Calories in Calories out. No matter what, we seem to come back to this belief that weight loss is about how many calories you take in and how many you burn each day. If you burn more than you take in you will lose weight. If you eat more than you burn you will gain weight. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. And even more unfortunate is that this concept is causing us to exercise in ways that work against lasting weight loss!
The thing is, our body is not like a cash register. At the end of the day it does not tally up how much you took in and how much you burned to see if you should lose or gain weight.
This is how the concept of calorie burning makes it harder to lose weight. When you believe that you need to exercise to burn more calories to help you lose weight you are much more likely to:
- Push your body to do more and more exercise. This leads to doing too much too soon, which leads to pain or injury, which leads to not exercising, which leads to frustration about your inability to lose weight.
- Choose an exercise because it is best for burning calories. This leads to doing too much of one type, such as cardio, and not enough of the other types of exercise your body needs, such as stretching or strength training. The end result is a body that does not feel great, has more pain, less muscle mass, less strength and less bone mass because of weight loss.
- Think exercise is not working when the scale does not go down. When you are exercising you expect you would lose some weight. When you don’t, you think exercise has failed you – even when you are feeling better and have more energy (which, ironically is the reason you wanted to lose weight in the first place). When this happens you are more likely to push your body harder and end up in scenario #1 or do more of the types of exercise that burn more calories and end up in scenario #2.
Let’s ditch the idea that exercise is for calorie burning. Let’s focus instead on all the great stuff that happens in your body instantly each time you exercise. When you do a well-balanced, consistent, exercise program at the just right level for you body, right now, you will feel better on your way to a healthy weight and it will be much more likely to last!
Keep Moving, Be Well,