Best Weight Loss-, Diet- and Fitness-Related Ask Metafilter Threads? February 8, 2010 3:14 PM   Subscribe

What Ask Metafilter threads do Mefites think are the best-of for weight loss, diet and exercise?

There doesn't appear to be a "DietMe" collection page on the MeFi Wiki (EatMe is really more cooking-oriented; tangential, but not on point), and there is too much of an abundance of relevant links to dive in blind.

What are the best weight/diet/exercise posts and comments?
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 3:14 PM (36 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

I have this comment on the Transversus Abdominus bookmarked, along with this one which talks about core work and posture. I also asked about winter gear and exercise and got a couple of great replies.
posted by cashman at 4:30 PM on February 8, 2010


I actually found my running plan through MeFi. It was a link to the "Couch to 5k" Plan, though I can't find it now.

perhaps we do need a page on the wiki.
posted by Taft at 5:05 PM on February 8, 2010


I received some good information to this question I asked about when your body seems to reach a new set point; how to handle those unexpected small weight gains that come out of nowhere.
posted by netbros at 5:06 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Any post or comment mentioning the Hacker's Diet (and related simplified statistical tracking tools like this one) are automatically The Best. Because it works.
posted by DU at 5:11 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


*Makes tiny bowl of flavorless nutrient free popcorn, sits back expectantly*
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:49 PM on February 8, 2010


While I am totally pro-choice about weight-loss, I've seen so many amazingly fucked up and hateful things done to people over the whole topic that I'm just going to sit down and shut up.
posted by kalessin at 5:52 PM on February 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Pick a modest goal at first. Recognize that you'll fail once, twice or thrice. Realize what works for your pal may not work for you. That's ok, keep trying. It's like learning a new skill, you're not going to get it all at once, but slowly you learn. Count your calories, carbs and fat intake by reading the labels on food. You'd be surprised how easy it is eat too much.

The formula is simple, eat less and move more, but how you work that formula in an enjoyable way you'll want maintain for a long time is the real secret and it may take some work to figure out.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:24 PM on February 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


vito90's, naturally.

Oh, wait. You mean for humans?
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:58 PM on February 8, 2010


Jesus Christ, none of them. It's time for a moratorium.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:03 PM on February 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


How do you naturally thin people eat was interesting because it shows that there's a great variety of different ways to eat without getting fat.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:13 AM on February 9, 2010


I will nominate this question for the "Fedora guy" award, though.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:45 AM on February 9, 2010


You're just pissed you can't answer that one "starting strength" like you do every damn time.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:04 AM on February 9, 2010


oooooh shiiiiiiit
posted by ludwig_van at 7:06 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean, seriously broshua, it ain't my fault that people post "how do i shot weights" about 10x/week.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:07 AM on February 9, 2010


Don't worry, and hosted from Uranus. I will start following up on all of ludwig_van's posts with a completely different and revolutionary lifting program:

Wendler's 5/3/1.

I also think DietMe would work a lot better if it was a collection of links to different fitness communities/resources since almost all fitness and diet related questions end up linking to the same few sites.
posted by Loto at 7:52 AM on February 9, 2010


kalessin: While I am totally pro-choice about weight-loss, I've seen so many amazingly fucked up and hateful things done to people over the whole topic that I'm just going to sit down and shut up.

Wait. What?

No snark intended. I don't understand what this comment means in relation to the OP. Did I miss something major that happened here? Because I've found the whole of most AskMe diet and fitness posts to be civil and generally helpful.

To actually answer this, as someone who works out at home but doesn't want to drop a lot of $$$ on equipment, I liked this question a lot.

Another good one is the low-carb breakfast ideas thread here.
posted by howrobotsaremade at 9:31 AM on February 9, 2010


Any post or comment mentioning the Hacker's Diet (and related simplified statistical tracking tools like this one) are automatically The Best. Because it works.

I must dissent. I think the Hacker's Diet is borderline retarded, because it treats all caloric input more or less the same. However, there is true value in having a deeper understanding of what you eat, in basic concepts of macro-nutrient ratios, in knowing the difference between the content of broccoli vs. potato chips. Stuff like this suggests that the author hasn't given much thought to this, which is especially ironic considering the Hacker's Diet has this sort of engineering perspective thing going on. We are not as simple as a rubber bag folks. Stay away.

That aside, tracking your progress is extremely useful...some might say necessary for any significant exercise/diet change. And, I can't argue with the idea that anything that helps you change for the better could be positive...but I think there are much better, more intelligent ways to approach weight loss, like, say, absorbing the most basic concepts that fitness experts have figured out over the years. Despite what the author of the Hacker's Diet implies, these things don't change every week as the wind blows.

Er, sorry to digress...but every time that document is mentioned it raises my hackles.
posted by dubitable at 9:34 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I will nominate this question for the "Fedora guy" award, though.

