Exercise Won’t Help You Lose Weight…Or Will It?

There was an article this week on the Time magazine site that was titled Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. The article got my, and everyone else’s, attention.

It also left me scratching my head? HUH?  Remind me again why I’m working so hard then? Running, biking, swimming, abs, and all the other stuff I’ve been doing? Now granted, the article does talk about the health benefits of exercise. It just proposes that exercise increases hunger and therefore, may not be the best path to losing weight.

Now I don’t know about the guy in the article, but exercise for me has been essential to losing weight. I don’t eat more on the days that I exercise because I’ve worked so hard to sweat some of the calories off. It’s days like today where I didn’t exercise that I don’t resist the Oreo cookies. Exercise backlash, perhaps?

I don’t know. This article makes the cardio vs. strength training argument sound almost reasonable. Why would you give anyone one more reason not to exercise?

I also read today: potatoes are not the evil white carbs we were once told they were. Water only really helps to curb your appetite if it’s in your foods (think soup).

Now I never thought potatoes were evil food. I like potatoes; technically they are vegetables and good for you. French fried? Maybe not so much, but don’t blame that on the potato.

And water? Drinking lots of it, all by itself,  has done wonders for my weight loss (I’m not a big fan of soup), not to mention how great my skin looks.

Carbs are bad. Well, not all carbs. Sugar…stay away from it! Fats, those are bad for you, carbs are good. Carbs are essential to healthy weight. Eat protein. No wait, don’t. Only eat melons, hot dogs and rice on every other Tuesday and Thursday….

There are so many conflicting diet rules, exercise agendas and secrets to this getting healthy thing, it’s no wonder we’re all overweight. Jeez, I mean, you start a diet, it’s working for you and then someone comes along and tells you that in the long run, you’ll still be fat. Why bother?

The bottom line is it comes down to common sense. There was an article a while back that said weight loss is about calories in vs. calories out. If you expend more calories than you take in, Voila! you lose weight. Now that’s something I can wrap my head around.

The key is finding the way that does this best for you. If limiting carbs keeps you away from your trigger foods, try that. Clean eating? If you can stay on that eating plan, good for you…healthy and lean. Me? Couldn’t do it. If I had to give up sugar, carbs or fat altogether, I might just die.

However, I’ve learned portion control (most of the time); I follow guidelines finally for getting enough fruits, whole grains, veggies and protein; I try to gauge whether I’m hungry or just stressed (for example, today’s Oreo binge was not because I was hungry). I treat myself now and again so I don’t feel deprived, but for the most part, I try to stick with healthier foods.

I eat well 90% of the time. The other 10%? I’m still learning. Some things work for me. Some don’t. This weight loss thing is not an exact science and I figure I’ll be experimenting forever.

As for exercise, do it. Even if it’s just a walk around the block. You’ll feel stronger, more confident, clearer and happier. I’ve lost weight before without exercise. That didn’t alter my life nearly as much as the weight loss has this time. I attribute that to the exercise, not the weight loss.

However you decide to get healthy, be realistic. Small changes, slow progress, those are the things that stick. Remember, these are changes for a lifetime.

So how are you making the healthy changes in your life?


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by onelittlejill on August 12, 2009 at 2:46 am

    This article is ALL over the blog world! UGH- exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle- DUH!!!!

    You always write such well thought out posts. I really appreciate them 🙂


  2. I’ve read about this article and I think it’s crap! If I don’t exercise but eat healthy, I’m not losing weight. I need to exercise in order to lose weight. And besides that: since I’ve picked up running again in March 3 times a week and since July started training at the gym once or twice a week I feel so much better! In fact, on my rest days I have less energy than on days I exercise.

    So I’ll keep exercising because it feels good and helps me losing weight.


  3. Posted by werner from howtoloseweightinaweekonline.com on August 12, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I also think this article i a bunch of nonsense. Exercise alwayshelp me get my appetite in tact, and I never eat more than I need after exercise.


  4. I think the author annoyed quite a lot of people! It was a badly written article… I get what he was saying, but the way in which he said it was sensationalist and will deter many people who really need to exercise.


  5. Very well articulated. This type of over-the-top journalistic sensationalism is intended solely to be controversial and thus sell magazines. The problem is that it is full of faulty science and, in some cases, downright wrong information. Worse, it sends the absolutely wrong message to the general public. I’ve posted a research-based response on my blog, http://www.workout911.com. Spread the word: exercise is good for your waistline!


    Brad Schoenfeld, CSCS


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