Right, before we get going, a disclaimer: exercise is one of the most powerful ways to take control of your health. Not only can it prevent heart disease, strokes, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer, it has been shown to help with depression, insomnia and stress. So exercise is good for you and you should go for a run as soon as you’ve finished this article.
However … when it comes to weight loss, exercise is no silver bullet.
There are two reasons why I say this. The first is physiological. Recent studies suggest that it just isn’t as simple as doing more exercise to lose weight. “Both physical activity and diet are important to weight control, but if you are fairly active and ignore diet, you can still gain weight,” according to Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a co-author of an authoritative study of the topic. Diet plays more of a role in weight loss than exercise – or to borrow Dr Willett’s words: “you can’t out train a bad diet”.
The advice for a long time has been to “eat less, and do more”; many health professionals are now calling this mantra into question. The simple fact of the matter is: if you increase your levels of exercise you will need to eat more. In the short term you may get some limited weight loss results from limiting your calorific intake, but the benefits, like the method, are completely unsustainable.
Why exercising for weight loss just doesn’t work