Exercise is ineffective for weight loss

junkfoodTrying to shift a few pounds?

Exercise is important for many reasons, but losing weight is not one of them. As 80% of our body composition is determined by what we eat, it is our diet that is important.

Diet does not mean ‘dieting’....which has been shown again and again not to work in the long term. No sustainable weight loss can be achieved by a diet which leaves you feeling hungry and craving food!

Diet in this context refers specifically to the type and amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins which make up the various foods we eat. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are also important.

What we eat, and when we eat it is also more important than the highly over simplified calories in versus calories out model. This usually forms the basis of low fat, calorie restricted diets such as that promoted by Weight Watchers. Most of those who follow calorie restricted diets regain the weight they have lost after a year or less.

There is compelling evidence to suggest that to lose weight and keep it off, a shift towards eating less carbohydrate, more healthy fats, enough quality sources of protein whilst avoiding sugar is necessary.

In practical terms, if you are trying to shift those pounds, an effective strategy should start with cutting out sugar and significantly reducing the amount of bread, potatoes, beer, cakes, biscuits and other carbohydrate rich foods. Don’t be afraid to eat some good fat, it helps prevent you getting hungry, is rich in nutrients and contrary to conventional wisdom does not increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Ideally eat grass fed, pasture raised, free range meats, free range eggs and non farmed fish to ensure enough quality protein.

In summary, managing your weight effectively makes exercise easier and more enjoyable, but exercise itself won’t help you manage your weight. For more on this interesting topic, take a listen to ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ by Dr. Aseem Malhotra over at BJSM podcasts.

For my clients, feel free to discuss this topic with me at your next physiotherapy appointment.

By Simon.


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