Help! I am still overweight despite exercising every day of the week.
I do not know what to do!
There must be something uniquely wrong with me.
At David’s Way, we have had many followers contact us with the above concerns. We can also check in on any weight loss social media platform and quickly find the same lament at any given time. People get frustrated because they believe they are doing all the right things with nutrition and exercise, but they are not. It gets frustrating when trying to explain this to those who have come to the belief there is something wrong with their body because they still cannot lose weight. They often will not accept that there is nothing wrong with their body, what’s wrong is what they are doing.
They are still overeating!
We cannot change the laws of thermodynamics. It is a simple fact that in order to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you are burning. If you are still overweight despite exercising, you are still eating too many calories.
We cannot out exercise a bad diet!
This is the truth, even if you have cut back on the total volume of foods you are eating. You must consume fewer calories than you are taking in in order to lose weight. When we are overweight despite exercising, we are not doing what we need to be doing.
In order to lose weight, you need to eat low calorie and nutrient dense foods that will fill you up. Foods that are full of all the vital macro and micro-nutrients that will keep you satiated. Just because you exercised, it does not mean that you can justify eating a large value meal from your local drive through. One trip to a fast food restaurant alone can provide you with a full days worth of calories. You might lose weight if that was all you ate for the day, but when you add in other meals and snacks, you are still consuming more calories than you are burning.
Do not overestimate your caloric burn from exercise!
We often hear from our followers how many calories they burn in a day with their exercise. They are frustrated because they are still overweight despite exercising. People often believe it is because there is something wrong with their metabolism, and there is nothing that can be done about it. They are sadly wrong on each count unless there is a sound medical reason behind their inability to lose weight. We know that thyroid problems hinder weight loss, but sometimes even this problem is not as severe as people believe. Your doctor can help you with determining how much of an impact your thyroid will have on weight loss.
Overestimating the intensity level of exercise.
If you are new to exercise, what might feel intense to you may not be. When you are not used to your heart rate becoming elevated, and your breathing labored, it might seem intense because you have possibly never experienced this before.
- Intense exercise is when you have gone hard enough that you cannot speak more than a word or two at the most. You are out of breath.
- Moderate intensity is when your heart rate is elevated and your breathing has become labored, but you can still carryon a conversation.
- Low intensity is when your heart rate is not elevated and you can speak as easily as when sitting in your living room.
- You might get to an actual intense level of exercise, but I guarantee you will not remain there long. Unless you are a seasoned athlete, you are not exercising at an intense level for extended periods of time. Quit basing your caloric burn on what you are not doing.
The calories burned stated by your fitness tracker is quite possibly far off from what you actually burned.
This is a common problem. If your fitness tracker said you burned 1000 calories with exercise, do not assume that you can eat those calories and expect to lose weight. I never advise anyone to eat their calories earned from exercise because that would just be setting them up for failure. You need to figure your caloric needs and then adjust up or down as necessary. You can use our free Calorie Counter Pro feature by clicking the link.
From Stanford Medicine:
An evaluation of seven devices in a diverse group of 60 volunteers showed that six of the devices measured heart rate with an error rate of less than 5 percent. The team evaluated the Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn and the Samsung Gear S2. Some devices were more accurate than others, and factors such as skin color and body mass index affected the measurements.
In contrast, none of the seven devices measured energy expenditure accurately, the study found. Even the most accurate device was off by an average of 27 percent. And the least accurate was off by 93 percent.
“People are basing life decisions on the data provided by these devices,” said Euan Ashley, DPhil, FRCP, professor of cardiovascular medicine, of genetics and of biomedical data science at Stanford. But consumer devices aren’t held to the same standards as medical-grade devices, and it’s hard for doctors to know what to make of heart-rate data and other data from a patient’s wearable device, he said.
A paper reporting the researchers’ findings was published online May 24 in the Journal of Personalized Medicine. Ashley is the senior author. Lead authorship is shared by graduate student Anna Shcherbina, visiting assistant professor Mikael Mattsson, PhD, and senior research scientist Daryl Waggott. (1)
Your metabolism may actually be slow. But this will not stop you from losing weight!
I do not want to be hurtful here, but I have to be blunt about this. Life is not fair, some people are indeed blessed with a higher metabolism than others. Some people can eat more calories than others and not gain weight. This fact is not going to change anytime soon for any of us.
Losing weight with a slow metabolism is possible, but you will have to make lifestyle changes to do so. It may not be fair that you cannot eat half a pizza when out with friends, but that is just the way it is for many people including myself. If I go out and eat just whatever is fun with my friends, I will gain weight. I have a slow metabolism despite the fact I am quite lean and dedicate 12 hours per week to strength and cardiovascular training. In order for me to maintain my current weight and body fat percentage, I only eat 2,270 calories per day. Otherwise I will gain body fat just like anyone else. I have been obese and know this from experience.
Despite differences in individual metabolisms, weight loss is the same for everyone. You must consume fewer calories than you burn. One pound of fat is 3500 calories. To burn that one pound of fat, you must cut back on your caloric consumption by 500 calories per day. We cannot change the laws of thermodynamics to fit our needs and wants. Life is not fair, therefore we must learn how to still live it the best we can. If you are overweight despite exercising, you have to make some changes.
You can do something about your metabolism!
Eat more protein!
Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.
Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats. Eating protein will help you feel more satiated and it will help to prevent you from overeating.
Protein is the macronutrient that builds and repairs all the tissues in our body.
Lifting weights is important for building and retaining muscle. Higher amounts of muscle will result in a higher metabolism.
Losing weight in itself is not going to increase your metabolism. When you lose weight, you must take steps to increase your lean muscle mass, or to at least maintain what you have. We do also lose lean muscle mass when we lose body fat.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and building muscle can help increase your metabolism. Building lean muscle will enable you to burn more calories each day, even when at rest.
Do more cardiovascular exercise.
There’s no getting around it, the biggest caloric burn comes from cardiovascular exercise. Even just getting out for a good walk is an excellent way of burning calories. If you do not like running, then don’t run. You do not have to run or jog to enjoy the benefits from cardiovascular exercise. Besides hiking outside, I personally like my dual action exercise bike for zero impact cardiovascular exercise inside my home.
Ideally, you should exercise four to five times week for 30 to 40 minutes per week. The whole idea here is just getting out there and burning as many calories as you can.
Always ensure you have been cleared for exercise by your physician before beginning any type of exercise.