Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
SPOTLIGHT: Over the long term, exercise is not a practical weight control strategy.
BIG PICTURE: Mainstream thinking insists that our weight is a simple matter of calories consumed versus calories expended. This does appear to apply to some people. Their metabolism is apparently straightforward, which means the advice they’ve received from doctors, nutritionists, and popular culture has been applicable.
Most of us aren’t that fortunate. No matter how vigorously we exercise, our weight keeps creeping higher – especially once we hit middle age. For women, menopause is frequently a watershed. Weight control strategies that used to work simply don’t anymore.
In Why We Get Fat, Gary Taubes cites a 2006 study involving 13,000 joggers. It concludes that, “even among the most vigorously active populations, age-related weight gain occurs through middle-age.”
In order to maintain a steady weight, the study suggests male joggers would need to increase the distance they run each week by three miles every year. Female joggers would need to add four miles every bleeping year. This translates to an extra 30-40 miles of weekly jogging after just one decade.
As Taubes points out, women who run three miles a day in their twenties would end up running “half-marathons five days a week” during their forties just to keep their weight constant. Then they’d have their fifties and sixties to look forward to.
TOP TAKEAWAY: There are good reasons to be physically active: improved flexibility, mobility, strength, balance, and self assurance are among these. But people who exercise regularly still gain weight.
|Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It
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