Ask the Dietitian: Why Is Weight Loss So Hard?

by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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Ask the Dietitian: Why Is Weight Loss So Hard?

For most of us, weight gain happens oh-so-gradually. An extra two pounds over the course of a year can easily go completely unnoticed (and often does). Over time though, those pounds add up, and after 10 years you suddenly realize you’ve got 20-plus pounds to lose.

Ironically, many successful weight losers will tell you that shedding those pounds wasn’t actually the hardest part — rather, keeping that weight off in the long run proved to be more difficult. Old habits die hard, but as it turns out, weight regain can’t always be blamed on our love for pizza, dessert and lazy weekends on the couch. A study of 14 former Biggest Loser contestants, many of whom successfully shed hundreds of pounds as a result of being on the show, highlights some of the complex ways the body fights weight loss. Thanks to a thing called “set point,” we now know that even the most dedicated fight an uphill battle against biology to keep those pounds off.


Simply put, set point is a complex weight-regulation system driven by the brain that works to keep the body within a certain weight range. The biological benefit is harder to appreciate these days, but this is actually a protective adaptation to help humans survive when food is scarce.

An individual’s set point is determined partly by genetics and partly by lifestyle factors. (Think: diet, activity level, exercise, sleep, stress, etc.) It varies from person-to-person but can also change throughout our lifetime. Gradual weight gain is one way this can happen — we’re talking as little as a 1–2-pound gain every year for a decade or two — which ultimately makes it more difficult to shed those unwanted pounds and also maintain your previous weight.



When trying to lose weight, the body fights to hover around its set point by conserving calories, increasing appetite and decreasing satiety signals. This telling trifecta is the main reason why losing weight and keeping it off is so hard:


It’s been accepted as fact that anyone who intentionally loses weight — regardless of how much they had to lose — will have a slower metabolism in the end. Two big things drive this: a shift toward energy conservation and the loss of lean, calorie-burning body mass. These physiological changes result in a slower metabolism, an effect that one small study found can endure for years.



During periods of weight loss, the body also increases production of certain hunger signals, one being ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and appetite. Biologically this makes sense, as an increase in appetite could prevent additional unintentional weight loss, but unfortunately for those of us trying to shed pounds, it only increases our drive to eat. The effect seems long-lasting as well. One study found that, while ghrelin levels decreased after an initial weight-loss period, they remained significantly elevated for at least one year after.


Additionally, the body fights weight loss by decreasing its satiety signals. Leptin, the body’s primary satiety hormone, plummets during weight loss. This means you don’t just feel less satisfied, you actually are less satisfied — and not just while you are losing weight. One recent study found leptin levels were still 35% lower one year after the initial weight-loss period.



The research around set point suggests that modest, incremental decreases in body weight may be most effective in resetting your body’s set point. Setting an initial weight-loss goal of about 5–10% of your current weight can have many positive health implications while minimizing the metabolic shock.


Once you lose that initial 10%, consider working on maintaining your new, lower weight for a few months. A gradual approach to weight loss will likely lessen the metabolic toll on your body and will also allow you to practice weight maintenance, an important skill you’ll need to learn to hold onto your hard-earned weight loss.


Calorie cycling, one form of intermittent or short-term fasting, might be beneficial in minimizing the metabolic slowdown brought on by sustained calorie restriction, and it might actually be easier to adhere to in the long run. (Check out this article to learn more about this calorie cycling for weight loss.) If you decide you want to give it a try, consider upgrading to MyFitnessPal Premium via the web or in the app to set different calorie goals for different days.


When it comes to weight loss, dietary protein can have many positive effects. Research suggests increased protein intakes may lessen the slowing of metabolism, likely by offsetting the amount of lean muscle that is burned for energy, in addition to fat, during a calorie deficit. For tips to optimize your protein intake, check out What’s the Best Carb, Protein and Fat Breakdown for Weight Loss?


Yo-yo dieting not only has negative impacts on metabolism, but research also has linked repeated weight-loss/weight-gain cycles to other serious health problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, heart disease, cancer and more. Sustainability is the name of the game here. Small, gradual changes in your daily habits translate to long-term success and, over time, will also outsmart your body’s biology to regain that weight.


  • In a little over 4 months, I have managed to lose 45.4 lbs (18.8%) by being very strict with my calorie intake. I’m still allowing myself to eat lasagnas, pizzas, and spaghettis, but modified to make them healthier. I eat chicken breast almost every day and rarely any red meat. I put chicken in everything. I also eat a huge plate of raw veggies at least 5 days a week.

    I have a very active job, which helps a lot, but I don’t exercise any other than that. I started out exercising for 2 months, but stopped and still managed to keep losing weight. I’ve been consistent in only allowing myself 2002 calories daily and eating as much protein as I can stomach. Carbs 45% (225g), Protein 33% (163g), Fat 22% (50g).

    I feel great all the time and that is mostly because I cut out all the crap from my old diet and replaced it with healthy holsome options. Best part of my new lifestyle is enjoying the foods that I am eating, while still allowing myself to endulge when I wish to.

    • robinbishop34

      Counting calories and managing macros like you’re doing is the way to go. Congratulations on your success 🙂

  • novo

    the biggest loser study was joke. the resting metabolic formula they used had me at 2600 kcal. simply impossible.

    • epickett

      Why? Plenty of healthy people eat that many calories or fewer every day. Just because you or I may find it difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible…

      • novo

        you seem to have misunderstood. it overestimated my BMR by about 600. this means that they overestimated the “expected” BMR of the participants. which means there was no metabolic damage.

        • Walt Corey

          Actually, if you don’t mind sharing, I’d be happy to check your arithmetic, so to speak.

          • novo

            also, they estimate the RMR, not TDEE. my tdee is about 3000kcal, butr my rmr is about 2000.

            male, 30yo, 6′ (183cm), 2005lbs (93kg), 18%BF (bodpod).

          • Walt Corey

            . I show BMR of 1929, independent of gym activity level.

            I simply googled mifflin-st jeor and used one of the many calculators. Now as far as adaptive thermogenesis or metabolic damage, I actually found more published research googling damaged metabolism or metabolic damage. It is real though. There has been a ton of research on it.

          • novo

            we seem to be misunderstanding each other. i said that the formula the authors of the study used to calculate the “predicted RMR” put me at 2600. which means according to their formula, the one they use to claim that TBL participants have damaged metabolism, overestimated my RMR by 600. which, btw, was correlated between “standard formulas”, like the one you used, and my fitbit. ergo, TBL participants did not have any metabolic damage, the researchers used wrong formula.

            i’d be interested in seeing even a kilogram of that ton.

          • Walt Corey

            When I said you were a physically heavily active it said 3279. So there is a lot of magic happens here in using the quick and dirty math formulas. I believevHall used the actual instruments to rather than get a statistical approximation they acquthr REE, TEF, NREE, etc. From the more scientific studies I’ve read, I believe they’ve concluded the damage occurs to the NREE portion and these subcomponents are just guestimates in the consumer equations. There is a lot of really good research on this.

          • novo

            i already said it’s not TDEE, why do you keep bringing that up? they are only concerned with RMR, and that’s what i’m talking about. physical activity doesn’t matter for RMR.

            … one scientific study you didn’t read is the one you are commenting on. i read it. they did measure participants current RMR. they also calculated the “predicted” RMR. using a formula they created. and so, when i put in my numbers into their formula, it overestimates my RMR just as it did for the participants.

            “Table 1 shows that the RMR at baseline was 2,607 6 649 kcal/daywhich fell to 1,996 6 358 kcal/day at the end of the 30-week compe-tition (P 5 0.0004).”

            “We calculated the predicted RMR using this equation along with thecorresponding FFM, FM, and age at each time point for every indi-vidual. ”

            “RMR(kcal/d)=1.001 + 21.2 x FFM(kg) +1.4 x FM(kg) – 7.1 x age (yrs) + 276 x sex (f=0, m=1)”

            “Differences between the measured and predicted RMRdefined the magnitude of metabolic adaptation which was consid-ered to be present if the RMR residuals were significantly differentfrom zero”

            now put my numbers into this formula, 1001 +21.2*76.26 + 1.4*16.74 – 7.1*30 +276 = 2704!!!

            according to their formula i’ve got damaged metabolism, i burn 700kcal to little!!

          • Walt Corey

            Clearly you need help I cannot provide you. Please don’t respond back to me.

          • novo


          • Walt Corey

            Just so you (or anyone else) don’t get the wrong idea, I’ve lost 120lbs in the last 18 months. NOBODY wants metabolic damage to be a myth more than I do. But, over the decades, every pound I lost, regardless, of the diet, found it’s way home with penalty lbs for my effort. So, what makes this time different is I will assume my next challenge is keeping it off. Fortunately the science on this has advanced a lot. I will let my body tell me where the new homoeostasis point is, and use that rather than assuming MFP is going to be accurate.

    • SG

      It’s a calculation not a test. With all calculation there is error involved. The only way to have a true idea of calories burned at rest is to get a resting metabolism test.

      • novo

        and their error is the size of their effect, in my case. unless for some reason i’ve got “damaged metabolism” at 17% bf (male), without any body weight change in last 4 years.

    • Walt Corey

      If you read the “fine print” on any BMR calculator it is right upfront on assumptions it makes as far as lean muscle mass and fat mass, so on both extremes it will have more error. Plus, you want to use Mifflin-St Jeor as it is more accurate than the other one I believe MFP uses. 2600 calories is reasonable for an overweight person. If you were 5’2″ 100lbs soaking wet, then, yes, 2600 calories is farcical. What Mifflin St Jeor give you is a REE but, to that, you need to apply Benedict-Harris equation to adjust to your base activity level. You can save yourself the math and tell MFP what your weight, height, sex, and activity level is and then tell it you want to maintain your weight. Then it will give you your calorie budget.

      • Exadyne

        2600 is more a TDEE, not a reasonable RMR. He isn’t using MFP, he’s referencing the RMR calculation formula that was derived from original data of RMR of the biggest loser contestants.

  • Tim

    Can we stop talking about set point like it’s a known scientific fact? It’s not. You have no info to back it up. This kind of shit post gives fat logic people out there justification to stop using their brains and to prevent them from making logical decisions based on actual provable facts. MyFitnessPal should feel bad about this article, and Dr Elle if you’re really a doctor you should know better. This is disappointing.

    • From right below the article: “Elle Penner, M.P.H., R.D., is the Senior Registered Dietitian and Food & Nutrition Editor at MyFitnesssPal and Under Armour Connected Fitness”

      I think she knows at least somewhat what she’s talking about, or at least MFP trusts her to know. If you really don’t believe her I would go through the linked studies and see where your discrepancy lies.

      • Tim

        Not one link she listed showed any conclusive evidence of anything like a set point. I have yet to see a single article that confirms such a thing definitively. It’s popped up recently as just another fad word with nothing backing it but many small ideas erroneously linked together into some sort of “set point theory” that has no specific backing.

        Also, just because it’s on MFP is NOT a good reason to assume this woman is right. At all. People post things online to supposedly reputable sites all the time that are wrong. Scientific studies rigorously done are published all the time that aren’t even able to be peer reviewed and are therefore debunked much later so even they can’t just say what they want to say and us assume it’s accurate. It’s a complete fallacy to assume just because she’s on MFP that she knows what she’s talking about at all. That’s not how facts and science work.

        • It’s not just that she posted here, her JOB is SENIOR dietitian for myfitnesspal. That is her work and her career. That is what MFP pays her to do.

          It’s true that you can’t believe everything online but I’m just saying that this is the person who this weight loss-focused app/site has hired to be their sr. dietitian and food and nutrition editor, so your beef is apparently with MFP as a whole, not just this person/article.

          • Tim

            Repeating that this is her job and that’s what she’s here to do won’t make her suddenly infallible and correct either. She needs to provide a study that actually shows the set point theory is a real thing. Not 10 little articles that suggest it might be worth exploring. (which is all she has. Grounds for a hypothesis. Not facts.)

            You are giving her immediate credit solely because this is her job. That’s a logical fallacy you know. It’s called “appeal to authority.”

