OK, here it is, what you’ve been waiting for—expecting all along: The key to recovery! You have to eat great food—yes, but you have to work out three hours a day—right? Wrong.
Exercising for Weight Loss
We all need regular exercise and most of us need more than we’ve been getting. But there is a problem with our emphasis on exercise as a method of weight loss without any attention to eating enough good food.
We’ve established that famines—not eating in response to hunger signals—set people up to overeat later. When this is a regular pattern, it’s called the feast or famine cycle. Now famines can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on two things: the degree of food deprivation and the level of physical activity. For dieters the degree of food deprivation depends on the diet. Often, dieters exercise along with eating less food. They do this to speed up the weight loss, but something else happens along the way. The combination of food deprivation plus high activity can create a severe famine. Without the exercise, this dieter might be in a mild or moderate famine, but the exercise makes the famine more severe and is even more likely to hook the body’s survival response.
Exercise For Weight Loss Plan Photo Gallery
Does this mean that people should not exercise when they need to lose weight? Absolutely not. It simply means that people who exercise to normalize their weight must do it while eating a balanced quality diet.
Let’s go back and look at the basics—the framework of adaptation. Fat accumulation is enabled by five biochemically-programmed adaptations: enhanced appetite, lowered metabolic rate, cravings, preoccupation with food and avoidance of physical activity. Inactivity helps promote fat accumulation and the need for excess fat promotes inactivity by lowering the metabolic rate.
If lowered metabolic rate and inactivity are important ingredients in the accumulation of excess fat in a person on the feast or famine cycle, then doesn’t it make sense that increasing your metabolic rate by eating enough, and raising your physical activity level would promote fat loss? Back in diet land, you were trying to control your food intake and exercise more all at the same time, to burn calories. That probably led to pretty fast temporary weight loss. Now, we know you were shooting yourself in the foot, depressing your metabolic rate by not eating enough and actually promoting the very cycle that kept your fat going, at least in the long run.
These adaptation principles are a completely different approach because you are finally giving your body the nutrients and calories it needs to be able to sustain a healthy exercise program. You won’t start a program and then stop it when you get too tired and too hungry to keep going. When you’re hungry, exercise is painful and if it’s painful sooner or later you’re going to quit. The key to lasting weight loss is not forcing your body into an energy deficit, which it cannot sustain. The key is giving it what it needs—and exercise is one of those things—so it can finally, gradually lose the unhealthy fat it has been forced to accumulate in spite of your efforts—actually, because of your efforts.
It’s important to know this because exercise has been over sold as a weight loss tool. Exercise is quite limited as far as weight loss goes. Bodies are designed to use fuel efficiently. Clinical research pioneer, Per Bjorntorp offered this example: The Vasa-loppet, a 49-mile ski race in Sweden that lasts approximately 10 hours, requires the energy equivalent of only two pounds of adipose tissue. Two pounds!
When I had foot surgery, and was unable to walk or work out, I wasn’t concerned about gaining weight. Why? Because my body naturally adjusted to my decreased activity level, lowering my appetite, and I lost weight from not using my muscles. Go figure. Naturally, I regained the weight as I became more active.
Even with exercise, your body is a conservation machine, when you think about it. You can run on a treadmill for an hour and only burn a few hundred calories! Just compare that with the 10 minutes it takes to eat the small piece of chocolate fudge cake that contains 550 calories. No, bodies are built to conserve, and that’s a good thing, really. Since you are not going to try to burn calories as a goal, just as you are not going to force your body to get along on a lot less food than you need, you are free to exercise for the health and the fun of it. You probably never thought about it that way, did you? Well, if exercise doesn’t burn many calories, is it really so important for losing weight?