I’ve got some news that might surprise you. Studies are now confirming what I’ve been thinking for years. Exercise isn’t the key to weight loss. Now please understand, I’m not saying that exercise isn’t the key to health and longevity and increased mood and decreased cancer risk and bolstered immunity and improved bone density and less pain and more muscle. I’m just saying that it isn’t the key to weight loss.
You’ve been sold on an idea that isn’t really right. You’ve been sold on the idea that if you kill it at the gym, that you’ll be thin.
I’ve worked with more people than I can count who work out endlessly but can’t seem to ditch the fat. Here’s why. Because what matters the most is that you eat fewer calories than you burn. You might think that you’re burning a bunch, but studies show, you’re really not. While that elliptical, bike or treadmill might be cheering you on, telling you you’ve burned 500 calories, the reality is that you’re probably actually burning far less.
The more you exercise, the more your body accommodates.
In fact, according to a study published in the journal of Current Biology “Our bodies adapt to higher activity levels so that people don’t necessarily burn extra calories even if they exercise more.” It’s why you might see the numbers going down on the scale at the onset of a new exercise regimen followed by a plateau or even (gasp) weight gain. Now, this isn’t an excuse for you to skip your next workout, but it is yet another reason to reach for a bowl of berries instead of a bowl of ice cream. Why? Because if you’ve got to cut 3500 calories to lose a pound in week (500 per day), it’s metabolically next to impossible to do it with exercise alone.
Let me say it again, exercise alone probably won’t help you to lose weight. Changes to the way you eat makes all the difference when it comes to weight loss.
Here’s the good news! If you eat to your metabolism, you can get and keep the healthy weight you’re after without slaving away at the gym. Go for a brisk walk, do yoga, Pilates, swim or whatever type of movement you love the most (and that feels most comfortable) for the health benefits. Healthy doesn’t have to be hard.