If you study any of the popular weight loss social media sites for any length of time you will notice a common theme where people cannot understand why they are not losing weight despite how much they exercise.
You cannot beat a bad diet with exercise!
You might do well for a little while, but eventually the bad diet practices will overwhelm your exercise regimen. The only exception to this are elite level athletes and genetic outliers. This is a simple fact of life that many seem to never grasp. Just because you exercise regular does not give you license to eat anything and everything you want without eventually paying the consequences on the scale and with your health. I know one individual who believes that since she walks many miles per week, she can eat sweet treats on the weekends. She also seems to have a difficult time understanding why she cannot stay at her goal weight. I have known others who thought that the first place to visit after working out in the gym was the local Dairy Queen on their way home. To put it quite simply, while exercising is certainly a healthy habit, it is not enough by itself. If you want a fit and trim body, your nutrition has to play a positive role too. There is an old saying that is an absolute truth for all – Six pack abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym!
In order to slim down and lose body fat, you must be at a caloric deficit no matter who you are and no matter what shape you might currently find yourself. This is a simple truth of life. Unless you have a true medical issue that might interfere with this truth, you have to consume less than you burn. You are not any different than anyone else, you are not special in this regard. I can guarantee, you cannot find scientific or medical proof that I am wrong in this regard.
One pound of fat equals 3500 calories. To lose one pound of fat per week, you must have a deficit of 500 calories per day, or any combination that will equal a total deficit of 3500 calories from your weekly needs. Conversely, 3500 extra calories over your needs will equal a one pound increase of body fat per week.
Many people make the mistake of over estimating their caloric burn when they exercise. They will rely on data from their exercise equipment, such as treadmills for example, or their personal fitness trackers. It is not uncommon for this caloric burn data to be incorrect. If you are relying on this data to justify still being able to eat your treats and you are still gaining body fat, you can bet the data is telling you that you are burning more fat than you actually are. This is a truth even if you have the most expensive of fitness trackers on your wrist. Just because you might have spent $500 on the latest fitness tracker does not mean the data is reliable. As with any computer system, junk data going in means junk data is going to come out. My personal feeling is many people would be better off to ditch the fitness trackers all together and pay more attention to what their body is telling them.
Another mistake many people make is they over rate the intensity of their exercise. On one popular weight loss app, people are awarded food points based on the duration and intensity of their exercise. On this app, I have seen over weight, out of shape people insisting they exercised at a high intensity for an hour for example. This is a bunch of bologna, as high intensity exercise means that you have your heart rate up into the anaerobic zone above the fat burning zone. At a truly high intense level for these people, they would not be able to breath well enough to continue at this rate for more than a minute or two at best. People who are not used to getting out of their comfort zone will confuse a medium intensity level of exercise with a high intensity. Many people become uncomfortable the moment their breathing becomes even a little bit labored. But, this little bit of discomfort does not indicate you are exercising at anything beyond a medium intensity.
Low Intensity: You can breathe easy and carry on a conversation as normal.
Medium Intensity: Your heart rate has elevated enough for you to breathe a little heavier, yet you are still able to maintain a labored conversation.
High Intensity: Your heart rate is high, you can barely breathe and there is no way you can engage in any conversation. This kind of intensity can also make you vomit.
Vigorous exercise will make you hungry. It will make you hungrier than if you had not exercised at all. When you exercise, the smart money is on also cleaning up your nutrition. If you are addicted to simple carbohydrates as many of us are, you will only crave them even worse after you exercise. If you are carb addicted, that ice cream parlor might be hard to resist after swimming laps. The reality is, that 750 calorie hot fudge sundae you are craving might actually equal more calories than you even burned while in the pool.
To sum all this up, you might exercise 30 minutes to maybe a couple hours out of your twenty four hour day. Even if you get in two hours of exercise, this is only a small percentage of your time. No matter who you are, no matter your level of fitness, you must make the remaining hours of your day that are not filled with exercise count as much, if not more than your time in the gym or out running. If you exercise and still cannot lose weight, you are not a special snowflake. You are still eating more than you burn off in a day, therefore you just make an honest assessment of your nutritional habits. You must make yourself accountable to yourself. It is intelligent to track what you eat and not assume you are eating fewer calories than you actually are. If you do not track, you cannot know. Having a fit and trim body requires having the discipline to incorporate healthy habits into all aspects of your life.
If you find that you are not losing body fat despite your exercise, you need to truly evaluate your daily habits and adjust accordingly my friends. No one can outperform a bad diet forever.