My last article, Make Diets Work, concluded that dieting the old way (eating fewer calories) doesn't work. Diet shock, slower metabolism, and eventually, weight regain are inevitable consequences of dieting to lose weight.
The only two options are to stop dieting and exercise only or continue dieting as usual with additional steps to prevent diet shock from initiating the weight regain reactions. This article is on exercising to lose weight.
How Exercise Can Help You Lose Weight
There are two ways in which exercise can lead to weight loss. The first way is simple thermodynamics and the second way is metabolic.
1. Thermodynamics and Weight Loss
Weight loss will occur when the amount of energy you consume (calories) is less than the amount of energy you use or "burn." You can achieve this state, referred to as a negative energy balance and represents a true energy deficit, by eating fewer calories, exercising more, or both.
Let's look at a simple example and use exercise as the sole means of creating a negative energy balance, which will lead to weight loss.
Energy in (calories consumed)=3000
Energy out (calories used or burned)=2700
Total energy= +300 calories extra that you will store as fat
After starting an Exercise Program...
Total energy= -100, utilize stored energy to make up the 100 calorie deficit
On a daily basis, by exercising, you'll create an energy deficit of 100 calories that your body will fix by using stored energy. This results in weight loss. No fancy diets, no added cost, no diet shock and weight regain, just weight loss by moving your body in some consistent manner, called exercise.
Historically, this option makes the most sense, too. Your extra weight is extra energy collected over the years. So why not do something that directly gets rid of the extra energy keeping you overweight? This is what exercise does. It burns the extra energy you have by physically working your muscles.
Dieting to lose weight, on the other hand, is an indirect attempt to burn the extra energy packed away as fat.
2. Metabolic Weight Loss
The more you exercise the more you use muscle. The more you use muscle the more metabolically active muscle becomes. This means, even at rest, you'll burn more calories and protect yourself from gaining weight in the first place.
The Best Exercise
Read up on circuit training. This uses both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in one program. I wrote about this two years ago and you can read parts of my original article at Circuit Training.
I use resistance bands instead of weights for the anaerobic part. They are easy to use and, if done properly with stretching, can lead to toned muscles fast. Toned muscle means fast metabolic rates and the best protection from weight gain known to man.
Stop dieting and start moving! This is the best way to lose weight and to keep it off. Diet shock, weight regain, and the Yo-Yo Diet are no worries of yours if you exercise to lose weight.
To Healthy Living!
Michael A. Smith, MD
Chief Medical Consultant
Diet Basics Website