This may sound controversial but it is true. Exercise is a bad way to lose weight. It is a great way to condition your heart and body, to strengthen your bones and improve your brain and potentially lengthen your life, but it is not a good way to lose weight. Why? And, if so, why do so many weight loss ads, systems, tv shows, video workouts, etc. seem to say that it is a great, easy and quick way to lose weight.
But I see on TV that exercise does help me lose weight?
Are they all just lying? Not really. The secret to most of these weight loss schemes is, as you would guess, in the small print. Every one of these ads I have seen or read or heard always sneak in the additional information that you also need to follow the recommended nutrition/diet/food list that comes with the system in order to see results. What they don’t tell you is that you don’t actually need the exercise part to see weight loss results, you just need to eat right.
According to the British Guardian back in April: “Being dangerously overweight is all down to bad diet rather than a lack of exercise, according to a trio of doctors who have reopened the debate about whether food, sedentary lifestyles or both are responsible for the obesity epidemic. In an article for a leading health journal, the authors – who include British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, an outspoken critic of the food industry – accuse food and drink firms such as Coca-Cola of having wrongly emphasized how physical activity and sport can help prevent people becoming very overweight. The truth, they say, is that while physical activity is useful in reducing the risk of developing heart disease, dementia and other conditions, it “does not promote weight loss”.
Six-pack Abs are made in the kitchen
If it isn’t the gym that drives weight loss than what is it. The answer is simply what you put in your mouth. But it isn’t as we have always heard a “calorie is a calorie”. Weight loss and gain are controlled by hormones like insulin and these hormones are controlled not as much by the number of calories you eat but more by the type of calories you eat. If you eat a lot of carbohydrates, especially highly processed carbs and sugar, your body will constantly be secreting insulin to move this sugar out of the bloodstream. If you aren’t using the energy, the insulin quickly stores it as fat. Also, while Insulin is out running around doing its job, it literally closes the door on using your own fat for energy and thus you are stuck hungry and looking for that next sugar rush instead of burning fat. And, if you run this cycle over and over again for too long your body becomes less sensitive to insulin and thus needs more and more to get rid of the sugar. And, then what? Diabetes.
So what do you do? Well everyone is a little different so you first need to explore sensitivities to things like gluten and dairy, but in general eat fewer processed foods and less added sugar. Check the labels as food companies tend to hide a lot of sugar in everything from Salad Dressing, to Ketchup and Steak Sauce. Better yet if there is a label look at don’t eat it.
What have you found that works for weight loss?
For more great information on this subject, read Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich, a personal trainer and podcaster. And, Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It by Gary Taubes, a science journalist.