In last week’s blog I brought up the subject of whether exercising makes you more or less hungry. That question got me thinking about how hunger is the chief culprit that sabotages people when they’re trying to lose weight. I then remembered that I have on hand a fantastic article by Consumer Reports about this much-hyped issue. “The Truth About Dieting” was the magazine’s cover story in its June 2002 issue. Ever since it was released, Bar Method studios have kept copies of it behind their front desks to hand out to students asking for advice on how to shed pounds.

Diet and Exercise“The Truth About Dieting” reports on a compilation of research about dieting and hunger, including a five-year research study carried out by Consumer Magazine itself on 32,213 dieters. The evidence the authors gathered leads to a surprisingly upbeat conclusion: losing weight is actually doable – if you do it right.

Consumer Reports first took an unbiased look at diet plans. What it discovered is that making up your own diet is more successful than going to a commercial diet program like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. Among the 32,213 people in its study who lost 10 percent of their body weight and kept it off a year 83 percent said they used “my own diet and exercise regimen” with no outside assistance or dietary supplements.

Then the magazine examined which foods work best for weight loss. Based on compelling scientific evidence it came up with four diet guidelines that will enable you to more easily consume fewer calories:

Strategies #1 and #2: “Tame your blood sugar” and “don’t skimpExercise helps diet on protein:” “Low blood sugar makes us feel hungry,” says the magazine, so to keep it from plummeting avoid foods with a high “glycemic index,” such as sugar, refined flour, rice, pasta and potatoes. Such foods “turn into blood glucose much more quickly than carbohydrates in high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetable, legumes, and whole grains.” The resulting surge of insulin gives us low blood sugar.

Also, eat some protein with your meals, which “slows the absorption of food,” according to one of the researchers in the article. Here is one amazing study on this phenomenon that the magazine described: David Ludwig, a researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, served a group of overweight teenage boys a breakfast and lunch consisting of low/glycemic-high protein food. He gave another group of overweight boys a low-fat, low protein breakfast with an equivalent amount of calories. Both groups of boys were then allowed to eat for dinner all they wanted from overflowing platters of “bagels, cold cuts, cream cheese, cookies and fruit.”  The boys who’d eaten the low-glycemic/high protein breakfasts and lunches ate 81 fewer calories of this stuff.  Eight-one fewer calories! Ludwig switched the groups and tried it again to make sure he was seeing straight.  Same result.

Strategy #3. Have a little fat.”For years health experts including the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association have sent us a “fat is bad” message. To challenge this idea, Kathy McManus, a director of research in Boston, divided 101 overweight women and men into two groups and gave one group a low-fat diet restricting fat to 20% of calories, and the other group an equally caloric moderate fat diet with 35% of calories coming from healthy fats. Eighteen months later the moderate fat group had lost an average of nine pounds, and low fat group had gained around 6.4 pounds.

Strategy #4. “Exercise.” In Consumer Reports’ study group, “regular exercise” was found to be “the No. 1 successful weight-loss maintenance strategy, cited by 81 percent of the long-term maintainers.” Why is exercise so good at helping people lose weight? Consumer Reports suggests a provocative answer. “’Exercise itself may act to regulate hunger over and above the obvious fact that it burns up calories,” James Hill, codirector of the National Weight Control Registry said in the article. “The vital role of exercise…applies more to the maintenance of weight loss than to losing weight in the first place.” When it comes to long term maintenance, the evidence seems to weigh in favor of exercise being the ultimate key appetite suppressant. Based on my observation of many of my students’ weight loss over time, I wholeheartedly agree.

Here is the article from Consumer Reports:  Page 1-6

Next week: Stories from students about how they control their exercise hunger.

Find Bar Method Exercise Classes near you.

Sample and buy Bar Method Exercise DVDs.

10 replies
  1. Terri
    Terri says:

    Hi, I was not able to open the entire article. Just wondering if that’s the case for others. If there’s another way to get a copy please let me know as I’m very interested in reading it.


  2. Nick Rainey
    Nick Rainey says:

    It makes sense that people had the most success following their own regimen. They had to have learned some information from somewhere or something, but you always follow what your create and are most convicted to.

  3. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Terri,
    Sorry about that! I have re-inserted the Consumer Reports article and you should now be able to open it by clicking on Page 1. If you don’t see that, refresh your browser and bring up the blog again.
    Best, Mimi

  4. xj
    xj says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I will be blogging about it!

    Question. I’m almost done with my 12 for 12 classes and am interested in investing in either a personal trainer OR a monthly subscription to the bar. I’ve lost over 45 pounds and don’t necessarily want to lose more, but I want to get toned and leaner. Thoughts? I totally get that you may be a little biased 😉 but just wanted to get your opinion on the difference in results.

  5. xj
    xj says:

    Love this! Thank you for sharing!

    Kinda off topic but wanted to ask a question. I get that you may be a little biased…lol…but here I go. I’ve lost about 45 pounds and don’t want to look any thinner. I definitely need to tone up my arms, back, and tummy! I am almost done with my 12/12 and debating between personal training or a monthly bar subscription. Thoughts about the difference in results? Thanks in advance!!

  6. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    XJ I am a personal trainer who actually does both Bar Method classes and weight lifting and I have amazing results. For years I just spent time in the gym working out with weights twice a day and doing cardiovascular training 3 times a week, but something was missing. I tried Yoga and Pilates but they just weren’t for me. So I started doing Bar Method classes and I have never felt better. So if you can afford it, I would try both a personal trainer and some more Bar Method classes.

  7. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi XJ –
    There are a lot of benefits to group classes and Burr wrote a great blog about it

    I’d love to hear what you think.

  8. kelly
    kelly says:

    Great post! I’d like to ask if you all could post about proper form if one is working from the DVD’s. Working without an instructor can be challenging and advice to those of us using the DVD’s would be most welcome! Thanks and all the best!

  9. Mimi Fleischman
    Mimi Fleischman says:

    Hi Kelly,
    One very helpful tool to find the best form in each exercise is using a floor length mirror to watch yourself as you workout. We have mirrors in all of our studios for this reason.

  10. Deirdre Abramowitz
    Deirdre Abramowitz says:

    I have exercised my whole life and it has been a challenge to do so after having four children! I told myself that I would always stay in shape and exercise.But, I became bored with the gym and was in an “exercise slump.” After battling cancer and now being cancer free for five years, I found a new exercise routine: The Bar Method, which has given me as much hope and perseverance as recovering from cancer and the inspiration of exercise for my life. It has given me strength for my inner core. The Bar Method is embedded in my soul always and become a fascination for me to talk to others about it. It makes me a whole person and challenges me every second of the way. I would like to be able to work up to a goal for myself so I may be able to teach others to appreciate The Bar Method so they too will benefit.


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