Is LC Morphing to HAES? Part VI: At Least Exercise is Healthy, Right?
This post is mostly going to focus on the Big Guy, Jimmy Moore and the LC Supreme Guru Gary Taubes. For a very long time, Taubes has been promoting the notion that exercise is worthless for weight loss, including this article published around the time of GCBC. In this article we find gems like:
This is not to say that there aren’t excellent reasons to be physically active, as these reports invariably point out. We might just enjoy exercise. We may increase our overall fitness; we may live longer, perhaps by reducing our risk of heart disease or diabetes; we’ll probably feel better about ourselves. (Of course, this may be purely a cultural phenomenon. It’s hard to imagine that the French, for instance, would improve their self-esteem by spending more time at the gym.) But there’s no reason to think that we will lose any significant amount of weight, and little reason to think we will prevent ourselves from gaining it.and
The one thing that might be said about exercise with certainty is that it tends to makes us hungry. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. Burn more calories and the odds are very good that we’ll consume more as well.He's also stated that exercising tends to make us laze around more the rest of the day.
IMO, these arguments are inconsistent with improving health. If one eats more, lazes around the rest of the day more and gains weight, how is that healthy? Point being, while I agree that exercise does have myriad health benefits, Taubes' theories don't even support that assertion. But let's stipulate to the notion that exercise is useless for weight loss but essential or at least beneficial for health. Is it advocated by all these "LC is healthy" advocates? Not very vocally.
OK let's leave aside all the closet low carb exercisers out there. Well, not so closet, but they are almost apologetic at times in admitting to doing (shhhhhhhh) good old fashioned moderate cardio. But the big whigs in LC seem hell bent on downplaying the impact of "moving more" on weight loss, maintenance, and not gaining in the first place. It's sort of odd, actually, since the grand daddy of low carb himself, the "late great" Dr. Atkins, was a strong advocate of exercise in conjunction with diet for weight loss. If memory serves, this was carried forward in The New Atkins. And yet, these days, when a low carber advocates exercise at all, it's almost invariably some "quick", infrequent plan. Like lifting to exhaustion for 15 seconds a month or something like that. OK, that's an exaggeration, but I think you get my point. Cardio has magically been transformed into a four letter word.
Jimmy Moore just posted his commentary last year at the USDA Guidelines hearings last year in which he said that he's "not worrying about cardiovascular exercise until I fall out". (I have a few comments on that whole thing too, but that's another post). And he gives out irresponsible advice that weight loss is not about eating less and moving more, along with a recommendation to read WWGF. Also in that advice he tells his dejected reader:
But checking your blood sugar, cholesterol, measurements, and other such tests are EQUALLY important. I’ve written about this stuff for nearly seven years and interviewed some of the top researchers and authors in the world at my podcast. Virtually all of them are in agreement that getting healthy is the priority and that weight loss will follow if you are pursuing those things that promote health.
Virtually all of those he interviews recognize that calories count, but Jimmy's not listening. Even Taubes argues for the health benefits of regular exercise and he works out. If you're looking to lower insulin levels, exercise is where it's at too! And yet too many low carbers on discussion boards and comments on blogs and such prefer to boast about their lack of exercise.
Yet if the focus is on getting healthy, and it's almost universally accepted that being more active is health promoting, shouldn't LLVLC include more advocacy for exercise? Guess what? The very same Jimmy Moore actually once did not only exercise up a storm, but advocated it to others! In a blog post, ironically titled Exercise is an Integral Part of a Low-Carb Plan, Jimmy had the following to say (some excerpts will be indented with my commentary interspersed.
This Davenport, Iowa-based Quad City Times newspaper article laments that people have gotten away from exercise and eating right by chasing after the next great "diet" fad to come down the pike. And I agree with that premise.
With over $46 billion spent on diet products, including self-help books and specialty foods, in 2004, the "diet" industry is indeed an industry of its own. People are trying to find that magic ingredient that will help them lose weight without doing the necessary work and changes in their own life to make it happen.
I suppose this industry doesn't include Jimmy and all his low carb friends ever eager to hawk some "new" magic low carb plan, huh? I'm really just amazed at how many already dedicated low carbers pre-ordered Why We Get Fat. After all, Taubes said virtually nothing new in that book. And yet as they re-dedicate again (and again and again ...) to low carb these folks do seem in search of just that magic. How about all of these people who will be paying to go on that LC Cruise? You don't suppose Jimmy & Friends consider themselves part of that "diet" industry, do you? Can we talk specialty foods? Ummmm ... As of now, Jimmy's blog and many podcasts are sponsored by internet seller Andrew Dimino's (another significantly obese low carber) Carb Smart (who knows for how much longer if Jimmy keeps up with his blood sugar experimentation and exposes too many of these things as fraudulent, but I digress....). If memory serves, Jimmy has his own low carb bars. We could go on here, but six years ago, when Jimmy was fresh off his 180 lb weight loss on Atkins, he saw things more clearly.
One of the things that was an integral part of my weight loss and has helped me keep it off is exercise. It has boosted my strength and energy and allows my body to eat more food (and, yes, that means more carbs!) without having a negative effect on my weight. Except for the few pounds of muscle weight I have developed, my weight has remained stable. And my waist size has continued to shrink!
OMG! Excercise was INTEGRAL to weight loss. I guess this was before someone asked him (adopt condescending drone) "haven't you ever heard of working up an appetite?" Silly Jimmy understood calories back then ... and it was working for him.
