It seems wrong, somehow, to say that exercise shouldn’t be your focus when you’re trying to lose weight.
But it’s true.
There are thousands of fitness plans that tell people to exercise more and eat less in order to lose weight. The benefits of exercise are well-known (even I exercise almost on a daily basis), but is this method effective in successful weight loss and ideal weight maintenance?
Answer: no way! Sure, the people in those (in)famous before and after photos included some form of exercise in their weight loss plans, and most probably followed a restrictive calorie-counting diet with lots of exercise. That may be effective, short-term, but for the most part, these results will not last.
These diets fail because the emphasis is misplaced. Instead of increasing exercise, many people have dropped pounds of fat simply by reducing their carbohydrate consumption – no exercise involved! I’m not recommending a sedentary lifestyle by any means; it’s not healthy. But most (some say 80-85%) of your success in achieving a permanently fit body is a result of your nutrition, not how many hours a day you perform cardiovascular exercises.
The reason this works?
When you exercise, your appetite is often stimulated, and you may be tempted to overeat.
Another reason is that most fitness programs are not sustainable for most people; they simply cannot maintain an exercise-intensive and calorie-restrictive diet.
Finally, exercise can act almost as a fix for psychological addictions to food or certain types of food: for example, a brief period of exercise will often relieve you of your intense craving for chocolate.
In Part 2 we will explore these above-mentioned three aspects of fat burning and fitness plans in more detail.