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Thread: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

  1. #21
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Yikes, I just realized I spoke too soon!

    Even the enjoyment people derive from exercise seems to have a strong genetic component. In my previous post, I made the same logical fallacy I suggested many others do: projecting ones personal experience to the greater human condition. The truth is that swimming makes me feel quite good--it dejangles my nerves, relaxes me, clears my mind, and usually leaves me feeling happier than before the workout started. In this I realize that I am the beneficiary of genetic influences that perhaps allow me to sop up excess adrenaline, or release endorphins, or benefit from some other biochemical byproduct of exercise that not everyone derives. We've all known people who get nothing pleasant from exercise, or whose state of contentment is such that they do not require it for psychological balming purposes.

    I guess people who are naturally lean should accept with humility their good fortune in the genetic lottery (though this could change if the world economy collapses and the threat of famine once again raises its head in our land!) Likewise we who like exercise should not assume everyone gets the same enjoyment from it, and judge them harshly for avoiding it, but rather just consider ourselves fortunate that our physiology, for whatever reason, provides us a motivating reward that makes it easy to keep coming back to the pool, year after year after year.

  2. #22
    Very Active Member mlabresh's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Haha! Yes, I guess we are all different both in the realm of weight loss success and pleasure derived from exercise.

    The latter is actually a much bigger reason for my swimming. I've battled severe depression most of my life and swimming is my alternative to being on anti-depressants. And in saying that, I remember that 'Hey! My depression affects my ability to lose weight!', so there's another factor. That plus genetics are really working against me. But the fact that my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother all had hypertension, and diabetes runs on both sides of my family, leads me to believe that regardless of whether I EVER shed those extra pounds, I NEED to keep swimming in order to stay healthy.

    That's interesting about birth weight and maternal weight having an impact on the child's projected weight later in life.
    ~Megan

  3. #23
    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    I will mention that some medications make it more difficult, if not impossible to lose weight. Until I started taking Beta Blockers I had to work to keep weight on. The Beta's seem to have put a target on my mid-section for the fat to pack on. I hate it but at the same time I want to live so I guess I'll just be paunchy. I'm still eating very nutritiously however!
    HTFU!

  4. #24
    Very Active Member ekw's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobinator View Post
    I will mention that some medications make it more difficult, if not impossible to lose weight. Until I started taking Beta Blockers I had to work to keep weight on. The Beta's seem to have put a target on my mid-section for the fat to pack on. I hate it but at the same time I want to live so I guess I'll just be paunchy. I'm still eating very nutritiously however!
    Seconded. I have at times had to take medications that made it really easy to gain weight and very, very hard to lose it. While this obviously wasn't ideal, it was better than my being un-medicated in terms of overall health and general quality of life. I absolutely hate when people use weight as the only measure of health.

    That said, I could definitely do a better job of eating well. I am genetically predisposed towards disliking cooking.

    More on Jim's point about genetics and exercise: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...252788528.html
    "Librarians are hiding something." - Stephen Colbert

  5. #25
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton View Post
    That's why the stats on recidivism--i.e., people successfully lose weight, only to regain it all back--are so grim.

    When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off, there is a short-term, easy part and a long-term, hard part. People often get confused about that. People say things like "The last five pounds are the hardest!" or other seriously destructive nonsense.

    I'm convinced that slow weight loss is the way to go. Why make the short, easy part faster at the expense of the truly difficult part?

    I reviewed the medical literature on weight loss. All I found was utter trash.

    Typical weight loss studies last 6 months -that isn't weight loss, that's just doing tricks with your body. "Long term" weight loss studies are usually one year long - not quite long enough for me to consider it temporary weight loss.

    If you need evidence that American physicians are money-grubbing hacks with no concern for your health, the medical journal weight loss articles are good place to find it. Right up there with elective cosmetic surgery literature. (I don't believe that about physicians, but the evidence is there.)

    I'm within a pound or two of my 2 year weight loss goals.

    Attitude? ATTITUDE??? I don't have any ATTITUDE, punk. Why do you ask?

  6. #26
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    As a "big guy" I need to do more of everything! At the top of the list is eat less & better.
    Adding gym & pool workouts till I start to lose --- then try to keep it off !!

  7. #27
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    I'm with you! I'm trying to get down to 240 by my first meet next weekend. (down from 255 at 6-1 1/2). As the guy from the gym told me 2 days ago... you are a husky guy... wow...thanks.

  8. #28
    Active Member tigerchik's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by mlabresh View Post
    I completely agree. But (also not trying to be a smart _ss) sometimes it's not that simple. I've followed all the recommendations/instructions what-have-you and still not been successful at losing weight. I've counted calories, modified what and how much I eat, been very active, and had no luck. I don't know if it's just genetics, but that's how it is. I'm in much better shape and am very strong and have great muscle tone, but in 4 years I've only lost about 15lb (and that's been up and down and all over the place). By protocol, with the information I've followed, what I do *should* have yielded a 1-2lb loss per week. Not quite!

