Why You’re Exercising But Not Losing Weight

Does this sound familiar? You rely on regular exercise to torch the calories in that second margarita, the snack chips you nibble while watching TV, or the pint of ice cream you pick at while standing at the kitchen counter, but you haven’t shed a pound.  Here are some reasons why you’re exercising but not losing weight.

woman girl fat fitness

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All movement adds up to something good!

Problem: You give exercise too much credit.  

Weight control is a balancing act, and exercise probably doesn’t burn as many calories as you think.

When you feel entitled to splurge because you’ve worked out, think about this: it can take less than a minute to eat back the calories burned on a 30-minute run or in a 45-minute exercise class.

According to the American Cancer Society’s Exercise Counts Calculator, a 150-pound person burns about 150 calories walking briskly for 30 minutes. That’s about the same number of calories found in:

• 6 ounces of white wine

• 5 chocolate creme sandwich cookies

• about 1/2 cup of soft serve vanilla frozen yogurt

I’m not a fan of the calories in vs. calories out approach to weight control for several reasons. It can make exercise seem like punishment for eating.

However, you could try cutting back on treats like sweets, chips, and alcohol for better balance. Research suggests that eating less probably has a greater effect than exercise alone on body weight.

Exercise slows the effects of aging

Problem: You work out too hard.

When I was much younger, I ran a lot more than I do now, and I used exercise to justify my overeating. As a result, I was puzzled about why I didn’t weigh less (duh!).

Research suggests what I’ve learned through experience: intense exercise can overstimulate your appetite, and lead you to believe that you can reward yourself with extra food. In addition, you may move around less during after an intense workout, which decreases your daily overall calorie burn.

healthy person woman sport

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The solution is to take it down a notch. Find activities that raise your heart rate but not your appetite, such as brisk walking, kickboxing, and shorter runs.

Include at least two weekly sessions of resistance training, such as weight lifting, to preserve and build muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Generally speaking, moderate resistance training won’t make you ravenous.

Why walking is good exercise

Why exercise is important 

Now you know why you’re exercising but not losing weight. However, don’t work out just for weight control.

Of all the lifestyle habits to develop and maintain, regular exercise is one of the best, if only because it reduces the risk for 13 types of cancer.

The real beauty of exercise is that everyone can benefit from it, no matter how much they weigh.

It’s never too late to benefit from adding exercise to your routine, and it may help you live longer, and better.

New study shows how exercise alters gut health for the better

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