The Misconception of Exercise and Weight Loss

swim bike run

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

What if I tell you exercise isn’t the solution for your weight loss. How would you react? Surprised? Curious? In disagreement? Even I would have argued with that point when I was overweight and started my journey to fitness. First and foremost, losing weight is a mind game and if you feel you are absolutely ready mentally, you have won the war already. Why your mindset is the most crucial aspect? Read here to find out why it is the most essential thing for your success.

When someone asks you how do you burn that extra fat from your body, what is your immediate response? “Exercise”- would be the most common answer as this is our solution to burn away those extra CALORIES. Let’s delve into the inner functions of the human body and how exercise is depicted wrongfully.

A calorie isn’t actually a thing, it’s a unit of measurement.  A calorie measures the amount of energy in the food and beverages that we consume. Everything we do relies on the energy that comes in the form of calories. It’s the energy that keeps our human engine up and running.

Basically, there are 3 main ways the body burns energy.

  • Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
  • During Food Breakdown
  • During Physical Activities

Your daily physical activity only takes around 10-30 percent of energy expenditure so the vast majority of energy that you expend comes from your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. Metabolism is the process through which the body breaks down the foods and drinks that you take and convert into energy. More simply, it’s the rate at which your body expends energy or burns calories. One example that you can imagine to compare your body as a car engine that is always running. When your engine is in idle mode, it’s still burning fuel just to keep it running. The same goes for your body as it needs a certain amount of energy to burn to keep the bodily functions going.

Now how fast your body’s “engine” runs on average, determines how many calories you burn. If your metabolism is “high” (or fast), you will burn more calories at rest and during activity. A high metabolism means you’ll need to take in more calories to maintain your weight. That’s one reason why some people can eat more than others without gaining weight. A person with a “low” (or slow) metabolism will burn fewer calories at rest and during activity and therefore has to eat less to avoid becoming overweight. Your BMR is partly determined by the genes you inherit but you can easily determine an approximate value from any online calculators.

After reading this, it might be tempting for anyone to lay blame on slower metabolism for weight gain but the truth is in most cases environmental reasons such as food habits or lack of physical activities are the main culprits. Regardless of whether your metabolism is fast or slow, our bodies are designed to store excess energy in fat cells.

Not only that, our body is smart enough to change the metabolic rate which is called Metabolic Compensation. When you start exercising and lose weight, your body becomes efficient at expending energy. Also, our bodies are programmed to sense a lack of food as starvation, so the same thing happens when you go into an extreme diet. The result? You gain all those weights back, sometimes even more, once you stop working out or go back to a normal diet. Double whammy indeed!!

Losing weight through exercise only can be exhausting. For example, you need to do an intense cycling session of an hour just to burn a couple of donuts. Understandably it will be very difficult for you to exercise more to compensate for those extra calories day in day out. Even if you do, our body has a tendency to shift to compensatory behavior where we avoid being physically active for the rest of the day and tends to slow down.

On the other side of the coin, various companies are promoting exercise as a solution to obesity but the reality is their business is profitable as long as we eat and drink their products. They are building ads and promotions where you can drink a can of soda as long as you keep working out but it doesn’t work like that. It takes a hell lot of effort to not have any impact of those junk calories.

Now I know all these things sound depressing and we have a tendency to be reluctant. You might be thinking that only 15 minutes of exercise daily is so tough mentally yet it’s not even enough to lose weight or stay healthy! Fact is doing exercise or being active is a great way to stay fit and lead a happy life but it’s not the only solution to cure obesity. We have 100% control of what we eat but only 30% control of what we can burn. So, losing weight is only not about exercise but is a combination of food, exercise, sleep, and daily habits combined.

Do you disagree with what you have read? is there any query that raised in your mind? Please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading. Do like, share and subscribe to my blog to find all the latest updates if you find it useful. Follow me on Instagram or on FaceBook with the username @TryAthleteLife. See you next time.


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[…] mass is you burn more calories every day even if you are just sitting idle or doing nothing, hence promotes higher metabolism indeed. Moreover, since your body is more active, it helps you recover faster as well. You get less […]