Exercise is Important, But Beware of Claims that it causes Weight Loss (Unless Extreme)


Feb 7 2017

CBS Local Pittsburgh – It’s possible that weight loss isn’t directly pushed by

exercising, according to a study conducted by Loyola University of


Working out promotes good health across the board but not necessarily

weight loss. Losing weight includes burning calories, but when the body

burns more calories, the hungrier it gets leading those lost calories being

replaced. Studies have also confirmed that notion as well as burning

calories through exercise doesn’t make up the majority of your body’s

calorie burning.


“Our study results indicate that physical activity may not protect you from

gaining weight,” said Lara Dugas, lead author an assistant professor of

public health at the Loyola.

The study examined 2,000 people from five countries over three years.

They were measured by weigh ins and activity monitors.

“Researchers did not find any significant relationships between sedentary

time at the initial visit and subsequent weight gain or weight loss,” a press

release from the University stated. “The only factors that were

significantly associated with weight gain were weight at the initial visit,

age and gender.”


Response To Facebook Comment on Exercise

xfatrushThis blog is in response to a post of Facebook.

The question was how does exercise fit into a thin mentality.

Just as the diet industry has taught us to seek quick fixes or radical programs for weight loss, the fitness industry has done the same regarding exercise.

I’m sure you have seen the P90X infomercials, and the types of regimens that “Jillian” and the biggest loser recommend.  They are extreme and non sustainable.

Here is what I know.

I taught aerobics, spinning and step aerobics for decades and I was a personal trainer.  And the people who were in the best shape over the long haul were slow and steady like the tortoise.   They weren’t obsessed by fitness, they didn’t “punish” themselves with exercise.

They had a nice routine that they enjoyed, that worked into their life.  Their commitment to fitness was reasonable, and generally included a “sport,” like tennis or racket ball or basketball, volleyball, skating etc.

And working out was not so they could “eat more.”

Realize that when you rack up hours on a treadmill, Mother Nature makes you hungrier.  So working out is good for endurance and to be in shape.  But realize:

You are not fooling your body.  When you work out more, you will be hungrier.

So don’t work out with the goal to eat more.  Work out because it feels good and your body wants to move.

Work out or do a sport that leaves you feeling good, and wanting more.

So you think that isn’t enough?

Just like yo-yo dieting is harmful to your body, so is yo-yo exercise.

It is far more beneficial to do moderate exercise two times a week than to be a stud and work out like crazy for a year, only to do burn out and ditch your routine altogether for the next year.  And yes, that happens all the time.

I am also a big believer in moderate weight lifting because it keeps you strong.   I am not talking about anything heroic here.  A little very moderate weight lifting a couple of times a week is, from my experience, very beneficial.

But, just like with food preferences, we are all different.  What works for me may not work for you.

Find what kind of movement your body responds to, what you enjoy.  And gently fit it into your life.

Obviously, if you are a pro athlete, training for a marathon, or in boot camp with the military, your situation is different.  Your body is under extreme pressure to perform at a high capacity.  Your thin mentality will be there for you craving high protein food to get you through.

That is the beauty of listening to your body.


Why biggest loser is part of the problem


Teasers for the Biggest Loser showed Jillian yelling at people who were on treadmills.  The contestants were getting upset and feeling overwhelmed.  The voice over was all about this drama.

Why?  Because the show wants an audience and this juicy drama brings viewers in.

Remember this!  This is entertainment, not good instruction for getting into shape!

Jumping into incredibly hard workouts while someone is yelling at you is a recipe for… ending up back on the couch!!!

Ugh-  This is such a disservice to people who need to start working out.

Folks, that is NOT how it has to be.  That woman on the treadmill was working really hard just to walk.  She is carrying a lot of extra weight.  I want to tell her good job!!

I would encourage her to make moving her body as pleasant as she possibly could.  If that involved taking a break and regaining her breath, I would say fine!

You know why?

