Q. Today at the gym I talked with a lot of women who had a common factor. All said when they exercise weight train or cardio, they never lose weight. They said they can eat the same diet and lose weight but when they add exercise the weight loss stops. Many said they started exercise when they were at the last 10lbs to lose only. Does this make sense. I am confused because this has happened to me. Is this possible or are the women just misunderstanding something?
A. Great question Mary! I find three reasons that this happens….
First, when you initially begin exercising, your body does hold a little extra water. That usually only takes a week or 2 to get past but often that is enough time for women to feel discouraged and to stop exercising.
Second – and usually the real reason – when women are more active and exercise, they feel as if they can or ‘deserve’ to eat more food. This maybe without realizing it, but how often have you thought, I had a great workout today, I can eat a little more. If these women honestly logged their food, they would see an increase in their calories overall which indeed could be enough to negate weight loss. We often grossly over estimate how many calories we burn through exercise and underestimate how many calories are in the foods we are eating.
Finally, I often find women expect to lose weight quickly when really it is a process and is going to take time. Very few people lose 5 lbs in a week – usually it is .5 – 2 lbs per week. And that is if you are really 100% on your nutrition plan and have a good amount of bodyfat to lose. Patience and consistent effort over time is the key. If you think about how long it takes to put weight on, you gain a better appreciation for how long it will take to get it off.
Research study after study shows that when you eat a healthy diet in the right calorie range AND you exercise, you lose more weight and bodyfat than if you were to do either alone. Exercise not only burns calories are you do it, it lights your metabolic fire and changes your body.
Hope that helps!