Frustrating to say the least. We all work hard to stay healthy. Eating right. Exercising. But for some of us, losing weight is impossible. We’ve been taught to exercise regularly and that we will automatically lose weight. But it’s not as easy as that. Compared to men, women have less lean muscle mass and therefore we burn less calories than men during exercise. “My husband stopped drinking pop and he lost 10 pounds.” All of you women know what I’m talking about and know someone like this in your life. The bottom line is that for women, calorie counting is more important than exercise.
Here’s another way to look at it. Calorie counting will help you lose weight. Exercise will keep your body fit, your heart healthy, and avoid complications like diabetes. People who diet alone without exercise lose more pounds than those who exercise but don’t change their food habits. Weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. This is exactly why Weight Watchers and other programs like it are successful for losing weight. They focus mainly on calorie counting. Exercise is not a major component of the program, but if you exercise, you are allowed more food/calories. The problem becomes that most of us can stay on a certain diet for 6 months, sometimes a year. But then, how long can you stay away from carbohydrates? Can you live feeling hungry all the time?
So, I can stop exercising?
Where does exercise fit into all of this? Exercise will build your muscle mass and allow you to burn more calories when you work out. Once again, because men naturally have more muscle mass, they burn more calories when they work out compared to women. Without exercise, you will lose weight, but only a small portion of that weight loss will come from your fat cells. Some of the weight loss will come from muscle and bone. Building more muscle mass will help this ratio and allow weight loss to come from fat cells. The CDC recommends are at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise. That’s 30 minutes a day for 5 days. You don’t need to run a marathon or join some crazy unsustainable program. You just need something to fit into your daily routine and something that can be sustainable.
Can you do it for the rest of your life?
There’s the key word for a healthy lifestyle – sustainable. Exercise and food habits work together to give you the best body and outcomes. Find a program that you can do everyday when it comes to exercise. Figure out what foods taste good but still give your body the fuel it needs. Fiber, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins should top the list. Sugars and processed foods should be at the bottom.