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Fat Loss w/ Diet Only, No Exercise?

I have some problems with the lower back, and the doctor suggested that I should stay away from any physical exercises for two weeks. Can I lose weight simply by reducing my calorie intake? I don’t have too much muscle on my body to begin with, but I am afraid that by being inactive I will lose even what I have instead of fat. He suggested swimming, but I don’t have a place where I can go swimming. Thanks

At the very least, dieting without exercise will make it extremely difficult to lost any significant amount of fat without also losing some muscle mass. Your best bet would probably be a low-carb diet with a lot of low-impact cardio like walking, biking, or using one of those gay “cross-walker” things at the gym.

Rather than that, why not fix your back? What specific problems do you have - bulging discs?

It may seem counterintuitive, but squats and deadlifts are extremely rehabilitative of lower back problems, and have the nice side effects of building muscle and jacking up your metabolic rate. A program focusing on those exercises along with proper stretching and inversion is your best bet by far.

Your doctor will probably disagree with that, but thats because most MD’s are simply ignorant on this topic. Find a good physical therapist who is also involved in weight training or coaching. It may take some time to find someone knowledgeable to help you but keep looking until you find them. Until you find that person, get an inversion table and use it at least once (twice is better) a day, and try doing a low-carb diet + as much walking as you have time for.

I have something at my L4, L5, and S1 vertebrae. He stated that I should stop lifting weights, at least for these 2 weeks. I said that I usually go running but he said that I should stop that as well. I’m only 23 years old, I’ve read about older people who had bigger problems than me and who still were able to go to the gym.

Anyway I am now taking three different types of drugs for the next 7 days, 2 times per day. I hope that they will solve something. He said that I should see a physical therapist in order to perform stretching exercises and so on. I hope that I will still be able to lift in the future and that this problem is not permanent. Oh, I forgot, he called it a transient problem, so at least that’s good news

This problem does NOT need to be permanent…

Disc problems suck. They are nagging and persistent and painful, and make you want to do nothing but sit on your ass in a comfortable position and eat pizza and drink beer (at least thats what mine did to me). Also, you can easily make them worse if you do the wrong things.

Taking two weeks off to just rest and give the anti-inflammatory meds a chance to work probably isn’t a bad idea. You should also be stretching as much as possible and doing inversion during this time off. Inversion is very helpful.

Running is a poor choice at this point because of the jarring on your spine. Swimming is a good choice, if you can find a place to do it. Walking or using one of those cross-trainer things might help, too.

The bottom line is, while a few days off now might not be a bad idea, your goal is to stay as active as possible, without of course putting too much stress on your lower spine.

And as I said before, you really do need to lift - but wait until you find someone who really knows what they are doing to coach you on squats and deadlifts. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a PT, just someone who really knows that they are doing.

Yeah, I know but the problem is that many exercises put pressure on my lower spine. i tried to do pull-ups, dips, bench presses, and all of them caused discomfort. It annoys the hell out of me that I have to be inactive for two weeks. I am willing to give up deadlifting at squats but at least to be able to perform other exercises. What problems did you have with your back? What are the inversion exercises? Can you give me an example?

When I was in the military I herniated the same two discs as you - L4/L5 and L5/S1. Mine was from running with heavy rucksacks and really heavy physical labor without paying any attention to lifting mechanics.

Inversion is simply where you hang upside down. It puts traction on your spine, temporarily decompressing the discs and stretching the spasmodic muscles and tendons. You’ve probably seen those commercials on TV where that old dude hangs upside down on his device? “teeter hang-up” or something? Yeah, it really works.

You need an inversion table to do it (Craigslist or Dicks) - hanging by your knees from monkey bars wont work because it is important to relax and take your time and stretch for as long as you can.

It is actually quite uncomfortable at first, and your probably won’t even come close to going completely upside down, which you don’t need to. But as you learn to relax your back and progress to longer stretches, you will find your back feeling better.

Some MD’s and PT’s and Chiro’s say it doesn’t work, and some love it.

For me, inversion definitely put my back on the road to recovery - and mine was pretty severe. Then a couple years later when I starting lifting pretty hard and doing lots of squats is when I really got to the point that I consider my back problems “cured”.

I am not certain what it is. He said that there is a bigger distance between the two vertebrae than it should be. I thought that the most common cause is when the distance between the two vertebrae is smaller than it should be, meaning that they are compressed. Mine seem to be decompressed, if that makes any sense. Anyway I haven’t felt as much pain today as yesterday, I hope that the situation will improve.