4 Truths about Exercise, Diet + Weight Loss

As a follow-up to Wednesday’s post about weight loss and the barre, we are going to explore 4 truths that WebMD has uncovered (and reviewed with doctors) about some of the facts and fiction regarding diet, exercise and weight loss. And note that I say “weight loss” but really am simply referring to healthy weight maintenance – and a healthy lifestyle – in general, so these truths really are applicable to all of us, whatever our goals might be. As always, it seems to come down to the healthy balance, in the end!

1. Exercise is only part of the weight loss story: as we mentioned Wednesday, maintaining a healthy weight is really about finding that healthy combination of diet and exercise – and that for most individuals, it’s easier to cut the necessary excess calories from a bloated diet to lose weight rather than simply try to exercise them all away. Mayo Clinic research tells us that 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, so you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).

2. However, exercise is a must for weight maintenance: even though we keep mentioning the importance and the incredible significance that a healthy diet has on weight loss and healthy weight maintenance, it’s not to discount the benefits and effects of exercise. All of the experts at WedMD agree on one thing: “”No matter how you lose extra pounds (diet or exercise), you’re going to need to be active to keep them off.

“I come back to this over and over and over — you can’t find very many people maintaining a healthy weight who aren’t regular exercisers,” says James O. Hill, PhD, professor of pediatrics and medicine and the director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado at Denver.

“What we find is that people that focus on diet aren’t very successful in the long run without also focusing on physical activity,” Hill says. He warns that people can be “wildly successful temporarily” at losing weight through diet alone, but there’s plenty of data that show that those people regain the weight if they aren’t physically active.

“When it comes to weight, you can’t talk about diet alone and you can’t talk about exercise alone … you absolutely have to address both issues at the same time,” says Timothy Church, MD, MPH, PhD, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La.”

3. Use calories burned as motivation rather than eating offsets: turns out, most people under-estimate their calorie intake and over-estimate the calories they burn exercising, which is a losing combination. Rather than viewing the 400 (or so) calories burned at the barre as “extra” calories banked you can splurge on, view your exercise as part of your healthy daily routine. WebMD tells refers to Kong Chen, PhD, director of the metabolic research core at the National Institutes of Health for more thoughts: “Chen suggests using calorie displays on exercise equipment for motivation, but not to offset your eating.

“For example, it doesn’t matter what it says (calories burned), 300 or 400 calories. If you do that every day or increase on that level, then you’ve achieved your purpose. But if you’re feeding yourself against that — no, I wouldn’t recommend that,” Chen says.”

You also have to keep in mind that the incremental additional calories burned is not the total number burned during your workout, because you would have burned some (much smaller) amount being sedentary as well – so the extra burn amount really becomes smaller after subtracting out the, say, 70 calories you may have burned anyways, sitting at your desk or playing with your kids. Small nuances like this are exactly why it’s not a great idea to eat the extra calories burned, because we can’t know we’re being entirely accurate with all of our estimates!

4. One daily workout may not be enough: your best bet for weight loss and healthy weight maintenance goes beyond your daily workout (although the importance of that cannot be stressed enough, either) – it’s more about an overall active lifestyle, and fighting a sedentary routine!

WebMD says “The message isn’t that the 30 minutes on the treadmill isn’t good; it’s that the 30 minutes on the treadmill isn’t going to make up for 23-and-a-half sedentary hours,” Hill says. He encourages people to weave activity throughout the day. “Do something to move and make it fun,” he says.

To see the full original article by Miranda Hitti on WedMD, click here!

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