    Anyway, not really trying to argue or anything. I've had some very disheartening and disappointing times these past few years and got really tired of a lot of people telling me "Losing weight isn't hard at all! Just adjust your diet and activity level and off it goes!". I've since given up on the idea of losing weight. I'm just swimming because I love it and I want to get better at it and be able to compete. Sometimes I get bummed that I'm not lighter/thinner so that I can be faster as a result, but I just use that as fuel for my fire to make me work harder.

    I think higher fat/protein and lower carb than what is standardly recommended helps most people who can't lose weight "conventionally." Like 50% cho instead of 65%

  9. #29
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by tigerchik View Post
    I think higher fat/protein and lower carb than what is standardly recommended helps most people who can't lose weight "conventionally." Like 50% cho instead of 65%
    Again, whether you respond better to the high protein, low carbs--Atkins-y approach, or the low fat, high carbs Ornish approach, may have more to do with your specific genes that most people realize:


    Dozens of other genes and polygenes have been discovered that strongly influence an individualís response to diet and exercise interventions. FTO, arguably the most common gene associated with fat mass and obesity, comes in a variety of subtypes known as alleles. Last November, researchers reported in the journal Diabetes that those with one FTO--the rs1558902 variant!--are much more likely than other people to benefit from a high protein dietógiving hope, at least, that diet prescriptions tailored to individual genetics will one day work better than todayís one-size-fits-all approach.

  10. #30
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    I really was only interested in the swimming only angle.

    My diet and alcoholism is a whole nother battle that I agree if I won would be more beneficial to my weight loss. I've basically been on a 25-year binge. I think my body would respond positively to dietary changes but I don't really have the sample set to see how far it could take me. I was able to drop 20 pounds from 235 to 215 in about a year with some small changes. I was already swimming but started eating salads for lunch during the week and tried to avoid fast food, fried food, and my pizza and burrito binges. I still drank all the time but tried to cut down the microbeers in favor of light beer and Crown Royal.

    I think a serious devotion to calorie counting and quitting drinking might have brought me all the way to 200 which I haven't seen since I started college.

    But then I stopped swimming and now I have blown up to 240 pounds in less than a year.

    For me excercise is the far easier battle to win. And I agree it has other benefits as far as just making me feel good. It also I think it has a side benefit on my diet as well. There is a salad bar at the pool I swim at. Further, when I make a point of getting my swim in I try not to drink or eat so much that I can't physically get my workout in.

    ...So at least I am swimming again. 4 straight days after my layoff. Went 500 yards, then 750, 1000, and today 1250. I am going to try to add 10 lengths a day, perhaps all the way to 3000 before looking at the clock or doing flip turns. The clock and the meets are what used to motivate me but I don't even want to know what the clock is telling me now. There is a certain satisfaction in just swimming. I wondered if this lap swimming approach could possibly even more beneficial. When doing hard sets I would get too burned by 2000 yards so I am curious if slowing down and doing 3k or 4k would actually allow me to lose more weight anyway, as that would be great justification for my current approach. If nothing else, I think this approach might work really well for a rebound rather than jumping back into interval training too quickly.

  11. #31
    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Herb, have you considered replacing your beverage of choice with wine? For me it seems to fit right in with a balanced diet

  12. #32
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    Herb, have you considered replacing your beverage of choice with wine? For me it seems to fit right in with a balanced diet
    Lol, I am drinking a glass of red wine right now.


    Unfortunately for me glasses turn into bottles. But it might still be the best bet calorie wise - a whole bottle has I think about 600 calories?

  13. #33
    Active Member tigerchik's Avatar
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    if it's truly just for weight loss, do whatever gets you the most yards. Add intervals when you want to. Intervals burn more calories per minute, but if it's 1000 yds of intervals vs 3000 yds of LSD you'll burn more total calories in the second. Additinoally. the more intense the workout the higher the % of CHO burned.

  14. #34
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    Re: What is the best way to swim for weight loss?

    I am definitely no expert, but I've gone from 228 to 203 since I started swimming. I usually do a 500 moderate tempo warm-up, and end with an easy 200 cool down. In between I do 5x100, 5x60, 5x40, and then about a dozen or so all out 20 sprints (the pool is 20 yards), with short rest. I try to do 12 laps of breaststroke kicking also. All this is done at anywhere from 80 to 100 % of maximum effort.

    While I have not "dieted," I definitely try to control my eating. However, I'm no fanatic. While I still love my bagel and cream cheese or my egg sandwich in the morning (I skip the cheese now, except for Fridays, when I will also occasionally add bacon), I eat a lot more fruit, and I avoid sweets, except for rare occasions. I drink seltzer with lemon instead of cola or ginger ale. Most importantly, I try to eat a big lunch at about 2-2:30, and then for dinner, I don't have full meal, but something lite and healthy (last night, I had a Starbucks fruitbox....a few small pieces of cheese, apple wedges, cranberry raisins, and 4 or 5 multigrain crackers...before I taught my night class).

    While I can't recommend this as medically sound, I also drink 4-6 strong cups of coffee per day, and I find it helps suppress my appetite to some extent.

    Finally, when I am hit with hunger pangs at any point in the day, I try to reach for something like a handful of blackberries, rather than a bag of potato chips.

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