Can You Lose Weight Only by Exercising?
Nivedita Nagpal | On 22, May 2021
At its simplest, losing weight is about calories taken in versus calories burned. However, it is a bit more complicated than that. Spending an extra 30 minutes on the treadmill will not cure other bad habits that fuel your weight-loss problems.
Exercise must be partnered with a sensible diet. While exercise does help fitness levels and fight the kilos, without a healthy diet, it’s fruitless. The reason for this is that your body is adaptable. When you regularly exercise, your body expects it. If you run 5km a day, then at first you will lose the kilos. However, your body adapts to new metabolism, and the weight loss stops after several weeks. It would be best if you did more.
First, you can vary your exercise. Resistance training, aerobic exercise, or a combination of both, along with a sensible diet, will yield the right results. In addition, Arizona State University conducted a study in 2014. They found that exercising can increase your fitness level, but they also found that extra exercise alone cannot help you lose weight. Your body has thresholds. In the study, healthy overweight women with sedentary lifestyles were asked to walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes, three times a week, for three months. When looked at in tandem with their unchanged diets, the study concluded the exercise did not significantly impact their weight.
The bottom line is that exercise is excellent, but if you eat unhealthily, your hard work is lost. Generally, people end up eating high-calorie food (often as a reward for doing the exercise). This replaces the calories lost in the exercise and can even add more calories; therefore, a waste of your time.
The best approach is to set a target and realistic goals. Exercise can be gentle or vigorous, with the latter being optimum to burn more calories. A gentle stroll will not raise your cardiovascular levels, and therefore weight loss is unlikely. It would help if you got to a level you cannot talk comfortably without being out of breath. Do this for 30 minutes, three times a week.
Next, look at your diet. Fat in your diet is good. Protein is key. Carbs should be limited. That is the general rule in sports science. Also, eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of 2 or 3 big ones. Your metabolism works better, and you burn more calories.
Meal ideas vary. Some say a split of 40% carbs, 30% unsaturated fats, and 30% protein is a good target. There are several free apps out there that take the hard work out of calculations for those new to diet and exercise. Try ‘MyFitnessPal’ that allows you to log exercise and scan food barcodes to keep track.
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Remember, exercise alone is not enough. Diet is just as important, but not just any diet. The diet must be sensible. You would not put diesel into a Ferrari, would you? The same mantra applies to your body.