Because in order to make exercise a permanent addition to you life, it is important to make it reasonable.  And someone who hasn’t exercised at all and who is overweight, needs to start slowly and build up stamina and endurance.

Then, you can gradually increase the duration and intensity.

Just like listening to your hunger and satiety teaches you to trust yourself, your body needs you to listen to exhaustion and physical misery too!   That way, when you need to motivate yourself to get moving, your body isn’t sending you big “NO!” signals.

Be kind and respectful of your body, at this moment.  Deal with  your size and physical condition appropriately.  Being unreasonable only leads to ultimate failure.


Thin Mentality and Exercise

animal on wheel 600

Do everything you can to make exercise nice for you.  Do not beat yourself up. Do not berate yourself.

I make my workout joyful.  I don’t count reps, I just turn on music and do some weight lifting.  I say to myself, “Okay, do squats for this song.”  I listen to a song I love and start the move.  If I am miserable because it ended up being too long of a song, I stop.  I might stretch a little while the song finishes, or I may just sing along or whatever.

I don’t workout to the point of misery because I want to workout for the rest of my life.  And I know my human nature, which I value, will rebel against that misery and I won’t want to workout at all anymore.  So, instead of punishing myself, I congratulate myself for working out.

And some days, I feel stronger than others-  don’t you?  So why would I predetermine reps?  I workout with weights a couple of times a week and every time I do, I go with the attitude of- work hard, but not so hard that I am unhappy.

I taught aerobics and spinning for 15 years-  I understand the value of working out and pushing yourself, so don’t get me wrong.  I just noticed that those who work out at reasonable levels work out consistently.  Those who go crazy working out, burn out.


Those Extreme Exercise Programs – Not Smart

LardassDon’t put yourself in a position to be yelled at or demeaned when you are exercising.  That kind of “motivation” backfires.  Do exercise that makes you feel good and proud, not lousy.

After all, don’t you want to find a routine that will work for the rest of your life?

Our culture’s quick fix mentality is propping up the diet mentality.  And the diet and fitness industry are happy to oblige with STUPID, yes stupid solutions.  Sorry-  but really it is simply stupid to embark on an unsustainable diet, or exercise plan.  Right?

Isn’t it miserable to lose weight and gain it back- fast.  Isn’t it awful to get in great shape only to flab out again?

Well, every time you start a diet or extreme fitness program say to yourself, “I a going to diet or go on PX 90 or whatever and get  thin and then I will gain it back.”  Don’t stop at “I am going to diet and get thin…”  Because, as you KNOW, that is not the ed of the story.

And those exercise programs that require an hour a day of intense working out  backfire, just like dieting does.  And frequently, trainers “bully” overweight exercisers thinking that they are “helping” them.

I am not saying that you shouldn’t exercise!  Of course, if you are listening, your body is telling you to get moving!  Every time you are stiff after sitting in a chair all day, or out of breath after you climb stairs your body is giving you a message:  move!!

But, find something you like and something that its into your schedule.  I taught fitness and was a trainer for years.  The people who succeeded at  maintaining an exercise routine were the ones who were reasonable in their goals.  They worked out a sustainable amount.

They weren’t the 7 day a week “gym rats.”  Eventually, 99% of those fade away.

Those in a nice, reasonable routine make it through the years with good fitness levels.  They don’t work out the hardest, or the most.  But they work out consistently.

And that is where fitness is:  consistent, long term participation in exercise, or as I prefer to call it, sports, that you love,   For me, it is tennis.   If I had to jog on a treadmill while some trainer yelled at me, I would leave.

Find something you enjoy-  and just get started.  It can be ten minutes three times a week to get started.  If your body trusts that you won’t punish it with an hour of jumping after you haven’t worked out for 5 years, you will be working with your body, not against it.

And then, progress into a reasonable sustainable schedule that works in your life and that you actually enjoy.  If you say there isn’t anything, you haven’t given yourself a chance.