What is "vie de park", anyway? The top two Google results are both from cmoj's AskMe questions...
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:17 AM on February 9, 2010


Oh, and also, while we're raising hackles: any thoughts on Shovelglove? It gets mentioned reasonably often in exercise threads here; but somehow it just seems janky to me.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:22 AM on February 9, 2010


I wish I could find some strength exercises to make my hackles bigger.
posted by cashman at 10:38 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


What is "vie de park", anyway?

I assumed it meant parkour, but I've never seen that phrase either.

any thoughts on Shovelglove? It gets mentioned reasonably often in exercise threads here; but somehow it just seems janky to me.

Janky seems like a good descriptor for it, especially if janky means "silly and a waste of time."
posted by ludwig_van at 11:37 AM on February 9, 2010


Oh, and also, while we're raising hackles: any thoughts on Shovelglove? It gets mentioned reasonably often in exercise threads here; but somehow it just seems janky to me.

Meh. I'm with ludwig_van on this one. If you want to go cheap and not leave your house, get a pull-up bar, and/or some rings (a little harder to find a place to put these sometimes), and search the web for body-weight exercises. I guarantee you'll find more effective strengthening exercises than shovelglove that will last you...um, the rest of your life. Here, give that one a shot, I think it was linked to also in a thread mentioned above. The tutorials on that site should take most anyone a while. Or check out Dragon Door's bodyweight training archives.

Not that I have any problems with weight-lifting (quite the contrary), I'm just saying, if money or not wanting to leave your house is the issue, there are things that people have been doing for a LONG time that will work you hard and are better than shovelglove for strengthening and metabolic/cardio conditioning.
posted by dubitable at 2:27 PM on February 9, 2010


To speak to the original poster's question (sorry, I've been digressing throughout...), I think one of the problems is that people have so much confusion around this subject...in fact, I don't even think this is one subject that you raised. Weight loss and fitness are two very separate things in my mind. In fact, one's fitness goals may include gaining weight. And it's probably the case that most the time, people would much rather lose fat than lose weight (another reason I have an issue with the Hacker's Diet...).

"Fitness" can include many definitions too. The CrossFit folks have their own semi-contentious definition of fitness which may be very different from the definition your doctor has for normal "fitness" of a X-year-old male/female, or fitness how a body-builder or a marathon runner thinks of it, or the one you have in your mind; fitness may mean how you look, or how you feel, or what you can do, or maybe something else entirely, I dunno.

So I think a big problem is people don't often know what their goals even are. They start by saying something like "I should get in shape/lose weight!" 'cause our societies tells them in some vague way that's what they should do, and then they post a question on AskMeFi, "how do I get in shape/lose weight?" and then a bunch of people who have their own ideas of what that means (I'm guilty of this...) chime in with sometimes confusing advice trying to tell them that their way is the way. But the problem is that many of these people started by not even really understanding what they really wanted in the first place, and the best advice in any case is probably going to be "educate yourself by trying a lot of things (safely), and then figure out what you can tolerate or enjoy long-term so that you maintain a reasonably good diet and exercise habits and these are not just sporadic practices in your life." This goes for diet or exercise, and is different for everyone, I believe. And maybe you need therapy first (only half-joking here), and that's what your question is really about: emotional health.

I think these are some of the reasons why there are so many confusing threads about this. And why I haven't linked to any in particular...in part because I think your question itself is coming from a similar place: you need to refine this a bit more. There may be a great thread on gaining upper body muscle mass, or one on learning to run a marathon, or losing fat, or Michael Pollan's diet recommendations, or something, but you're lumping too much together.

Also, I'm lazy, and don't want to look through all that crap.
posted by dubitable at 2:48 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would like to note that I responded privately to howrobotsaremade.

But in general I should just say that as a former pretty staunch fat acceptance activist (who is reevaluating the staunchness because of some medical issues being experienced by various folks I'm close to), it still totally squicks me to see folks casually talking about dieting and diet tips when for a lot of folks I know (close and not), that same kind of conversation is pretty damning and damaging/triggering.

I recognize that I fall well outside the bell curve here, which is why aside from registering the squicky feeling, I don't feel like I can really profitably contribute to the actual discussion.
posted by kalessin at 2:58 PM on February 9, 2010


Very well said, dubitable, particular the part about weight loss, which brings to mind a similar comment I came across recently from powerlifter Gary Gibson:
"Our bodies are not normal in the absence of exercise", but we've eliminated the need for most people to have to exert themselves at all for anything. The most walking the average American is required to do is a short jaunt across a parking lot a couple times each day. Nothing heavy ever need be lifted and a sweat need never be broken. With lifestyles like that, of course people end up skinny fat. These unmuscled flabby people then think in terms of "losing weight" when what they should be thinking is "getting stronger." When getting sweaty on the elliptical fails them, they become easy targets for muddled thinking... All weight gain becomes bad because they understand all weight gain as fat gain. They don't think in terms of gaining 40 lbs of muscle. "40 lbs heavier?! Why would I want to do THAT?!?"