            I want to see the science supporting what she’s saying as an actual fact. You do not get to make these claims without support and so far she has not sufficiently supported anything for a “set point” at all.

          • I understand appeal to authority, I guess what I’m saying is that her main source about set point theory comes from the Beth Israel Medical center and the Harvard Medical school, and The article, while it doesn’t have links to their direct studies, is written by people who study weight loss. I’m guessing you’re not personally an obesity researcher by trade so your studies must also come from some authority, no?… If your research comes from say, the cdc, doesn’t it make than an appeal to authority as well? Why is your source more valid than hers?

          • Tim

            First off I don’t have a source. There isn’t one I’ve seen that definitively proves such a thing as a set point exists. Which is what I’ve been saying from the beginning. They are making assertions based on a few idea that might support such a hypothesis but they haven’t actually tested that hypothesis directly.

            Secondly, a properly conducted study and written paper to describe it don’t trigger the appeal by authority because the scientific method was adhered to and the entire study described in such a way that another team somewhere else should be able to completely reproduce the result. That’s how science works. It’s not a person standing in front of you saying “I’m a scientist so just trust me.” It’s instead a very detail account of how they are proving that it actually exists with evidence and a high degree of confidence. That process, level of data, and repeatability is what makes the study more important than an individual just linking other studies and building conclusions based on them.

          • Exadyne

            Actually, false authority is a fallacy. Actually listening to experts in a domain isn’t a fallacy in itself. Claiming their opinion negates actual observed facts is fallacious. Understanding their opinion might be better than an interpretation of a single study with limited scope is also not fallacious.
            I will admit though, many of the RD’s that blog for MFP are not incredibly evidence based. The worst being the time they basically reprinted Lustig, who despite being an endocrinologist is terrible with facts, even on human nutrition and metabolism.

    • Joe

      Amen, Tim. Fat logic been running rampant through MFP lately.

      • Tim

        Which is just MIND boggling considering what this site is used for.

        • Tim, I’m an RD as well and don’t buy the set point theory (nor are all RDs doing their research or ethical in general–our profession cares more about professionalism than accurate information…). I have successfully changed my weight at will whenever I want to. Many things in this article are not well established. For example, the metabolism slowing part. The extent to which that occurs is much overblown. A recalculation or remeasurement of RMR using indirect calorimetry will quickly throw that assertion out the window. What really happens in real life is people make drastic diet changes successfully to lose weight and then return to old habits that made them gain weight often without the education to know exactly which habits they were. I agree, this article is another crap article by MFP to gain Google ranking.

          • Walt Corey

            Joey, while I partially agree with you, totally on some of your points, adaptive thermogenesis is a well documented metabolic response. Jason Fung, MD talks about this in his 6 part series and it is documented in reseach at NIH. Also, if you look up the PDF of the actual research and testing of the 14 Biggest Loser contestants recently written up in the NYT,it, too, documents this. It’s not that the NY Times said it happened, they merely reported it, the actual research and testing performed on the contestants prove it. It’s well documented.

    • barrhon

      tim, none of the initials after her name say she is a doctor!

      M.P.H. = (probably) Masters in Public Health

    • Andrea Paslick

      I’m so happy to hear there is no scientific fact about set point. When I read that I wanted to give up the fight entirely.

      • Exadyne

        Set point doesn’t mean a person has to give up anything. Most people trying to lose weight are dealing more with settling point than with set point.
        Generally set points means a male probably won’t stay below 15% without conscious tracking or very high activity. It won’t stop most people from being able to maintain a normal body weight or body fat percentage.

    • Exadyne

      More of the argument in the scientific community is whether there is set point, or if there is settling point. Evidence points to models of there being a mix of both.

      If you believe there is absolutely no concept of a set point what so ever, I have to ask, what do you view as the reason some natural body builders don’t walk around stage lean or close to it all the time?

      • Tim

        Post 1:

        That’s a good question and thankfully it has nothing to do with setpoints. I’ll be answering this in more than one post since there are word limits around here.

        As you know body builders go out of their way to prepare their bodies for competition. Primary this is done through lowering their body fat to very low levels usually around 7-8%. The amount of food and discipline required to maintain a low level like that is extremely tough and not only that but your fat content is now so low that you’ll begin forming hormonal problems. For example women who go to low stop having periods entirely. So simply put there are serious health negatives to being at that body fat for any extended period of time and those body builders are well aware of that. So for a show then lean out to show their body off, and when the show is done they increase their calories to put some weight back on to be in a more healthy body fat range. Both the decrease in body fat % and the increase were planned for and done completely on purpose and have nothing to do with a setpoint at all. These people don’t want to be that lean all the time.

        • Exadyne

          Except hormonal problems are part of what set point theory is. You’re saying the body doesn’t defend certain levels of body fat, but somehow the body makes it hard to stay at certain levels of body fat. That’s a contradiction.

          Do you think there are no bodybuilders that wish to stay at stage lean after the show, without regard to possible health consequences? You think it is always a controlled thing? Huge numbers of them pig out and balloon up right after the show.
          Eric Helms talked about one of his early shows he gained 40 pounds in 2 months following it, and could not stop himself.

          Contest anecdotes and the Minnesota Semi-Starvation Study both show – physiological changes in body composition cause psychological changes in food ideation. Look at someone’s contest prep instagram – pictures of food go through the roof because thoughts of food goes up. Hunger goes up at lean levels.

          • Tim

            > Except hormonal problems are part of what set point theory is.

            I’m going to need you to read a little harder next time. I’m not talking about Grhelin or Leptin. I’m talking about the basic hormones of life when I’m talking about a period. Not the two hormones most related to weight loss. Different hormones for different things. Come on man.

            > Do you think there are no bodybuilders that wish to stay at stage lean after the show, without regard to possible health consequences?

            Maybe you should wait from responding multiple times and wait because I already covered this in my last response. I literally say MOST do this. Stop jumping the gun and let people respond before accosting them with details you already asked about before they can respond again. This is just being difficult.

            This all is beside the reality that you’re flatly ignoring that body builders control their diet 365 days a year. At no point is it uncontrolled. Even those people re-comping you bring up have it under full control. They just have different goals. A person who controls their diet every day of the year in no way shape or form can prove or disprove setpoints since the way they literally live their life every day prohibits the situation from even occurring where it could be witnessed. That’s a fact.

          • Exadyne

            >I’m going to need you to read a little harder next time. I’m not talking about Grhelin or Leptin. I’m talking about the basic hormones of life when I’m talking about a period. Not the two hormones most related to weight loss. Different hormones for different things. Come on man.

            Or maybe don’t assume what I know. I never said a thing about ghrelin or leptin. I’m talking all hormones. All of them changing puts people in a rather down state that people don’t want to be at. Those are set point. Setpoint models are just ghrelin and leptin. Maybe your problem isn’t that setpoint has no evidence, just that your failure to understand the model has no evidence.

            >his all is beside the reality that you’re flatly ignoring that body builders control their diet 365 days a year. At no point is it uncontrolled. Even those people re-comping you bring up have it under full control. They just have different goals. A person who controls their diet every day of the year in no way shape or form can prove or disprove setpoints since the way they literally live their life every day prohibits the situation from even occurring where it could be witnessed. That’s a fact.

            Nope. Seriously, you have no idea what a lot of natural bodybuilders are like post contest, or even off contest.
            I’d seriously advise you to just stop preaching no evidence, and read The Minnesota Starvation Experiment for starters. Look into all the stories from it about the food ideation that comes out of being starved down to extremely low body fat.

          • Tim

            > Or maybe don’t assume what I know.

            Then don’t just say hormones like it’s some catch all when you start talking about setpoints related to them. I specifically mentioned periods. You could actually google what low essential body fat does to people you know. Instead you just say “hormones” and expect that to be an argument. You aren’t consider what essential fat is at all.

            > Nope. Seriously, you have no idea what a lot of natural bodybuilders are like post contest, or even off contest.

            HAH. I am an aspiring body builder with a year and a half of lifting, following multiple forums and subreddits on this topic daily, and participating with conversations on these specific topics regularly with people who practice it. You DO NOT know me. I 100% know what they do. They control their diet ALL THE TIME. It’s 100% of the time on their mind. Body building is something that takes years upon years to be good at for competitions. You don’t get there without a full time laser focus on your diet. You still continue to fail to acknowledge or even address the reality that someone in full control of their diet will never prove setpoints. They literally can’t.

            > The Minnesota Starvation Experiment for starters.

            The moment you posted this i was very evident you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. That study doesn’t prove what you people think it proves. Someone going on a 1000 calorie a day diet doesn’t even fit into the data that study created at all. You are wrong. Every single body builder who gets to 5-8% body weight proves it wrong. Every. Single. Time.

          • Exadyne

            >Then don’t just say hormones like it’s some catch all when you start talking about setpoints related to them.

            Says the guy who said hormones as a catch all phrase and then got upset that I used it the same way. I know what low body fat does to people. That was my point. It makes them miserable in a lot of ways. That’s set point. You get to a low body fat level, it makes you feel miserable. Surprisingly, there aren’t that terrible of health markers for males (females losing their period have absolutely large problems with osteoporosis risk). CVD and metabolic profiles actually look very good from the few case studies. Testosterone drops at least 60% in naturals, which is unpleasant but honestly not harmful besides the psychology.

            >HAH. I am an aspiring body builder with a year and a half of lifting, following multiple forums and subreddits on this topic daily, and participating with conversations on these specific topics regularly with people who practice it. You DO NOT know me. I 100% know what they do. They control their diet ALL THE TIME. It’s 100% of the time on their mind. Body building is something that takes years upon years to be good at for competitions. You don’t get there without a full time laser focus on your diet. You still continue to fail to acknowledge or even address the reality that someone in full control of their diet will never prove setpoints. They literally can’t.

            So yeah, you’re right on the Dunning-Kruger curve. Seriously, look up Eric Helms. He’s well respected in the natural community. He talks about losing his mind post contest and gaining 40 pounds in 2 months post contest, and he’s not an oddity – look up the video Reverse DIet Debate with him and others. Andrea Valdez talks about similar experiences.

            >The moment you posted this i was very evident you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. That study doesn’t prove what you people think it proves. Someone going on a 1000 calorie a day diet doesn’t even fit into the data that study created at all. You are wrong. Every single body builder who gets to 5-8% body weight proves it wrong. Every. Single. Time.

            What do you think I’m saying it proves? The men in it were forced to lose weight and became ideated on food. Contest prep dieters become ideated on food. Even when they chain themselves to macro tracking, their thoughts are ideated on food until they get back up to a certain body fat level.
            It is a physiological response. Being incredibly lean makes a person feel miserable. That is set point. You can force yourself to stay below your setpoint by calorie tracking, but you’ll never be mentally all there and lean. Your body physiology shifts to get you eating more. There are levels of leanness you cannot get your body accustomed to being at.

            I’m starting to think the problem is you have no understanding of what set point is.

            I’ll simply ask, do you think a male can live at 6% body fat, and not have issues – hunger, disturbed sleep, ideation with food, low energy? That simple will power and staying that way long enough will result in the person being comfortable at that level?

          • Tim

            >Says the guy who said hormones as a catch all phrase

            Say’s the guy who gave you a specific example with women having periods. Not a catch all. Reading comprehension man.

            You don’t want to hear what I said. You want to argue. Body builders control their diet 365 days a year. They will never prove or disprove setpoint. Period. People require essential fat or they will risk death and other health issues. Period.

            Any idea that you have that disbelieves what I just said is wrong and based on nothing in reality.

            > He talks about losing his mind post contest and gaining 40 pounds in 2 months post contest,

            Literally completely irrelevant to setpoint. How someone feels when hungry IS NOT WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT. Get with it man. Stay focused on the point.

            > I’m starting to think the problem is you have no understanding of what set point is.

            it doesn’t exist. It’s Yo-Yo dieting from returing to past eating habits. I already said this. Read everything I wrote and put it into your brain.

