Exercise is often touted as the solution to weight-loss. We’ve been told that if we just hit the gym harder, do more cardio and sign up for intense fitness classes, the pounds will start to shed. But, our friends Science and Research say, exercise is not the answer…

This might sound like a counterintuitive and perhaps even harmful message. What do you mean exercise isn’t the solution to weight loss? Yes, exercise undoubtedly has a host of positive impacts on our body and our mind. Numerous studies have indicated that regular exercise improves stress levels, boosts endorphins and reduces our risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, lowering blood pressure and triglycerides, Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, and heart attack (Belluz and Zarracina, 2017). Certainly, this is not meant to deter anyone from hitting the gym. But here’s the deal…when it comes to losing weight we need to be focusing less on the treadmill and more on our food intake.

Belluz and Zarracina note that there have been over 60 studies that indicate exercise is not essential for weight loss.  The authors reference Alexxai Kravitz, a neuroscientist and obesity researcher at the National Institutes of Health, who notes that the energy we work off in a workout is not as much as we hope. Turns out it’s only 10-30% of our daily energy expenditure! Further, the article discusses the common myth that our bodies simply run on “calories in, calories out” basis. Instead, our bodies adjust to changes in exercise and food consumption. The studies also found that after exercising, people are more likely to compensate by eating more food than usual. Think of spin class when the instructor is yelling to push harder so you can “enjoy” the dessert later!

What does all this mean?

While it’s important to consider how to incorporate daily exercise into our lives, such as taking the stairs or walking to work, if you’re looking to lose weight, you can’t rely on exercise alone as the primary solution. The answer to shedding pounds isn’t to “burn off more calories”. We need to look at the quality and quantity of the food we’re eating and reduce or eliminate the types of foods that mess with our satiety and hunger cues. Foods that contain sugar, flour and fast burning carbohydrates.

The good news is that when it comes to weight-maintenance, exercise can play a role in helping to keep the pounds from coming back!

Check out the full article by Belluz and Zarracina here.

Shine Bright!

Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash