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Exercise is great. Science has proven many times over that there are multiple benefits to having a routine exercise program. However, weight loss is not one of them.
If you go the gym for 2 hours per day, and continue to eat an unhealthy diet, you will not be able to lose weight. You might have other benefits like reduced stress and increased stamina, but weight loss takes a multi-pronged approach that exercise alone doesn’t provide.
I know, it goes against everything you have ever learned about weight loss. But there are several reasons why exercise alone doesn’t help you lose weight.
Reason number one is that it is really tough to create enough of a calorie deficit with exercise alone to lose weight. When scientists study people who don’t change anything about their diets and they only add exercise, they find that those people just lose a couple of pounds.
Now, if you are someone who plans on working out multiple hours per day, exercise alone may work for you, but it’s not the norm for most people to spend 4-6 hours in the gym.
“Calories in, calories out” is an old idea and one that doesn’t fit the complex systems of energy all working simultaneously in our bodies.
Exercise can even make weight loss more difficult!
How many times have you gone to the gym, worked out and felt super accomplished, only to go treat yourself later with a few cocktails or a drive-thru cheeseburger? It happens more than you are probably aware of. Not to mention that exercise makes us hungry. Your body is thinking “Hey, she worked out a lot and we used a lot of energy, so I better keep what I have and try to get more.” This means holding on to fat sometimes.
There are some weight loss plans that advise you don’t have to exercise to lose weight. Programs with cleansing and detox often recommend to forgo weight loss while your body is in fat-burning mode. One such company is Isagenix which offers nutritional cleansing products for weight loss. Since their plans provide two full meal replacements per day in shake form (and two other full cleansing days), many people choose to just focus on their food intake and skip heavy workouts. Instead, they walk, meditate, do yoga and give their bodies what they need to burn fat from within.
Have you ever spent a few hours working out, got in the zone and decided to keep pushing? Unfortunately, scientists no know that going that extra mile doesn’t always equate to more calories burned. At a certain point, your body doesn’t burn the same number of calories when you have been exercising for a while. Bummer, right?
So, what can you do? The best methods for losing weight are to be accountable by weighing in once per week, writing or logging what you eat every meal and snack, reducing your portions, and limiting foods with a lot of fat. These are some of the tips people have used to successfully lose weight and are registered with the National Weight Control Registry.