            > I’ll simply ask, do you think a male can live at 6% body fat, and not have issues –

            Why would you ask this? I specifically told you about essential body fat already. Google it and you’ll get tons of reasons why going below essential body fat is bad. I’m tired of responding to you with details and you ignoring me. Good day to you and your misguided ways. Anyone who body builds would know these answers already so it’s clear you don’t despite trying to act like you know about this stuff. All you’ve done is name drop and then make arguments those people wouldn’t even agree with.

            This has turned sad and I’m done with you and your failures to read what I actually said.

          • Exadyne

            >You don’t want to hear what I said. You want to argue. Body builders control their diet 365 days a year. They will never prove or disprove setpoint. Period. People require essential fat or they will risk death and other health issues. Period.

            No, you want to assume you’re right and don’t imagine you can fail at it. That’s the problem. Follow what I’m asking and you’ll start understanding that you just don’t understand what a set point is.

            >Why would you ask this? I specifically told you about essential body fat already. Google it and you’ll get tons of reasons why going below essential body fat is bad.
            YES. I know being low body fat causes problem’s. Guess why I’m asking you? So you acknowledge, there is a set point. No human’s set point is 6% body fat or lower.
            That’s the problem. You think you know what set point means so you know it doesn’t exist. Set point is, in part, those bad health issues.

            What we’d probably agree on is, no male’s setpoint is 40 or 30% body fat. A male getting below that who’s been overweight his entire life isn’t fighting his set point, and that isn’t the cause of weight gain.

            A male getting into single percent body fat IS going to fight against setpoint. All those health effects happening that you said to Google – those are the actual set point model.

          • Exadyne

            You think the issue here is what I don’t know. It absolutely isn’t the problem. The problem is what you know that isn’t so.

          • Exadyne

            Now, I know you hate argument from authority, but I’ll just double check something here. Beyond your reddit lurking, do you know any of these names:
            Lyle McDonald
            Eric Helms
            Layne Norton
            Menno Henselmans
            If you’re not familiar with them, I’d say you probably haven’t followed that much of evidence based fitness.
            All of them have talked or written about set point and settling point. Now, they’ll generally not refer to them the way the above article does, but they all tend to acknowledge them.

          • Tim

            Once again you prove you aren’t reading my responses. I already told you I frequent body building communities. Yes I know these people. I’ve read much of what Layne and Lyle specifically have written and some of Erics. Not so much on Menno but I’m very aware of him.

            > All of them have talked or written about set point and settling point.

            HAHAHAHAHAHA. That you would actually say that. HAHAHAHAHA.

            > Now, they’ll generally not refer to them the way the above article does, but they all tend to acknowledge them.

            As I already pointed out in my last response you having a misguided idea of how the body works and SOME of your idea overlapping with the ideas of others IS NOT proof of setpoint. It’s proof only that the setpoint theory is attempting to fit the data from many observations into a new theory. Some details would literally have to overlap by necessity. That DOES NOT mean they agree, or that I agree, with set point. You are literally putting words into their mouths because their observations state A and your theory states B and it’s kinda similar sounding for a few bits of it but in no way is what they describing 100% of what you’re saying. At all. You’re ignoring the WHY behind both arguments and failing to see how they are at odds. The WHY behind what body builders do isn’t at all related to set point. Not in even a single way. That’s why you keep ignoring that they control their diet 24/7/365. The motivations and reasoning behind that full time control completely fly in the face of setpoint.

            If those people don’t explicitly say something about set point then you can no co-opt their words to back set point for yourself. That’s NOT how that works. That’s not logic. That’s not reason. You can no put words into their mouth like that. You are not them. Stop speaking for them.

          • Exadyne

            I’ve literally listened to Lyle say “there’s argument over whether there is setpoint or settling point and the truth is there is both. That’s the most complete model.”
            Yet you’re saying he doesn’t acknowledge set point?

          • Tim

            Source with a link please. You can’t even seem to take what I’ve said in one post and carry that knowledge to the next post (you’ve literally reasked me info like 2-3 times now that I already answered) so I’m sorry if I don’t trust your word. Prove he said that. Prove he backs setpoint.

          • Exadyne

            On Youtube or if you search for Icecream4PRs podcast on itunes or in Google for IceCream4PRs site:
            Interview With Lyle McDonald | Part 2 | Reverse Dieting, Metabolic Damage & Training Volume
            First question
            I’m putting the title information because MFP might block a direct link, so I’ll direct link the YouTube in a separate post.

          • Tim

            I’ll try to remember to do this tonight since I can’t at the moment. At work right at the moment.

          • Exadyne

            At this point, it strikes me that perhaps you’re thinking metabolic damage has zero scientific evidence (generally true), and confusing that with set point. Metabolic damage is the claim being made about The Biggest Loser Study.

          • Exadyne

            Considered you might just not have understood what Set Point Model is?

          • Exadyne

            Eric Helms literally did a YouTube video QA, can you change your set point, and discusses set point and settling point.

          • Tim

            Even if he did that’s not science. Either way sources with links please. Back it up.

          • Tim

            > No, you want to assume you’re right and don’t imagine you can fail at it.

            You asked me up front what I thought about body builders regarding this. I answered that. ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS ARGUE ABOUT IT. When it comes to body builders on this topic I am extremely knowledgeable. Their diets won’t let “setpoint” even be a concern. A fact you have yet to address even a single time. Does the fact they control their diet 24/7/365 bug you so much you can’t address it?

            > What we’d probably agree on is, no male’s setpoint is 40 or 30% body fat.

            I’ve literally told you setpoints don’t exist. What makes you think I’d agree on any set point at all? Once again you prove to me you aren’t really reading my responses.

            I well know what the set point theory is. I’ve read all about it. I also know it’s not peer reviewed science and therefore only in your imagination. It’s not science fact. At all.

            You need to stop replying and go read up on essential body fat. Your lack of knowledge on that is staggering and so much of what you say gives it away.

          • Exadyne

            Nope. I actually would like to educate you about it.

            >I’ve literally told you setpoints don’t exist. What makes you think I’d agree on any set point at all? Once again you prove to me you aren’t really reading my responses.

            Except you’ve acknowledged it. You won’t admit it, but you have. That’s the point in my questions. They’re socratic. If you don’t feel there are human set points, than there is no reason a person can’t become use to living at 6% body fat. That’s part of what set point theory is.

          • Tim

            > Nope. I actually would like to educate you about it.

            You can’t educate someone who knows more than you do. You keep trying to talk setpoint which isn’t scientifically proven in the slightest and has zero peer reviewed studies. Keep pushing unproven stuff on people who know it’s unproven already. I’m sure you’ll teach them how stubbornly you want to prove you don’t know what peer review is.

            > Except you’ve acknowledged it

            Correlation of similar bodily effects that match what I’m saying and what you think setpoint is does not explicitly mean acknowledgement. That’s you taking me talking about something very different and attempting to appropriate it. No. I disagree with any notion of setpoint. Period. Any notion by you that I agree or recognize it is false and a figment of your imagination.

      • Tim

        Post 2:

        There’s another good reason they control their intake this tightly as well. Body builders go on what’s called cuts (low cal diet) and bulks. (high cal diet) When cutting you’re underfeeding your body to burn fat and therefore also underfeeding your body to produce muscle gains. Professional body builders won’t put on any muscle mass while on that cut and might even lose some strength. However, a bulk is calories in excess in order to feed your body fully which optimizes the nutrition to your muscles to heal from your workouts and grow in both strength and mass. An important note is the aggressiveness of the bulk (how much of a calorie surplus) will determine how much fat they gain during this bulk. Bulks are always accompanies by fat gain but smaller calorie surpluses can slightly control that. It’s important to note that this bulk/cut cycle is considered the fastest way to grow muscle and improve your look compared to slower recomp methods.

        • Exadyne

          I know what cuts and bulks are. There’s also recomposition.
          Some people don’t care about getting bigger. A lot of bodybuilders would like to just be stage lean all year round. Overwhelming, in fact, I’d say 100% – we don’t see them do that, at least not in naturals. Marten Berkhan started his self trials in lean gains to optimize staying at lean levels.
          I’m asking specifically, without regard to gaining muscle, why don’t bodybuilders stay stage lean.

          • Tim

            I already answered this. They don’t want to for goal reasons and for hormonal health reasons.

            Also just because recomp’s exist doesn’t mean most people do them. People who seriously body build for competition overwhelmingly do bulk/cut cycles because it’s considered far more efficient for the time put in compared to recomp strategies. You simply build less muscle in the same time frame as a full bulk and cut. So despite the fact recomps are a thing most body builders come off a competition will switch to a full bulk and won’t stay lean because they don’t want to since it doesn’t fit their current goal.

            Absolutely nothing about a body builders leanness, or fatness is outside of their plan or their control or outside of a long term fitness and body composition plan. Nothing at all about body builders supports setpoint since they aren’t just coming off a diet and winging it and becoming surprised by what their bodies do. They come off right into another type of diet entirely. This is a 365 day a year thing for them.

          • Exadyne

            Your answer implies 100% of bodybuilders have zero interest in staying stage lean.
            On top of that, for males, they get as low as 5-6% or lower body fat. Most do their bulking in more of an 11-15% range. Why wouldn’t they stay closer to that 5-6%? Why don’t they bulk up to 11%? It would make it so much easier to get back down for a show.
            I’d say you’ve seriously never listened to a contest prepping natural bodybuilder. Hunger absolutely goes up. It is controlled starvation. Many are not in self control post show.

      • Tim

        Post 3:

        So the TLDR version is basically this. At no point is a body builder not keenly aware of his calorie intake and output and it’s always based around achieving a specific goal. (cut/bulk/show prep) Them not staying lean all the time has more to do with that aspect of bodybuilding and the unhealthiness of maintaining “show” levels of body fat not setpoints.

        • Exadyne

          “At no point is a body builder not keenly aware of his calorie intake and output and it’s always based around achieving a specific goal.”
          Yeah, no. That is so not true. Many of them have issues coming back up after the show. The thing that gets them that lean is “being handcuffed to a goal”. Losing that goal usually puts them off the rails.

    • niboned

      Why is everyone talking about the set point theory like it’s an all or nothing proposition? If it’s true, there is till no reason at all to give up on a regimen; all it does is offer a possible explanation for why there is weight regained even though some maintain their regimen. Not enough proof for you? Ok, there’s also not enough proof for you to say it’s got no validity either. To throw it out just because it threatens your view or you feel it somehow invalidates your personal regimen is shortsighted. Take every bit of information for what it is and see if it applies to you. Every new study and discovery helps long term.

      • Tim

        For me it’s because it’s not peer reviewed science. We’ve had literally thousands upon thousands of studies that came out saying something and were later proven false in peer review.

        > all it does is offer a possible explanation for why there is weight regained even though some maintain their regimen.

        While ignoring the obvious one. People Yo-Yo diet (what we used to call it) because they “go on” a diet to lose the weight and then “go off” when they are done returning to the same bad habits that got them there in the first place. It’s a failure to make a life style change not some set point. Their behavior completely explains the fact they gained the weight back. The fact these “setpoint” studies have failed to show it isn’t just them returning to bad habits is why they fail to prove anything.

        Occam’s Razor. The simplest answer tends to be the truth. To me people obviously are returning to their old diet and returning to a calorie surplus and that’s clearly leading to regaining the weight. Not some setpoint we can’t even prove yet.

        > To throw it out just because it threatens your view or you feel it somehow invalidates your personal regimen is shortsighted.

        Not at all what I’m doing.

        > Take every bit of information for what it is and see if it applies to you. Every new study and discovery helps long term.

        You’re giving the study the benefit of the doubt. That’s kind of you. However history shows many studies fail peer review and it’s foolish to give this credit until then while ignoring the far more obvious and time tested answer of them return to old eating habits Once upon a time Yo-Yo dieting was widely known to be because of returning to old habits. It was obvious.

        • Walt Corey

          Much of this is, in fact, peer reviewed and derived from actual long term studies such as NHARD I and II and Framingham, to mention two. Again, review Dr Jason Fung, his new book and/or his 6 part series on YouTube.

