If you have been trying to lose weight by exercise, then this post might surprise you.
Many people log hours at the gym, thinking this is the best way to lose weight. In fact if weight loss is your goal, then time spent in the gym may not be as effective as you thought.
The benefits of exercise
Don’t get me wrong, exercise has many benefits. Exercise helps to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and dementia. People who exercise have stronger muscles and bones.
There are also mental health benefits and exercise is a good way to manage stress.
Exercise can also help with weight maintenance. A review of people who participated in the Biggest Loser showed that the participants who exercised every day were more likely to maintain their weight loss.
Exercise, especially strength training, helps you to maintain muscle mass while you are losing weight. This means your metabolism won’t slow down as much and you’ll be more able to maintain the weight loss.
But it doesn’t help much with weight loss. Keep reading to find out why.
It’s not about calories
You’ve probably been told that if you burn more calories than you consume you’ll lose weight so it stands to reason that you should lose weight if you burn calories with exercise. There are several problems with this assumption.
One big issue is that exercise doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as most people think. Gym machines and fitness trackers are notorious for overestimating calorie burn. And people tend to overestimate how much time they are actually exercising.
Exercising can cause you to eat more
Whether it’s because you’re hungry after exercise or because you feel you deserve it, chances are that you’ll eat more on days you exercise. You spent an hour at the gym so you deserve that piece of chocolate cake, right?
Any talk of exercise and weight loss has to include the consumption of energy drinks, sugar filled electrolyte replacements (like Gatorade), energy bars and pre and post workout prep. Chances are you are not exercising long enough to need any of these. If you use these you could easily be consuming more calories during your workout than you burned.
It takes a lot of exercise to make a difference
Public health agencies recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week for health reasons, but this is not nearly enough to contribute to weight loss. Studies that have shown considerable weight loss with exercise alone had participants exercising 3 times that much (or more), an amount that isn’t realistic for most people. Diet is really the heavy lifter when it comes to weight loss.
It doesn’t take hormones into account
Hormones like the stress hormone cortisol, thyroid hormone and reproductive hormones can affect your ability to lose weight. If these are out of balance your body won’t burn fat like you think it should.
Your exercise program can push these hormones out of balance if it’s not created carefully. So it could end up having the opposite effect on your weight than you think it should.
But your diet has an even bigger effect on your hormones. Too many starchy carbohydrates or too much processed food can help create blood sugar and other hormone imbalances. Hormonal weight loss is personalized to take your hormone imbalances into account.
Your individuality needs to be taken into account
Chances are that if you are looking at improving your health and losing weight you’ll need a combination of changes to your diet and changes to your lifestyle (including the exercise you are getting).
A holistic weight loss approach that takes your hormones, lifestyle, diet and exercise plan into account is necessary for successful and lasting weight loss. I take a personalized approach that helps you not only lose weight, but feel more energetic and less stressed.
Vicki Witt | Clinical Nutritionist | Holistic Coach | Reiki Master | Certified LEAP allergy therapist Over 25 years of successfully helping you achieve optimal health and weight loss 🍏 | www.vickiwittweightloss.com
Vicki Witt is a Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Coach, and Reiki Master. She has been practicing over 25 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and hormonal control. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner. One of the USA and Australia's top Nutritionists, she has won multiple awards for her services in the industry.