Day #6: Why weight loss and healthy eating aren’t the same thing

Today I got a DM on Twitter from one of my favourite celebrities. They wrote:

“Read your blog about yet another strict regime to lose weight and then an immediate breach of it by polishing off an ice cream and then scoffing a muffin or whatever it was! The only way you’re ever going to conquer this is if you’re totally serious about it. xx”

I replied:

“You missed the bit where I still lost weight those days though! xx”

They retorted:

“That’s the point. You start losing weight then you spoil that by doing something daft. xx”

Lovely though they are, I have to beg to differ: it actually doesn’t really matter what you eat when it comes to weight loss. Eat less energy than you burn and you’ll lose weight.

Yes, there are arguments that a calorie isn’t a calorie – that the body absorbs more of some substances than others, etc – but it’s perfectly possible to lose weight while eating absolute crap. I know because I’ve done it.

I also know because a nutrition professor called Mark Haub proved this point by losing weight on a ‘convenience store diet’. In 2010, he ate a daily diet of powdered doughnuts, chocolate bars, Doritos, Oreos and sugary cereals for ten weeks, and lost 27lbs in the process.

Even though he was eating junk, the article above reports that Haub’s health indicators improved due to the weight loss: ‘his “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.’

OK, so I’m not saying it’s the best idea to lose weight by eating doughnuts and chocolate. It’s certainly not my intention to lose my weight that way – I’d rather eat a healthy vegan diet as I know it’s better for my body. But if I do eat the odd muffin or chocolate ice cream, my weight loss won’t suffer, as long as I stick to 1,200 calories a day.

Conversely, yesterday I ate the perfect vegan diet:

Four slices of sourdough toast with almond butter and banana
Five super seeded oatcakes with houmous
Salad made of cherry tomatoes, celery, coriander, button mushrooms and yellow pepper
Big can of baked beans on sourdough toast
Raspberries and blackberries

… however, I ate too many calories to lose weight, and so my weight today was the same as it was yesterday.

Scales.jpg

Diet update

Days: 5

Total loss: 5.6lbs

Still need to lose: 61.8lbs

Exercise: hit all my Apple Watch goals again but didn’t do a run (if I had, it would have helped burn calories).

Apple Watch 1

Apple Watch 2

Takeaways:

It doesn’t really matter what you eat when it comes to weight loss. Eat less energy than you burn and you’ll lose weight.

A nutrition professor, Mark Haub, proved this point in 2010 by losing weight on a ‘convenience store diet’. He ate a daily diet of powdered doughnuts, chocolate bars, Doritos, Oreos and sugary cereals for ten weeks, and lost 27lbs.

Even though he was eating junk, Haub’s health indicators improved: ‘his “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his “good” cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He also reduced his level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.

It’s not the best idea to replicate his diet. Of course, a healthy diet (ideally vegan with some fish) is much better for your body.

However: if you do eat the odd muffin or chocolate ice cream, your weight loss won’t suffer, as long as you eat fewer calories than you expend.

Conversely, eat more than you burn and you won’t lose weight – however healthy the food is.

Quote of the Day

“You didn’t gain all your weight in one day; you won’t lose it in one day. Be patient with yourself.” – Jenna Wolfe

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Sammy and Jelly, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, MusicalComedyGuide.com, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon.

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4 thoughts on “Day #6: Why weight loss and healthy eating aren’t the same thing”

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