          • Exadyne

            Jason Fung? The guy who basically claims insulin can create energy out of nothing? Nope.

          • Walt Corey

            Too funny dude. OK Doctor, then I suggest you review National Institute of Health (NIH) and the search term “adaptive thermogenesis”.

          • Exadyne

            Already familiar with the term adaptive thermogenesis. It doesn’t involve creating energy out of nothing. It involves down regulating things, some might be enzymatic production. Some, perhaps a lot, is changes in behavioral cues for movement (changes in NEAT). In studies, it happens while dieting.
            The biggest loser study claims that there was metabolic damage – that adaptive thermogenesis persisted in a non-dieting state, that was what was novel about it. You’d also find it has nothing to do with insulin. In fact, one of the main researchers for that study, Kevin Hall, of the NIH, did specific studies disproving the insulin hypothesis.
            As for the biggest loser study, the predicted RMR based on their line fitting equation looks bad. It predicts some incredibly high RMR’s for people who have never dieted. It also has been questioned if the people in the study were truly weight stable at the time their RMR was measured or if some may have been dieting prior to the lead-in period.

            Set point models do involve adaptive thermogensis, but they’re hardly going to involve insulin hypothesis stuff. Getting lean puts insulin sensitivity through the roof for most subjects – so if Fung was right about insulin, we’d see it getting easier and easier to get lean the leander you are – that weight loss would and gain would be positive feedback loops instead of negative ones. That’s the opposite of what set point is.

          • Walt Corey

            I, actually, don’t understand why you claim Fung says insulin generates energy all by itself. That is scientifically impossible, it’s the whole “matter is neither created nor destroyed”. I’ve watched his 6 part series, several times as some of it takes thought to comprehend and, frankly, some of it I don’t comprehend, and read his book twice. He never said anything close to that.

          • Exadyne

            The context is he’s an insulin hypothesis guy. He thinks that different levels of insulin on isocaloric diets are going to get different body mass results. Once protein is matched, you won’t get appreciable differences in fat loss between low carb, high carb, high glycemic, low glycemic. To say insulin overrides actual energy coming in and going out is denying thermodynamics.
            It also goes against actual epidemeological data. We introduced refined sugar regularly into the diets in the Victorian era. People in the 1910s-1930s ate more carbohydrates than we do now. Yet the obesity crisis really began post WWII – insulin hypothesis folks like Fung, Taubes, Lustig, and Ludwig all want to claim it only started in the 1980s with the low-fat diet guidelines. Problem is, the guidelines came out in reaction to the obesity trend being spotted back then, not creating it. The insulin crowd wants to rewrite history to match their hypothesis instead of change their minds to fit the facts.

          • Walt Corey

            I do not mean this in a condescending way but you haven’t actually read his book or seen his 6 part series have you? He right up front in both clearly acknowledges there are and have been cultures eating predominately high carb diets with zero diabetes. The Cliff Notes version is the difference in those cases and your 1900’s case is they were not refined carbs. Further, I suggest in the 1900’s, pre industrialized society, the people were physically far more active. He acknowledges there are people who can ‘eat donuts’ all day long as well as those that, figuratively speaking, gain weight simply by thinking about donuts. Pg 103 ‘Obesity Code”, “The Carbohydrate-Insulin Hypothesis Was Incomplete

            The Carbohydrate-Insulin Hypothesis, the idea that carbolhydrates cause weight gain because of insulin secretion, was not exactly wrong. Carbohydrate rich foods certainly do increase insulin levels to a greater extent than other macro-nutrients. High insulin certainly does lead to obesity. However, this hypothesis is incomplete. There are many problems with the paradox of the Asian rice eaters being the most obvious….yet until recently obesity remained quite rare in these populations”. He then goes on to discuss the INTERMAP study. He ends that section with “Insulin and obesity are still causally linked. However, it is not at all clear that high carbohydrate intake is always the primary cause of high insulin levels…A critical piece of the puzzle had been neglected. Specifically, sugar plays a crucial role in obesity”, but how does it all fit in? The missing link was insulin resistance”.

            So, you see now how you are simply wrong on the facts? That is what happens when one runs off not knowing the facts but only enough opinion to support their belief.

            Honestly, whatever your name really is. The book is inexpensive, the six part You Tube series is free. They converge in places and diverge in other places. Please read / hear what he actually says before you dismiss, out of hand, what you think he meant.

            What you’ve been advocating is the poster child of ‘a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing’. This, btw, is the issue with the 10 sec sound bite. It takes a snippet of what somebody said, devoid of context, and used to justify the opinion of the reporter or the opinion of their editorial staff. In the subtext he tries to explain the differences between causal relationships and proximal relationships.

          • Exadyne

            Except, they were refined. We didn’t magically start refining carbs post WW2. I particularly pointed out, refined sugar was common as of the Victorian Era. Yeah, you’re conceding because you expect me to go read a whole book based on disproven premise to have a discussion with minutia in it that is wrong and I’ve already stated is wrong in this conversation but YOU missed.

            The insulin hypothesis is wrong. Dead wrong. The people in love with it want to move goal posts. Nope. Equal calories, metabolic ward studies with controlled diets, calories are what happens.

            Millions of people are obese without insulin resistance. There are insulin resistant people who are lean. You can treat diabetes with weight loss. You cannot change weight via insulin.

          • Walt Corey

            You are mistaken sir. I am not conceding Jack. Tell ya what, stop body building or exercising for, oh, six months. Oh, I got two words for you, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m going to take a wild stab at this, your body and his, current, body are wildly different. You are desperately clinging to opinions. As Neal DeGrasse Tyson so eloquently put it, “Science does not require your belief in it”.

          • Exadyne

            First, I have no clue what your bodybuilding comments about me and Arnold are even supposed to mean. If I stop working out, yes, I’ll lose muscle mass as I’ll stop putting the stimulus on the muscles. If I continue to track my diet during that time with calories, I can still keep losing weight, but I won’t be able to force the composition of muscle to remain, even with adequate protein. Nothing I said has contradicted that, so you’ll need to elaborate what you think you’re talking about.
            Not clinging to opinions. I’m clinging to actual data and experimentation. Look up the Kevin Hall metabolic ward study.
            And it was supposed to be condescending before auto-correct mangled it. Because you are condescending for telling me to waste time one someone who’s started with a false premise (calories don’t matter), to try to show I’m wrong about something that I already addressed but you missed – Victorian era, we already had refined sugar. We also still have rising obesity rates, but added sugar in the diet is down since the 2000s.
            The odd thing is, you’re trying to tell me I’m arguing an opinion, but you’re the one falling back to “this guy is a doctor”. That’s the height of taking opinion over facts. I’ve actually looked at the studies. I’ve actually lost the weight personally. You actually have the belief system – that Fung is right because he’s a doctor. He’s cherry picked things like other insulin hypothesis advocates, and in some cases romanticized conditions in prior times.

          • Walt Corey

            I am not a doctor, I am not a medical researcher. I do, however, have a horse in the race. Someone can espouse complete BS and, likely, I won’t be able to call them on as as I wouldn’t know any better. In this case I do. Sure, if it were one doctor, especially a TV doc like Oz, OK maybe they are peddling something. However, in this case you are arguing with, at least, four doctors that have done extensive research on the subject and, as I have read and heard what they have to say, I CAN call you out on it.

            “He’s cherry picking”. How that frack can you say that when you don’t actually even know what he does say??????
            I don’t honestly care if you read his book or not. You could spend six hours of your life and listen to his six part series and, at least, then, having seen the vast research he cites, have a basis to challenge his conclusions. But, it’s not just Fung, it’s Mosley, Taylor, Kraft and a host of others that conclude the same exact thing. So, I am the wrong person to be standing in for them. Or, put differently. I have better things to do than to stand in for them. Look up Fung’s email, it’s available and take it up with him.

            My point about Arnie is he stopped working out and virtually immediately turned to seed. As that relates to you, my guess is you exercise more than 95% of the globe’s population. Your world is distinctly different than most. As for thin people can be diabetic…Read Mosley. He calls himself ToFi, thin outside, fat inside. He even published his MRI of his pancreas encased in viceral and intraorgan fat. He was, on the outside, thin.

            It is clear to me you won’t let facts get in the way of your opinions. I refuse to make that my problem.

          • Exadyne

            He’s cherry-picking the data and diets he’s looking at. I know because he and those 4 other doctors come to conclusions that go against the dietary establishment. If you’re going to make games about how much more doctors know, consider that the overwhelming consensus amongst dietitians and clinical researchers on obesity, is, in fact, that calories control weight.
            Cherry-picking includes ignoring the number of low carb diets that fail and then talking about diets don’t work, 98% failure. Cherry-pick and ignore that every time they do a metabolic ward study, calories in versus out is exactly what controls weight.
            I’ve never said thin people can’t be diabetic. I distinctly said, lose 10% of weight, at is almost guaranteed to reverse prediabetes and diabetes. They may sound similar, but they are different claims.
            My exercising has nothing to do with whether calorie counting works or not, it just changes the number of calories I have to work with. Most people who maintain weight loss do exercise at least some intentionally according to the NWCR – it has to do with activity giving a little extra margin of calories versus the typical sedentary lifestyle in a lot of western countries.
            Arnold didn’t just stop working out. He also stopped managing his diet. He also probably stopped the anabolics he was taking. There’s a lot that changed in Arnold while he was governor. I’m guessing you’re referring to that time period as he’s been back to working out.

          • Walt Corey

            OK, as this actually does relate to me…

            “lose 10% of weight, at is almost guaranteed to reverse prediabetes and diabetes”… So my second A1C was 5.8, down from 8.5. Cool, continuing with what appeared to be working and continuing to lose weight at the 2-3lb/wk rate, in 3 months hence, now we’re in Dec, having lost another 30lbs, over 10% my A1C spiked up to 6.0. Depending on whether one follows the US guidelines or UK guidelines 6.0 is either back to prediabetic or just on the cusp of becomingt prediabetic. Between then and now, about 6 months I’ve lost another 40lbs. That’s with 2 plateaus. It was late May when I discovered (read Fung, Mosley, and Kraft) the problem wasn’t so much how much I was eating, rather WHAT I was eating, specifically being refined carbohydrates. So, here we are. An A1C give the average of 3 months and for about the last 30 days I’ve eliminated bread (white flour) and sugar products. I’ve eliminated fake sugars as, while they don’t contribute to blood glucose they do spike insulin, or so the current thinking goes. Prior to this new approach, just randomly testing my blood, my readings were 79 to, say, 89, with the rare yet present occasional trips to 105, once 110. Having cut out refined carbs I am hard pressed to see a value below 103. This is unexpected and none too welcome.

            Do I think Jason Fung is Gospel deTruth? Nope. Do I give him deference as his stmts are always accompanied with their reference to published data that several other doctors and researchers reference as well, yes I do.

            But I am at a loss to explain why now my blood sugars are in the low 100’s rather than mid 80’s, especially considering I am, even more aggressively, still dieting (total calorie wise) but also specifically targeting simple carbs. I’ve also incorporated the Roy Taylor, Michael Mosley 8 week 800 calorie / day diet. To, hopefully, maximize my chances of unwinding insulin resistance I take those 800 calories within a 2 hr windows ever day. Fung calls that a 24 hr intermittent fast others a 22:2 fast, as I think it incredibly difficult to end dinner at 8pm and start the next dinner at 8pm. Insulin resistance is the product of persistent high insulin levels. Cutting either, or ideally both, should end the vicious cycle.

            So, yes, I am motivated to solve this problem.

          • Exadyne

            A1C is the kind of marker that is going to take longer to respond to treatment.
            Artificial sweeteners don’t spike insulin in most controlled studies. Poor studies will show they do because they don’t compare them to a control false stimulus. You have to keep in mind – and my understanding this is especially true for diabetics, so possibly for those with prediabetes too – insulin will even react to circadian rhythms and anticipation. If you eat dinner at 6 PM on the clock every single day, chances are good your insulin actually spikes at 5-6 PM everyday.

