The Truth About Exercise & Weight Loss
There are lots of reasons why many of us don’t care to exercise regularly:
- Some simply don’t care to put on embarrassing, skin-tight outfits, head to the gym and workout
- If your diet isn’t balanced, you may not have the energy to exercise
- Others simply can’t find the time
Regardless of the reasons, you probably still feel a little guilt when you read about someone losing weight on an exercise program, or see contestants on The World’s Biggest Loser shed the pounds, partly due to the physical activity regimen they are put through.
So you can’t be blamed for enjoying a little morale boost when you read some of the recent publicity about research findings that confirm watching your diet is far more important than exercise for weight loss.
Why Exercise Alone Doesn’t Produce the Results We Expect
The majority of the research points to the same conclusion, regular exercise does not reduce weight nearly as much as we think it does. And there is the potential for some people (who have reached a certain fitness level) to lose very little weight even if they exercise more.
It seems like a simple equation, burn more calories, lose more weight. But the research shows that there is a one-to-one direct connection between exercise and weight loss. And there are a number of reasons for that:
1. Physical Activity Doesn’t Burn as Many Calories as We Think
If you’ve ever tried an exercise program, you know that, regardless of how difficult it was, there was one part that felt good. After you’re over the pain of working out for an hour, there’s an undeniable sense of accomplishment – even if you never intend to workout gain. That accomplishment comes from the thought that you must have burned a heck of a lot of calories after all that work.
But you probably didn’t.
Let’s say you managed to ride a bike at a “not too fast, not too slow” pace for an entire hour. That would be quite a workout. In that time, a 140 lb. woman would burn 370 calories and a 175 lb. man would burn 460 calories. Not bad.
But those numbers pale in comparison to the number of calories in the food we eat. Here are the calorie counts for a variety of dinners you might have following your ride:
- 456 – Spaghetti with meat sauce
- 700 – Steak and potato dinner
- 1140 – Big Mac Meal w/ medium fries and Coke
- 1590 – Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara dinner at The Olive Garden
- 2590 – Chorizo Nachos at Montana’s (that’s right, it’s an appetizer, dinner’s still to come)
2. Exercise Increases Appetite
Studies have shown that your body often signals you to replace calories burned while exercising. So, in addition to burning less energy than you think, you might also increase your calorie intake.
3. Your Body Can Counteract the Effect of Too Much Exercise
Just like when you go on a crash diet, once you get past the initial weight loss with exercise, your body could start slowing your metabolism, which makes it difficult to lose more weight.
Here’s a Truth
While it might not have the direct correlation to weight loss that we once thought, exercise, or just some regular physical activity, provides many other benefits, including some that help you lose weight.
1. Balances Your Blood Sugar
If you’re like most people, your blood sugar levels are not quite balanced. Higher blood sugar levels can lead to weight gain. Regular activities, like a walk in the evening, can help to boost your metabolism and bring your blood sugar back into balance.
2. Good for the Heart
Exercise strengthens your heart and overall health, which can help give you the energy and strength needed for sustained weight loss.
3. Keeps Your Body in Good Working Order
The more you move, the easier it is to keep moving. When you do, you avoid periods of inactivity due to joint pain and muscle aches.
4. Improves Your Mood
Regular activity has been shown to boost your mood and even improve symptoms of depression.
The bottom line is this: the healthier you are, the easier it is to lose weight. A balanced diet, proper nutrion and regular physical activity all make you healthier. While how much and what you eat are more directly connected to weight loss, exercise plays a part too.
If you want to learn more about how to lose weight by eating healthily and getting the right nutrition, please visit your local Herbal One Centre. A nutritional expert is ready to develop a program just for you.