An Interview with Jeff Hyman (Continued)


Adam: What I've heard at obesity conferences and reading the literature is that if people try to lose weight by just burning off calories with exercise, and not changing their eating habits, they end up eating those calories back again. But at the same time, anybody who'd sustained weight loss over a period of time has a very active exercise component. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Mr. Hyman: What your average person does is they go to the gym and exercise for an hour and a half and kill themselves. They think they burned a thousand calories — they've actually burned 300. And they go and have a bagel and a latte at Starbucks, right? We have to teach people you can't out-exercise a poor diet. Most people don't understand that very basic concept.

With that said, there comes a point in time where you just can't eat any less, where you don't want to eat any less. And so the only other option is starting to increase the exercise. The benefit you get from strength training is that it's powering your engine — muscle burns more calories than fat. So you get this lasting burn of calories throughout the day as opposed to just during a cardio session.

But they're both important. We generally tell people that exercise is necessary to keep the weight off. When a customer first joins us, on average, they take 2,000 steps a day. Dr. Hill has found that if you take 10,000 steps a day, it's really hard not to lose weight. You've got to be eating a ton to outdo that.

So we notch them up from 2,000 to 2,500 a day, to 3,000 a day and kind of go from there. Just over the course of a few months — very gradual, and we're not trying to drop them in a gym and kill them. But then by month four and six, they've lost some weight. We're down this part of the curve. And now, we start to really introduce the exercise. They've got some self-confidence. They feel more energy. And then that becomes a huge part of the focus, and you're just finding that balance.

Adam: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us.

Mr. Hyman: I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

This article is published on dLife thanks to diaTribe (, an independent, advertising-free e-newsletter for everyone eager to learn about the latest advances in diabetes management. diaTribe is your inside track on diabetes research and products — sign up here for your complimentary lifetime subscription!

NOTE: This information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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Last Modified Date: June 21, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...
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