            If your numbers are worse, the one thing I’d look at if you’re aggressively reducing carbs or unrefined carbs is if you’ve increased saturated fat and decreased polyunsaturated fat. There are several studies that reducing saturated fat, or particularly replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, improve insulin sensitivity.

          • Walt Corey

            I am familiar with all of that. However fats, while they do raise insulin levels, does so every so slightly compared to refined carbs and protein.. From worst to best insulin reaction, refined carbs, proteins, fat. Actually, I am not so much ‘aggressively’ reducing complex carbs. I up upped my salads and veggies markedly over what I used to. Unlike refined carbs which refined away fiber as well as nutrients, the fiber in complex carbs actually reduces the hit on insulin compared to refined. But, that said, it may well be, now you mentioned it, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, brussel sprouts, may still spike insulin more than protein. However, and this is interesting. What I do use MFP for now is nutritional balance over time, i.e. carb, sugar, fiber, protein, fat. carbs are reduced, sugar is extremely reduced, fiber…even taking Metamucil, is pathetically low. Fats are pretty much right where they should be. Short of eating tree bark, not quite sure what to do about that.

            My other comment, fwiw, was referring to the conversation where I am placed in the roll of surrogate/proxy for Fung, Mosley, Kraft, Taylor. Every reference Fung made that I verified, he accurately represented it. But I don’t want to be in a position of ‘grading his paper’ so to speak. If you don’t mind me asking, you seem way better versed in this subject to likely most people on here, aside from being a bodybuilder, which could be professional or avocational, where Exadyne is a software company in Ca, what is your ‘day job’? I certainly don’t mind discussing things as it relates to me as, yes, you do seem knowledgable and yes, I have a looming issue and you may well have tremendous insight. Oh, I did check the actual research study document, the pdf, from the Bl followup study. Nowhere was there a mention of the word ‘damage’ as in ‘damaged metabolism’.

            I do also want to ask you as, from what I can tell, in the bodybuilding community there appears to be a good following for fasting, eat stop eat and lean-something to be two of the references written specifically for BB’ers. This is one area where I don’t know that I believe Fung as it relates to the bounding energy of people on a fast. The last 2 weeks I have not gone to the gym which may be the issue with the raised BG numbers as once I started the 22:2 I am so dragging butt at the gym, no bounding energy here. Thoughts?

          • Exadyne

            The point about fats isn’t how they impact insulin as a response. You’re thinking short term reactions.
            I’m talking long term dietary changes. Changing the dietary consistency has an effect overtime of changing the insulin sensitivity of cells. Now, as it epidemiologic data, I can’t say the mechanisms, but it could be things like changing the reactivity of various cells based on changing the composition of the cell walls, and that allows more or less insulin signalling. In particular, reducing saturated fat seems to sensitize both liver and muscle cells to insulin. It could be that reduced saturated fat requires the body to donate more of its own saturated fat stores to make up shortfalls for essential hormone production, and perhaps this preferentially comes from visceral components like pancreas and liver. Again, I can’t say the mechanism, just that there is epidemiology for it, that it is a long term (months to years of diet change), and in that sense, it can’t be short term changes in how much it does or doesn’t cause short term insulin signalling.

            I’m actually a software developer by trade (not related to the Exadyne company), but as I’ve lost weight, the same kind of obsessive personality that impacts coding drives me to understand the hows, and frustratingly the whys (I think we have very abysmal understanding of the behavior of weight loss, and I think that is the biggest reason we fail rather than lack of understanding mechanics).
            And while I am more muscled than the general population, I’ve only been lifting a few years, with dieting limiting some of the progress I could be making. I tend to agree with Lyle’s thoughts that a lot of the bodybuilding community can be poor to listen to – it is overwhelmed by bro-science and people who, frankly, aren’t very representative of what will work for the general public – you tell a bodybuilder to live on chicken, broccoli, and rice, and a lot of them will just do it, even towards detrimental levels.
            I do see fasting as one mechanism people have personally experimented with to try and deal with, oddly enough, set point. Martin Berkhan – who is actually an evidence / science based person, not a bro-sciencer – generally popularized it was he was trying to deal with the physiology that drives psychology when a person gets very lean. Generally, it seems to mostly be about psychological benefits to fasting – a person creates mental blinders about food during certain hours, which limits the food ideation that happens while lean, and then allows more food during the feeding window, which lets a person have normal or even largish meals in the window that also limits food ideation by temporarily making the body feel like it is in a surplus.

            I will say I recently saw a few studies that did suggest fewer meals _might_ increase insulin sensitivity, but there are few good studies on the subject. Plus most studies tend to compare ridiculous protocols like eating 2 times a day versus 6 meals or 12 meals or 14 meals. At 14 meals, I think you’re just wearing one of those beer helmets with some kind of liquid food like Soylent hooked up, or else you’re spending your entire life in a kitchen.

          • Walt Corey

            Interesting! Actually I do enjoy some aspects of our conversations. The singular part I do not enjoy is being thrust into the role of defending Fung to someone with only hearsay knowledge of what he’s said and the context in which he said it. I don’t know exactly how long yesterday we were back and forthing it but it was in excess of 5 hours. In 5 hours you could have pretty much gotten through the 6 hour series. I was in the middle of listening to the YouTube Kevin Hall was being interviewed on. Fung, actually speaks very highly of Hall. He does disagree with him slightly on the take-away from the metabolic ward study. Here…

            “In a related poster, Hall presents data on the ketogenic diet. He measured fat loss on patients in his metabolic ward. He used either a regular diet or a ketogenic (very low carbohydrate diet). He showed that the ketogenic diet lowered insulin levels, people burned fat (measured by fat oxidation) and people lost more weight. Great. However, his fancy measurements of body fat also showed that the rate of body fat loss slowed down. So he said that this ‘proved’ that there is no metabolic advantage to ketogenic diets.

            Nonsense. I have my doubts whether this DXA scan can actually detect the fractions of pounds of fat lost. Anyway, the main point is that people lost weight and were still losing fat. However, what he mentions in passing is far more interesting. He notes that the ketogenic diet did not produce any slowing of the metabolism.

            That’s the gold medal, buddy!

            Over 25 days or so, there is no slowing of metabolism??? That’s the most important part of long term weight loss! That’s the knife edge between success and failure. The difference between tears of joy and tears of sorrow. In the Biggest Loser, contestants had dropped their basal metabolic rate by 500 calories per day. In the ketogenic diet, they are still burning the same amount – EVEN AS THEY ARE LOSING WEIGHT.

            So, let’s recap

            Caloric Reduction as Primary strategy puts you into starvation mode.

            The key to losing weight in the long term is maintaining basal metabolism, or keeping ‘Calories Out’ high.

            Failure rate of Eat Less, Move More is proven to be 99% or so. This remains the diet advice favored by most physicians and dieticians.

            Actual starvation (fasting or bariatric surgery) does not put you into starvation mode

            Ketogenic diets do not you into starvation mode

            Share the post “The Biggest Loser Diet – Explained!””

            I was on atkins several times and quit as I spent too long being too constipated. Plus with those keto stiks, I rarely say anything that came close to blue. Maybe if I squinted just right and held it up to a hi intensity lamp it might have been ever so slightly blue shifted. Fung does not advocate ketogenics. He doesn’t poo poo all carbs, only simple ones whereas Atkins poo poo all carbs, at least in the induction phase. Well, less than either 10 or 20gr. While I was on it though, I did lose tons of weight, which came right back after I was off it.

            I retired from software engineering after 45 years of doing it.

            What, specifically, I wanted to run by you was the whole fasting thing. Fung and I assume the BB advocates for it talking about workouts while in fasting state, talk about the bounding energy levels. That isn’t my experience. In fact, in my effort to continue my 600+ calorie burn on several occasions I called it at 450 cal because I was spent. Also, and more disturbing, my feet, esp, were freezing at night. The singular reference Fung made to that was to a poster on his blog reporting the same thing and his response was “no, that is not good, try changing your fasting interval’ or words to that effect. My core temp is down a full degree and the cold appendages stricks me as metabolic slow down which he categorically states will not occur. Clearly there is a disconnect. So, no, it is not the case I’ve swallowed the entire hook,line,and sinker. Maybe what I will be forced to do is assume whatever Mifflin-St. Jeor tells me my BMR is, I should subtract 700 cal from and and proceed from there. So in MFP terms, that is telling it, rather than maintain my weight I want to lose 1 1/2 lbs/wk.

            I never thought of myself as having an obsessive personality but, upon reflection perhaps I do. So, yeah, once they diagnosed me I went into full on ‘science the sh*t out of it” mode. I, originally, thought metabolic rate, be it TEE, REE, BMR BMR+Benedict-Harris, was immutable. I remember telling that to my dietician and that, ‘based upon the anecdotal evidence, it is so not immutable’ to which I got a blank stare back. Perhaps that was the ‘we are out of time’ response. The little ‘cartoon bubble’ over my head was thinking, ‘so exactly why am I paying you then’? So if you’ve picked up on a degree of contempt for the dietician community, that is largely it. Of the three sessions I’ve had with her, by far, I’ve done most of the talking, specifically telling her about the New Castle studies. The only thing I remember her telling me was “you are diabetic, you will always be diabetic, eventually on pills then, ultimately, on insulin”. Wait! T2D is caused not be obesity but insulin resistance. Giving a T2D insulin is going to make them worse, not better. As Fung said, “if you don’t understand the cause of a disease, you have no chance of curing it”. And Dr Taylor (New Castle) definitively proved it could be reversed. I am not quite sure why they say reverse not cure. I mean, a Dr can cure an STD, but that doesn’t mean you can never get one again.

          • Walt Corey

            If I misquoted you re: control diabetes with diet, I apologize.

          • Exadyne

            The Arnie point kind of tickled a fun trivia fact from my memory. Do you know what pro bodybuilder stacks all tend to include these days? Insulin. I’m guessing you were unaware, but take a look. At the extremes of bodybuilding, they actually inject insulin. The exact timing requirements on it actually limit competition level people to avoiding social activity to be at home to use it.
            Clearly, this is making pro bodybuilders fatter than ever. The Mr. Olympia competition features guys who are just insanely obese every year – kind of joking, because technically, they do meet the literal obese BMI.

          • Walt Corey

            I was just drawn to your comment “added sugar in the diet is down since the 2000’s” WHAT? Have you been down the cereal isle lately? Food processors have gotten much smarter, sugar is now being renamed all sorts of ***ose, and other non-obvious synomyms in an attempt to remove “S U G A R” as the first ingredient. Second, to Tim’s point, I, too, see nothing behind any of your claims…not one referenceable basis. When do you suppose the literal explosion in childhood T2D took place? I’d say since 2000.
            You claim a minimum of 4 doctors references in tow and researchers are all wrong yet you provide nothing but supposition to support your claim. Don’t you see a problem there?

          • Exadyne

            They aren’t renaming things with -ose, -ose is the suffix that means sugar. Seriously, you’re trying to lecture me and you don’t understand that about chemistry naming?
            On top of that, randomly reviewing cereal aisles after a quack “wakes” you up to about sugar isn’t a controlled method for accounting how much added sugar is in the food supply.

            I’d link to the whole health source blog about it but unfortunately MFP blog moderation removes links because they seem afraid of people actually providing factual claims. Best I can do is way to Google Whole Health Source Carbohydrate Sugar and the first link should take you there. It is all based on USDA data.

          • Walt Corey

            No, they are renaming the letters sugar to something to distract comsumers looking for the words s u g a r and not finding them in the first couple. clever marketers. OK, fair enough, I will google your souirce please reconstruct this u r l

            www cdc gov nchs data hestat obesity_adult_07_08 obesity_adult_07_08 dot hotel tango mike

            there are two occurrences of obesity_adult_07_08 separated by a forward slash.

