How Important is Working Out to Weight Loss?

We’ve all had thoughts like “If I work out really hard now, I can eat that pizza later. Right?” Well, no. Working out does not give you a free pass to eat whatever you want if you’re looking to shed those extra pounds. Consuming fresh foods in balance is the key to weight-loss success, exercise plays a much smaller role than you may think.

Now we aren’t saying that exercise isn’t important; it’s just not as important as what you are eating when it comes to losing weight. Exercise is great for over-all good health. It helps reduce the risk of stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and heart attack. However, when it comes to weight loss; it can’t erase the harmful effects of unhealthy foods. Here are some reasons why exercise isn’t the ‘magic pill’ that many people believe it is.

A number of calories burnt through exercise are relatively small in the grand scheme of things. We use up most of our calories just by being alive (the resting metabolic rate). To put it in a real-life scenario, let’s say there is a 200-pound man who is at 30% body fat. He will expend 1,743 calories per day just by staying alive.

On top of that, he’ll expend more calories on top of that through what’s known as the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): the number of calories that he spends digesting and absorbing his nutrients from food. This accounts for about 10% of total calorie use.

Add another 10% on top of that through a metabolic process known as NEAT (Non-Exercise Adaptive Thermogenesis). This is the amount of calories used by doing things like fidgeting. Unfortunately, this can vary greatly from individual to individual.

This means our subject could expend 2,100 calories without even getting out of bed. Now, add another 10% for getting out of bed and going about his daily routine and he’s already burned 2,300 calories.

Adding exercise into the equation barely makes a dent in his overall caloric expenditure. Now we are not suggesting that you shouldn’t exercise, but rather, it’s important to realize where a majority of your caloric expenditure is coming from.

Not all calories are created equal. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. If you eat 500 calories less than you burn every day, then after a week (7×500 = 3500) you will have lost a pound of fat.

From this simple equation comes the idea that all calories are created equal, no matter what foods they come from. Even though it is true that obesity is caused by excess calories and weight loss caused by a calorie deficit, this is still such a drastic oversimplification that it is downright wrong.

The fact is that different foods can have vastly different effects on our bodies and go through different metabolic pathways before they’re turned into energy. Just focusing on the calorie content of foods and disregarding the metabolic effects they have is a highly flawed way of thinking. Two hundred calories of broccoli is NOT the same as two hundred calories of potato chips.

Most people are horrible estimators of calories in vs. calories out. Yes, it’s important that you are burning more calories than you are consuming in order to lose weight. There is one problem with this method: user error. People either think they are burning more calories or consuming fewer calories than they really are.

 

At SlimGenics, our focus is on eating quality, whole fresh foods. It is important that you learn about how to address the causes of weight gain and how to ensure your body is receiving the proper nutrients. Once you have an understanding of that and start to see the weight start to drop, you will feel so good and have so much energy that you will enjoy being more active.

 

© 2017 SlimGenics, LLC

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