Why “eat less, move more” doesn’t work for weight loss

It’s a short-term fix. Here’s what works in the long-term.

When it comes to “going on a diet”, there are many well-trodden approaches. The traditional one, usually advocated by official policy makers, is to eat less and move more.

This advice is based on the first law of thermodynamics, a law that applies beautifully to internal combustion engines. Not so much human metabolism.

Nevertheless, the simplicity of this theory is so intuitively appealing that it has endured, and continues to endure, despite all the evidence to the contrary. It assumes that obesity is a disorder of energy imbalance: when calories-in exceed calories-out, there is an energy surplus that the body stores as fat.

Perhaps you’ve already been there. Perhaps you already know that reducing the amount of food you eat starts well and ends badly. But you keep doing it anyway.

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