August 14, 2009

Giveaways, Grouchiness, and Silly Stuff

(Yes, I used this drawing by Dylan before. I just like it!)

So it's Friday, which means things are all a bit random here in Cranky Land. However, if you click enough links you'll discover we're hosting a poetry (!) contest with a very cool prize for the best poem, haiku, limerick, or full length opera. We've also got an Especially Annoying Health News Item, followed by some Very Fine Fitness Links (including a video featuring the awesome MizFit in a totally different setting than usual). And there are some other Random Funny Things at the end of the post! So even if you're excited about the poetry Contest and Prize, I hope you remember to come back here for the rest of the stuff.

Shall we begin? First up: the Annoying News Item.

Exercise: Dissed Yet Again!

So Time Magazine recently featured an article called "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin." It doesn't just suggest that the impact of exercise on weight loss has been exaggerated--no, the article goes much further. Since exercise can make one hungry, and some people overeat because they feel entitled to scarf extra calories after exercising, the article concludes:

"You should exercise to improve your health, but be warned: fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain. I love how exercise makes me feel, but tomorrow I might skip the VersaClimber — and skip the blueberry bar that is my usual postexercise reward."

Oh gosh, me too!! I'm gonna skip boot camp class; it will probably just make me gain weight. Because obviously if I go out and get some vigorous exercise, I will then have to make stupid-ass food choices the rest of the day. Why should I let a bunch of other studies, common sense, and a several decades of personal experience convince me otherwise?

Hand me my slippers and the TV remote, gosh darn it! I want to lose weight!

Actually, this article came out almost a week ago and I wasn't in the right cranky frame of mind to jump on it. It wasn't all that long ago that I came to the defense of physical exertion after I read another unfair anti-exercise article by a major media outlet. By now, you've all probably read all about this. But in case you haven't, there are some great posts about the Time article over at Truth 2 Being Fit, Feed Me I'm Cranky, and Weight for Deb.

And over at the L.A. Times blog, Booster Shots, they have a very thoughtful analysis and critique of the Time Magazine article that left me realizing anything I had to say would be just be superfluous.

Which doesn't usually stop me from going on for a few thousand words anyway! But perhaps I'll just leave it at this: to say that exercise won't help you lose weight (if you eat a whole bunch of extra food afterwards to compensate) is like saying that hammering a bunch of boards together won't help you build a barn (if you set fire to it once you're done).

Er, maybe you better go check those other links for a better analysis.

Go see MizFit be adorable!

It was Core and Abs week over at the Juice, and guess who showed up in one of the core videos to give some tips? The Amazing Mizfit! (As well as the awesome Jenn from Fit Bottomed Girls, and a couple of other fitness bloggers I hadn't been aware of before, but they're fun too). Go see it, MizFit's on first! Plus there's the official Juice video with a knowledgeable boot camp instructor giving more great core tips. Oh, and because of the grocery store $100 giveaway (ends this Sunday) I offered up some tips on avoiding fake grocery store bargains. I learned a lot from writing that post! For example, if you forget you're not on your own blog and use the word "crap" in boldface type on a corporate-sponsored site? They won't necessarily fire you! (Yet).

(What word would you suggest I test them on next week?)

So Where's The Poetry Contest and Giveaway?

It's over on the Cranky Fitness Product Page. You could win a cool music player thingy which comes pre-loaded with 1,000 songs from top selling artists, gives you the ability to read minds, and has an FM tuner. (And two of the three claims in that last sentence are actually true!)

And What About the Funny Stuff?

I have kind of a blog-crush on Sarah Haskins, because why else would I post a video about doofy husbands? I do not own one myself, and doofy husbands are not a fitness-related topic. (Unless perhaps you want to bench press yours, or use him as a kettlebell).

And speaking of "making fun of husbands who are only trying to help," there was a great post over at Jennsylvia about the fine art of photographing celebrities (and their buttocks). And I could totally relate to Jen's poor husband Fletch and his difficulties taking pictures! Have you noticed there are rarely photos on this blog unless they are downloaded from elsewhere? Well, there is a good reason for that.

Got any thoughts on exercise causing weight gain? Or on the whole doofy husband issue? (And don't forget to go to the product page for the contest!)


  1. Sadly enough, it took me almost a year of exercising (and running a half marathon) to figure out that just running more miles wouldn't lead to more weight loss.

  2. Although I hate the tone of that article, one thing I have found in teaching the weight loss class I developed, is that the participants often add in extra food to their day when they exercise.

    It's not intentional, but I wonder if psychologically, there is something that says, "I worked out, I need more food."

    Which is true if you are where you want to be, but if you are in the weight loss phase, then exercise can be used to push weight loss forward.

