Last Updated on October 5, 2007 by Jimson Lee
If you remember Covert Bailey from PBS decades ago, he emphasized exercise over diet by means of fat metabolism, and how it was impossible to lose weight by diet alone.
His best selling book The New Fit or Fat revolutionized America’s thinking about diet, exercise, and weight loss.
This article emphasizes the same points.
Losing weight, and keeping those extra pounds off, is one of the most elusive goals you might ever encounter. If you are serious about losing weight, watching what you eat is only part of the formula. Is it possible to lose weight by eating well? Well, yes. Eating well is a key part of losing weight. Being careful about what you put on your plate, and controlling your portion size can definitely help slim your waist size. But the hard truth is that diet without exercise will only get you so far in the weight loss game.
In order to lose weight, and keep it off, you will have to integrate some kind of exercise routine into your weight loss regime.
What happens when you attempt to lose weight without exercising? Reducing your caloric intake while not exercising can actually harm your chances of achieving weight loss! If you try a low-calorie diet, you can actually be sending signals to your body that triggers a slow-down effect on your metabolism. When you make a significant reduction in your food intake, your body may react by preparing for starvation. That is, your body may prepare itself for not getting it’s accustomed ration of calories. When your body goes into ’starvation mode’, your metabolic rate slows down. Thus, you end up burning up fewer calories.
Another negative side effect of going on a low-calorie, no exercise diet is that it can threaten your muscle tissue stores. If you find yourself losing weight through diet alone, you can be sure that you are probably losing valuable muscle tissue. Exercise helps you lose fat, while retaining and building muscle tissue. Having more muscle means having a higher basal metabolic rate, while losing muscle can cause serious long-term health problems.
Exercise and Metabolism
Simply stated, diet without exercise will only get you so far because if you are not exercising, your metabolism remains stagnant. We hear a lot about metabolism, but do you know exactly what it is? Metabolism refers to the amount of calories burned by your body. This number can vary, depending on several factors. The most basic metabolic calculation is known as your basal metabolic rate (or BMR).
Your BMR is the number of calories your body uses simply to keep your vital functions going. Vital functions include your breathing, brain function, and your heartbeat. In some ways, you can think of your BMR as your ’standing’ metabolic rate. Everyone’s BMR is different. Factors that influence your BMR include age, body composition, activity level, and diet, height, gender, and stress level.
Individuals with a higher BMR will burn calories faster than those with lower BMR. If you are serious about losing weight and keeping it off, one of your goals should be to increase your BMR. This is where exercise comes into the picture. One of the best ways to increase your BMR is to add some forms of regular exercise into your weight loss plan.
Adding Exercise into Your Weight Loss Plan
If you the type of person who would rather live on celery sticks and water than do sit-ups, you are not alone. Adding exercise to your weight loss regime can seem difficult, especially if you are not active. The truth is that exercise doesn’t have to be painful, time consuming, or simply mind-numbingly dull. Here are a few valuable tips for adding exercise to your life in a way that will spare you the pain and boredom of traditional weight loss routines.
1. Start slow. Many people make the mistake of setting high exercise goals after long periods of inactivity. Just because your becoming more active doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a marathon. Start slow by doing active things that are easy to work into your schedule. Go for a short walk with a friend, or take the dog out for a walk. Just focus on working in 15 to 20 minutes of walking into your day.
2. Make it fun for you. Make a list of activities you like to do. Are you a gardener? If so, there’s good news for you. Gardening is an excellent way to get exercise while having fun. You’d be surprised how many calories you can burn simply by mowing the lawn, or pulling weeds. Do you like to play softball? Tennis? Golf? All are good ways to get your body moving, while having fun at the same time. Pick out a sport or activity you’ve always wanted to try, or return to an activity that you once loved.
3. Get an exercise buddy. Any type of activity or exercise is more fun if you do it with a friend. Working out with an exercise buddy can help keep you committed and motivated. Even if you’re not a big fan of jogging, you’ll find that it can be fun with a good friend trotting along side you. Again, focus on finding something fun that you both enjoy.
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