What Happens If You Exercise Without Dieting?
Can you work out and eat what you want and still lose weight? Read on to find out if you can lose weight by just exercising and not dieting.
You sweat in the gym every week, you always take the stairs, you even walk on your lunch break at work, yet you’re not losing any weight. You might wonder what you’re doing wrong. Well you’re not alone. It turns out only about 5% of people who try to lose weight ultimately succeed. Why is this?
One reason might be the common belief that obesity and weight gain is caused by not exercising. If that were true, increasing your physical activity alone would make you shed the pounds. It turns out that exercise alone is not enough to make you lose weight. Why is this?
Eating Back Your Exercise
“Hedonistic compensation” is the practice of rewarding yourself after doing something you don’t like. How many times have you rewarded yourself for a good workout by splurging at dinner later? Unfortunately, that large cookie that took only 30 seconds to eat will take more than an hour to work off in the gym.
Fight or Flight
Stressed out? Working out might be the worst thing for you. Exercise releases the stress hormone, cortisol (or “fight or flight” hormone). It stimulates your body to grow stronger. But if you are constantly stressed out and exhausted, strenuous exercise is not for you. Most of the stress hormone should be offset by endorphins, but if you’re already stressed it might actually exacerbate the problem. Even more bad news, stress can cause your body to hold onto fat. Try yoga and meditation in place of cardio exercise or weight lifting.
The Weight Comes Back
If you do manage to lose weight, exercise is not the answer to keeping it off. Losing weight can be easy in the short term, but studies have shown that in the long term exercise is not enough to keep the weight off. Most people put the pounds back on within 5 to 10 years. To keep your weight off, you still have to follow a balanced diet, limiting foods that are high in added sugars or saturated fat.
The Food Industry
Coca-Cola has received a lot of criticism in the media lately for pushing the idea that people should focus less on cutting calories and more on exercise to lose weight. In reality, it is sodas like Coca-Cola that lead to weight gain in the first place. Pay attention to where your information about weight loss is coming from.
What Can You Do?
Want to lose weight and keep it off? A healthy diet in addition to exercise is key. As they say, “…you cannot outrun a bad diet”. Focus on controlling your portions and maintaining a balanced diet including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. You might even want to try tracking your meals or starting a blog to keep yourself accountable.
While exercise alone is not enough to make you lose weight, I am not saying that you should cut it out all together. Exercise may not make you skinny but it can make you much healthier.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that exercise is good for you, but if your goal is to lose weight make sure you’re combining your workout routine with a healthy diet and lifestyle.