A few years ago I read the article “Weighing the Evidence on Exercise ” in the New York Times Magazine. At the time I must have thought it was pretty important piece of literature to keep because I tucked it away in file folder labeled “important stuff.” A few months ago I was shredding papers and found the article. It turns out my instinct to save the article was right, it has proved to be an important piece of literature.
When I committed to making a Fresh Start in 2015 I was not 100% focused on my diet. I started back running (the couch to 5K), I was participating in group exercise classes on non running days all while eating what I thought to be three well balanced meals and two snacks each day. After several weeks of neligable weight loss I was feeling AWESOME but the pounds were not coming off; I was becoming frustrated. Sadly, it led to saying F-IT a few times and face planting in burrito as big as my head. And then while shredding some papers I found the New York Times magazine article. I reread the article it really resonated with me.
After reading the article I decided to focus on my diet; what I ate and how much. I started logging my food intake in My Fitness Pal which immediately shed light on my calorie consumption. I made some immediate changes to my diet including eating fewer calories and upping my intake of vegetables. While I’m not withering away by any means, my weight loss has picked up.
So here is what the article reinforced for me. “Exercise burns calories, no one doubts that, and so it should, in theory, produce weight loss, a fact that has prompted countless people to undertake exercise programs to shed pounds. Without significantly changing their diets, few succeed.”
And it also reinforced why I need to continue to exercise. “if you can somehow pry off the pounds, exercise may be the most important element in keeping the weight off. “When you look at the results in the National Weight Control Registry,” Braun says, “you see over and over that exercise is one constant among people who’ve maintained their weight loss.”
I highly recommend reading the article in its entirety. For me it reinforced a lot of what I already knew but was neglecting to admit. Weight loss is a numbers game of simple subtraction, you need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. I know that exercise is important, but at the end of the day, what I put in my mouth determines if I lose weight.
I now exercise for my overall heath not to lose weight.