One excellent point from this article is they state any succesful weight loss program needs to incorporate exercise. I could not agree more. Too many people sit on their laurels and don't do any exercise. My work offers a free gym membership and only a handful of us use it.
Okay, towards the end of the article, a fitness representative redeems this story by stating: "If your diet and exercise is not something you can do forever, it is not a lifestyle change and you will not likely be successful. We’ve had people lose 40, 50, 60 pounds by just finding balance with daily walking and eating healthier foods."
EXCELLENT! That is well-stated and can be applied to low-carb, too! Just get your body moving and you will notice how much your life will change dramatically. It REALLY will!
Hear that? Get off your duff, wipe your moist dreamy eyes off and *move it*!! I'm not done with the "old Jimmy" or shall we call him the Slimmer Jimmer. Later in 2005 (October), Jimmy cyber-penned a blog post entitled: Just 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Needed for Heart Health and Fitness, Study Shows. I wonder what the Jimmy Moore of 2011 would think of that very same study were he to read it today. No doubt the authors would be called idiots, hopelessly mired in misguided dogma. In that post we learn that:
A new study shows that exercising a minimum of 120 to 200 minutes each week at a moderate intensity will improve your fitness and cut your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. If you are livin' la vida low-carb and wanting to kickstart your weight loss into high speed, then this kind of exercise is exactly what you need to be doing in combination with your low-carb way of eating to burn more fat and build more muscle.
But won't it just make you ravenous?
Duscha added that this new data from his study will take away the excuses many people give for not exercising as they should.
"People find exercise ‘hard’ and few people want to exercise at an intensity higher than they have to," Duscha maintained. "Walking briskly for 12 miles a week per week is realistic and does not require anyone to incorporate a hardcore training regimen. Increasing your mileage or intensity will give you even greater health benefits.”
People should exercise?! Slimmer Jimmer was also wiser IMO.
Interestingly, the average weight loss was less than three pounds each after exercise which Duscha said presents a frustrating set of circumstances for people trying to lose weight.
“A second very important message is that subjects enjoyed fitness benefits in the absence of weight loss. Many people exercise with the purpose of losing weight. When they do not lose weight, they do not think the exercise is benefiting them and they stop exercising,” Duscha remarked.
But Duscha said it is more important to improve your heart health than to worry about the scale not moving.
So, I would ask again. Shouldn't exercise be promoted by the LLVLC crowd as they promote their healthy low carb lifestyles? Especially those who remain overweight/obese? Remember Jimmy's advice to that reader about health being a priority? And since the participants in this study didn't lose a lot of weight there's not much point to exercising for weight loss. Well, some more words from Slimmer Jimmer himself:
I know the exercise I have done in combination with my low-carb lifestyle is what has helped me drop my body fat percentage down to 11 percent from a starting point of a whopping 50 percent! There's no way I could have ever done that and lose 180 pounds like I did without the help of exercise. I wrote a whole chapter on exercise in my book because it is such an integral part of livin' la vida low-carb....
... As I have always said myself, the researchers recommend you take it easy at first with a fun activity you enjoy and work your way up. Nobody's expecting you to run a marathon race at the very start, but get that heart rate up and sweat a little....
...As much as I like to credit my low-carb lifestyle for the radical transformation that took place in me over the past year or so, I give as much credit to my daily exercise routine....I don't always workout hard, but I do workout long. I probably average about 45 minutes per day of moderate exercise on an elliptical machine ...
Move More. Imagine that. Yeah, there's that sarcasm again, but I just can't get over how some the same person who wrote that can behave as he does now. But surely he didn't get fat because he was lazy. In HIS OWN WORDS:
This from a former 410-pound slob whose idea of exercise was one sit-up a day: I get up in the morning that's half, I lay down at night that's the other half! Those days are long gone now and I literally crave my exercise now. CRAVE IT and can't live without it!
I've commented to Jimmy several times that I believe the secret to his gaining control over his weight lies in re-reading his old blog posts. He is too steeped in his LLVLC sloganeering and being some sort of rebel leader to see that listening to Gary Taubes has gotten him nowhere.
If Gary Taubes is brilliant, he is most so because he told legions of obese folks what they wanted to hear. And if gluttony (or the less inflammatory overeating) is the worst thing one wants to admit to, sloth (or the less inflammatory sedentary behavior) is surely a very close second. So telling folks that activity is meaningless in the whole equation was just what many wanted to hear.
But the LLVLC gang has taken it up a notch promoting just the diet as somehow "healthy". Jimmy has recently taken exercise back up, but he frequently disses the very cardio he formerly credited for helping him lose and maintain his losses. Such is a movement that requires dismissing everything about "conventional wisdom" as misguided. It's leaders cannot advocate for anything that fits in with the original (and only required) hypothesis. Thus we have all sorts of admonitions to engage in "the right type" of exercise if we do.
To me, Caroline Jhingory is a far better spokesperson for a healthy low carb lifestyle. She has maintained a 120 lb loss without yo-yo-ing, doesn't "up the fat" and aiming for a ridiculous 75% fat or higher (rather the opposite), is truly fit, and exercises daily walking with a weight vest. Jimmy mentioned her as an example of a low carber who wasn't heavy, and she was one that was formerly obese. Go Girl! Jimmy interviewed her. Nothing clicked??
Me thinks a deprogramming intervention is in order.....