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Cameron - Oct. 8, 2009

 

October 8, 2009



How Not to Lose Weight

W. BRUCE CAMERON

A few weeks ago, Time Magazine ran a cover story that declared that “Exercise won’t make you lose weight,” which is a real shame because I’d just been thinking that it was time to work out, maybe drop 10-15 pounds that afternoon.

The article was written by John Cloud, who says: a) he’s exercised for years, and b) he’s never been overweight, therefore, c) working out doesn’t do any good.

Sounds good to me.

Further, though the same article claims that the federal government classifies two-thirds of us as being overweight, 57 percent of us say we engage in regular exercise — so obviously lying about working out doesn’t do any good either.

And hey, the federal government says we’re too fat? Has it looked in the mirror lately?

Anyway, the real question is, what the heck is going on here, and don’t you think we should maybe order a pizza while we try to figure it out?

Fortunately, Cloud’s article offers some anecdotal clues as to why exercise doesn’t cause people to lose weight, which should help us understand why there are so many obese marathon runners and ballet dancers.

For example, he cites a group of overweight friends who began jogging together on a regular basis, running all the way to the coffee shop, where they’d sit and have muffins. Though it seems farfetched, Cloud says it may be possible that stuffing themselves with muffins every morning might somewhat offset the benefits of all that jogging.

This is far from a scientific study, though — in order to accurately assess what is going on with the muffin-eaters, we should also study what happens when people run to the deli, to the doughnut shop and to the local “House of Lard.”

I decided to conduct my own experiment, running two miles every day to get a cinnamon roll, except that I didn’t do any actual running because I don’t like it. Sure enough, I didn’t lose any weight, but I did eat a lot of cinnamon rolls, so in my opinion the whole experiment was a net positive.

In fact, I found that the endorphin rush I experienced after every cinnamon roll dramatically improved my mood, to the point that, like people who get up and exercise every morning, I felt bad if I didn’t have a cinnamon roll to start my day.

Next, I decided to see what would happen if I didn’t eat cinnamon rolls — would I lose weight? (I don’t know the answer because I didn’t skip eating any actual cinnamon rolls.)

Cloud might argue that my study is lacking a certain degree of scientific integrity, and I would heartily agree: The cinnamon rolls weren’t the kind that come glazed with a cream-cheese-and-sugar topping. To prove Cloud’s thesis, you have to see things the way he does — in other words, employ “Cloudy Thinking.”

Here’s a better way to test his theory. Start with a full tank of gas in your car, representing a full (fat) stomach. Drive 100 miles, representing fuel (food) burning exercise. Then stop at a gas station and fill up your car, which represents eating (gorging on) muffins. When you check your gauges, you’ll be shocked to see that your tank is full! No, it’s no magic trick, though I do understand why it might seem that way. It’s just an application of Cloud’s theory on “why burning fuel doesn’t cause your car to burn fuel.” So for heaven’s sake, stop driving before your tank overflows.

Experts say that to shed weight, people should engage in exercise for 60 to 90 minutes most days, a goal that Cloud notes would make it difficult to find or keep a job, especially if you consider that Americans watch, on average, four hours of TV a day. I agree: Between exercise, TV-watching and muffin-binging, who has time for a career? And if we start working out, we might miss “America’s Biggest Loser”! If you really want to lose weight, you should sit as still as possible, moving your fingers only to change channels or dial out for pizza.

Don’t worry about cinnamon rolls, though. I’ve got those covered.

To write Bruce Cameron, visit his Website at http://www.wbrucecameron.com. To find out more about Bruce Cameron and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

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