Monday, August 3, 2009

You Dont Need To Exercise To Lose Weight

It was Saturday morning when I was watching Good Morning America where they had a special on about 3 overweight kids. One child was over 330 LBs. They won a trip to a camp that specializes in weight loss.

Of course, the camp had it all wrong when it came down to diet. One could see that the children were eating bread and corn and fruit, all very high carbohydrate containing foods. Consumption of these foods will make it much more difficult for these highly motivated children to lose weight.

My heart went out to these children, who were not only eating the wrong way, but were engaged in strenuous activities as well. Obviously, the camp leaders are still buying into the myth that one has to exercise to lose weight.

This is not so and I actually include this as my fourth biggest dietary myth.

(Dietary myth # 1-Eating fat makes us fat---False.
Dietary myth # 2-Eating cholesterol containing foods causes heart disease-False.
Dietary myth#3-The calorie means something in human nutrition-False.)

I know one does not need to exercise to lose weight as I have seen it happen thousands upon thousands of times in my patients. In fact, I will argue that it is downright negligent to have a child who is over 330 LBs exercise vigorously (even an adult for that matter), as this will place a tremendous burden on the heart placing that child (or adult) at risk for a cardiac event.

No, I am not against exercising. What I do with my patients is I have them lose weight first. I will allow them to engage in simple exercises, like walking or swimming. I check their hearts out with at least an EKG and an echocardiogram of the heart; and if need be possibly even a stress test.

When I get a good amount of weight off, which is dependent upon the person and as long as their tests come back OK; then I will let them exercise more strenuously.

Physicians, dieticians, weight loss counselors or any one who is involved with weight loss needs to understand that we dont need to exercise to lose weight. And sometimes it can be dangerous or even deadly to do so, without taking weight off first.

Dr Jim

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