The Truth About Diet and Exercise and Weight Loss

The Truth About Diet and Exercise and Weight Loss

There is no denying the fact that a healthy diet and exercise are good for you. Proper nutrition and even modest exercise provide the basis for any health-centered program. Even after weight loss surgery, your surgeon will expect you to eat a healthy diet and exercise to maximize the results of your surgery. So why is it that no matter what diet you try, or what exercise program you participate in, you can’t seem to shed the pounds and keep them off? Society will blame it on your lack of willpower or your lack of commitment. Your doctor might blame it on your lack of compliance. You know better, but with all of this negative feedback from friends, family, and physician, you begin to wonder if it really is entirely your fault. Let me answer this concern by delving into some basic biology and physiology.

In order to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you burn (diet), or burn more calories than you consume (exercise). This seems straightforward enough, except that as you lose weight, the number of calories you burn decreases. In other words, as you lose weight, you must eat even less than you did when you first started your diet in order for you to continue losing weight.

Your resting metabolic rate is a term used to describe the amount of energy your body uses at rest. If you read any scientific journals, you will see the term Kcal or Kilocalories used, but these terms are essentially interchangeable. This resting metabolic rate varies between individuals, but let us just assume you have an average resting metabolic rate of around 1,500 Calories per day. This means that even without any exercise or strenuous activity, your body needs 1500 Calories per day to run the basic functions of the body.

If we leave exercise out of the equation for a moment, this means that in order to lose weight, you will need to consume fewer than 1,500 Calories per day. By consuming 1,400 Calories per day, you force your body to find alternative sources of energy, which it is able to do by using the body’s stored fat and sugars. Remember, your body will burn 1,500 Calories per day one way or another, so if you are not providing those calories through the food you eat, the body will burn its own stored energy.

In an effort to compensate for the apparent scarcity of food, your resting metabolic rate decreases as your body goes into something similar to a hibernation mode. Since your resting metabolic rate is lower, you now have to consume even fewer calories to continue losing weight. The more weight you lose, the higher your ghrelin levels climb, and the hungrier you feel. Of course, once you start eating to satisfy your ravenous appetite, you start gaining your weight back since you will be consuming more. Once your body gets back to its starting weight, your ghrelin level will settle back down to its baseline level. Unfortunately, most people do not stop eating once they get back to their starting weight and they end up putting on a few more pounds than they started with!

Now of course, we don’t just lie around all day. We get out of bed and move around the house, we go to work; we may even have a regular exercise routine. This physical activity increases your metabolic rate above the resting level. Nonetheless, the fact still remains that the more weight you lose, the less you have to eat and the more you have to exercise to continue losing weight.

Overweight mid adult caucasian woman doing cardio workout on a treadmill in local gym with her coach assisting and supporting.She's wearing blue t-shirt and has her hair pulled back in a pony tail.Coach is standing next to her and wearing red tank top.There's blurry muscular guy in background

We can divide exercise for weight loss into two basic types – aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise is by far the most common and popular form of exercise. Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve moods, lessen anxiety, help you sleep better, lower blood pressure, improve control of diabetes, improve cholesterol levels, and a whole host of other benefits. Unfortunately, weight loss is not one of its most notable benefits.

Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand has more weight loss benefits. The reason it is less popular is that it is hard! It requires quick bursts of intense energy over a very short period. Anaerobic exercise builds strength, builds muscle, and helps to reduce belly fat. Although aerobic exercise burns more calories during the exercise period, anaerobic exercise results in an increase in your metabolism that can remain revved up long after the exercise is over.

This extended period of increased metabolism does not necessarily translate into lost pounds, since there are other factors to consider, including diet, age, genetics and medications., but adding anaerobic exercise to your exercise routine is, without a doubt, a good way to increase your muscle mass, increase your metabolism, and decrease abdominal fat.

A combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise is the ideal approach to any exercise regimen. Of course, you must also include a well-balanced diet that is moderately calorie restricted. Balanced moderation is a good approach to consider.

One final note about exercise and obesity. Make sure your physician checks you thoroughly before attempting any strenuous exercise program. There are risks that go along with exercise, particularly for the obese. Just be safe, smart, and have realistic expectations.


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  • Why some seem to gain weight by simply smelling food while others eat freely without fear of weight gain.
  • Why societal prejudices against those who struggle with their weight are absolutely wrong according to medical research.
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