    I exercise because I enjoy it (most days), keeps me fit, and keeps me off the couch!

  3. I got bored half way through the article the other day. Maybe there was something fascinating that I missed but I must confess that I did gain a bunch of weight when I started cycling to work, because I thought I could eat anything as a result, so eat I did. And then I was really confused as to why I was gaining weight and yet exercising so much, since I thought performing exercise = weight loss. I know better now. These days I do it because it makes me hyperactive which is fun :-)

  4. I've also written a post about this, because it was such a poorly written article. To claim that all the obesity epidemic have not been alleviated by all the people exercising is totally nonsensical... In most cases,it's not the obese who are doing the exercising. It's a bit like saying running doesn't help with weight loss because my husband runs and I'm stil fat. When the obese get off the couch and get active, they DO lose weight, even from walking 30 minutes per day.

    Mizfit is totally adorable!

  5. The working out piece can be solved by answering one question: Will working out make me feel entitled to eat a bunch of food I wouldn't otherwise?

    If no, work out whenever you want. If yes, work out later in the day, and don't assume you'll make it to the gym.

  6. I hope you read the article that immediately followed ... it was talking about how 100% of the people who died where breathing prior to it. So the advice is that if you don't want to die, you should find a way not to breathe.

    100% of the people ... it's a valid conclusion!

    Be careful out there.

  7. I have lost weight since starting my marathon training way back in October of 08. I don't use exercise as an excuse to eat. You have to find the right balance. Those people at the Times and Tribunes and whatever other lazy nonsense papers are just looking for controvery to write about.

  8. The SciBloggers are getting in on this, too: the past few days the ScienceBlogs homepage has been focused on a number of weight-loss/BMI-related posts, including this one in response to the TIME article:

  9. Got a kick out of Sarah Haskins. Got nothing else to offer.

  10. Sorry Crabby, because I'm about to hijack this a bit. But I think it's important that it be said that it should not be assumed that the obese are just sitting on the couch and never exercising. That isn't at you, I know you know better, but rather in response to another comment.

  11. Yes, this one irritated the crap out of me as well. It induced sarcasm in my blog post about it, which is not the most persuasive rebuttal but blew off steam. I have come up with the perfect, measured response to the article:

    ****RASPBERRY***, with some spit flying

    Exercising alone will not make most people lighter. But try getting lighter without exercise. For most people, the food restriction required would be untenable. There's so many studies that show just the opposite-- including the Amish study that demonstrated that the Amish carry, but do not express, genes for obesity, because they walk 14000 steps a day. Will hopping on the elliptical 1/2 an hour a day make you thinner? Probably not (although it may make you look better, feel happier, metabolize sugar better, and reduce your risk for disease). Will working grounds or biking the Rockies for the summer make you lose weight? Probably-- but that level is unsustainable for most people. Hence the adage about 80% diet and 20% exercise which you hear from people who know what they're talking about.

  12. I suspect that few people exercise enough to justify increasing their food intake. If one is exercising to lose weight, then probably one's current calorie intake is more than sufficient to support half an hour on the elliptical trainer, or why would one be gaining weight in the first place?

    Of course some people are doing things that make them truly need extra calories, but we're talking about marathoners and ultramarathoners, ironman triathletes, and pro athletes who train 6-8 hours a day. I have a blog friend who hiked the Applachian Trail and couldn't eat enough to maintain her weight while on the trail.

    But most people don't work out at that level. For weight maintenance, sure, go ahead and have a cookie after that 30 minute spin session. But someone who is already eating enough to gain weight is also eating enough to not need more calories just for walking the mall. Any hunger pangs, while sincerely felt, are most likely the result of social conditioning.

  13. Hey...totally novel concept here...make sure you eat enough ALL throughout the day and don't get into "starvation mode", even before working out. Then you don't have to worry about panic, hunger eating. WOOOH...slow down Bessie. Maybe we should give up something good for us instead because it might make us a little hungry? That doesn't sound smart. lol.

    Target Women is one of my favorites :) Always makes me smile.

  14. Interesting stuff, Crabby! It's all about the right balance of diet and exercise, I guess, with continued adjustment as we go along.

  15. I hate these articles...mostly because a lot of people read them and think, "Huh, I won't exercise then." If you're replacing all the calories you burned and then some, of course you're not going to lose weight.

    Last summer I had 2 triathlons, a half marathon, a duathlon, and countless smaller races. So I was eating to maintain my weight (which was a ton of food - WOoOHoO!) Over the winter I didn't have any training to do, but I kept eating the same amount and ended up gaining about 15 pounds. So in that case, exercise definitely kept me from getting fat....sigh.

