Eat less, Move More???*

Friday, 2 September 2016, By Matt Aston

Eat less, Move more???

We have all heard of the term "eat less, move more", quite simple right? But why is 63% of Australia considered overweight and obese. Most people don't lose more than a few kilos after years of dieting, and the majority of people regain the weight and even more.

Eat less:

We all know that if we eat less, we will lose weight. But why do we find it so difficult to follow such a simple rule? When we decide to eat less a magical thing happens. We get hungry. Research has found that not being hungry is the most important predictor when it comes to successful weight loss. HUNGER IS THE ENEMY. The leaner you get, the hungrier you become. Now, that's great if you have to hunt for your food as we would have once upon a time, but not so great when we are having a stare down with those biscuits at work.

Hungry isn't the only issue. Hunger is uncomfortable, but why do we give in to it?

We rationalise. It's a battle of self control, and self control is limited. Self control requires us to consciously override our instinctive urge to eat. This causes decision fatigue. With self control being limited, diet failure is an inevitable.

Hunger + Decision fatigue = Diet Failure.

Move more:

Common advice is take the stairs instead of the escalators or park further away from where you need to go to get a bit of extra walking in. Seems quite simple right? Why wouldn't it work?

Is it really worth it? It would require you to walk up 29 floors to burn off 1 small apple. Constantly thinking of ways to increase your activity level requires effortful self control. Combine that with the stresses of work, family, and life and you're setting yourself up for "moving more" failure.

This isn't implying that exercise is bad then focusing on weight loss. But the crucial part of any successful weight loss program is structure.

Structure is the key to lifestyle change. You need to plan in advance so that you avoid having to make dozens of daily decisions about diet and physical activity. Investing in a structured exercise program frees your mind from decision fatigue. As the saying goes, "Failing to plan is planning to fail."

Why we should do weights training.

Building muscle increases your metabolism. Who doesn't want to increase their metabolism? It has been shown that the more muscle mass you have can increase your metabolism by 14%. This means you can burn more energy, just by having more muscle mass. Now, I'm not saying you need to be hugely muscular to be of benefit to this. It's been shown that people aged from 50-65 years old can increase their metabolism by 8% from 16 weeks of weight training.

Eat MORE, not LESS.

"Eating less" implies eating the same foods over and over, and just simply eating less of it. This requires more self control by constantly eating less than your appetite signals tell you. As the diet progresses and you become hungrier, this is when the struggle becomes real. It's no surprise that most diets fail.

The solution? Eat MORE, not LESS. Eat more low calorie foods; eat more foods that make you full. Eat fruit. Eat Vegetables. Eat lean protein sources. These foods make you feel full. There is nothing wrong with the sandwich you have for lunch. But is it keeping you full? We all suffer from decision fatigue when we get hungry. Putting ourselves in that position less, increases our chances of long term diet adherence.


Failure has become the norm with diet and fat loss programs. The reason is not lack of willpower, or genetics. Unless you do have a serious medical condition, there is no reason you cannot get to your goal weight and stay there.  You don't need to do hours of cardio and starve yourself. Instead, invest your energy into a structured exercise program instead of trivial decisions about your activity level. Most importantly you must have a good diet strategy to manage decision fatigue.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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