Is Exercise Effective for Weight Loss?
“Earn that dessert!”
“No pain, no gain!”
“Calories in, calories out.”
Health and wellness culture has told us this since what feels like the beginning of time. We’ve believed them, too, because it only makes sense. Shouldn’t health be a transaction? Calories in, calories out, right? Want to eat more sweets? Just jump on the exercise machine a little longer, and we can make up for whatever damage we occured.
It’s time to turn the tables on this belief. “As long as you get on that bike or treadmill, you can keep indulging — and still lose weight” as it is simply not true! Science shows us that our body isn’t an ATM. We can’t really make deposits or withdrawals at random. Our bodies rely on us proper fuel, also known as energy, and when we put inflammation in our path, our bodies are equipped to send up smoke signals. This doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy a beer after work with friends, or our favorite meal or dessert from time to time. This also doesn’t mean that these enjoyable experiences are punishable, which is pretty good news.
With this concept in mind, we also don’t want to exercise more than we need to. You read that right- over exercising isn’t good for us either. Like sugar and alcohol, exercise can also be inflammatory. At some point during a workout, our body will get the hint that it needs to store up fuel- just in case we go on for a long time. Over time, we stop losing body fat and excess weight because our bodies are smart. They know to hang on, because all of this exertion is going to happen again, and again, and again. This is how marathon runners can go from stellar athlete to burnout. You don’t have to be a marathon runner, though, to get the same effects.
Don’t just take our word for it though, delve deeper with this article on weight loss and exercise. And before you partake in another hour-long, high-intensity class where your heart rate soars, make sure to read this. The reality is that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. It doesn’t mean that we don’t need to exercise, though. One of our biggest goals is to simply move frequently. Then, we should lift heavy things a few times a week. Add in some balance work, play, and breathing, and we can start to shift our body composition to fat burning (along with our food) and get off of the path of preservation and scarcity.
We all have fat stores to burn and use, and the benefit of a healthy exercise and movement pattern can help our bodies tap into that. Is your body feeling like it needs to hold onto everything, not to tap into fat storage? Or, are you moving, training, and living in such a way that allows your body to tap into fat storage?