Industrial era people just don't think in terms of physical work or strength. They only understand getting bigger as getting fatter, not getting more muscular and stronger. Add to this the past half century of "exercise equals aerobics" and you have the current mess of confused, frustrated people afraid of calories as they sweat it out on their treadmills.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:07 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


But in general I should just say that as a former pretty staunch fat acceptance activist (who is reevaluating the staunchness because of some medical issues being experienced by various folks I'm close to), it still totally squicks me to see folks casually talking about dieting and diet tips when for a lot of folks I know (close and not), that same kind of conversation is pretty damning and damaging/triggering.

I'm not exactly sure what you're saying here, especially when you follow this with a statement that you "don't feel like [you] can really profitably contribute to the actual discussion." But I will say the two things that came to mind in response:

1) I can't in any way, shape or form get behind a "movement" or attitude or whatever that actively supports the choice to maintain a state of poor health. I don't know what "fat acceptance" means, but I'm suspicious when you say you're re-evaluating based on some folks' "state of poor health."

2) I think that it's entirely reasonable for people to have ethical objections to and emotional problems because of the constant bombardment of inaccurate and harmful messages about body image that we are exposed to.

So. To sum up, I would only say that it's not the case that eating well and exercise are for only the "skinny pretty" people. It's for everyone. It's good for your mental and physical health to exert yourself and pay attention to what you put in your body and how you put it in your body.

Also, I look at 'dieting' as a pretty different thing from good nutrition. If you want to integrate good nutrition into your life so that it has a real effect, it has to be made a part of your lifestyle in a serious, habitual way, and not be based sort of reactive cycle. This is hard, I won't lie, but it's do-able with the right attitude. But if you are constantly dieting Oprah-style, bouncing around emotionally and physically, (as I suggested in an above post) that implies to me that your first stop should not be a nutritionist or trainer, but a therapist.

Maybe I'm missing your point completely, if so, apologies, and please explain further.
posted by dubitable at 8:57 PM on February 9, 2010


Edit:

"...and not be based sort of reactive cycle."

should be

"...and not be based on some sort of reactive cycle."

Doh.
posted by dubitable at 9:02 PM on February 9, 2010


Also, I dunno why I didn't see this post the first ten times around. Said what I meant in about a fifth of the words...
posted by dubitable at 9:04 PM on February 9, 2010


I would like to recommend P.o.B's profile page.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:43 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dubitable, where I come from simply being fat is not in itself a state of unhealthy. I can supply material to support that argument but only in a context of actual discusiion (as opposed to ridicule, disgust or humor which is where these discussions often go on the intertubes).
posted by kalessin at 4:11 AM on February 10, 2010


Sorry, unhealth. My iPod likes to correct my spelling. Sometimes I don't notice in time.
posted by kalessin at 4:13 AM on February 10, 2010


I want to elaborate more but will wait to switch to a real keyboard. I think you and I possibly have a lot of common ground but that my experience of health and weight and fitness is significantly different from yours, dubitable.
posted by kalessin at 4:17 AM on February 10, 2010


The Hacker's Diet works, as does the South Beach diet, as does the Atkins Diet, as does the Grapefruit Diet, as they're all controlled malnutrition.

The problem isn't finding a way to safely malnourish yourself, the problem is, instead, twofold:

1) Maintaining the wherewithal to stick to diet and exercise.

2) Once the weight is off, finding a reasonable lifestyle balance that avoids the pitfalls of modern living that got you fat in the first place.

These are psychological issues, not nutritional ones - talk to your doc about diet and exercise plans, and then talk to a counselor/shrink on a bi-weekly basis. Be honest, and admit setbacks to your weight loss - the headshrinker will help you with the guilt, frustration and the temptation to pack it in for a Big-Mac-A-Thon.

To be perfectly blunt, the psychological aspect is the most important part of any diet, not the calorie/carb counting, not the cardio-crunch-kilometer counting. Modifying your behavior in a way contrary to what your body tells you it wants is the whole shooting match, and it will be the biggest challenge.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:26 AM on February 10, 2010


I think you and I possibly have a lot of common ground but that my experience of health and weight and fitness is significantly different from yours, dubitable.

