Hepker Challenge: Busting Weight-Loss Myths

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We introduced you to Aaron Hepker, WHO-TV's Digital Director, a few weeks ago when he embarked on his fitness and weight loss journey. At the time, he expressed feeling worthless and depressed because of his weight.

"I would like to go skydiving. I would like to go bungee jumping. I wanted to go bungee jumping off the Royal Gorge, but I couldn’t because there are weight limitations and I don’t want to put myself in a position to embarrass myself."

Since then, we've enlisted the help of medical professionals to help Hepker lose weight and improve his health and self-esteem. Among them, Greg Madison, D.O. with Zoom Performance. Madison is going to determine Hepker's basal metabolic rate.

"It’s the least amount of energy required by someone doing nothing," explains Madison. "In other words, just to get by."

A simple equation will tell you approximately how many calories you burn at rest, but the machine used by Madison will give you a precise number. It measures the amount of oxygen inhaled and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled.

"The goal is to try to help somebody. We don’t have all the answers but at least we can probably avoid a terrible mistake that someone might make," says Madison.

That mistake might be consuming too many calories or not enough.

"If we get someone in the activity of losing weight, their body will fight back, their basal metabolic rate will slow down and it’ll get stingy with those calories."

In other words, starvation doesn't work. Neither does spot burning. Madison says it's another myth perpetuated by the diet and exercise industry.

"I can’t tell you how many times I’ll see, do more sit-ups, you’ll burn that belly… and they want to sell you something for $19.95."

Madison says the only way to get six-pack abs is to reduce your total body fat. He also recommends writing down everything you eat and drink to get a realistic picture of how many calories you're consuming.

Using the results of this test, health and wellness professionals will be able to determine how many calories Hepker should be eating and burning in order to promote long-term weight loss.

"I’m a data driven person," says Hepker. "So, as opposed to here is what works for everyone else, it’ll be nice to know this is what works specifically for me."