Move More, Eat Smarter.

Instead of move more, eat less, researchers are pointing to a new weight loss philosophy: Move more, eat smarter.

People are often surprised by the quantity of food that I eat.

Upon waking up, I eat some fruit and protein. After the gym, I have a protein shake and bowl of cereal. For lunch, I usually eat a chicken or turkey wrap overflowing with fresh veggies, a side of carrot sticks, humus and a vibrant salad. My afternoon snack - often an apple with peanut butter - is followed by a dinner of steamed vegetables and a main course. Depending on the day, dessert is either a smoothie, protein shake and berries or Greek yogurt.

All in all, it’s a lot of food for a 5’8.5″ guy weighing 155lbs with 8% body fat. Of course, it’s exactly what I need to eat to fuel my active lifestyle.

My approach to food is something isn’t unique to me - but it is an approach that has been gaining traction in the health and wellness community. In a recent paper published in the July 3 issue of the journal Circulation, researchers from the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center concluded that the current obesity strategies of “just eating less” aren’t cutting it.

Researchers found that food restriction, in and of itself, isn’t effective in reducing obesity. The calorie restriction does result in an initial weight loss, but this process triggers the body’s natural survival instincts to prevent starvation. A lower metabolic rate is resulted and the body typically burns 170 to 250 fewer calories for a 10% weight loss and 325 to 480 fewer calories for a 20% weight loss.

According to the paper’s lead author:

We are not going to reduce obesity by focusing only on reducing food intake. Without increasing physical activity in the population we are simply promoting unsustainable levels of food restriction. This strategy hasn’t worked so far and it is not likely to work in the future.

In other words, it’s really about changing the message from “eat less, move more” to “move more, eat smarter.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Despite the temptation to live an increasingly sedentary lifestyle - and to spend more and more time in front of our phones, computers or televisions - it’s more important than ever to get up and get moving. And when we do get moving, we need to fuel our bodies accordingly. It doesn’t mean “starving” ourselves and skipping meals. On the contrary, it’s about eating those foods that nourish our bodies - like lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries - in appropriate quantities and in proportion to our increased activity levels.

Does the “move more, eater smarter” mantra resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.

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  1. I think that this message is great! I have told friends who diet regularly they need to exercise and introduce healthy foods to increase their metabolism. However they rarely listen to me. I maintain a 5’10” 178lb body this way; who knew I was onto something!

    • Eat healthy, avoid the JUNK the packs on the pondus (like chips and ice cream), fill up on fruits and vegetables at dinner, and eat small meals 4-5 times a day instead of 3 big ones. Try not to snack before bed, if you have to, make it air popped pop corn with no butter it’s filling with next to no calories. I eat mine with a little seasoning salt shaken on top for a little flavor. If you HAVE to have ice cream, have it early in the day so you have time to work it off. And afterwards, BREASTFEED. It’s WAYYY healthier for the baby, and it helps you burn up the baby fat. Good luck!!

  2. Michael says:

    How does that really work though? Are you saying if you eat “smarter” (i.e. healthier) that calories don’t matter? I’m confused. I know your caolories should come from healthy foods but to lose wright, don’t you have to have a calorie deficit? Are you saying there is a difference in results between a deficit eating healthy foods and a deficit eating unhealthy foods?

    • Hi Michael,
      Yes, I think that is what they are saying. For instance, I’ve been on Weight Watchers for quite a while and I’ve lost close to 20% of my starting weight. I can honestly report that I’m eating at least if not MORE than when I was not making healthier decisions. The WW plans have evolved to allow you to eat almost all fruits and vegetables for 0 points. This means I can almost virtually eat as much of those as I want because they are better choices. They have also adopted the mantra that “Not all calories are created equally.” Some (empty) calories such as found in calorie dense, but not body nourishing foods (aka snack foods and the like), are very high in points. They don’t fill you up very much and the plan tries to steer you into making a better choice. This means that you cannot eat these items as often, but you don’t have to give them up (because then you will binge when you finally give in). Items like lean meats and veggies and whole grains are lower in points. The program tells us that these choices will make us feel full for longer periods of time because they take longer for our bodies to break down and burn the calories. Thus, we end up eating smarter and we may actually be eating more (due to eating more fruits, veggies and high protein/fiber items).
      Hope this all helps a bit. I know I was also surprised when the plans changed. I was under the same impression of eat less, move more (create a calorie deficit only). It seems that move more, eat smarter really is the way to go because of the metabolic aspects of healthier food choices.
      Hope you have a great day!

  3. Look at any animal in nature, do they care how much food they eat? Does a gorilla ever calorie restrict? No, of course not. And, yet, animals in nature, and us people, who live active and healthy lifestyles, never really gain too much weight.

    I find that some days I go to bed at 170lbs, and some days at more like 176lbs. Either way, I wake up at the same 168lbs everyday. The only time I have a tenancy to gain a little weight is when I don’t eat enough.

  4. With all of the different circumstances, IT’S SO CONFUSING!

  5. Seattle Epicure says:

    Oh dear, I hope you aren’t really eating humus.


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