular BBC study/report.

Ironically, to date, nutrition remains nebulous a topic -- one expert would declare such and such as perilous to one's general heath, but only to be dispelled a decade later. Meanwhile, the population is urged, even by the government, to abide in such and such scientific finding and/or recommendations.

And the worst part of it all, Major Tom, is ... well, let me just quote Gary Taubes.


I'd been reporting on salt and blood pressure, which is a huge controversy, and some of the people involved in that were involved in the advice to tell Americans to eat low-fat diets, and they were terrible scientists. These were some of the worst scientists I'd ever come across in my 20-odd year career of writing about controversial science.

I literally called up my editor and said, "I just got off the phone with so-and-so, and he's [taken] credit for getting Americans to eat less eggs and less fat. This guy's one of the worst scientists I've ever talked to, and if he was involved in this, then there's a story there." And that was it. I didn't know what the story was. I just knew there was a story.


I guess, this best sums up what most Americans have been going through for several decades now.

And then throw in to the mix a company with close ties to the administration who could get FDA approval for such dangerous drugs as artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

Makes you now wonder, are we in some grand plan to gradually annihilate our own population?

October 22, 2007 6:20 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Now, that's one physical activity that anyone can and should engage in, Romy -- dancing!

Free form is what I love most without those finely choreographed, synchronized movements, as well as those funny costumes ... hehehe.

New York used to have great clubs wherein you needn't have any partner to get up and boogy. If you like the music, just get your butt on the dance floor and dance your heart out :)

Incidentally, one of these clubs was Kamikaze where Bruce Willis was one of its bartenders before he got signed for a role in the TV sitcom, Moonlighting.

October 22, 2007 6:24 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

About three years ago, I ALMOST WON the fight against the bulge.

I started feeling some chest pains, so I consulted my doctor. My ECG revealed some abnormalities and my doc suspected ischemia or a blockage in one of my arteries. I got scared. She suggested a more rigid test: 2D echo and treadmill test.

She advised me: If I really wanted to lose weight and keep a healthy heart, here's what to do: refrain from eating red meat. If I wanted protein, to just get it from fish and milk. Chicken would do, without the skin and fats scraped off. And of course, more veggies and fruits and some form of moderate exercise to make me sweat out. Do away with fried foods, but if frying couldn't be avoided, that I should use canola oil.

I followed every advice to the letter. I never ate meat. I measured my rice (half cup), ate fish, veggies and fruits and walked, climbed stairs to exercise. This lasted for two months. And during this time, I never craved for sweets, sodas or junk foods. Kasi, nasanay na ako sa diet ko. Ganoon pala yun - sanayan lang.

I was only a few pounds away from my desired and ideal weight. Sexy na naman ako, at natuwa si hubby.. hehehe.

But everything crumbled with just one mistake. One day, my son invited over some friends. I had to cook. And of course, I needed to taste my cooking. That started it all - I slipped back to my romance with food.

As to the 2D echo and treadmill test - I subjected myself to it at St. Luke's, but the cardiologist who attended to me found nothing wrong. So perhaps, that also did it. I got confident there was nothing wrong with me anyway, so I binged again. :(

October 22, 2007 7:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was wondering earlier in the day if such a thing existed, and now here's to eureka! on my way to mr. taubes' website....ala speedy gonzales!:)

actually, i was able to shed off 10 lbs in three weeks before with diet (without going hungry but the right kinds and combination of foods) and breathing exercises alone...come to think of it...hmmmmm.....

October 22, 2007 8:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My fantasy, Rhoda, if I were a medical doctor, is to specialize in diagnosis. This way, the patients will eliminate all the eventual costs that come with curing suspected ailments. But then again, I would not make as much money.

But more seriously, sayang, no? Wish maintaining the new weight is much easier than the actual dieting. I should know, I had the same problem with weight maintenance after a strict diet regimen ... hehehe.

October 22, 2007 8:44 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Please keep us posted with your personal thoughts on this matter, Cacofonix, as well as your weight loss progress. We want to be inspired by success stories like yours :)

October 22, 2007 8:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I were talking about this particular show nga. Naku, these Americans... they give us McDonald's, Hershey's and Coca-Cola... and then they give us all sorts of conflicting views about how to lose weight. :)

I still think that exercise is good for over-all health.

October 22, 2007 11:23 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Sadly, Toe, the views on this issue will forever be conflicting -- there will never be a definitive answer to any of these, I'm afraid.

And let's not forget, aspartame came from America, too ... hehehe. China should give them some of their magic sugar in reciprocity :)

October 22, 2007 12:18 PM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

Speaking from experience, I have seen Taubes' theory work. As a kid I was always on the pudgy side. By the time I hit puberty I felt that it was about time get rid of the excess weight. I tried exercising (Jane Fonda) and eating moderately. It worked, kinda. Tagal ng results. So I decided to give up the carbs and eat more fiber and no red meat. 17 pounds in 2 weeks!! And I kept losing weight!! By my 2nd month I had lost 32 pounds and was model-thin!! I, in fact, had to gain a little weight to get back to normal.

After giving birth I also manage to lose most of my pregnancy weight gain with this regimen. But now I couple it with a bit of exercise because I think my metabolism has slowed down a bit with age :)

October 22, 2007 1:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post on eating and exercise. I've always thought that the two should be combined in balance. On some parts I agree on Atkins on high protein diet, on carb, instead of Low I go for more selective-carbo.

I guess eating "Right" is the key here for maintaining weight. It really doesn't matter on counting calories and all but the quality of food you take in. I like eat for more than 6 times a day but maintaine my 148-150lbs for my height. People thinking where all those food goes. Couple with exercise for body strength is important as well. You may loose fat in some diets but you may also loose some of your muscles if people are not careful.

Oh this is going long. Hehe. Just my two cents.

October 22, 2007 3:06 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Highly appreciated, nonetheless, Ferdz, because I, for one, would like to know about the successful steps others had taken to maintain their ideal weight.

You can be an inspiration to many others. I can certainly be among them :)

Thank you, Ferdz!

October 22, 2007 6:58 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! That is so wonderful to hear, Scrooch! That you've managed to maintain your ideal weight.

I'm sure many of our fellow bloggers would be inspired by you as well :)

I thank you, Scrroch, and everyone else for sharing their experiences so as to help others decide on how to go about designing a viable and doable regimen for themselves.

October 22, 2007 7:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'd still be needing exercise to gain weight. I have a huge appetite but I never got fat. Just a decrease in my food intake, or sickness or lack of sleep and my skeletal frame becomes more prominent. I walk and play badminton, I think this is not enough. I'd have to do some weight lifting to bulk up. Sayang naman ng pagkagwapo kung payat naman :p

October 22, 2007 8:43 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Don't worry much about your slim physique, Dave. It wasn't until I was in my mid-30s when I started to bulk up. Yes, I was skinny during my early adulthood :)

You're fine. Just enjoy it!

October 23, 2007 6:36 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

So the people in UK are getting obese. So are the French. And who gets the blame? - US, for the bad food it is exporting.

We appear to be the only animal species who need to exercise to get fit. Look at those lazy, forever napping, lions. No exercise needed to catch the next prey for the next meal.

October 23, 2007 6:43 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Unarguably, America's influence, especially on Asian cultures is dazzling, Amadeo -- from its cinema to music and from its lifestyle to foodstuff. Hence it becomes almost of a knee-jerk reaction to point the finger on America once something goes awfully wrong :)

Those lazy napping lions also somewhat remind me of the early man -- until those fun sugar-filled stuff got discovered by them ... hehehe.

October 26, 2007 6:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


About Me

Name: Señor Enrique
Location: Manila, Philippines

View my complete profile

This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called Flickr Badge. Make your own badge here.
Señor Enrique Home
Designed by The Dubai Chronicles.
All rights and lefts reserved.