Thursday, April 22, 2010

Exercise is useless for weight loss

I've heard "abs are made in the kitchen" when talking about belly fat.  In other words- you want flat abs?-then you better put down the cookie dough and not talk yourself into that organic, whole wheat, cane sugar "because it's healthy" bull shit- cause you're fooling no one.  Overeating is overeating.  Period.  Speaking of periods- they are not an excuse to eat chocolate by the fist full.  Okay?  Okay.  I'm talking mostly to myself as I, of course, decided to start this lean, crazy healthy eating THE WEEK before said period.  All I'm dreaming about is drowning in a mocha pool where the only life rafts are hot Krispy Kreme chocolate glazed donuts.

I think I just had a foodgasm.

Anyway, back in 2006 when I lost 65 lbs - I did so with zip, zilch, nada exercise.  Okay- maybe I walked a little.  Nothing consistent.   I really never did anything except monitor my points religiously and the weight came off at the rate of 2-3 lbs per week.  Easily.  Goes to show if you follow a plan- it will work.  But when it came to maintenance- I needed exercise to keep it off.  The New York Time's wrote an article  that confirmed this for me.  Obviously I'm a huge proponent of exercise.  The mental health advantages alone are worth it to me.  Not to mention all the wonderful things it does for your overall health.  However, if your only purpose for exercising is weight loss- then forget it unless you're closely monitoring you intake.   In order to lose weight- you need to have a calorie deficit.  You gotta burn more calories than you're taking in.  The reason I think exercise is hard on those of us trying to lose weight is because it makes us more hungry and we tend to adapt  the "I deserve this" approach.

For example:  say you run 6 miles.  Pretty big deal, huh?  You probably burned about 600 ish calories.  Good job!  Well, later you go to a friend birthday dinner.  You made good choices, avoided the the crazy processed gooeyness and maybe have a drink.  Then the red velvet cake comes.  Your eyes lock on the creamy sweetness and you start negotiating in your head:

"No, I don't need the cake."

"But, it's special occasion"

"But I didn't plan for it and it's really not that big of a deal"

"But, it's homemade and looks amazing."

"Well, I did run 6 miles today..."

A slice of the red velvet cake is roughly 580 calories.  And that's if you're taking a thin slice.  So you just traded 6 miles for a thin slice of cake.  Now, if it's a special occasion and you're allowing yourself a treat- I say go for it!  I used to get up early on Thanksgiving to run off what I was about to eat later that day.  I get it.  But if you're trying to lose weight (create a deficit)- you have to be WAY more mindful of your intake than your calorie output (exercise).  Maintenance is sort of a different ball game.  The body wants homeostasis.  It's easier to eat more loosely with exercise and maintain. 

Losing weight is just plain hard and takes some dedication.  I've had some years off from that dedication with maintenance (which was mainly controlled with exercise) and pregnancy (mainly controlled by Chocolate Peppermint Milkshakes).   So, I'm learning all over again how to have self control and get to where my goal is (which I always make sure is healthy and sustainable).  I know from experience that once I reach my goal weight- I don't have to be as strict.  My love of fitness will help me keep that in check.

Right now I'm watching calories.  On training days (Mon-Fri) I eat about 1500-1700 calories.  On non training days I eat about 1300.  And I'll play with those numbers until they work.  Right now nothing is working because I'm PMSing and blown up like a balloon.  Usually I gain about 3 lbs with my period and lose it almost immediately when I start my period.  SO......yeah.  If there's anything else you'd like to know about my bodily functions- I'd be happy to fill you in.  Just shoot me an email.  You should see what happens when I eat chinese food!

Don't even get me STARTED....  (in my best Molly Shannon voice)


Amanda said...

Thank you for posting this. I've been exercising like a maniac...and eating like I'm on maintenance! And then wondering why I'm not losing. So yeah...this hits home!

I'm behind on my reading and commenting but I APPLAUD you for wanting to do that competition. I've followed you long enough (since after your DD was born) to know you have to have a goal to focus on. You will ROCK that competition!! I hope you do post your before and during bikini pics--you inspire me so much!! I too am learning to love to exercise. For me, it's my "ME" time. I'm actually thinking about getting on the elliptical tonight since I didn't get to run this morning.

You ROCK!!!

Jen Gordon said...

Thanks Amanda! You do know me- I definitely need dead lines and goals to get serious. I suspect most people do. I'm a "jump now, think later" kinda girl. It works for me most of the time.

I'm learning that being lean is 90% diet. I just got lazy. When I have both diet and exercise working for me, I'm amazed at the results. It's that whole consistancy thing....

Thx for posting!

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