T Nation

Is My Teacher Right?


Today, while in my chemistry class, my teacher said "to lose weight, you need to exercise more and eat less."

I was going to go up and correct him on this, but I did not know if I was correct!
I was going to tell him:
I did not find this statement to be 100% correct. The general public thinks that if you eat one meal a day and exercise, you are going to lose weight (and it sounds like it makes sense). Well, from my understating of things and my own
personal experience, this statement may not necessary be true. By starving yourself all day like that, it just slows you metabolism down and makes you burn less fat. In order to bring your metabolism up to par, you need to eat small meals every 2-3 hours, consisting of 6-8 meals a day.

Correct me if I am wrong.


Well in the literal sense he is correct, you will lose weight if you eat less and exercise more. But for people who want to look ripped by cutting fat and maintaining muscle it's a little more complicated than that.


you both are correct. If you eat less and exercise more, in theory you will loose weight. The main principle in regards to this is, buring more calories than you take in. Your idea is also correct in that eating more times a day will boost your metabolism, but the meals have to be smaller. As stated above, it gets more complicated but that's the jist of if.


To keep it as simple as poosible, you just have to use more energy than you take in. There are better ways than others to do this.

Exercise and increasing metabolism = good.

Laxative abuse and starvation = bad.


You're right in that yours is the correct way to look at it. Give the body what it needs, when it needs it, and exercise (modality depending on goals).

Technically the teacher is right too, though if that's the way they look at it, they're an idiot. Unless you're dealing with a morbidly obese individual, that is.



Oh joy - chemistry. :slight_smile:

Summary: your chemist-teacher is right if all-things are assumed constant; the teacher is WRONG for the real-ife application to humans.

A bit more detail:

Teacher may be discussing this from the perspective of the Laws of Thermodynamics. The key one that is relevant to this being that "energy", (and therefore matter), "can neither be created nor destroyed".

With everything else being equal, there is no doubt that eating less and moving more will result in weight loss. Every movement requires energy (and also increases entropy), so your teacher is correct - from a thermodynamic perspective.

And if human beings were always consuming energy to the same extent, and also using it to the same degree of thermodynamic efficiency, your teacher would also be correct in the real world, too.

However, this is where Teacher falls down: the human biological energy management system (call it "metabolism", if you like) varies enormously and is incredibly adaptable. The fact is, no-one just uses energy for moving mass - they use it to create heat, perform chemical work to maintain / grow their body, process foods, kill viruses, etc. etc. When you factor this in, your teachers' statement is simplistic, and misleading.


WiZlon (a Chemist, but not a teacher)


I've always considered the secret rule to be: Exercise more, eat less, but do neither to an extreme. :wink: Problem solved.


Dude, if this was high school chemistry, give the teacher a break. They weren't wrong at all. You do have to eat less and exercise more. Unless this was an entire lesson on fat loss, it wouldn't even make much sense to get that deep into it. The only thing we emphasize is how to do this the right way.


Yeah extremes are bad. One bowl of frosted mini wheats coupled with 2 hours of cardio equals sickly bad idea.


As an aside, teachers do not generally react well to students correcting them, especially in cases like this where he is right in many respects - as long as you attach numerous conditions and definitions.

So unless you wanted to get on his bad side, staying quiet was probably the right thing to do.


Why just eat LESS? Why not just don't eat at all? They will eventually end up with the same result - DEATH.
Your teacher's method just takes longer.



Man, I'm STILL trying to figure out why anyone would want to LOOSE weight? I mean, if anything we would want to tighten weight, right?


A lot of people are happy with a stick figure and desire it. This is evident in my city and people who live around me. I've heard "I just want to cut fat and have ripped abs"....to ....."I just want to get rid of this gut.

My wife thinks I "Get too fat" when I'm bulking. This is just because my stomach is always maxed out inside. Most of my family thinks I'm getting fatter just because of that. If I don't eat in 6 hours I can suck in my stomach.

I had not seen my grandma in ages and the first thing she did was pat my stomach...even though I gained nearly 40 lbs lean.....

Our society is either anorexic or obese. There is nothing else in between to a lot of people.


Burn more calories than you consume, end of story!


When you are covered in a layer of fat, how is grandma to know you hadn't just gained fat? Grandma isn't a T-Nation reader. She's only seen people gain weight over years - even while still working hard at the farm (muscle under the fat from hard labor).

Give granny a break :stuck_out_tongue: