Take our user survey and make your voice heard.

Voices
in
Japan

have your say

Some people try a calorie-controlled diet and increased physical exercise to lose weight, but without success. What advice would you give them?

37 Comments

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
Login to comment

It's impossible to give advice without knowing the individual and what they have been trying.

However, first I would tell them that the fact they have been exercising and eating healthier is beneficial, even if they can't see results on the scale or in the mirror.

Then, provided they are actually following the diet and exercise regime somewhat strictly - there's no point dieting during the week and then blowing it all out on the weekend, for example - you could think about what improvements could be made; add/subtract certain foods, increase/decrease specific types of exercise like more weight training, and see where they could increase passive (for lack of a better term) exercise like taking the stairs, cycling to work once a week and so on.

If all else fails; liposuction, gastric bypasses and Ozempic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'd advise them to stay off the internet, and talk to a dietician/nutritionist.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If losing weight is the only goal then reduce the calories even more and do more exercise. It has to work in the end because the body works on energy and if it doesn't get enough from input it uses stored energy. Of course, there may be other goals, like maintaining muscle mass and metabolism, both of which may reduce as well, under a calorie-controlled diet. Calorie-controlled diets often result in a rebound in weight after they are over in part because of this.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Speak to a doctor or nutritionist for guidance on what you are eating and how you are exercising. Burning more calories than you consume by switching to a modest but healthy diet and exercising daily should see you start to lose excess weight. Not overnight, but it will happen. Eventually you will develop some muscle tissue, which may add a few ounces, but that would be some way down the line. You can't really cheat science: A negative energy balance, taking in less energy than you expend, will, in time, see your body burn off excess fat. It's not easy, as you may be used to eating far more than you need and not doing any exercise at all. So your calorie intake reduction may make you feel hungry and miserable, whilst your exercise routine will be punishing. Stick at it. It gets easier.

Your basal metabolic rate may differ from that of others, so you may need to exercise more to lose the same amount of weight, but the basics of calorie intake and burn remain the same.

If you are struggling to stick to a diet because you seek comfort in food, see a counsellor. You need to sort out the issues that are preventing you from losing weight. Many people seek comfort in food when young after personal misery, abuse, bullying or grief, and then keep on doing it.

Once you have lost excess weight, you should try to match your calorie intake and expenditure to remain at a healthy weight. Don't just go back to your old diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Although not being obese helps the planet and takes the pressure off medical services, you should be doing it for yourself, so that you are healthier, fitter, more mobile and in less pain for longer. Being obese considerably amplifies the many miseries of old age.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I have a calorie-controlled diet as part of my post-cancer treatment and discussed it with my doctors. Last year lost quite a lot of weight. Exercise a few gym sessions per week. I use a calorie app to record my daily food.

Set a daily calorie intake and stick with it. Exercise is important. Don't set the bar too high. I set my weight loss determinations in a 5 kg block.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Try intermittant fasting. Eat, for example, only between noon and 8pm. No eating between 8pm and noon. = 16 hr. fast. (You can also do 18 hrs., 20, hrs, or 24 hours = one meal a day.) This increases metabolic flexibility.

Eat moderate sized meals with fat, proteins and fiber and limit to a minimum sugar and carbs. (Sugar and carbs spike insulin which causes big hunger spikes and sugar crashes.) Try not to snack between meals.

Exercise. Move your body with low-intesity activities often and an ocassional high-intensity one. Give your body a chance to recover at times since that's when most progress is made.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Worry less about calories and more what you are putting in your body. Avoid all heavily processed foods, avoid sugar, completely stop consuming any artificial sweeteners (if you really can't resist, even sugar is far better), reduce carbohydrates and grains and eat a balance diet of unprocessed vegetables, proteins and fruits. If done right, counting calories will not be needed.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Advice? Simple, stop trying to fool themselves. Diet and exercise and losing weight only to return to the previous fat lifestyle that made you fat will of course return you to your previous fat self.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

We fast for about 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. My doctor advised against skipping lunch.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper

2 ( +5 / -3 )

eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper

100% agreed

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Burn more calories than you use and lose weight. Eat more calories than you burn and gain weight.

This is as simple as it gets, everything else is just fluff. There is no diet in which you eat more than you burn in which you will lose weight.