          • Exadyne

            Seriously? No, seriously, just stop. -ose is a Latin suffix meaning “full of” used in chemistry. It literally means sugar when used as a suffix in biochemistry. Lactose, fructose, sucrose, galactose, dextrose / glucose. These are the names for the common simples sugars.
            Seriously Google ose, look at the first wikipedia page on it. It is biochemistry. It isn’t a trick. it is the chemical nomenclature. Using ose is actually probably more informative rather than less as there are some uncommon metabolic disorders where people have issues with specific sugars where knowing type of -ose is a pretty quick and clear cut way to know if it will be a problem. The most common one being lactose intolerances where instead of having to skim for dairy in the ingredients, just seeing the word lactose will tell a lactose intolerant person they can’t drink it without some kind of lactase pill.

            I don’t see what hte pravelance of Overweight, Obesity and Extreme Obesity 1960-1962 through 2007-2008 is supposed to show.
            Looking at nigeepoo the elephant in the room will show you what BMI has done since the 1860s. The BMI starts upticking substantially post WW2.

          • Walt Corey


            same usda pdf source

            America’s sweet tooth increased 39 percent between 1950–59 and 2000 as use of corn sweeteners octupled

            Corn sweeteners are characterized as follows:



            Same pdf from usda
            “USDA recommends that the average person
            on a 2,000-calorie daily diet include
            no more than 40 grams of added sugars.
            That’s about 10 teaspoons, or the amount
            of sugar in a 12-ounce soft drink. Sugar—
            including sucrose, corn sweeteners, honey,
            maple syrup, and molasses—is ubiquitous
            and often hidden. In a sense, sugar is the
            number one food additive. It turns up in
            some unlikely places, such as pizza, bread,
            hot dogs, boxed mixed rice, soup, crackers,
            spaghetti sauce, lunch meat, canned
            vegetables, fruit drinks, flavored yogurt,
            ketchup, salad dressing, mayonnaise,
            and some peanut butter. Carbonated sodas
            provided more than a fifth (22 percent)
            of the refined and added sugars in
            the 2000 American food supply, compared
            with 16 percent in 1970.”

          • Walt Corey

            My bad, I saw the chart on the following page on obesity which, btw, tends to agree with your chart on obesity. Here is what Fung actually said on the correct page. Regarding 1977 guidelines, “With all our attention focused on fat, we took our eyes off the ball. Everything was low fat or low cholesterol and nobody was paying attention to sugar. Food processors, figuring this out increased the added sugars in processor food for flavor. Refined grain consumption increased by over 45%. Since carbohydrates in NA tended to be refined we ate more and more low fat bread and pasta, not cauliflower and kale”.

            usda gov factbook chapter2.pdf

          • Walt Corey

            “You cannot change weight via insulin.”

            That is precisely how science keeps T1D from turning into “the melting down of flesh and limbs into urine”, Arateus, 150AD.

          • Exadyne

            So give a T1D insulin, feed them nothing. They gain weight?

            Early levels of diabetes and pre-diabetes will return to normal markers for all things if they drop 10% of their weight. So long as that weight loss is sustained, it works. Keeping weight off is hard, but that isn’t because insulin is magic. It is because changing habits are hard.

          • Walt Corey

            I think you’re taking what Fung says way out of context. It looks like, from your (um) conversation with Tim, you are focused on this subject from the perspective of bodybuidling/weight lifting. Fung is coming at this from the perspective of a Nephrologist. What led him into the whole Aetiology of Obesity is determining the cause of patients in End Stage Renal failure which was generally the proximal reason not the causal reason. This, in turn led him to obesity and that to diabetes. I’ll take a wild guess and say the people you are referring to are anything but obese and, likely, don’t have diabetes either. If you read the NIH article there is no reference to AT being ‘damage’, rather the body’s response to an altered weight. Giving a normal weight person insulin will make them heavier, dare I say fat (if you do it long enough). Further he gives evidence that one can artificially induce insulin resistance w/i 4 days. As I recall it was 4 days, maybe it was a week but very short order. Insulin resistance is marked by high serum glucose levels in the blood. Insulin production itself is indicative by measuring c-peptide levels in fasting blood. Normal blood tests to test for that. The other thing about Fung which you appear to totally ignore is virtually nothing of what he says or implies is not clearly fact based as evidenced by multiple long term studies statistically measured performed not only in the US but in multiple locations around the globe. I’ve run across no instance where he has said “trust me as I am a doctor”. Yes, I acknowledge that was part of yours and Tim’s conversation. Fung’s claim that the ‘crap’ (calorie reduction as primary) fails 98% of the time. That may be a tad hyperbolic as I’ve seen other references to 90% of the time. So whether it is 90% or 98%, CI/CO diets fail a huge proportion of the time. This is statistics not “trust me as I am the expert”. Insulin, as a hormone, instructs the body to stop making fat as well as to aid in glucose uptake. If, due to insulin resistance, more insulin is produced to try to drive glucose into the cells. Grab the book (Obesity Code) and go to pg 239. for the steps of metabolism. Then start on pg 1. Really, maybe it won’t change your mind but then, maybe it will.

          • Exadyne

            Nope. Give a person on an isocaloric diet insulin, you won’t make them fatter. Coming at it as a nephrologist is entirely the problem – he’s focused on his tiny area that he doesn’t want to look at the body system. He cherry picks compliance data and comes up with cute acronyms to demonize other plans to fit his thoughts instead of changing his mind based on the limitations of the data.
            What you don’t realize is, low carb diets have just as bad, if not worse rates. You’re just listening to him rattle off his short term (several months) rates versus the “common wisdom” of how often diets fail in the long term. Except, there isn’t really evidence that 95% of diets fail – the number comes from one study done in the 1950s that amounted to giving out a pamphlet with some advice and seeing how many people were still overweight 3 years later.
            Also, CICO isn’t a diet. Calorie counting is a diet that uses CICO. I guarantee, if you actually force someone to meet their CICO targets, you’ll lose weight 100% of the time. You might make someone miserable, you might not get compliance unless the alternative is prison ALA the Minnesota Starvation Experiments, but I do guarantee that you can continuously cut calories and drop weight off someone – anything else is claiming starvation just doesn’t happen.

            Also: “Insulin, as a hormone, instructs the body to stop making fat as” I think you mean instructs the body to stop utilizing fat. Insulin will signal fat cells to take up fatty acids to make triglycerides, the storage form of fat. It also isn’t the only pathway that will cause fat cells to take up fatty acids.
            The other thing is, insulin resistance is going to drive using fat for fuel. If resistant, cells will stop using glucose – yes that will elevate glucose levels, but it also means, as the body must use some kind of energy to live, that it will continue to burn more fats. Again, it is a kind of negative feedback loop, one generally of a last resort.

            You’ve also pushed that coming it at the end of a diseased state is the better way to interpret what causes obesity. That’s backwards, you don’t use the end condition someone’s obesity got them into to determine what caused the obesity and see what was broken. That’s like saying we look at broken cars to figure out how to fix one instead of looking at a working car to see what went wrong with the one that is broken. The same kind of methodological errors are why Freud built a misinformed idea of psychology (he theorized based on his patients who all had mental illness), as well as the the failed belief in status thymicolymphaticus causing sudden infant death syndrome in the 1900s that lead to people being wrongly irradiated to reduce their thymus into the 1950s.
            Tim and my coming at it as bodybuilders doesn’t change things – bodybuilders lose weight intentionally. The more knowledegeable ones follow flexible diets based on tracking their macros, and they manage to get to levels of leanness the general population won’t – not many people want to force themselves into castrate hormone levels for the sake wearing a speedo really well for 1 day. Regardless, they manage to lose weight via calorie reduction even at drastic levels, and they manage to increase weight via calories.

          • Walt Corey

            Seriously dude, you are making this too easy. “What you don’t realize is, low carb diets have just as bad, if not worse rates.”

            Obesity Code, pg 215. “There are two prominent findings from all the dietary studies done over the years. First: All diets work. Second: All diets fail…

            I am not a body builder, at least not in the way you and Tim are but by your saying that you imply something incredibly important. You two are not on diets, well, not beyond the fact a diet is simply what one eats. Diet, as a verb, implies a temporary change in what one eats. Yes, I agree, you are clearly an intelligent person. I mean, it’s clear. And you have a tad smidge of humor in there as well. I am absolutely convinced that if all biggest loser contestants kept up even a fraction of their exercise regiment and stayed pretty close to their caloric budget they wouldn’t gave a pound nor lose a pound. That said, yes, if they went back to their pre-Biggest Loser diet, yes regaining the weight would be no big surprise. As one loses weight the BMR or REE will drop as there is less of them. So had they adjusted their caloric intake to reflect their new weight then, yes, a rapid regaining of weight would be an unwelcome surprise.

            This will take a few sentences. Here’s what I did. As I’ve said elsewhere I retired Jan 31, 2015, at 305. Eating the same diet as I previously had, san whatever I’d have for lunch at work, between Feb 1st and July 14th I lost 20 lbs. I loaded MFP, joined a gym and after perhaps a month of building up to it, I’d do cardio six days a week at what the machine told me was 660 calories burned. In addition, for 3 days/wk I added strength training. As my weight dropped I adjusted it in MFP, keeping it set to lose 2 lbs/wk and would tell the treadmill my new weight. As it became easier to get to 660cal/hr I’d up the program level and/or speed to maintain that calorie ‘deficit’. But just as Fung said (I didn’t read or even know about him until about 6 – 8 weeks ago) I hit the plateau. MFP, programmatically, won’t set a male’s caloric budget below 1500. I thought that was it so I computered Miflin-St Jeor manually and used that as my REE, adjiusting for sedentary life style so I could factor in calories burned at the gym as 1lb/wk. Up until the plateau I was pretty consistently losing between 2 and 3 lbs/wk. Then it went to zero for no apparent reason. After lowering my caloric intake to match my predicted REE my weight loss resumed, at a far lessor rate. In June my Dr ordered an A1C as fasting BG was high. It was 8.5. This was a driver. By Sept my A1C was 5.8. As soon as I was diagnosed I ‘scienced the sh*t out of it” (shameless plug for ‘The Martian’). Still no Fung, still no Mosley but I did find Roy Taylor and New Castle, England. A diagnosis of T2D was not permanent. 8.5 to 5.8 in 3 months. Subsequent to that, perhaps leading up to the first plateau, I happened across the 6 part series of Fung. Ya mean this is going to all come back??? Holy Sh*t batman. So, at this point I got religion. I should point out up until that June’s FBG mine had always been 85 +/-. This is something else Fung accurately reported. The lead-in to diabetes diagnosis is a pretty flat (ever so slightly inclined) FBG then a precipitous vertical rise. SO, thankfully, I caught this just as it happened. However, given what Dr Joseph Kraft researched (found him quite by accident too) my descent into T2D started well before my FBG changed, like maybe a decade or more before.

            So, even though I’ve been a gym rat for about a year now, I don’t want that to be my lifestyle going forward. Nor do I want to go back to my old weight. I believe where I am now is I am seriously insulin resistant. As for my Dr and dietician, they are both of the age where people were taught Diabetes is a Chronic Progressive disease and I should take solace I am not requiring insulin YET. That clearly is not the current thinking, nor has it been for some time.
            So I am not doing this to look good in a speedo, I am doing this to not have a foot amputated before I have end stage renal failure.

          • RLT

            Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing your journey, and congratulations on your weight loss so far, and to come.

            I found this MFP article informative and helpful. It’s given me several ideas for breaking my current plateau.

        • StephanieJCW

          I can see your point. For me weight gain wasn’t going back to me “old diet”. It’s when i changed country and my entire lifestyle changed (more socialising / more going out, more eating out / more dining out / more booze = weight gain.) Ironically my social life was great for my mental health, but not for my gut 🙁

    • Exadyne

      Interestingly, I forgot I had Lyle point this out to people discussing set point and settling point recently:
      Set points, settling points and some alternative models: theoretical options to understand how genes and environments combine to regulate body adiposity
      John R. Speakman,1,* David A. Levitsky,2 David B. Allison,3 Molly S. Bray,4 John M. de Castro,5 Deborah J. Clegg,6 John C. Clapham,7 Abdul G. Dulloo,8 Laurence Gruer,9 Sally Haw,10 Johannes Hebebrand,11 Marion M. Hetherington,12 Susanne Higgs,13 Susan A. Jebb,14 Ruth J. F. Loos,15 Simon Luckman,16 Amy Luke,17 Vidya Mohammed-Ali,18 Stephen O’Rahilly,19 Mark Pereira,20 Louis Perusse,21 Tom N. Robinson,22 Barbara Rolls,23 Michael E. Symonds,24 and Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga25

      It can be found on Pubmed. Since MFP makes moderators approve links, I’ll have to double post.

