Lose a pound a week without dieting
Science shows this will help you lose a pound of pure fat per week without changing your diet, but that’s kind of weird.
Years ago, I had a crazy idea. I’m working on our “Stuff we like” section. After working out in the tank top at the gym, I thought, “Hey, I wonder if I can wear this thing all day, burn more calories by carrying the extra weight, and turn this 4-pack into a In a pack of 6? “
So I did…for a few days. Then I noticed the tank clumsily pulling down on my shoulders, making my traps rage. In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have loaded the vest with 65 lbs.
Yes, that’s stupid. But maybe the idea itself is not. Swedish researchers conducted a similar study, and what they found was quite interesting.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg wanted to see whether wearing a weightlifting vest during normal daily activities would lead to weight loss, especially a reduction in fat mass. So they took 69 mildly obese Swedes and instructed them to wear vests for eight hours a day for three weeks.
- The control group wore vests that weighed only about 2 pounds.
- Another group wore vests that weighed just over 24 pounds.
The group wearing the 24-pound vest lost an average of 3.5 pounds during the 21-day test period without changing their normal diet. They also retained all their previous muscle mass. (Participants in the control group lost about half a pound of fat.)
The answer seems obvious: increase energy expenditure, right? Participants in the study burned more calories simply doing everyday activities like making flat-pack furniture, eating meatballs slathered in sour cream and dancing to Ace of Base. (Sorry, I don’t know much about Sweden.)
Maybe. But researchers have another theory.
They think the results may have something to do with your body’s energy balance system — an ingenious biological mechanism that keeps your weight fairly constant.
They call it “gravitostat” because they’re Swedish and thus like to make up weird words, but you can take it as yours weight set point. This homeostasis occurs in part through appetite signaling. Then there’s DNA, gene expression, well, it gets complicated.
Basically, scientists speculate that wearing a weight vest for 8 hours a day makes your body say, “Wow, this is weird! I suddenly gained 24 pounds, and that’s not right! I’m going to lose some fat to get rid of it.” ’ It’s a bit of an oversimplification, but you get the gist.
Losing 3.5 pounds of fat in three weeks may not seem like much, but keep in mind that the people in this study didn’t change their diet or engage in a special training program. They just live life.
If you want to replicate the study and don’t mind looking like you’re wearing a bulletproof vest while grocery shopping, just wear a 20-25 lb vest for 8 hours a day for three weeks. (this Looks less intimidating and tactical. )
I’d skip it during workouts as it might affect your progress. But be sure to keep it on during sex because you need to keep it spicy.
If the idea of gravitostat is correct, maybe you can combine vest wearing with a reasonable reduction in daily calories — say 200 calories a day — and experience faster fat loss while preserving your muscle mass.
Just don’t wear a 65 lb tank top and assume you’ll lose fat faster. Only a fool would do that.
- Olson C et al. Increased weight bearing reduces body weight and body fat in obese subjects–a proof-of-concept randomized clinical trial. Electronic Clinical Medicine. 2020 May;22:100338.
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