Posted by: Christopher Maloney, Naturopathic Doctor | March 12, 2012

Prevention Magazine’s Weight Loss: 9 Pounds In 13 Days.

English: Back cover of Barbie booklet about ho...

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One of the joys of being a doctor is getting magazines sent to you that you really don’t want.  I’ve tried to stop the magazines, but they aren’t stopping.  So I get Prevention Magazine, which used to be something good to read and now has started adding headlines like “Lose 9 pounds in 13 days.”  Short of extreme diarrhea, how is a person supposed to do that?  (I can just see the Diarrhea Diet book now:  Lose Weight Just Sitting All Day!)

So I took it upon myself to educate myself a little about this new miracle.  Here’s the link.  During this ballet boot camp, “One woman lost 9 pounds in 13 days.”  Well, there’s your proof.  They didn’t say if she could walk, and how well hydrated she was by the end.  For anyone who hasn’t done extreme exercise, it is possible to dehydrate out a fair amount of weight very rapidly.

So, for those of you about to get married who bought a dress one size too small, sign up for ballet with Sadists.  But for anyone who wants to lose real weight, I’m not sure it’s a good idea.  For anyone who has too much weight, ballet is going to put enormous pressure on your knees and possibly cause more weight gain while you rehabilitate from leg injury.

So, ballet is bad?  No, ballet is great!  Dancing should be fun, and I personally love Zumba classes.  If you can’t do the moves, just shuffle along in the back.  The point is that any movement that is fun, that you look forward to, is wonderful as part of being healthy.

Notice I put being healthy, not weight loss.  If you exercise moderately you will not lose weight consistently, you will very likely stay about the same during a period of time where your body is losing fat but gaining muscle.  If you use the scale as a judge of progress, it is incredibly frustrating.  But if you look at the overall picture real progress is being made.  If you look at my personal saga, I’m still running overweight even though I went from zero pull-ups to ten.  That’s real progress, but my BMI hasn’t budged.

Ok, so what really works for weight?  Complete lifestyle changes that last a lifetime.  Let’s change the “calories in/calories out” myth to “lifestyle for a lifetime.”  Just that paradigm shift alone would help us plan better for long term weight loss.  It would also mean taking tiny steps in the right direction every day, rather than big, painful ballet jumps followed by collapsing into a Hagen Daz fueled stupor of exhaustion.


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