Time Magazine: Exercise Doesn’t Help You Lose Weight

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Weight Loss has long been thought to be a calories in, calories out type of thing that was aided by exercise.  Now, Time Magazine’s throwing one of those cover articles out (titled, “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin”) that’s sure to make a lot of people say “A-HA!!!”

More from the Time article:

“In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless,” says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher. Many recent studies have found that exercise isn’t as important in helping people lose weight as you hear so regularly in gym advertisements or on shows like The Biggest Loser — or, for that matter, from magazines like this one.

The basic problem is that while it’s true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn’t necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.

Earlier this year, the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE — PLoS is the nonprofit Public Library of Science — published a remarkable study supervised by a colleague of Ravussin’s, Dr. Timothy Church, who holds the rather grand title of chair in health wisdom at LSU. Church’s team randomly assigned into four groups 464 overweight women who didn’t regularly exercise. Women in three of the groups were asked to work out with a personal trainer for 72 min., 136 min., and 194 min. per week, respectively, for six months. Women in the fourth cluster, the control group, were told to maintain their usual physical-activity routines. All the women were asked not to change their dietary habits and to fill out monthly medical-symptom questionnaires.

The findings were surprising. On average, the women in all the groups, even the control group, lost weight, but the women who exercised — sweating it out with a trainer several days a week for six months — did not lose significantly more weight than the control subjects did. (The control-group women may have lost weight because they were filling out those regular health forms, which may have prompted them to consume fewer doughnuts.) Some of the women in each of the four groups actually gained weight, some more than 10 lb. each.

What’s going on here? Church calls it compensation, but you and I might know it as the lip-licking anticipation of perfectly salted, golden-brown French fries after a hard trip to the gym. Whether because exercise made them hungry or because they wanted to reward themselves (or both), most of the women who exercised ate more than they did before they started the experiment. Or they compensated in another way, by moving around a lot less than usual after they got home.”

The article’s a good read, so give it a run.  The problem with mass media articles like this is that they tend to not change anything, with the exception of making those avoiding exercise feel emboldened like they are somehow doing the right thing.  I haven’t been exercising, but guess what?  Time ran that big article that said exercise doesn’t work – so there’s no reason for me to start.

Meanwhile, regardless of the reality regarding exercise’s impact on weight loss, that same group gets none of the other positive impacts of exercise in their daily lives.

Worse yet, their kids grow up with no exposure to exercise as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Thanks Time…

Hitting the "Reset" Button – via the DAXKO Sabbatical

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DAXKO’s always on the lookout for team members’ health and well-being.  Whether it’s nutritious snacks around the office, friendly (or not so friendly) fitness competitions, or free flu shots, DAXKO’s got our back when it comes to living healthier.  That includes our mental health, too.

Everyone needs a break every now and again.  DAXKO understands that and offers a 4-week paid sabbatical for team members who’ve put in 7
years with the company.  Jealous, huh?  The intent… unplug from work and recharge your battery.  The rule… NO WORK!  That means no email and no phone calls into the office.  We don’t want to hear from you for one whole month.  Period.

Here’s the experience of our CFO, who recently returned from his first sabbatical…

“I used my sabbatical to hit the ‘reset’ button.  After 9 years of intense work at DAXKO, I was fairly wound up.  The first part of my sabbatical, my wife and I just headed south by car along the eastern shore of Florida.  After a restful break in Key West, we headed back up the western shore of Florida.  We spent the second part of my sabbatical in Isla Mujeres, Mexico gobbling up fresh seafood.  Here’s what we experienced:

  • Snorkeling and kayaking in the Caribbean Sea
  • Seeing wildlife ranging from wild boars and iguanas to manatees and barracudas
  • Exploring the Kennedy Space Center
  • Watching a fireworks show over Disney World
  • Exploring the island of Isla Mujeres via a gas-powered golf cart
  • Feeding an iguana
  • Waking up at sunrise without an alarm clock for a whole month
  • Watching numerous sunsets
  • Visiting with friends and family in Florida
  • Visiting our parents and grandparents who we don’t see nearly enough
  • Eating more fresh seafood than I have ever  had in my life (octopus carpaccio with habanero slices, anyone?)
  • And even knocking out some long overdue projects at home

Create 20% More Time in Your Life…

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Do you want to know how to gain 20% more time in your life?* Do you want to know how to get ahead in your career, connect with more people, have more exciting times, and improve your relationships with loved ones?

Get rid of your TVs – all of them! Get rid of the TV in your living room, your bedroom, your home office, and anywhere else you have a TV. I don’t mean just turn them off. I mean physically get rid of them. I also don’t mean tote them down to the garage just to see what it is like without a TV while intending to bring the TVs back after this neat period of being without a TV. Give them away, throw them away, or pawn them away.

 I lived for four years without a TV at home and found it to be one of the most liberating changes I could make. I have one TV now only because my wife loves baseball (Braves and Red Sox).

I used to love seeing the reaction when folks would find out I didn’t have a TV. The reactions ranged from abject horror to disbelief to sympathy. In fact, more than once I had offers of TVs from people I barely knew. I guess they assumed that if I didn’t have a TV then times must really be hard!