Que the Atkins and Keto cultists nonsense....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I stopped eating white rice. The weight fell off me.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

My advice is to enjoy your life fully while it lasts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don’t.

Calorie controlled dieting (basically starving) has been shown to be not only difficult to maintain but in most cases counter productive. Every creature throughout evolution has had to deal with periods of food shortage and consequently evolved mechanisms to counter it and survive. Our bodies inherited that deep heritage so you are trying to overcome your hard wired survival strategies. Good luck with that, you will fail which is why it simply doesn’t work. You need to work with your body not against it. Exercise will make you fitter and support your general health but the amount of extra calories you use is minimal compared to your total energy budget.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's not the calories, it's where they come from. Humans survived on a diet rich in vegetables and moderate amounts of meat and fish for 200,000 years until the last hundred. When planning your menu, think of what people ate five hundred years ago and aim for that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My advice is to enjoy your life fully while it lasts.

It's likely to last longer and be more enjoyable if you eat healthily and exercise an appropriate amount.

Calorie controlled dieting (basically starving) has been shown to be not only difficult to maintain but in most cases counter productive. Every creature throughout evolution has had to deal with periods of food shortage and consequently evolved mechanisms to counter it and survive. Our bodies inherited that deep heritage so you are trying to overcome your hard wired survival strategies. Good luck with that, you will fail which is why it simply doesn’t work. You need to work with your body not against it. Exercise will make you fitter and support your general health but the amount of extra calories you use is minimal compared to your total energy budget.

By the logic, no one would ever lose weight, and no one would ever die of starvation or the associated health outcomes. Obviously, people do lose weight - I drop 5-8 kg every year for bikini season (could do more but I know what works for me) - and unfortunately, about 9 million people a year die as a result of food shortages. Yes, your body will compensate when it recognises times of shortage, but you can overcome that with some knowledge and perseverance. If your diet and exercise regime is appropriate, and you stick to it, you'll see results.

The basic equation doesn't change. If you burn more calories than you consume, you'll lose weight.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The basic equation doesn't change. If you burn more calories than you consume, you'll lose weight.

This is the equivalent of saying 'if you spend less than you make, you'll have lots of money in the bank'. It's true, and everyone knows this, and yet, very few have much in the way of savings in the bank. Same as few are able to well be able to make this happen.

Life throws a lot of stuff at people.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is the equivalent of saying 'if you spend less than you make, you'll have lots of money in the bank'. It's true, and everyone knows this, and yet, very few have much in the way of savings in the bank. Same as few are able to well be able to make this happen.

The science of losing weight is REALLY simple. Problem is we like eating food, and in reality many like eating cake more than they want to lose weight.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The science of losing weight is REALLY simple.

So is the science of gaining money. Why isn't everyone a millionaire?

Problem is we like eating food

And we also like spending money.

As I said:

Life throws a lot of stuff at people.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

.This is the equivalent of saying 'if you spend less than you make, you'll have lots of money in the bank'. It's true, and everyone knows this, and yet, very few have much in the way of savings in the bank. Same as few are able to well be able to make this happen.

Life throws a lot of stuff at people.

Very true. If it were easy, we'd all be walking around looking like underwear models.

What advice do you have?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

*This is the equivalent of saying 'if you spend less than you make, you'll have lots of money in the bank'.*

Who said lots? If you spend five cents less than you make, you'll save five cents. If you burn 100 more calories than you consume, you'll lose a, however small, bit of weight.

very few have much in the way of savings in the bank

But they do have some savings, and very many have a good amount of savings.

Why isn't everyone a millionaire?

Not much of a point you're making if you can only make it through exaggeration. We're not necessarily talking about losing hundreds of pounds. Moderate weight loss is often enough to allay some health concerns, just like moderate savings are reachable for a good amount of people.

Anyway, the poster to whom I was responding seemed to be suggesting that any amount of weight loss is impossible. It's an untrue and unhelpful comment so I rebutted it. Still waiting for your ideas.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Move your body as much as possible but vary your exercise routine. Eat more protein and less bad carbs, get enough sleep and don't eat carbs late at night. Don't worry so much about the number on the scale but about the way your body looks and feels. I see many skinny people in Japan who look unhealthy and have very little energy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cut ALL carbs, no ultra processed food, don't eat anything that you can't immediately see what it's made of. That means you have to cook most of the food you eat yourself.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Diet advice is cheap and plentiful. You get what you pay for.

