Author Topic: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise  (Read 660 times)

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3923
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« on: July 04, 2018, 12:02:07 PM »
My husband and I are having a debate. He wants to lose 10 pounds. He wants to do this by eating one meal a day (dinner). By reducing his overall calories, he will lose weight. On this, we agree. But I am feeling upset that he has no interest in losing weight through the classic method of eating healthfully (emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and lower fat foods) and exercise. I believe eating well and exercising are great habits for a healthy life! Skipping meals, not so much. Also, we have a daughter (11 months old) and I don't want DH to be skipping meals when she's old enough to see what he's doing.

Essentially, I want to convince him to eat better and exercise more so that he can have better longterm health for himself, and be a good example of healthy living for our daughter. And me!

He's a doctor. And a chemist. He's just looking at it like input/output of calories as being the whole picture. Am I drinking the koolaid and I need to stop worrying? Or is he willfully blind and possibly hurting himself with this daily fasting?

Ok science-y people, lay it on me! What's what?!

Blackeagle

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 118
  • Location: Wichita, KS
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2018, 01:02:15 PM »
I don't know if I qualify as science-y when it comes to weight loss, but I have lost over 100 lbs in the past three years.  That said, I think weight loss is very individual thing and what works for me may not work for everyone.  With that caveat:

What worked for me is using a calorie counting app and limiting my total calorie intake.  Most of the calories that I've dropped from my diet have been by eliminating sugary drinks (soda, juice, etc.), eliminating snacks, and exercising some portion control during meals.  I've actually gotten good enough at the portion control end of things that I've had to start eating some snacks so I don't end up below the daily calorie intake that I'm aiming for, which is quite a change for someone who's always been a big eater at mealtimes.  Aside from limiting the total amount of calories I don't really worry about how "healthy" my diet is.  Today I had some potstickers for lunch and I'll have quesadillas for dinner.  Not exactly health food, but the key is I'm eating a much more reasonable quantity of both than I would have a few years ago.  Essentially I try to get as much enjoyment out of every calorie as I can, even if that means eating things that aren't what you would think of as healthy foods. 

All that said, I've never been a breakfast eater.  I do lunch and dinner.  That was true before I started trying to loose weight and not something I've done as a weight loss measure.

Exercise is great for your health, but I wouldn't lean too heavily on it as a weight loss technique.  That is one area where the research is pretty clear, people who exercise more tend to compensate for it by eating more, so they don't loose weight.  By all means, exercise, just don't expect that to lead to weight loss.  Loosing weight requires changing what you eat.

The other thing I'd caution you about is not jumping right in to anything too radical.  I'm assuming the goal here is not just to loose 10 lbs, but to keep it off long term.  In that case you need a solution that's sustainable for the long term.  He needs to ask if he's really going to be happy eating one meal a day or eating a radically different diet for the rest of his life.  Think of this in terms of sustainable lifestyle changes, not something to do temporarily to loose a few pounds.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1113
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2018, 01:07:40 PM »
Exercise is great for your health, but I wouldn't lean too heavily on it as a weight loss technique.  That is one area where the research is pretty clear, people who exercise more tend to compensate for it by eating more, so they don't loose weight.  By all means, exercise, just don't expect that to lead to weight loss.  Loosing weight requires changing what you eat.
This. Came here to say something quite similar and Blackeagle has said it well.

One of the best exercises to lose weight is a tricep extension, single repetition, pushing your chair back about halfway through what you used to eat for dinner.

"You can't out-run the fork."

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11027
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2018, 01:21:00 PM »
I guess it comes down to why.  Why is your husband losing weight?  Is it because he's decided upon an arbitrary number?  In that case you would probably drop 10 lbs by slicing half way between the knee and ankle on one leg until the foot comes off . . . much more efficient than skipping meals for ages. 

If he's hoping to lead a healthier life, or wants to look better . . . then yeah, eating good food and getting exercise is going to be much more beneficial long term.  Starving himself for a while is going to catabolize the muscle he's currently carrying around - which means:
- after his 'dieting' he's going to be able to eat fewer calories without putting on weight
- he's going to look spindly and weak
- he's going to be spindly and weak
Probably not the intended effect.  :P

Eating a proper diet has a variety of benefits in the long term, from feeling more full of energy (and thus more likely to get exercise), to eating foods that make you feel full before you overeat (which controls cravings/overeating).  After a healthy eating habit has developed, it eventually becomes second nature.  You never need to diet because you're eating properly to begin with.