    • Walt Corey

      Tim, MPH is Masters of Public Health and RD is registered dietitian.

    • Exadyne

      So do you have your evidence showing set point has no scientific basis?

  • Ron

    I was chubby-to-fat basically my whole life. I thought it was genetics and there was nothing I could do about it. Then I did some reading and started using MFP. Since then, I’ve gone from 148lbs and ~25% bodyfat to 130lbs and 11% bodyfat with IIFYM (ie flexible dieting) and lifting heavy in the gym. This process took me 2 years to complete healthily.

    People who can’t lose weight and keep it off either don’t know how to do it properly (I recommend reading up on flexible dieting, particularly articles by Layne Norton), or don’t want it badly enough.

    Two keys, IMHO. Firstly, as Darren mentioned below, allow yourself to indulge mindfully. Allow yourself a cookie if you want it, just don’t eat the whole bag, and make sure you track it in MFP! Secondly, if you are fighting hunger, you likely don’t have enough fiber in your diet. You need a minimum of 25g per day, then add more until you are no longer hungry.

    Finally, pay attention to your body. If your daily calories get so low you are constantly moody or your sex drive disappears, look into “reverse dieting”. This will help you increase your metabolism and get your calories back up, while minimizing fat re-gain. Then you can resume cutting fat until you achieve your goals. There is currently no science to back up reverse dieting, but it worked wonders for me. Your milage may vary.

    Best of luck to everyone on reaching your fitness and health goals.

  • GFJones

    I used a nutritionist for the education and Fitness Pal to track my daily caloric intake. Instead of sports oriented fitness regimes I opted to simply get moving and do as much as I could accomplish each day. When I started I was 280 pounds and feeling like death was near. After a year of dedicated monitoring, I have shed 85 pounds and feel probably as good as a 60 year old should. In the process, I have increased the value of my home by tens of thousands of dollars. I’m not knocking fitness regimes. My efforts where more of an ebb and flow when compared to the fitness disciplines of a gym. My levels of patience were exercised in my approach to fitness as well. Bottom line, I personalized my efforts to suit my lifestyle and did not quit when I slipped up. Persistence is success.

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    • epickett

      Are you saying that your ‘exercise’ was working on your house? I’m trying to figure out what your weight loss has to do with the value of your house…
      Good job on the improved health!

      • Sunkist60

        I completely understand what GF Jones means when he/she said the value of his/her home increased during their weight-loss. He/she means that instead of radically changing his/her habits by going to the gym and doing hardcore workouts, he/she just focused on becoming more active during the day, and in the process, his/her home’s value increased due to the fact that he/she became more active. I am attempting a similar level of activity and have found that my house is more pristine than it normally is. I think when our focus is on increasing our activity level by moving more, we find things around the house to keep us busy moving. This is a great way to keep our set point set rather than going to the gym and then getting burned out and gaining the weight back. Great job GF Jones!

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  • Isaac Mccormick

    I’m sorry, it is all about the sugar the food companies are loading in to our “Fat Free Food/diet foods” you don’t need a nutritionist to know this. Refined sugars are killing us. I cut more than 1/2 the sugar out of my life, and I started losing weight. I don’t track cal, I track sugar.

    Watch the documentary Fed Up and you will understand what the GOVERNMENT is doing to us.

    • patstar5

      I do LCHF, I consume hardly any sugar, natural or processed. I’ve lost 80lbs, I was 12% body fat back in March. Might be even less now. I don’t even use myfitnesspal anymore. I lost the first 20-25lbs the first half of 2015 using the app and just tracking calories but I was always hungry. I switched to LCHF and my hunger went away and I was down to 180 by December without tracking calories!
      I still receive emails from them and decided to look at the comment section. I might start using the app to see if I’m actually eating enough calories or not.

      • Walt Corey

        Agreed. Since I ‘discovered’ LCHF I use MFP predominately to track carb intake, specifically sugar and my fat and protein intake. Calories are almost irrelevant. Again, I will refer to the Jason Fung book and/or 6 part series, specifically the “I can make you fat” and “I can make you thin”, neither of which have anything to do with calories. Should one have an issue with Fung, try Michael Mosley, MD and Roy Taylor, MD, or, I am pretty sure it was Dr George Fisher, who did protracted research on glucose tolerance tests and concluded diabetes could be accurately diagnosed a decade or more before blood sugars rose past the 126 (or whatever) boundary. In other words, early indications of insulin resistance are available long before even prediabetes is diagnosed.

        I put discovered in quotes above as I did successfully do Atkins on several occasions and stopped only because I got tired of being constipated plus, as I was working, I had a very hard time knowing what the composition of what the cafeteria served, by way of sandwiches or sides.

        • patstar5

          I think most people who do Atkins don’t necessarily do high fat. They do low carb high protein and then protein gets turned into glucose. Though it isn’t necessary for one to be in ketosis on LCHF.
          People also limit vegetable intake or do not get enough veggies. It’s pretty important to get those vitamins and minerals. I also make smoothies with unripe bananas for prebiotic fiber.
          I love Jason fung’s work especially on fasting. CICO model is false, it’s time for people to realize that.
          I’ve been trying to get my mom who is a type 2 diabetic on a keto diet. I bought Dr. William Davis’s new wheat belly detox book so she could follow that and she stuck to it for a couple months. She got to cut her metformin in half though she didn’t lose that much weight. Now she’s back eating foods with grains and sugar and has gained more weight and complained about her feet swelling… She tried to get back on and that went away but then she got off again and everything came back…
          It’s frustrating that someone shows improvements eating LCHF but they won’t stick to it. I always get a response like “I’m going to die anyways so I might as well eat what I want.”. Or my dad will say, “Our neighbor eats cereal everyday and chews tobacco and he’s in his 90s”.
          I just think that thinking is flawed. Sure you’re going to die eventually but wouldn’t you want to live an inflammation free life?

          • Walt Corey

            Um, yeah…I completely understand and I have witnessed that myself. What’s even insult to injury, is for those on Medicare things like Metformin and Lantis will drive one right into the donut hole in short order. Something else you can do is google New Castle and Roy Taylor. He did much of the research on reversing diabetes. Michael Mosley’s book 8 Week Blood Sugar Diet is a knock off on Dr Taylor’s research. There are a lot of Drs that have taken their patients from being diabetic, with or without medication to be not diabetic. Yet there are still more doctors who tell their patients Diabetes is a chonic progressive disease. Start with pills, go to insulin, go to more insulin, get extremities amputated, die of renal failure. As Dr Taylor stated, and I am paraphrasing, “it will take some time for them to updates their books used in Medical Schools”. My take, why should I pay someone for professional advice when their advice has been soundly proven to be false? So, I pay them to write scripts for the medicine I want. I can’t blame them for taking the attitude, “I went through college, 4 yrs of medical school, 2 years of internship, 4 years of residency and 7 years of fellowship specialty training, do what I tell you or walk away”. I would likely say the same, except I wouldn’t stop learning new things as they clearly have in so many cases. One’s afflictions are personal to them, it’s all first person to them. To the doctor, it’s someone else.

          • Walt Corey

            I don’t know about that Pat. I recall Dr Atkins talking about the rich and flavorful sauces etc. Protein will also spike your insulin, just to a slightly lessor extent than carbs do. Fats, on the other hand, barely move the needle on insulin. This is why Fung, Mosley, Taylor, Kraft say ‘moderate’ your protein.

        • Walt Corey

          I sit corrected, it wasn’t George Fisher, it was Joseph Kraft, MD.

    • Exadyne

      If you cut out sugar, you’re cutting out calories.
      Plenty of people eat sugar just fine and lose weight. Refined sugars / added sugars are chemically no different than intrinsic sugar.

      • Walt Corey

        The two singularly largest offenders of insulin spiking are sugar and refined (simple) carbohydrates. Cutting them out significantly lowers insulin secretion. Yes Dr Exabyte, it IS about the insulin.

        • La Bandita

          Also sugar is addictive even without the insulin spike.

  • susan stukes

    I like it !!

  • Helen Hines

    I wouldn’t feel so bad if I gained 20 in the course of 10 or plus years. If you’re talking 20 in 1 year, now that would be a big problem.

    • Walt Corey

      Helen, based on the research done in the follow-up study of 14 of the 16 Biggest Loser contestants, the mean (avg) metabolic adaption after even 6 years) was approximately 500 calories/day or +1 lb/wk if you followed MFP ‘maintain current weight’ goal. However, on avg, if you took whatever the daily caloric budget it gives you and subtract 500 calories, then, yes, you could maintain your weight. Again though, that is based on the avg of the 14 contestants, you mileage likely would vary.

  • robinbishop34

    The only reason people fail to lose weight is because they are not in a calorie deficit. When people are losing at a steady rate and then that rate begins to decline, that person is failing to take into account the changing caloric needs for their lighter (selves).

    What is paramount above all else is for each individual to figure their TDEE, and then simply follow a healthy diet at a reasonable deficit below that number… typically 20%. After any significant fat loss, that person will re-figure their TDEE and lower their deficit to apply to the new number.

    Don’t worry about what your metabolism is doing, or not eating at night, or any other gimmicky nonsense that will only serve to confuse you, OR, give you false hope. A calorie deficit is the only way it is done.

    Start right away. Google TDEE calculator and punch in your numbers and be honest. Find a notebook, pen, calculator, and a digital food scale (a MUST), and begin reading labels/portion sizes on everything you eat and write it down. Keep all calories at a 20% below TDEE and stick to it. The fat will melt off, I PROMISE!

    • Walt Corey

      Robin, that is actually not entirely correct. To the extent there is truth there, you are crediting the wrong reason.

      • robinbishop34

        Nope. Everything I said is prima facie reality.

        • Walt Corey

          Actually, no. I will try to explain. But first, a question and a statement. How much weight have you lost by caloric deficit? Now, the statement and disclaimer. I lost somewhat over 100lbs by caloric deficit, CI/CO, whatever you wish to call it. It worked GREAT, right up until it stopped working. As Jason Fung, himself, has said, “all diets work, all diets fail”.

          There is a whole protracted conversation from yesterday I had with Exadyne, I encourage you to read. So, as this is a MFP blog let’s discuss MFP first. This is how MFP manages one’s weight loss/gain program. It knows one’s sex,weight, lifestyle, and goal, maintain, lose, gain and from that computes TEE, and adjusts for lifestyle (Benedict-Harris equation). In my case I wanted to lose 100lbs in one year so I told it 2lbs/week. For quite a while it worked great, as I also was trying to burn an additional lb/wk at the gym my avg drop was 2 1/2lbs/wk. Cool, right? One thing about MFP, for a male it will not drop caloric budget below 1500, for a female, 1200. So once one drops below that threshold plateau as your current adjusted TEE (BMR) is below what MFP has set for your caloric budget. As you point out, that’s easily rectified by doing it manually. The other harsh reality is, as demonstrated by the 6 yr study of Biggest Loser season 14, is adaptive thermogenesis. The main disconnect here is your approach assumes a caloric scale, calories in vs calories out. When the scale is equal homostasis, more calories in than out, weight gain, more calories out than in, weight loss. Except that isn’t precisely how it works. The body isn’t a scale, it’s a thermostat. The human body is designed to be highly adaptive, to seasons, food supplies, weather etc etc. As it relates to dieting, the body wants to maintain it’s weight so when you try to lose weight the human body lowers the TEE below that which is externally computed (Mifflin-St. Jeor) such that what you consume is, in fact, greater than what your body is using such that it resists the weight loss attempt. Clearly this isn’t perfect as I lost over 100lbs, apparently, by using your (and MFP’s) precise method. Right up until it stopped working, the weight loss slope, as can be viewed on the MFP progress graph, ceased being a straight line and became more of an arc tending towards a slope of 0. This occurred at, roughly, six months. As I explained to Exadyne, I hadn’t even heard of Jason Fung until about 6 wks ago. But, in his book, Obesity Code, and 6 part series on UTube, he accurately predicted plateau at 6 months. Weird huh?. So I doubled do and lowed my own calories in to attempt to resume the downward slope. Weight loss resumed, albeit at a much slower rate until at about 9 months (3 months after first major plateau) the slope once again went to 0 (flat). SO, in a word, here how the body adapts to caloric changes. If one enters a caloric surplus, the will gain weight…for a bit then their body will adapt and raise its TEE, principally by raising core body temp, in an attempt to lose that gained weight, adjust the weight to the ‘set point’. Similarly, if one enters a caloric deficit the body will eventually react by dropping it’s TEE below the level of calories consumed to raise body weight. I, and I am sure the vast bulk of those who have tried to lose weight can attest to the diet ultimately fails. I’ve done dieting many times, as I am sure others have. They all work, right up until they fail. Doesn’t matter if it is Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystems, Atkins, Zone, South Beach. eventually the weight returns plus penalty pounds. Frankly, to say, “prima facie realty” is to insult everyone who read that that actually has tried to diet. I am not talking about trying to diet in order to fit into a prom dress or wedding dress but to permanently go from fat to normal.That is not to say it fails in 100% of the cases but study after study prove in generally fails. Whether the failure rate is 98% as Fung claims or 90% which others claim, that only debates how badly does it fail, not whether it generally fails.