There is no one magic weight loss recipe. What is your metabolic rate? That sets how many calories your body uses in a day. You can’t easily change it.

Your body will try to stay at its current equilibrium weight. It’s very hard to reset your equilibrium.

Exercising burns more calories, but it also prompts the body to crave more food. You have to exercise an incredible amount and still maintain discipline over your diet to make it work.

In the end, you need to consume less food by weight than your body uses by weight for metabolism. That number, whether measured in calories or in weight, is easily estimated, but very hard to pin down exactly.

Counting calories rarely works. Your body retains food longer in the gut and extracts more calories from it soon after you cut your calorie intake. You can cut calories, but your body keeps absorbing about the same. Fearing starvation, your body may even pack on extra fat every time a few extra calories are available.

The difference between losing weight and gaining weight can be as little as 50 calories a day, or just a few extra bites of food.

Relying on professional advice may not help. A survey several years ago of medical professionals and dieticians found that 98% can’t even accurately identify how lost fat exits the body. Most professionals give bad advice about weight, at a rate no better than most other advice out there any weight loss.

Cut out processed foods, especially processed sugars and oils. Fat can actually be your dietary friend, if it’s the right kind, because it makes you feel full for longer. Cook all your meals yourself. Read ingredient labels.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hawk

Anyway, the poster to whom I was responding seemed to be suggesting that any amount of weight loss is impossible

No, what I was highlighting is the evolutionary barriers to the efficacy of this particular approach and the repeatedly proven fact that the majority of people who lose weight by cutting back their food intake go on to regain the weight or even more. Yep we like eating cake, after a period of food shortage we are hard wired to target energy rich foods, the problem with our biology is we no longer live in a food precarious environment.

Calories are determined by mechanically burning food. This is accurate as to the total energy content, the problem lies in the simple fact that our bodies do not simply burn food mechanically but by a more complex process ergo my overlooked comment that you have to work with your body not against it.

I am afraid you will need to do your own research, read a few scientific papers (not weirdos on the internet who “have the answer”) as I don’t think JT will allow the length of post to explain fully and I haven’t the time to do it with relevant links to the research

0 ( +0 / -0 )

mikeylikesit,

Good post. Can we get some sources for:

Your body retains food longer in the gut and extracts more calories from it soon after you cut your calorie intake. You can cut calories, but your body keeps absorbing about the same. Fearing starvation, your body may even pack on extra fat every time a few extra calories are available.

and:

 A survey several years ago of medical professionals and dieticians found that 98% can’t even accurately identify how lost fat exits the body. 

Please and thank you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

englisc aspergend,

Thanks for the clarification.

This;

the repeatedly proven fact that the majority of people who lose weight by cutting back their food intake go on to regain the weight or even more.

is true, but it's a bit obvious that it's because those people believe they can stop doing what they were doing to lose the weight when they reach their goal. Getting there is only half the battle. Once you get to the top of Everest, you still have to get back down, and it's just as hard, if not harder.

you have to work with your body not against it.

Please explain that part. In what way?

I am afraid you will need to do your own research, read a few scientific papers (not weirdos on the internet who “have the answer”) as I don’t think JT will allow the length of post to explain fully and I haven’t the time to do it with relevant links to the research

One or two would be helpful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Burn more calories than you use and lose weight. Eat more calories than you burn and gain weight.

This is as simple as it gets, everything else is just fluff. There is no diet in which you eat more than you burn in which you will lose weight. 

Que the Atkins and Keto cultists nonsense....

It is true that a calorie is a calorie. It’s also true that it matters how we get our calories. Extreme diets like Atkins and Keto may swing the pendulum far too far in one direction, but there is a kernel of dietary sense behind them.

Here’s why:

Food A has 200 calories. The body uses 20 calories to digest the food. 170 calories are absorbed into the body, with 30 calories passing through the gut unextracted. The calories enter the bloodstream within 15 minutes to 1 hour after eating. The food has no additional nutrients beyond these calories. Its highly sweet flavor signals the body to start storing calories as fat.