  16. Oh dear... Anon's comment has me worried... I'm breathing e'en as I type :(

  17. That idea always annoys me. I can not diet. As soon as I tell myself not to eat something, I can't stop thinking about it until I have it. On the other hand, I always rather liked the idea of being active. So - after watching (or avoiding watching) the numbers on the scale creep up as my kids grew up, I finally went out and got an exercise bike & made myself use it 30 minutes a day. I made sure I didn't change my eating habits, but never told myself to cut anything out. I lost about 2 pounds a month for two years, and got where I wanted to be. I then gradually increased my calories.

    Oh, and the exercise? Well, I now feel prety weird on a day that doesn't involve at least some. I run a bit, strength train a couple of times a week, do some yoga a few times a week, take dance classes, and ride my road bike everywhere. I've even gotten rid of my car. I'm up over 5000 miles a year.

    It's been 7 years since I got to my weight goal. My weight has been in my self-chosen 5 pound range the whole time. And I have never felt better - I am a 57-year-old grandmother with less aches than I had as a 30-year-old mom.

    Don't try telling ME you can't use exercise to lose weight!!!

  18. I think diet is most important for weight loss. But exercise shouldn't be ignored. It can help burn some extra calories, it can do wonders for your health, and it can help to reshape your body - because when you lose weight, you want to be fit and tone and lean. Dieting alone can leave you mushy and can result in the loss of muscle. Working out will give you your best body. So you need to eat less and move more - as it has often been said.

    Both just need to be balanced. You have to learn that working out is not a pass for eating more. And people need to stop running out the gym with the idea that they need to go refuel themselves or that they have earned a treat.

  19. GREAT!!!!!!!!!! Well, you know my thoughts on the weight gain and exercise issue since I posted about it! Thx for mentioning me!!! Hey, if you gain muscle but lose inches, you could gain wait from lifting BUT GOD FORBID, you lose inches from exercise!!!! :-)

    OMG, that doofy hubby video is great! I am lucky to have a great hubby! He is not the fix it type BUT he is caring & honest & trusting & things that really matter to me. PLUS, he puts up with me working gout at CRAZY HOURS!!!!

    Still thinking about the give away entry!

    Thx for the great post & core tips!

  20. I heard about that article and my initial reaction was that is was b.s. too. Proper diet without exercise will just lead to a person being a "skinny fat" person. You know, like the Subway guy (no disrespect). I feel like exercise ALONG with proper diet is the only way you'll get a tight healthy look....Oh and thanks for adding on to my healthy immune system list over at my blog. See that's why I come here. To further educate myself :-D

  21. to me this is crazy. Since I have added exercise to my routine - which has been admitedly belated - I have been inspired to adopt an even healthier lifestyle, including better eating choices. I get what they're saying about exercise making you feel entitled to eat more, but come on. That article is a very slippery slope.

  22. Can you punch a magazine in the face? Cause I want to punch Time magazine in the face right now

  23. GRRR about the exercise causing weight gain thing. Yeah, sometimes that happens. But it's no reason why we shouldn't exercise!

  24. i've always come from the "burn to earn" mentality... it's a blessing and a curse both

    she says as she fires up the grill :)
    happy trails all

  25. Yeah but....ah what's the use. There are ALWAYS going to be people who do and those who don't. I am one of the doer's. I feel and still look pretty damn good at 49 years old with no end in sight.

    Of course this means "doing it" the right way. There are, for instance many ways to "lose weight" but many are not healthy, or work at all in the long term. I pray I can continue to do this part of my life the way that allows me to live the way I like. Stronger, leaner, flexible and energized. Lord give me strength!

  26. There has been quite a lot of discussion about this research over at the low carb forums. And, sorry to disappoint you, but no correlation between excersize and weight loss means just that - no correlation. Correlation is a statistical tool that works over a population or sample population. It does not prove that excersize did not help with weight loss for a particular individual, just that, in general, it doesn't seem to do much for the group as a whole. This seems counter-intuitive, especially to the "a calorie is a calorie" crowd.

    Is this a good reason to not excersize? Of course not!! the health benefits alone are reason enough. As a diabetic, regular excersize helps to lower my blood sugars, which is a Very Good Thing.

    Or as someone on the forum responded to the question - "Should I excersize on a low carb plan?"

    "Eat low carb, look good with clothes on. Eat low carb and excersize, look good naked."

  27. I have to agree with the TIME article. Yes, there are ifs ands or buts that can be said, but the author had a valid point. I agree with Greg - stayed exactly the same weight during training for a marathon since I had to eat more to have enough energy to run! And I do know of LOTS of friends who use a 10 minute dip in the ocean to excuse a big bag of chips.

    There are HUGE health and beauty benefits to exercising - but I think that losing weight in and of itself is just not one of them.


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