          Here is what I suggest you do, spend $11 and buy the book, Obesity Code. It was the best use of $11 I think I have made. If you (or a reader) can’t afford $11, watch his 6 part You Tube series…for free. I am not a medical doctor, I am not a medical researcher, I am someone who has dieted multiple times over the last 65 years and each time the effort not only fails, the weight returns, but it returns with penalty pounds for simply having made the effort. To say, oh, it fails because people are too lazy to stick with it or they ultimately return to their jelly bean diet is, again, to insult the readers. So, read the book, watch the 6 part series, read the NY Times expose on the 6 year research study of Biggest Loser. The reality is, most all the contestants on BL regain their lost weight. Those that don’t, maintain their new weight by becoming personal trainers (gym rats) as a life style change. There is overwhelming evidence CI/CO model is just wrong. Exadyne loves to cry out ‘cherry picking cherry picking”. For someone to find those isolated cases of someone who lost weight via CI reduction and kept it off, now that IS cherry picking. No, I am not accusing you of doing that. To my recollection, you provide no proof of your claim at all.

          Frankly, I wish it were so. What scares the bigebbers out of me is the fear that over 100lbs that I lost will show up again. So, absolutely, I wish that model did work. But my own past experience with diets, any diets based on simply ‘eat less move more” have, in fact, ultimately failed. Oh, and those penalty pounds I spoke of. In the process of losing weight most is fat, some is muscle. When it is regained it all comes back as fat. I feel a lot like Fox Mulder, “I want to believe”.The thing about Fung, also applies to Mosley, Taylor, Kraft as well, not only makes claims but backs each and every one with verifiable, referenceable, clinical trial/studies facts. In other words, with overwhelming evidence.

          • robinbishop34

            Stupid. You are way overthinking it. A reasonable calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. End of story.

          • Walt Corey

            No sweetheart, that’s the science of it. One can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Or, as Neal DeGrasse Tyson so eloquently said, “science has no requirement for your belief in it”.

          • robinbishop34


          • robinbishop34

            You like to talk to hear your head rattle. It’s all nonsense. Calorie deficit is the only path to weight loss.

          • Walt Corey

            I wonder if all the readers of this blog now realize you are simply a troll. I suspect you’re, like, 12? So, let me use a 12 yr old’s vernacular here.

            I’m rubber, you’re glue.
            Whatever you say bounces off me
            and sticks to you.

            You provide absolutely no research to back up any claim you make. You’re an internet troll.

            If you think about what you are vomiting out, assuming you actually are capable of free thought, you’d realize what you are saying is mere nonsense. But that generally is what trolls do. Look up the word research and try some.

            In one of your verbal outburst episodes you espouse one merely cutting TEE projected calories by 100. Over the course of a year, even if one could ward off adaptive thermogenesis (you’ll need to look that up obviously) the individual would only lose 10lbs. I suspect, due to adaptive thermogenesis the weight loss would be closer to one pound. So, you advocate counting calories for an entire year to lose a pound…Yeah, that’ll work…not.

            If losing weight were that easy, nobody would be fat.

            So this is the end of my responses to you. Anything further you have to say will just advertise to more people just what a BLG you truly are.

          • La Bandita

            My both of you are correct.

          • La Bandita

            Is being a gym rat a bad thing? There is this 80 year old Asian man that just became a model and he’s always taking off his shirt and such. He works out 4 hours a day and eats whatever he wants. He gets up does cardio, weight lifting, Pilates and stretches all for on hour at a time. He’s never had a weight problem, but I can see myself in my old age just working out all day. He has no injuries either.

          • Walt Corey

            Hi, I’ve been thinking abt you of late. Have you tried your first fast yet? If you were asking me about gym rat. I am unaware of it being an issue. Allegedly working out does zero for losing weight, per the studies, but is very advantageous to keeping weight off. Further, if you have metabolism issues it is very helpful in moving glucose into the cells, specifically muscle cells. Even if you do not have metabolism issues the above sentence is still true. I hope all is well with you and yours!

          • La Bandita

            Working out keeps you from gaining weight – which is perfect. I don’t ever want to gain weight. I think its way too hard to loose. I think people who have gained weight should be in one category and people who want to stay at their perfect weight should be in another, people with illness and people who want to gain muscles (the muscle heads need love too).

            What’s your research on never ever gaining and working out until you’re 100, haha..

            ETA: I’ve been working out too much to fast.

          • Walt Corey

            Nadda. There is (or was) Jack LaLaine. You are likely too young to remember him. He used to do 1 fingered pushups on TV. He used to have his own Saturday AM show but in the 50’s or maybe 60’s. I don’t know if he is still alive or not. He was on a news segment in the last 5 yrs or so still able to do a 1 finger pushup. I didn’t say working out keeps you from gaining weight. I is helpful in preventing weight (re)gain. In other words, does little to help you lose but is helpful is preventing regain. Having said that, the last segment I saw on Jack LaLaine he was clearly very old but in outstandingly good physical form.

  • Exadyne

    I hate that whoever admins this stuff cut off the link. It is a link to PUBMED! Is MFP seriously afraid of someone linking to science?

  • The only thing standing in the way of people burning fat is insulin. Anyone who’s struggled with uncontrolled weight gain is insulin resistant. Get the insulin out of the equation, and fat come off naturally, like it was always supposed to.

    People feel like they’re starving, because they can’t burn fat when insulin is in the blood. Because that’s one of insulin’s jobs, it’s the hormone that tells the body not to burn fat, because it’s imperative that we get the blood sugar out of the blood before we try to metabolize anything else. So you can’t use fat for fuel. And you can’t use the blood sugar for fuel, because you’re insulin resistant and the other job the insulin has, getting blood sugar out of the blood, doesn’t work. So, since the blood sugar is still there, the body assumes there is more sugar, so it keeps on generating more insulin, and you feel starved, because you are.

    Calories in/out math doesn’t actually make sense unless your body is a bomb calorometer, which it isn’t. Get the insulin out of the way for insulin resistant people, and the fat burns normally.

    • Walt Corey

      I totally agree. Insulin resistance is caused by 1) persistent and 2) high levels of insulin. What you so aptly referred to is the negative feedback loop where insulin resistance causes MORE insulin resistance. The only way to break this feedback loop is to lower the level of insulin (don’t eat high glycemic food and/or stop grazing..e.g. fast.

  • Walt Corey

    It’s called ‘adaptive thermogenesis’ and you can google it with either a second search argument of nih or research.

  • Exadyne

    “References can’t be blogs nor can it be wikipedia. ”
    I’m sorry, I forgot where you made the rules about what is fact. If you want to play that way, apologize for suggesting I watch a YouTube video because that’s even lower level of reference, according to the rules of references I’m making up right now. You’re making an ad hominem, you can’t argue against the information presented there, so you’re attacking the credentials, and not even the credentials of the presenter, but the format it comes in – the point, if you paid attention, was it was compiled from USDA data. Since 2000, we’ve reduced added sugars, obesity still is going up. I’m not arguing about pre 2000. I’m saying, if it was added sugar, why is added sugar going down but obesity continues to rise? It hints very strongly against added sugars. Oddly calories tracks very well with obesity, odd, isn’t it. Can you address that point?

    You’re housewife comment is kind of sexist on several levels, and now shows you’ve retreated into arguing for the sake of maintaining a belief to yourself. Nothing about who does or does not understand the -ose suffix has to do with how much added sugar we consume. That’s not data, that’s just pure argumentative stance. I’ve already said why the -ose usage has benefits that don’t necessarily make it about hiding the word sugar, but more importantly, it has nothing to do with how much we’re consuming.

    • Walt Corey

      Honestly dude, I don’t care if you believe me or not. “Science does not require you to believe in it” Neal DeGrasse Tyson. I agree with Tim, you are making this all up as you go along. As for the wikipedia/blog comment…ask any teacher or professor what they accept as references, no wiki, no blog. I am disputing nobody’s qualification. You tagged one guy that you desparately cling to in order to provide some semblance of credibility to your claims. This is pointless, this conversation is over.

      • Exadyne

        There is a certain irony in quoting that when you’re tied up in accepting or not accepting science based on who or where it comes from instead of discussing actual data.
        Teachers and professors have rules for references, that has nothing to do with what is or isn’t evidence. Seriously, it is a graph where the guy cites the USDA data, you can inspect the USDA data yourself, I just think a graph is more visually helpful. You’re also telling me to go to watch a guy’s YouTube video. How many teachers and professors do you think accept that as evidence?
        You’re concerned with Nick Fung being a nephrologist. Nevermind that he’s basing the whole diet and information he sells based on a false premise – he’s stated calories aren’t the explanation for obesity. Even going based on authority, he’s one guy versus the vast field of researchers in obesity (and more importantly the experiments) that show, calories absolutely control body mass. I’d rather deals with paritculars of studies, but honestly, when someone starts with a false statement like that, I literally don’t have the energy to find his YouTube video, or book, find the studies he quotes, and explain why he’s misinterpreting or misrepresenting them, either intentionally or unintentionally.

        I’ll just ask, since the science is true whether you believe it or not, what about the Kevin Hall metabolic ward study? If influence controls obesity, why did see no advantage in weight loss when he carefully controlled diet between carbs and fats, in an environment that controlled for essentially everything, including compliance and activity level?

        • Walt Corey

          I am neither a doctor, medical researcher, nor Jason Fung’s publicist. Jason Fung has not been making this sh%t up, every claim he makes, he provides multiple sources for. He isn’t inventing the science, he is actually merely reporting it in a predigested way. In other words, people aren’t forced to sift through all the research and understand advanced statistics (I did have 12 hrs of statistics in college but that was a long time ago) I do know what correlation means, what proximal vs causal relationships are etc. Most don’t. The point of reading the book or watching the video is it takes me out of that loop. The whole back of the book is pages of endnotes with references to studies where the work of T tests and regression analysis, analysis of variance, r squared (correlation) values, etc etc have been done. I haven’t counted but there are likely upwards of 50 studies, perhaps more that he references to support his claims. Really, there are pages of footnotes, 32 pages of endnotes. If it were one or two, yes, I’d be very sceptical.

  • StephanieJCW

    This is a great post and very useful to me. A few years ago I lost 10 kilos and felt great. Moved to Oz, changed lifestyle and 5.5 years later gained 16 kilos exactly 16 above the recommend top weight for somebody my sex, age and height. I noted the difficulties in maintaining my lower weight and will start by breaking up my goal into the 10% (9 kilos), maintain for a month then continue.