Exercise is NOT key to weight control:
- Your diet may have more to do with controlling your weight than exercise
- Neither exercise nor sedentary time were linked to weight gain, a new study says
- Participants who exercised lost fewer pounds than the ones who didn’t work out
- Experts say to ‘exercise well for your heart, but eat well for your weight’
I found this article to be especially pertinent to the folks that come and ask me for weight management advice. It usually turns into the asking person shamefully pointing out with a look to the ground, head down, shoulder slump, “I need to get back to working out.” I usually follow by saying, “No you don’t. You need to eat less calories and find more nutrient dense foods that will give you more sustainable energy and eat fewer calories.”
Think about how hard you have to work at the gym to burn 900 calories. A male of about 200 pounds has to run 6 miles to burn 900 calories (150 calories/mile). A female of 135 pounds would have to run about 9 miles to burn the same 900 calories (100 calories/mile). That is a f*** ton of work. And it’s really quite unnecessary and quite possibly damaging. At some point we will get into the long-term trade off of working out and the real vs perceived benefits you are receiving from your workout regiment. Suffice it to say for now that there is a balance that should be considered. For now, consider how quickly you can get to 900 calories at the dinner table. Imagine 900 calories. That can be as simple as two pieces of delicious pizza or a half pound burger and a beer or two. You will never be able to out-workout your food habits.
So, as we get started on this journey towards health, the first thing to take into account is becoming a conscious eater. You should know roughly how many calories you take in per day. You should, at least until you have a handle on which foods contain which calories, measure and track the food you are eating. This will help you visually understand how big of a portion size of the standard foods you eat is and the amount of calories that portion size contains. Make a concerted effort for a month or two and you will find a recurring pattern in your food choices and be able to stop logging everything. I find this app very useful to get this process started: My Fitness Pal.
One basic overarching rule that you should know before trying to get too elaborate and incorporating differing principles and tricks into your diet to accelerate your weight loss: Calories IN vs Calories OUT.
If Calories INgested is GREATER than Calories OUTput then YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT.
If Calories INgested is LESS than Calories OUTput then YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT.
It’s as simple as that. Eat less than you burn every day and you are guaranteed to lose weight.