If you've been trying to lose weight, you undoubtedly have heard that you need to exercise if you want to take any weight off.
While this may be true in some cases, the relationship between diet and exercise is more complicated than many people realize. You shouldn't exercise merely to lose weight, nor should you choose an exercise at random. Instead, exercise should be part of an overall health and fitness program.
There's an old joke about an overweight person who orders diet soda with a plate full of hamburgers, candy and other fattening foods, yet says he is dieting because of the soda. Some people treat exercise like the person in the joke treats dieting. They eat unhealthy foods, then exercise to take the calories off. Unfortunately, weight loss doesn't work this way. If you eat junk food, you're going to gain weight regardless of how much you exercise. In addition, if you binge on junk food then try to exercise it off on a regular basis, this can be a sign of an eating disorder.
Instead, exercise should be part of your overall weight loss program. Instead of overeating and trying to correct your mistakes through exercise, you should make both diet and exercise a part of your regular routine. Eat healthy, balanced meals and then use exercise to burn off some calories and get your body into better shape.
Similarly, you shouldn't stop exercising as soon as you start losing weight. If you do, you're cheating yourself. First of all, you won't burn as many calories during the day if you're not exercising. In addition, the weight you do lose won't look as good if you don't exercise. Exercising helps tone your muscles; if you don't engage in muscle-toning activities, your body shape won't change as you lose weight and you will start looking too bony or otherwise unhealthy instead of looking better and healthier without that excess weight.
Remember that the goal of your weight loss and fitness program is to get your body into better shape so that you can live a longer, healthier life. Like any worthwhile goal, getting fit is going to take time. Some people think that all they need to do is exercise a little bit and they'll lose some weight. However, this doesn't work. There's no shortcuts to losing weight or getting fit. You have to exercise daily and eat properly, and it may take a while for you to see results.
Don't try to use your exercise routine to undo bad eating habits. This method is sure to fail and may leave you with more serious problems. If you utilize self-control and patience instead, exercise can become an enjoyable and healthy activity that you incorporate into your daily routine.
Marc Ouellette is a Certified In-Home Personal Trainer, Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and Owner of Personal Training Alliance.
I help busy men and women with weight loss, fat loss, muscle toning, speeding up your metabolism and getting you to become more energetic and confident.
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To your health, Marc