Let me just say it again, You can’t exercise your way to being thin.12 That lesson is one that’s taken me a long time to learn and something that was a huge shock to me when I really sat down and ran the numbers. All those programs that say you can burn up to thousands of calories? Not unless you’re an Olympic level athlete who doesn’t need that show to stay fit.
The reason is simple, most people don’t burn that many calories through exercise. Does that mean you shouldn’t exercise? Nope. Exercise is great for your heart, building muscle, and your mental health.
But doesn’t muscle burn more calories than fat?
Well yes, but if you’re overweight you’re more fat than muscle most likely, unless you’re a body builder.3 The long and short is that having a strong exercise regime (or at least consistent) is a part of a healthy lifestyle and will make you look toned and generally have a better life what it won’t do is help you shed those extra love handles.
Alright, tough guy, how do you lose weight then?
Numbers. Plain and simple all it takes to lose weight is to eat less than your BMR. Your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is how many calories your body consumes just to be alive. It’s where the whole 2000 calories a day wisdom comes from but that’s really just a guess based on averages. It entirely depends on your age, gender, how active you are, how much you already weigh, etc. Here’s a handy calculator. So you just eat less than that number a week, but that number goes down the more you lose. It’s kind of like a video game that gets progressively harder and grindier the closer to the final boss. You can’t get to where you’re going with what got you here. Apps like LoseIt and MyFitnessPal are really great at keeping you honest and helping you see your progress. I’ve used them and they can really help you stay honest with the calories you’re consuming, though I tend to be a bit more aggressive than the standard goals they have in place.
So it’s easier at the beginning, that means that when you’re really overweight you could be losing 5lbs or more and then suddenly you’ll just hit a wall. You struggle to get a single ounce of weight off. This is absolutely normal. Your body is a machine meant to store enough energy to survive famine and procreate. Intentionally losing weight is not something it is designed to do. One way some people like to “cheat” is called intermittent fasting. This is basically a fancy way of saying skipping breakfast. Think about it, you’ve got your most willpower in the morning and you end every day with a meal as a reward.References