Does Exercising to Lose Weight Work? Part 2 of 2
In Part 1, I discussed that although it goes completely against societal norms and common wisdom, exercising should not be the #1 focus when it comes to losing weight. In part 2, I want to discuss the 3 reasons why this is the case:
1. When you exercise, you will often stimulate your appetite, and be tempted to overeat. I know from many years of experience as a competitive swimmer and distance runner, it is really hard to know how much to eat after a big workout (or even a little workout sometimes!). When I was in college, I was a swimmer and put in an average of 3 hours a day of working out. I was burning a tremendous amount of calories, but my diet was mostly carbohydrates- and I held onto a little extra fat around my belly the entire time. When I got out of college and learned about how to eat the low carb way, although I was exercising far less, my stomach finally flattened out!
2. A fitness program that is exercise-intensive and calorie-restrictive is not sustainable for most people. In order to succeed at losing weight via exercise, you will have to be incredibly meticulous about your workouts and your diet. Most people simply do not have time to constantly work out or have a set regime that they must do several times a week to keep the weight down. And counting calories is not at all something that most people want to spend their time doing. I know I certainly don’t!
3. Exercise can act as a band aid for psychological addictions to food or certain kinds of food. Some people use food as a mood altering drug- eating when they are happy, and eating when they are stressed or upset. Most people are addicted to carbohydrates in some fashion, whether it’s soda, bread, pasta, cereal, etc. that are keeping their insulin levels high and their bodies wanting to hold on to fat. Exercise can act as a band-aid to these addictions by actually allowing you to “get away” with eating extra carbohydrates, burning them off, and remaining thin. This often involves doing longer and/or harder workouts. I did this for many years, but found that it makes life much easier to stick to generally healthy eating most of the time, and not feel like I need to spend half my life on a treadmill!
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