Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bob Harper: Diet is Key to Weight Loss, Not Exercise

Hello everyone!

I came across an article with an interview with Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper.  I thought it was very interesting.

The first thing mentioned in the article were what caught my attention: "Celebrity trainer Bob Harper, of the weight-loss TV show "The Biggest Loser," has built a career putting very obese people through some grueling fitness paces but if he's learned anything from the experience, it's that diet trumps exercise every time."

Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser

That's right.  The Biggest Loser seems to have the contestants slaving away at exercise all day, and one of their trainers now says that diet is the real kicker with weight loss.  Bob Harper also went on to say "It is all about your diet, I used to think a long time ago that you can beat everything you eat out of you and it's just absolutely not the case."

A lot of people seem to have that mentality- that no matter what you eat, as long as you exercise hard, you will lose weight. 

He also says that people usually worry about if they should be fit and healthy, but his obese clients on the Biggest Loser have a different concern:  'I just want to get skinny.'

I can't say that that method of thinking is wrong, because as an obese person myself, I also just want to get skinny.  I think there are several reasons bigger people put "skinny" or "small" as a goal as opposed to being fit and healthy.

1. Especially for women, being larger makes one feel less feminine.  There is often a correlation between small size of things and femininity, body size being no exception. (I know I am guilty of this thinking too)

2. We think skinny IS healthy.  After all, we see all these thin people and they seem a lot healthier than we are being obese. 

3. The media.  The media emphasizes that pretty women are thin.  What woman doesn't want to be pretty?

4. Clothes.  Most stylish clothes, or even clothes that are fairly inexpensive come in smaller sizes.  The clothes I have seen for plus size women are either overpriced (I'm looking at YOU Lane Bryant and Torrid!), cheaply made, or just plain frumpy and ugly.  (Mostly the latter)

He also goes on to talk about how he does CrossFit and how he believes CrossFit workouts are suitable for everyone with proper coaching.

A counterpoint to this also in the article is that Dr. Mark Kelly of the American Council on Exercise says that even with supervision, CrossFit can still be dangerous to the unfit.

"CrossFit has very ballistic training. You're asking people to move fast through a large range of motion. Even with coaching, the foundation of stability, mobility and psychomotor skill has to be laid (first)," he said

He does agree with Harper that diet is the main factor that lowers weight, but he says that exercise is important to keep that weight off. 

Kelly talked about the National Weight Control Registry, a research study that includes adults who have lost at least 13.6 kg (30 lb) of weight and kept it off for at least one year. Ninety percent of those in the study exercise regularly.

"They're the biggest losers across the nation," Kelly said. "And the No. 1 thing they did was exercise on a regular basis. Many simply through walking."

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