For most of us, when it comes to losing weight, we prioritize our workouts. Whether you are hitting the gym each day or following along at home with your BodyRock workouts (Get over 80 hours of BodyRock workouts on demand with SweatFlix℠) , you know that as long as you are breaking a sweat and challenging yourself in your workout, you should lose weight. Only trouble is, that isn’t really how weight loss works.
After taking an in-depth look at over 60 studies on obesity and weight loss, the folks over at VOX uncovered some interesting details:
1. Exercise alone is nearly useless when it comes to losing weight.
Our bodies are a lot more complex than calories in, calories out. In one study, researchers tracked participants who added extra workouts to their training schedule but left their diets unchanged. These participants only managed to lose a few pounds, on average. This shows that it is incredibly difficult to create the calorie deficit that is necessary for weight loss through exercise alone.
2. Exercise accounts for only a small percentage of our daily calorie burn.
The amount of energy we expend through exercise amounts to fewer than 30% of our daily calorie expenditure. Daily activities, like breathing and digesting food, burns more calories, overall, than exercise.
3. Exercise can actually undermine weight loss.
Sometimes, exercise leads to a false sense of security. We’ve all been there. You figure you can have that dessert or that extra cocktail because you worked out earlier. There can be a few things at play here. You may overestimate the calories you’ve burned in your sweat session, causing you to overeat. Or, because you are working out, you may actually feel hungrier and, again, overeat. To add insult to injury, it appears that the body may actually conserve energy after exercising in an attempt to store fat for future energy needs.
4 Reasons Why Exercise Alone Won't Help You Lose Weight Click To Tweet
4. More exercise doesn’t mean more calories burned.
Scientists are still examining this theory but there is some evidence to suggest that after a certain amount of exercise, our bodies stop burning energy at the same rate. This means that doubling the duration of your workout does not necessarily mean you’ve doubled the amount of calories you’ve burned.
What DOES work for weight loss?
Well, that is a bit of a complicated question, given that we are all different and enter our weight loss journeys from different starting points but there are a few things that tend to work across the board:
Portion control: Eating a healthy meal doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention to how much you are eating. Invest in a food scale and be sure to measure your portions before serving. Once you get into this practice, you will be able to gauge what you are eating by sight, keeping your calorie intake under control. If you find it hard to get over the mental hurdle of smaller portions, try serving your meals on smaller plates, giving the illusion of more food and making it easier to feel satisfied.
Eat more fiber and protein: Fiber and protein are wonderful weight loss helpers. They fill you up quickly and both help you to stay feeling fuller, longer. They slow digestion which helps regulate your blood sugar levels, preventing the need/desire for those afternoon trips to the office vending machine.
Eat “real” food: Try to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Refined and processed foods offer little in the way of nutritional value. Foods that are labelled as being “low-fat” or “low-calorie” are often loaded with added sugar and additives to make them taste better. Why should you put your body through all of that artificial stuff when you can get whole, fresh foods that taste even better? Stick to the outer aisles at the grocery store: that’s produce, meat and dairy. If you need help cleaning up your diet or are looking for different, and exciting, meal ideas, check out the BodyRock Meal Plans. This 30 day guide provides you with nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals that will help you reach your weight loss goals. We have done all the hard work for you! Each week we give you a detailed grocery list so all you have to do is buy the ingredients and follow along. Simple as that! Don’t waste any more time. Head here to learn more!
Did you notice significant changes in your weight loss efforts by combining your exercise routine with dietary shifts? Share your story with us!