The next favorite thing I loved was when people would ask me the inevitable follow-up question, “well, what do you do?” My response was always the same (and truthful):

  • I read
  • I go running
  • I go biking downtown
  • I travel
  • I go to the gym
  • I go out to a bar
  • I hang out with friends
  • I go to events – art shows, concerts, etc.
  • I go to dinner at friends’ houses
  • I cook
  • I sleep
  • The list goes on….

The next response was just as predictable. People would tell me, “Oh, I only watch TV for [fill in the blank] show(s).” This was always a lie. I know, because my friends all gave me the same line. Of course, when I was at their house the TV would be on 24/7.

“What about college football games?”

Ah, you thought you had me on this one, right? But alas, you forgot that friends and bars have TVs if I really want to catch a game. Watching a game in these environments is more social and thus healthier for you.

I am in awe. TV is probably one of the most finely-tuned advertising vehicles to ever be created. Think about it for a moment. We have consciously decided to pay thousands of dollars to bring these boxes into the sanctity of our homes, plug them in and let uncontrolled advertising messages spew forth to interrupt our conversations with friends and family. To keep us from completely unplugging these obnoxious chunks of plastic and turn them into fish tanks, we are fed morsels of “entertainment” like the little green pellet logs coming out of the food dispenser for a guinea pig. Break free of the power of the blinky box!

Perhaps I am just too ADHD to handle TV. If a TV is on then I have a hard time focusing on anything else. Other folks seem to be well adapted at tuning out TV programs. Unfortunately, I am drawn to the blinky box like a moth to a flame. Thus, like an alcoholic who can’t just have one, I live best when there is no TV around. Come join me in TV rehab – the world becomes a lot more interesting when you are living it rather than watching it.

* On November 24, 2008 Nielsen Media Research said the average American watches 142 hours of TV in a month. That is 1,704 hours of 8,766 hours in a year (19.4%). A 40-hour week job takes 2,000 hours a year assuming a two-week vacation during which you can watch even more TV.

Sabbatical Is DAXKO’s Best Benefit Ever

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DAXKO’s always on the lookout for team members’ health and wellbeing.  Whether it’s nutritious snacks around the office, friendly (or not so friendly) fitness competitions, or free flu shots, DAXKO’s got our back when it comes to living healthier.  That includes our mental health, too.

Everyone needs a break every now and again.  DAXKO understands that and offers a 4-week paid sabbatical for team members who’ve put in 7 years with the company.  Jealous, huh?  The intent… unplug from work and recharge your battery.  The rule… NO WORK!  That means no email and no phone calls into the office.  We don’t want to hear from you for one whole month.  Period.

Here’s the experience of our Marketing VP, who recently returned from her first sabbatical…

It has taken me nearly three weeks to dig out from under the emails, pick up the relay, and get back on track after my sabbatical. I can say with confidence, however, that it’s definitely worth sticking around DAXKO for seven years to do it!  After all, DAXKO is a great place to work and build your career. So a sabbatical at the seven-year mark is like the icing on the proverbial cake in the kitchen that we’d run over each other to get to.

An entire month incommunicado with work is a good time to step back, reevaluate life, see new things, and get priorities back in order. Lots of you didn’t think I could completely unplug. You’d be surprised at what a wall of separation builds up with keeping two young kids full-time, a house in the middle of nowhere France, a seven-hour time difference, and great difficulty getting Internet access.  OK, the wine helped a little bit too.

Here’s the mini-chronology of our trip:

  • Depart Atlanta
  • 1 week with in-laws at their house in the Loire Valley where we ate ourselves silly with the good cooking of Mama B
  • 1 week in Paris to catch up with friends, take the kids to the Eiffel tower, and eat more good stuff
  • Five days in Belgium with sister-in-law and her family, accompanied by beer, mussels and fries
  • Five days exploring Normandy sans enfants (no kids!)—fabulous dinners, cider, and calvados
  • 1 week renting a house in the lower Loire valley, seeing lots of castles, markets, and of course plenty of food and wine
  • Return to Atlanta where we rented a car and ate Arby’s drive-thru on the way home!!
  • Back to the office (where Barry was so kind to have a chicken biscuit with cheese waiting for me)

We had only a few rules when we set out:

  1. No working.
  2. No fighting.
  3. No planning (or no more than necessary).
  4. If you can’t eat it or drink it, don’t buy it (the dollar is at an all-time low).
  5. No complaining (this was the only rule that got broken!)

So what did I learn?

  • I need to make more “tranquil moments” to enjoy my family.
  • I love to travel, meet new people, see foreign landscapes, and of course, eat.
  • There’s a big world out there beyond the borders of the good ole USA. We lose sight, and understanding, of that.
  • My own bed feels really good.
  • I’m not ready to retire.

While there are things that need adjusting in my life, all in all I’m at a really good place. Birmingham has been good for us. My children are healthy and relatively well-adjusted. Our families love us. I work for a great company with fantastic people in a market that is doing really good things for communities across the country.  There’s far too much in my sabbatical experience to put in a blog posting, but let it suffice to say we had a most excellent trip, and it’s also really good to be home.

As benefits go, I’d trade my health insurance for another sabbatical.