The “Exercise to Lose Weight” Myth Debunked

If you ask someone how to lose weight, what do they say?The most common answer you will get is:[alert-success]Hit the weights, get on the treadmill, and get on a diet[/alert-success]For most people, this is HORRIBLE advice.Why?The right exercise (which is a topic for another day) can make you fitter – faster, stronger, and healthier.Exercise of any kind also burns calories, so what’s the problem?

Why Exercise for Weight Loss Doesn’t Work

calorie intake v weightWeight loss is difficult enough as it is without spending hours in the gym every week. When you follow that standard advice you throw all your willpower and motivation behind several habit changes.In a study conducted by Herman Pontzer [1], they found that there was no correlation between daily energy expenditure and body fat percentage. However, there’s a strong link between energy expenditure and body mass.There are 2 main reasons why exercise isn’t the place to start.

1. People Suck at Estimating

This is a two-fold problem. First of all, people vastly overestimate how many calories they burn from exercise. Those calorie counters on the treadmill on the gym? Your Treadmill is lying to you!Secondly, people also suck at estimating how much they eat, I’m no exception. Unless you are weighing everything you eat, it’s really easy to take a portion that’s a bit bigger at every meal and add an extra few hundred calories to your daily intake. People often justify eating more because they exercised, but end up eating more than they burned…can you say counterproductive? [2]

2. The Limits of Willpower

As discussed previously in the Science of Making and Breaking habits, you have a finite amount of willpower, and when you try to change too much at once…you burn out.How many times have you tried to lose weight before and quit before you reached your final goal?It’s difficult to get an exact number, but a common diet and exercise program Weight Watchers has something like a 99% failure rate. The actual number isn’t important here, the point is that it is WAY too high.Fact: If you want to lose weight, reach a target weight, and keep it off, you need to have a simple way to do it that won’t burn out your initial motivation.The answer to losing weight effectively? Eat Less

How Eating Less Will Increase Your Chance of Success

[alert-success]All you have to do is eat less.[/alert-success]Right about now, about half of you are thinking “duh”, and the other half are thinking “but that’s too easy”.If you think that’s too easy, that should highlight a MAJOR problem right there.We are told that weight loss is hard. We are told you need to follow a complicated routine. You know what? It’s BullshitThink of something that you’re really good at. To other people that probably seems really hard, but it’s easy for you because you’ve done the preparation and you understand what you’re doing.Losing weight is no different from any other skill. If you understand it, it becomes much easier.Now I’m not going to go into too much detail on the very basics of weight loss, if you need that information or want a quick refresher just enter your email at the top of the sidebar and you’ll get my Quickstart ebook that explains everything very clearly.For now I’ll assume you understand that if you eat less calories than you expend, you will lose weight.If you really wanted to, you could do it by eating McDonalds like this teacher. I wouldn’t recommend it however, as you probably won’t feel so great.

The 4 Common Issues With Eating Less

Food ScaleTo lose weight, all you need to do is eat a bit less. The standard recommendation is around 500 calories under your maintenance level. The most common issues can all be addressed and avoided.1. Eating Too LittleThere is a such thing as eating too little, to the point that your body goes into starvation mode. You’ll certainly lose weight, but it’s dangerous and should be avoided.2. HungerHunger is a signal sent to your brain as a result of certain hormone levels like Ghrelin. Changing what foods you eat can help reduce or eliminate any hunger. If you’re interested in learning more about controlling hunger levels with food, read this article on CravingsNot all people have issues with cravings, but if you do you should read The Complete Guide to Food Cravings. This is another reason why you need to have some willpower leftover.4. Lack of energyIt’s normal to feel a bit tired when you start cutting calories. Make sure you don’t cut too many calories at the same time. If you’re tired from just eating less, imagine how tired you would be from working out at the same time.

Wrapping it Up

There you have it. If you eat less, not only will it be much easier to lose weight than implementing diet and exercise at the same time, but you will also increase your chances of sustainable long-term results.What role should exercise play in your weight loss journey? Have Your Say Below.Feel free to share this article with anyone you think it could help.

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