Exercise and Weight Loss – The Facts

So now exercise isn’t going to help you lose weight.

weights and scales

Brilliant.

These were the headlines I woke up to a couple of weeks ago. Okay, it is true you can’t compensate for a horrendous diet with lots of exercise. A 15 minute blast on the cross trainer will not burn off a Big Mac. A healthy weight and lifestyle starts with a healthy diet. One of the girls I trained with, Louise, discusses some of the reasons for this on her blog which is really helpful.

What really annoyed me about these headlines was the sensationalism. For some people exercise is a real chore and it’s a internal battle to do any at all. Add in babies, work, exhaustion and a newspaper article blasting exercise as not the key to weight loss, is the perfect reason to sack it off. The stories really should have been written in a more balanced way, arguing both sides of the coin. Luckily plenty of health professionals have since had their say.

Exercise may not be the key to weight loss but it has so many other benefits that could help with weight loss in an indirect way.

Picture this. You have a really successful exercise session. You’ve sweated, you’re tired and you know you worked hard. You feel healthier so this may mean you ditch the sugary drinks for water and have a healthy meal when you get home.

Exercise is a fabulous mood booster and some feel should be used as a treatment for mild depression. Exercise classes are a good way to socialise and have some well-needed time to yourself. If you are happier, you are more motivated and in turn, this can boost your weight loss success.

Exercise wards off Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other conditions, tones muscle, helps you sleep, strengthens your joints…the list is really endless.

So don’t let the headlines put you off. Diet has a massive part to play in a weight loss journey but don’t rule out exercise from the equation. It certainly has it’s role in the journey to a healthy lifestyle.

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11 Comments

  1. May 3, 2015 / 9:59 pm

    I completely agree with the importance of exercise for mental as well as physical health. And I think making a change in your appearance isn't just about the numbers on the scales, it's about toning and feeling good when you look in the mirror, for which exercise is essential. This was a well-timed reminder to motivate me in my new exercise routine 🙂

  2. Vicky Charles
    May 4, 2015 / 7:30 am

    Great post. I think the problem is that we've had spandex-clad toothpicks releasing dvds for years, telling us they used to be the size of a house and "now look at me" and people believe that all they did was these random aerobics routines three times a week. I don't think enough is made of the fact you can't choose either exercise or diet. People think if they run for the bus they've burnt off last night's kebab and you're right – those headlines don't help, they just mean people won't even bother to run for the bus!

  3. Phillip Clarke
    May 4, 2015 / 7:49 am

    Fantastic post, the sooner more people speak sense against the sensationalist rubbish the better! Thanks for linking to #BloggingToJogging xx (It's Hannah btw but my hubby is logged on to Google!)

  4. Katie Haydock
    May 4, 2015 / 9:19 pm

    Ooh that meme did make me chuckle.
    I wouldn't consider myself an overly 'fit' person and I'm certainly not slim and could probably do with losing a few stone – however – I do go the gym two to three times per week. Just for an hour. But it's my me time, and I love the feeling of knowing I did something other than sit on my bottom. You are completely right in your post. Love it.

  5. Katy F
    May 5, 2015 / 7:06 am

    I agree exercise alone is no good but I can definitely say that exercise as well as a good diet has boosted my weight loss over the last few weeks! #BloggingtoJogging

  6. May 5, 2015 / 7:17 am

    I love exercising, there are days when I can't be bothered but I always feel so much better after doing it, makes me feel more energised!! #bloggingtojogging

  7. Lauren Holmes
    May 5, 2015 / 12:14 pm

    You've got it spot on, exercise is about so much more than losing weight. It's such a great mood booster, and I can honestly say that since starting regular exercise I feel so much better about myself. While it's never going to counteract a seriously unhealthy diet, it should still be encouraged, surely it's better to have an unhealthy diet and be quite active than it is to have an unhealthy diet and sit around on your backside all day?!
    #BloggingToJogging

  8. May 6, 2015 / 10:19 am

    It's totally an 80/20 spilt for what you eat vs exercise. Too much exercise and I could quite happily eat a scabby horse… cutting back on the bad foods really does help exercise helps to keep you toned for sure and makes you feel so much better and more positive. A fantastic post chick! #WeightLossWednesday Sim x

  9. May 8, 2015 / 7:27 pm

    absolutely agree with you. I don't actually feel like eating big unhealthy meals after exercising. I think the more you do for yourself the more the body regulates itself as well.

  10. May 10, 2015 / 1:20 pm

    A fabulous post and some good points! I remember when I was training for my first marathon, I thought I would lose lots of weight, and guess what, i did not. But my body looked very different after all the training, so toned and I felt healthy and happy. It's Very true that if you are after losing weight, it's not just going to happen if you do exercises and eat rubbish, you need to combine both, plenty of exercise and a healthy balanced diet. Thanks for linking #FitnessTuesday Hope to see you on Tuesday again! @Fitness4mamas

  11. Colin Chambers
    May 14, 2015 / 9:12 am

    An excellent point and a well written article. Exercise and more generally movement trains your body to handle sugar and water well. This is what happens when you get fit and that is necessary to burn fat because your metabolism requires sugar to burn while it burns fat. So if you don't move then you struggle to lose the right kind of weight.

    So when you try to lose fat without moving aswell you'll lose muscle (including heart muscle), bone density and other things. Moving simply tells your body to use its resources well which is why it's so important for all the things you mention, it literally just gets your body in order which is what we refer to as fit.

    I go into a lot more detail in how exercise imporves you health (http://cell.fit2thrive.co.uk/2014/01/how-activity-and-exercise-improves-your-health/) and how exercise combats heart disease and diabetes (http://cell.fit2thrive.co.uk/2013/05/how-exercise-combats-heart-disease-insulin-resistance-and-diabetes/)

    But you make the points very well. Exercise isn't about weight loss, that's just one benefit and sure, calories are key in weight loss and exercise doesn't burn enough calories, though it does create a platform on which the right calories can be burnt instead of the wrong ones and it does bring a smile to your face instead of a frown. At least it does the way you do it which is as play.

    Liking you posts so keep them coming.