Yeah, I think you're most likely right. I want to emphasize also that I don't want anyone to start off by feeling bad about themselves when they consider exercise or changing their dietary habits, or hear anyone else talk about it, that's just terrible and makes me feel terrible too. And I would never ridicule anyone just for taking a different perspective on that (or anything, I hope...! We are all entitled to our opinion...), especially when it's so sensitive--but I would try to express any skepticism about 'fat acceptance' that I may have (again, I don't really know what 'fat acceptance' is, so I'd welcome more of an explanation) in a sensitive way.
posted by dubitable at 2:02 PM on February 10, 2010


Not only at a real keyboard but nine hours later, I don't think you and I disagree that much, dubitable. I do think you may have read more into my statement about loved ones' health than I intended, though.

The primary platform in fat acceptance activism is that it is not fatness that is generally a health problem for folks, but lack of healthy eating and lack of overall physical fitness. Fat acceptance activists generally promote the idea that simply being fat is not an indicator of poor health, but that we should focus instead on overall physical health, fitness and healthy eating/lifestyle behavior.

There are a lot of folks involved in that movement who practice what they preach. They eat healthily, they are physically fit, they see doctors the same amount as anyone else. They are medically sound. They're just fat.

And still, because of our culture's really obsessive focus on thinness as a primary indicator of health a lot of these people are being told that that's not good enough. That's where the activism comes in - because many folks (including medical professionals) see fat people and automatically think "unhealthy", or worse, they also think "stupid", "ignorant", "willful" & "immoral".

In the name of that kind of moralizing and ass haberdashery, I have seen a lot of unjust things done to and recommended (especially unjust when it comes from medical professionals as part of their daily practice) for people whom I not only love or like but trust and respect.

At the same time I've recently known a lot of friends (some part of that activist movement, some not), to get older and start suffering from conditions that are often associated with simply getting older as well as ones that are associated with being fat. The three hardest ones for the fat acceptance activist platform to defend against are type II diabetes, joint stability issues, & vascular/cardiovascular disease.

These three issues are I think the least defensible conditions from the point of view of fat activism's argument that dieting doesn't or doesn't have to enter into it. In fact, it seems that each of these conditions tend to show some improvement for the patient when the patient follows medical recommendation that tends to lead to weight loss through long-term diet and exercise changes.

I think in the case of these three particular conditions, the argument for weight loss is the same, though the mechanisms are different. For each one, a lower total body mass makes the system work easier with what resources it's got. In diabetes' case, it's your total available naturally produced insulin, with joint stability, it's a mechanical argument, with heart disease, it's your cardiovascular system.

For a long time, I believed that following the fat acceptance activism platform that solely through health eating, fitness, exercise (and NOT dieting), these were conditions that could be managed or overcome without violating the political platform that's part of the fat acceptance "Healthy at any size" platform (the platform being that changing body size has little or no effect on these sorts of conditions and is the wrong thing to focus on).

My mind is changing about this as my loved ones and I take on these medical challenges, and as some of them, despite their political beliefs about fat acceptance, find that losing weight is helping them treat and manage their medical conditions better.

But at the same time, I still feel like for the majority of people who seek to diet, they could profitably focus on other aspects of health and fitness and not worry so much about where the pounds are or are going. Part of that feeling comes from what folks have already said here - sometimes putting on pounds is good. Sometimes it's muscle. Sometimes it just makes you feel better.

And the other aspect about which you and I seem to agree is that our cultures really are focusing too hard on aesthetics and body image issues that are by and large not really doing our society or culture any actual good - and hurting people along the way besides. It is from this that I derive my squick about this kind of topic. I almost always end up feeling like paying this much attention to dieting is really flirting with seriously traumatizing folks who have issues with body image and other socially induced psychosocial issues.
posted by kalessin at 2:09 PM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have this comment on the Transversus Abdominus bookmarked

I missed this the first time around. For all the good it will do to say so here (read: probably none), I would like to opine that the linked comment is crazy-talk. Unfortunately it is a variety of crazy-talk which is not uncommon in exercise discussions.

Uninjured people do not need to go to physiotherapists to learn to isolate muscles that never function in isolation in regular human activity. The role of the transverse abs is to increase intra-abdominal pressure and stabilize the spine. Rather than trying to isolate them, we can strengthen them by performing movements which require them, along with all of the other trunk muscles, to contract in order to keep the spine neutral against a load. These same movements just so happen to be the most effective ones for strengthening nearly all of the other muscles, bones, and connective tissues of the body, while also having a large amount of carryover to a variety of athletic activities -- the most relevant movements being the squat, the deadlift, and the press. An individual who is capable of squatting, pressing, and deadlifting heavy loads must have strengthened his transverse abs in order to do so, out of anatomical necessity based of the nature of the movement. He will have strengthened them by using the muscles in the same way as they are used in the course of other physical activities, and at the same time he will have become stronger everywhere else.

Compound barbell movements are probably more difficult than the vacuum exercise and whatever other lightweight PT stuff one might undertake, but then I think tend to think of exercise, like many things in life, as a "get out what you put in" type of affair.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:01 AM on February 11, 2010


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