You absolutely can lose weight by exercising a lot, but it's hard work.  Your exercise needs to be at a high intensity, or you need to do hours and hours of it.  It's hard, and if you don't love the exercise that you're doing most people aren't willing to put in enough effort for it to be effective.
My spirit animal is a tardigrade.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7890
  • Registered member
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2018, 03:49:19 PM »
Intermittent fasting (aka skipping one or more meals) has been shown to have various health benefits (e.g., https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting#section1)

Like anything else, it's most effective when combined with healthy diet and exercise.

But as mentioned, it depends on goals.  Almost any diet can help you lose weight if you stick to the rules, but overall longevity may not improve.

remizidae

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2018, 04:00:53 PM »
Skipping meals is a perfectly reasonable way of restricting calories--it's no more or less healthier than calorie counting, eating only certain foods, or any other method people come up with of decreasing intake. Your daughter is an infant. You have at least 9 years before you need to worry about her consciously modeling her meals on her father's.

That said, exercise has a long list of benefits beyond weight regulation. Weight loss shouldn't be anyone's ONLY health goal--long-term physical and mental health, energy, and physical attractiveness are also worthwhile. Everyone should be exercising most days.

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 743
  • Location: NJ
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2018, 06:59:18 PM »
I've lost 33lbs in the past five months through intermittent fasting and exercise. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I eat a 600-calorie meal first thing in the morning, and that's it for 24 hours.

I ride my bike the other four days of the week, anywhere from 200 to 250 miles per week depending on which rides I do.
For whatever reason, I'm faster on the bike this year than ever before. It's not just the weight loss, as we ride mostly flat roads around here.

The only extra food I eat on Tuesdays and Thursdays is a bagel with cream cheese, so I'm not adding back many of the skipped calories.

After the first couple of weeks, I stopped feeling hungry on the 600-calorie days.

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3923
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2018, 08:10:26 PM »
Well, you guys are helping me be more open-minded at least. Thanks!

ministashy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 57
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 10:06:01 AM »
It's not going to be a popular response, but I would point him at HAES (Health At Every Size) and fatnutritionist.com.

There's a lot of evidence out there that diets don't work long-term (5+ years) for the vast majority of people (5% or less success rate).  And there's a mounting body of studies that are showing serious correlations between weight cycling and ongoing diet restriction and poorer health outcomes long-term, both physically and mentally.

Basically, I would ask him to do his research and decide if the low chance of success and possible resulting health issues are something he thinks is worth for whatever health/body image goal he's trying to achieve.

Hirondelle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 877
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 10:28:17 AM »
As others pointed out, intermittent fasting can be an excellent way to loose weight and keep up your metabolic health. However from your first post I wonder whether your husband wants to do it the healthy way, he sounds like he's more up to starving himself to loose weight quickly and that's usually more close to a recipe for disaster (aka fast weight gain after the initial losses) than a long term solution. It doesn't sound like he's planning to eat healhier things during his one meal a day - while that should be key. If he's only eating once a day and with a limited amount of calories it's gonna be harder to get in all the important nutrients.

Exercise is an excellent way to improve metabolic health but indeed doesn't guarantee weight loss.

Quote
Exercise is great for your health, but I wouldn't lean too heavily on it as a weight loss technique.  That is one area where the research is pretty clear, people who exercise more tend to compensate for it by eating more, so they don't loose weight.  By all means, exercise, just don't expect that to lead to weight loss.  Loosing weight requires changing what you eat.
I think this comment is only partly true, or at least could be rewritten to say that fasting is also a bad thing. For years it was considered extremely bad to not eat breakfast for exactly the reason that people would tend to snack more during the rest of the day, increasing their total amount of calories. If you have a controlled calory intake and increase your exercise you actually will loose weight. Same if you skip breakfast and don't eat any extra the rest of the day. In the end weight loss is more about psychology than about physiology.

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1657
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2018, 11:05:47 AM »
Weight loss is so individual, both in terms of the physiology and the psychology.  I don't really think we have enough info about the OP's husband to make very specific recommendations.

If he is only 10-20 lbs overweight and already eats relatively healthfully, and if he does some exercise and has decent muscle mass, and if he doesn't tend to get ravenously hungry between meals or snacks (or have blood sugar crashes), then fasting might work quite well for him to drop a few pounds as long as he doesn't dramatically cut his calorie intake and send his body into 'starvation' mode, which can mess up metabolism longer term.

However, if he is considerably overweight, eats a lot of sugar and simple carbs, and does little exercise and has low muscle mass, then his insulin/glucose processing might be somewhat impaired.  In that case, I suspect that suddenly starting intermittent fasting might mess him up metabolically by making his body think he's suddenly starving, or by causing hypoglycemia  that causes him to function suboptimally or to overeat when he does eat. 

My understanding is that fasting can improve insulin function in some people, but he might want to try other, less drastic methods that do the same thing first...such as the tried-and-true method of cutting sugar and simple carbs (high-glycemic foods) way, way down in the diet.  Once insulin function improves, weight maintenance becomes easier.

Dramatic TEMPORARY changes to eating patterns usually don't work long term, and often result in regaining equal or more weight when they are discontinued.  Whereas making manageable adjustments to eating that can stick permanently do often work.  To some extent, this is a matter of his personality and psychology, as well as his particular body issues and goals.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7890
  • Registered member
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2018, 01:36:54 PM »
ďStarvation modeĒ is another one of those 90s weight loss myths that we need to punt from our collective memory (https://stevenmkemp.com/why-starvation-mode-is-a-myth/)

Itís not that starvation mode doesnít truly exist.  Itís that you have to be truly literally starving.  This wonít happen to anyone with 10 extra pounds.  It can certainly happen to the anorexic or POWs

*note on the links Iím posting, they are simply the first google hit for my searches, I donít necessarily endorse those particular blogs

wenchsenior

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1657
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2018, 01:52:48 PM »
“Starvation mode” is another one of those 90s weight loss myths that we need to punt from our collective memory (https://stevenmkemp.com/why-starvation-mode-is-a-myth/)

It’s not that starvation mode doesn’t truly exist.  It’s that you have to be truly literally starving.  This won’t happen to anyone with 10 extra pounds.  It can certainly happen to the anorexic or POWs

*note on the links I’m posting, they are simply the first google hit for my searches, I don’t necessarily endorse those particular blogs

You might well be correct.

I have personally never had my metabolism altered by gaining or losing weight, though it has been altered by improving my insulin function.  I used to gain weight fairly 'normally' up to my late 30s...if I ate more carbs, I would gain slowly.  If I ate fewer carbs, I would lose slowly.  This is probably b/c I have an endocrine disorder that affects insulin/glucose.  However, by around age 40 after about 10 years of eating relatively low glycemic, I began to have a LOT of trouble GAINING weight and this has persisted for many years since.  I just cursed my scale this morning, and went to eat 'second breakfast'. I assume this is due to resetting my insulin function. 

However, my immediate relatives that have several times gained and lost 20+ lbs have a much hard time losing weight now than they did the first time they tried it. So something appears to be happening metabolically related to weight swings in some people.

patchyfacialhair

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
Re: Weight Loss: Skipping meals vs Healthy eating & Exercise
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2018, 02:35:56 PM »
Your husband is looking at this like a math problem. And he's correct, but not completely correct.

Unlike physics, every action does not have an equal and opposite reaction. While he's got the whole calories in and out thing, he's neglecting to account for: mood changes while he's fasting, the impact he will have on your kid, and whether or not it is medically advisable for him to do this.

My journal right now is chronicling my weight loss, and I've lost 10 pounds in a very very short period of time. It has been mostly water weight, but the rest of it has been deliberate action with every meal to eat healthy and with an eye on portion size. If I keep it up, I will have changed my lifestyle, permanently.

Your husband is doing what most people do: commit to losing weight, doing an extreme diet, getting discouraged at some point, and gaining it all back and then some. So no, OP, you're not crazy.
Follow my extremely mundane weight loss journey:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/no-more-dad-bod/