If you’ve ever done a Google search, the first question you’ll see in the drop down menu is this: Is exercise enough to lose weight? The answer? Plain, simply and unfortunately, no! Sorry, but we’re going to disregard Coca Cola’s stance on the subject—they claim that lack of exercise causes obesity—because hey, since when do soda companies care about our health and waistlines?
It’s a given that burning calories through exercise aids weight loss, but the impact is not quite as much as you think. If weight management is your goal, have at it! However, for those who are looking to shed some excess weight, your best bet is a healthy combination of diet and exercise, with your main focus being on healthy eating.
To Put Things Into Perspective
- According to a recent study, it is diet (not exercise) that plays a bigger role when it comes to weight loss. Researchers conclude that high-calorie foods pose a bigger threat to health and fitness than lack of physical activity, alcohol or smoking. In fact, they go to the point of pinning carb- and fat-loaded foods as the number one reason for obesity; so yes, it has very little to do with exercise, and a lot to do with diet.
- By default, you consume more calories in a fraction of the time by eating, than you burn by working out. To burn the 250-calorie meal you ate at breakfast within 10 minutes, you will have to walk on the treadmill for about 40 minutes at 4mph, assuming you weigh about 160lb.
- Faulty calorie counters on gym equipment fool you into believing you’ve earned a bigger deficit than you actually have. This results in people overeating, or just eating the wrong foods before and after workouts, which gets stored as fat reserves.
- When you reach a plateau, making changes to your diet is the trick. Your workout will still engage the same muscles, perhaps just in different ways, unless you considerably increase time, speed, or weights in your current routine. And even if you do, how high can you really go without injuring or exhausting yourself? Think about it.
- A pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle, however the volume of muscle is denser than the volume of fat, and therefore heavier. When you start to change your body composition with your workouts—by building more dense muscle mass and decreasing your body fat—your scale weight may increase, while your body fat percentage may decrease. So while you may look toner and fitter, in terms of pound loss, it could amount to no change.
So, before you decide that dieting is not for you, understand that exercise will help you stay fit and more or less, maintain your figure (give or take a couple of pounds). The devil is in the definition. ‘Diet’ should mean eating nutritious meals in healthier preps with portion control.
Eat to live; don’t live to eat… there’s so much else out there in the world that deserves that kind of passion.
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