I talk to people about food a lot. They hear about my weight loss and the way I eat and they ask questions, and since I love to talk about this stuff I will usually then talk their ear off. The thing I find strange, though, is how often people will end these conversations with me with the comment, “Well, you do exercise a lot, though,” as if the excise is what caused my weight loss.
I can’t deny it, I do exercise a lot. I work out for an hour a day five days a week. That’s a lot by pretty much anyone’s standards. But guess what? I exercised for an hour a day five days a week on and off through most of the ten plus years that I was obese. Exercise during that time might have helped me get down about ten pounds, maybe. So why was I able to lose weight finally? It was because I changed what I eat, plain and simple.
Here’s what exercise can’t do for you. Exercise alone is not going to help you lose significant amounts of weight. You also don’t burn as many calories during exercise as you think you are burning. Unless you are a professional athlete, you will not be able to burn enough calories in a day to be able to eat unlimited amounts of food, it’s just not in the cards. If you help yourself to an extra brownie because you exercised extra long that day, you could very easily have just eaten twice the amount of calories that you burned off.
Of course, I’m not telling you not to exercise, far from it! I obviously am a big fan! In fact, just to offset that last paragraph, I want to talk about the things that exercise can do for you. Exercise can actually change the chemistry in your brain. It has been shown to be a better antidepressant than most medications out there (please don’t go off your crazy meds without a doctor’s go-ahead, even if you start exercising!). Do you ever eat when you are feeling depressed? Maybe suffer from a little food addiction? All those happy endorphins swimming around your brain from exercise help with all those problems. Exercising also dramatically improves your sleep quality. You need to be able to sleep to lose weight, so better sleep is always a good thing! Also, stress can be a big problem causing your body hold on to weight, and exercise is proven to be one of the very best stress busters. I’m a big stress eater, so this is one benefit that is huge for me!
It makes a lot of sense, right? Even though what you eat is WAY more important in losing weight and being healthy, exercise is super important, too.
So here’s my point. Losing weight more than anything has to do with your mindset. You can be sabotaging yourself unknowingly with destructive thoughts and habits. It’s easy to decide that someone else has been able to lose a lot of weight simply because they exercise a lot, but you can’t do that so you are destined to fail. I really feel that everyone out there needs to move their body at least once a day, make their heart beat a little faster and remind themselves that their bodies are capable of amazing things. But even if for some reason you aren’t able to exercise as much as you would like, you can still improve your health so much just by improving what you eat! You are capable of so much more than you ever imagined!