Restrict Calories + Exercise More = Guaranteed Weight Loss. Only, it Doesn’t.
Written by Lisa Malin
You’re restricting food intake, killing it at the gym, even doubling up on spin classes and, still, the scale won’t budge. Why? Because the Eat Less + Move More weight loss model simply doesn’t work, and worse, it can lead to disordered eating, over exercising, guilt, shame, and feelings of defeat.
Here’s the truth:
Weight loss is not a mathematical equation, and not all calories are created equal. A 100 calorie snack bag of pretzels is going to have a very different effect on your body than a 100 calorie snack pack of raw almonds or a tablespoon of peanut butter and celery. The pretzels will be metabolized and broken down by your body into sugar, which will trigger a spike in blood sugar, insulin, hunger hormones and fat storage. The Peanut butter with celery or 100 calorie snack pack of almonds, on the other hand, will supply the fiber, protein, and healthy fats needed to keep your blood sugar stable, your appetite in check, burn calories and trigger weight loss.
Limiting calories and exercising to lose weight, without being mindful of the kinds of calories you are consuming, is a total set up. I’m not bashing exercise. I love working out and moving my body. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the way it clears my mind; decreases my stress, and makes my me feel strong, healthy, happy and fit. Exercise is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle, and has a positive impact on brain health, cortisol levels (#stress), inflammation, cellular aging, metabolic rate, and your body’s ability to fight disease. But, it’s not your one way ticket to weight loss.
So where does all this that leave us?
While you can’t exercise your way out of a poor diet, regular exercise, combined with eating lean protein, healthy fats, and lots of non-starchy veggies and leafy greens, can help elongate your blood sugar curve, turn off your hunger hormones, control your appetite, and trigger your body’s natural ability to burn fat and lose weight. Putting both these habits into play on a regular basis will empower you to flip the switch, burn calories, lose weight, and have a positive, healthy relationship with food and exercise. It will also lay a solid foundation for all your other wellness goals.