The message we’ve been hearing for years that if we work hard enough every day in our fitness classes, workouts, and sports activities, we can indulge later in that alcoholic drink, dessert, or favourite comfort food. We purchase the gym memberships, fitness trackers, workout videos, sports drinks and powders on false hope. A hope that is not only misinterpreted in the fight for weight loss, but the increasing rate of obesity that is infecting our nation.
Where obesity is concerned, exercise and food should never be given equal weight. Exercise is good for overall health and it should be incorporated into everyone’s lives daily. Food is the culprit when it comes to the obesity problem. Where food policy is concerned, the exercise myth (calories in equals calories out) is still exploited by the food and beverage industry. This is causing millions of people to consume more food that is high in fat, sugar, and loaded with calories. People believe the myth that if they just exercise or be active everyday, they can continue to keep buying unhealthy, high caloric products. This approach is very misleading. People are focusing on the ‘calories out’ instead of the ‘calories in’.
If the goal is to lose weight and keep it off, the focus needs to be on the TYPE of food and not the type or duration of activity.
Benefits of Exercise for Longevity
When we workout, our bodies reach a plateau and more doesn’t necessarily mean extra calories burned. What research shows us now is that when we workout, those calories burned only account for a small amount of total energy expenditure.
There are three main components to energy expenditure. One is our is basal metabolic rate, the second is the energy to break down our food, and the third is energy that is used during physical exercise.
We have no control over our basal metabolic rate and this is the largest energy user. The amount of energy required to digest food and used during physical exercise is much less. It is estimated that our basal metabolic rate is responsible for about 60-80% of our total energy expenditure and about 10% for digesting food. So, this leaves about a 10-30% expenditure for physical exercise which is not a lot. If you work out hard and for long and then replace it with high fat, high caloric food, you are basically cancelling out all the hard work you just did. The type of food you consume is so important in weight loss, not the amount of exercise.
Exercise is very important for overall health. Not only is it important for keeping our bodies and minds healthy, but it helps us maintain a healthy body weight. The shift with exercise (excluding high performance athletes and those training for specific events) needs to focus on long-term benefits rather than the short-term results. Reducing calories alone may help you lose weight, however, you’re stripping away muscle and bone density if exercise is absent from your daily routine. Exercise can help improve your quality of sleep, lower your cholesterol levels, and reduce stress.
What Works for Weight Loss
It only takes minutes to consume 1,000 calories but hours to burn it off.
How much we move is connected to how much we eat. Studies show that many people increase their food intake after they exercise. Many times, people think they are entitled to consuming more calories as they burned a significant amount during a workout, but often they ended up consuming more food afterwards.
Many people slow down after a workout by resting, relaxing or simply doing nothing because they are tired from their workout. One of theories discovered, ‘metabolic compensation’, shows us why exercise isn’t great for weight loss due to how our bodies regulate energy after exercise. So how do we reduce the weight and keep it off? Eat smart!
We often hear of the low-carb diets as they seem to offer the fastest results when it comes to losing weight quickly, however, using this method is very challenging to sustain. These so-called ‘diets’ still allow for high consumption of fats and sugars. These low-carb diets contain very little whole and plant-based foods which are nutrient dense and low in calories. When we look at studies and the effects of nutrition on disease around the world, countries afflicted with type II diabetes, CDH, common cancers, and obesity, it often shows the same results, consumption of low carb and high-fat diets. These diets do little to help keep the weight off and offer little or no protection to our immune systems to help fight off illness and disease.
Incorporating more plant-based foods such as vegetables and fruits along with whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, has shown us time and time again that it not only helps us lose weight and keep it off, but helps in the fight against disease and in many cases, disease reversal. Naturally, these whole foods contain less calories and fat, but are higher in nutrient content. With whole and plant-based foods there is no counting calories, focusing on macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat), supplementation, as everything the body requires in terms of nutrients is met through the foods consumed.
Bottom Line: While exercise is important to maintaining a healthy body weight, you can’t out-run a bad diet when it comes to weight loss. Shift your focus to the type of food you consume and not the calories.
Eat Clean & Live Green!
Your Compassionate Coach,