Eat Less Exercise More: Does It Work?


'Healthy Eating' means weight gain.

Eat less and exercise more.  How is this working for you?  The fact is that when you restrict calories (eat less) you get hungry!  Have you tried it?  What happens?  If you’re like most people you can probably manage your hunger for a couple of weeks even months but it then becomes a test of endurance and we can tell you who will win out in the end…..Hunger will make sticking to your new regime almost impossible and not only that, hormonal imbalance will drive “overeating and weight gain” once the restriction has gone. Why?

Our bodies have built in something we call a ‘set point weight’.  This is a survival instinct brought about during periods of limited resource, stress or starvation.  during these times the body does all it can to maintain what it had set as your ‘set weight point’ . If you force the body beyond this point it remembers where it was before you put it under stress, when your dieting stops the body stores as much fat as it can to return the known set point. However the bodies set point weight only works in one direction, this is up, it has no limit on gaining weight and is quite happy to to store more and more fat for future periods of lack.

Both calorie restriction along with willpower and exercise cause stress which is not good.  You are far more likely to succeed and achieve the weight loss you desire when you are not stressed. When stressed the Adrenal glands produce cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol result in the body going into preserve mode and weight loss stalls. In addition stress hormones are produced which in turn increases glucose levels, which leads to increased insulin production, weight gain and a whole host of other potential health related issues, including diabetes, syndrome x, heart disease Etcetera. The evidence against using exercise as a weight loss tool is huge, one should not be used to enable or enhance the other, always address excess weight issues before fitness. Remember diet is the key to your weight loss goals and exercise is a fitness tool.

“Reduced fat and calorie intake and frequent use of low calorie food products have been associated with a paradoxial increase in the prevalence of obesity” – Drs Heini & Weinsier

Let’s take another look at the Minnesota Experiment.  This study was conducted 60 years ago and was an effort to assess the effects of starvation on the human body as well as how best to re-nourish it.  Sound familiar?  It should do because this is what you are doing to your body every time you embark on anther fad diet or weight loss programme…In the final phase of this 56 week long experiment, the 36 male volunteers were given an unrestricted rehabilitation period lasting 8 weeks for re-nourishment following a programme of restricted eating.  What happened?  Left to their own devices they ate huge quantities of food!  Eating more than 4000 calories a day for several weeks driven by a strong desire to overeat…The experiment noted that the “extreme” eating was directly related to the extent of weight lost: the more weight an individual lost, the more the drive to over eat and to such an extent that by the time eating returned to normal, fat levels were 75% higher than at the start of the study.

So why do we keep doing it?  If your aim is to lose weight and to keep it off in the long-term you must embrace a way of eating that keeps you satisfied and that can keep your hunger at bay. Think diet not dieting and what Paleo will do for you! You must place your emphasis on eating nutrient dense truly satisfying food and become familiar with those foods that will do this for you….and here’s a clue, it’s not carbohydrates!

Beef-ragoutStay tuned over the next few days as we update you and discuss how each food group effects your hunger and give you pointers toward the most satiating foods to eat in your diet.

As for eat less and exercise more? The evidence suggests you’re probably flogging a dead horse.Paleo-works-how-to-diet

About Paleo Works

Paleo Works Have you ever wondered how you arrived at “being overweight” and thought how difficult it is to get rid of and keep off those excess pounds? Hi, I’m Katie and together with Mike my husband, we are Paleo Works. As a busy working mum of four, I often watched others embark on weight loss progammes only to return to their start weight (and then some) shortly after reaching their target. Why was this happening? Conventional dietary wisdom would have us believe that it’s YOU who has failed. But Mike and I thought different. We felt that there had to be something wrong with that conventional dietary wisdom after all we can’t all be hopeless? So we studied intensely, sought out advice and read avidly. We questioned robustly and talked with many on various 'dieting' regimes. What we found was radical, our story has to be told, our knowledge has to be shared. So If you are ready to stop blaming your self for being overweight and ready to change your approach to weight loss then contact us and let’s get started!

Posted on January 27, 2012, in Calorie counting and exercise and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. As a real world example that this is true, I once started at 100 kg and lost 25 kg in around 4 months by exercising for 4 hours a day and eating one meal a day. First, this is not a very nice way to live. Second, I returned to eating “normally” and slowly gained weight over about a 10 year period. I ended up at 115 kg. So much for ‘set point weight’ because I went way past my old weight.

    I have now made a lifestyle choice that involves eating plenty of whole foods and very little processed foods and exercising a little every day. I like my new lifestyle and as a result of it, my fitness is slowly improving and my weight is slowly decreasing. This is not a diet because there is no end point. This is how I live now (

    I have not found that ‘set point weight’ if you choose to live a ‘paleo’ lifestyle. I am 22 kg lighter than my maximum weight and there is not way my body is trying to get back to that old weight. I’m simply not hungry because I eat well and keep my body fuelled.

  2. Reblogged!

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:
    PaleoWorks tells us that eating less, exercising more may be a flawed theory.

  4. Reblogged this on From Gastric Band to Fitness and commented:
    I don’t know about probably flogging a dead horse, I’d say you are defo flogging a dead horse! Excellent post from PaleoWorks !!

  5. So glad I found your blog. Filled with tons of knowledge and insight. I can completely agree where you are coming from. When I was pregnancy with my daughter I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and was forced to alter my diet. I found that it was the best change I could have ever made. I felt the best I had ever felt not eating sugar. I look forward to learning more.

    Thanks for the like :)…on my grapefruit poppy seed bread! obviously not part of the paleo diet 🙂

  6. I agree that it is not just “eat less, exercise more.” The more I learn it seems that although exercise is important, it is far outweighed by the type of foods we eat.

    You can exercise 2 hours everyday and not lose weight or feel good about your body, but if the diet was to change you might only need to exercise 15 minutes a day and see great results. Diet is key.

  7. There are also some great talking points in this post that can be used in rebuttal to the oh-so-common, “Eat less exercise more” mantra. Great blog!

  8. This is a great post in the fact that people need to learn that you cannot starve yourself and expect to have the energy to exercise and be well. It may be a quick fix, but in the long run it will cause you to crash and burn and gain everything back that you tried to lose, as you mention in your article.

    However, I do think it is important to acknowledge that weight-loss and maintenence is very much a balance of calories in and calories out, so people should educate themselves on the right number of calories for their bodies and activity level.

    • Thank you for your comment it is much appreciated. However your last point is misleading at best and contradictory. It is these misconceptions that are the root cause of the present situation with obesity and syndrome X we have in today’s modern societies. The energy in energy out hypothesis as you describe when applied to humans or animals for that matter is totally irrelevant. It is based on the laws of thermodynamics and calorific values, which are fine in mathematics and physics but not so in biology which includes the human biochemistry. There are four major flaws in this theory though without going into all of them, I would point out that our bodies simply don’t burn calories in the same way as a calorimeter does. Once this point is acknowledged all other bets are effectively off.

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