Food B also has 200 calories. The body uses 30 calories for digestion. Under normal, non-starvation conditions, 130 calories are absorbed, and 70 pass through the gut unextracted. The calories enter the bloodstream between 1 and 4 hours after eating. The food contains various nutrients in addition to calories. The flavor is not sweet.

Food A nets the body 150 calories, which rush in the body in a short window of less than an hour. Two hours later, the person is probably hungry again. Food B nets only 100 calories, which slowly release into the body over 3 hours. Food B causes the body to feel full for longer and doesn’t signal the body to begin storing fat.

Calories may be calories, but the body does not process all foods the same. Sudden rushes of calories into the bloodstream may be welcome during intense exercise, but it just results in fat storage most of the time. Foods that take the body longer to digest can be far healthier in most situations.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Very true. If it were easy, we'd all be walking around looking like underwear models.

What advice do you have?

I gave my advice second post in the thread:

I'd advise them to stay off the internet, and talk to a dietician/nutritionist.

I could tell people what I eat, but most people wouldn't maintain it, and everyone has different requirements, so my diet would only be something I would recommend to someone with my body type, and the same goals as me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@hawk,

The body’s responses when starved to slow the basal metabolic rate and extract a higher percentage of calories from food in the gut, causing the body to maintain its same weight, is well established. Use your search engine of choice…

For the survey showing medical professionals’ appallingly low knowledge of how burned fat leaves the body, it’s from this article: https://theconversation.com/when-we-lose-weight-where-does-it-go-91594

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The body’s responses when starved to slow the basal metabolic rate and extract a higher percentage of calories from food in the gut, causing the body to maintain its same weight, is well established. Use your search engine of choice…

Right, but if you are in a constant calorie deficit, the calories are simply insufficient to maintain the body weight. So-called 'starvation mode' is not enough to offset that. Again, if it were, nobody would ever die from starvation. It doesn't matter the source, you can't create calories from nothing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For the survey showing medical professionals’ appallingly low knowledge of how burned fat leaves the body, it’s from this article: https://theconversation.com/when-we-lose-weight-where-does-it-go-91594

Thanks. What a bunch of idiots. Even I knew the answer to that one.

Interesting concluding paragraph, too:

Any diet that supplies less “fuel” than you burn will do the trick, but with so many misconceptions about how weight loss works, few of us know why.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strangerland;

I gave my advice second post in the thread:

I'd advise them to stay off the internet, and talk to a dietician/nutritionist.

I could tell people what I eat, but most people wouldn't maintain it, and everyone has different requirements, so my diet would only be something I would recommend to someone with my body type, and the same goals as me.

Fair enough. I alluded to that same point in my first response also: "It's impossible to give advice without knowing the individual and what they have been trying."

But the question was asked so I did my best.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the question was asked so I did my best.

Then my answer would be 'cut the alcohol'. Alcohol is empty calories, that will destroy any kind of weight loss journey, with no physical benefit whatsoever.

On top of that, I'd say cut any drinks that have any calories at all. No sodas or juices. Water, tea, black coffee, and flavored (but not sweetened) waters are all good.

When people are counting calories, they often don't count alcohol, nor calorie drinks. These are like death by a thousand cuts - they don't seem like much individually, but they will halt weight loss dead in its tracks if not properly monitored.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then my answer would be 'cut the alcohol'. Alcohol is empty calories, that will destroy any kind of weight loss journey, with no physical benefit whatsoever.

All good advice. The last stage of my 'cut' includes limiting my alcohol intake to one beer on a Friday night. In the earlier stages I do plan for a couple more. Just because I'm looking to shred a few kgs doesn't mean I'm going to cut all enjoyment from my life. The people who do that are more likely to backslide.

I'm not disagreeing with you. Speaking personally, I just take specific steps to reach my ultimate goal, which is looking shredded and buff in the line-up, and I specifically leave room for a certain amount of beer, taking the calories into account. Obviously, removing all alcohol would make achieving the goal quicker and easier as you say, but hey, I love beer so....

I also enjoy an occasional Coke Zero, usually after my hours long Saturday morning mountain bike ride.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites