Have you ever tried to exercise yourself thin?
Did it work?
I’m guessing not without changing your diet too.
Exercise by itself, without changing the way you eat, is not a very effective weight loss strategy.
That’s what the research shows. As this VOX article explains, exercise alone won’t help you lose much weight.
Don’t get me wrong. Exercise is an important component of healthy living. It’s good for your heart. Good for your energy levels. Good for your mood.
I love enjoyable exercise in moderation. But it takes a lot of exercise to make up for your dietary indiscretions.
Why Exercise Alone May Not Be Enough
There was a time in my life that I actually convinced myself that my 15 minute evening stroll around the block with my dog justified the 300 calorie premium ice cream bar that followed. (If only. Talk about wishful thinking!)
The truth is that the average 150 pound person burns from 90 – 130 calories in a 30 minute walk (depending on how fast you walk.) So I would have had to walk for 1.5 hours to “earn” that ice cream treat.
With thinking like that, no wonder I steadily gained weigh until turning to Weight Watchers for a dose of healthy reality.
There was a great column in this month’s Woman’s Day titled “Negate What You Ate,” illustrating just how much exercise would be required to burn off the 830 calories in an individual 6-inch all-meat pizza with pepperoni, ground beef and ham.
To burn it off you would have to bike for more than 3 hours, walk for more than 2.75 hours, or do jumping jacks for an hour and a half.
It’s much easier and healthier to make better food choices, than to try to burn off the bad ones.
For example, in the above pizza example, as the article goes on to explain, by choosing just one meat topping, you cut the calories in the pizza to 605.
Choose mushrooms and it drops to 530.
Make it a thin crust with mushrooms or veggies and go easy on the cheese and take it down to a respectable 358 calories.
Isn’t that a lot easier and more realistic?
Exercise is excellent for health; it’s just not that effective for weight loss. So don’t expect to lose a lot of weight by ramping up physical activity alone.
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