Can’t Lose Weight Even with More Exercise? Here’s Why
For many people, exercise is the last weight loss method they want to try. Some people simply aren’t inclined towards extra physical activity, and the idea of “working out”, let alone going to a gym to so, is like someone telling them they need to drag their finger nails across a chalkboard all day.
But, if you are one of these people, and truly determined to manage your weight, you may have been convinced to add some measure of exercise to help you lose more weight. Very often, while the program isn’t as horrific as you thought, it still isn’t the part of your day that you look forward to the most.
Then the worst thing happens. Even after sticking with the exercise plan for a while, you hop on the scale and; what’s this?! You haven’t lost a pound – or all you’ve lost is a pound.
We all know the sense of disappointment of not getting the results we expected after a strong effort to lose weight, either though healthier eating or exercise. It leads many to swear off weight loss forever.
Why You Don’t Lose Weight After Exercising
The good news is that, if you’ve given a proper exercise program a good try, and didn’t get anywhere, you’re not alone. It’s very common. So much so that scientists studied the phenomenon to find out why it happened.
As with anything weight-loss related, there were many contributing factors. But two of them are far more prevalent in repeated studies.
1. We Underestimate How Many Calories We Eat
Study after study shows that people underestimate how much they eat and, perhaps worse, how often they cheat. Even when people stick to healthy foods, they often overlook a handful of nuts here or an extra apple there.
We tend to think that, because the food is healthier, we can eat more of it, or as much as we like. But you can overeat anything, regardless of how good it is for you.
But it’s when we reward ourselves for the extra hard work with an unhealthy treat that even more damage can be done. 25% of 3,400 people polled in fast food restaurants underestimated calorie counts by a minimum 500 calories (20% to 25% of an adult’s recommended daily calorie intake).
2. Overestimating Calories We Burn During Exercise
Yet another repeated error in our calculations for weight loss, we continue to think we burn far more calories during exercise than we actually do. In one University of Ottawa study, participants were asked to eat the number of calories they thought they burned during a workout routine. They consistently ate two or three times the number of calories that they burned.
A Story of Overestimating Calories Burned and Underestimating Calories Consumed
Imagine you go a burst of energy and managed to ride your bicycle for 10 kilometres. That’s quite an accomplishment, especially for someone who isn’t inclined to exercise. It’s worth celebrating with a little treat. But it’s easy to go overboard on reward eating. You come up with what you think is something that’s small enough to not do too much harm, while being a nice little bonus for completing a long ride: a single slice of pepperoni pizza. That’s fair, isn’t it? It’s not overdoing it and you earned it – you just rode 10K!
But that slice of pepperoni pizza, at just 107 grams, has just about as many calories (285) as you burned riding 10 K (300 – for a 160 lb man).
Stop Rewarding Yourself with Food
We love food. We look for any excuse to eat. Like having a bigger dinner after a workout. And we rarely reward ourselves with an extra stalk of broccoli.
Instead of thinking about an edible treat as a reward for a bit of exercise, try to think of another way to reward yourself, like getting a new outfit for the slimmer you.
Exercise can be an important part of any weight management program and healthy lifestyle, even if you’re not a natural “exerciser”. To learn more about getting the right nutrition to optimize the weight-loss benefits you get from exercise, stop by and talk to one of the nutritional consultants at your local Herbal One Centre.