Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don't knock yourself out

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the old weight loss adage – eat less and exercise more and you will lose weight.

It sounds like it makes sense. Take in less calories, burn off more, you will start to shrink. But what if, like so many other things we’re led to believe, that’s not true?

This article at MSNBC.com suggests exercise may only work for some people as a means to lose weight and become more fit.

The fact that all those jumping jacks haven't done much to help your physique may not be your fault. Some people, so says the article, just don’t respond to exercise the way others do.

Boy, that explains a lot. For instance, when I was actively involved in a walking regime a few years ago I didn’t lose a pound. I felt a tad more energetic, I will say that, and I think the long walks three to four times a week helped my mental health more than anything, but they didn’t change my shape at all. Maybe I’m not a ‘responder’ when it comes to exercise.

Of course I know I don’t respond well to eating any less, so I may be doomed. Are millions of people knocking themselves out at the gym for nothing? Not that exercise is a bad thing – being able to do more physical activity can only help your overall health, in my opinion, but this certainly helps explain why so many diet/exercise programs fail. If we’re not genetically programmed to get fitter [more fit?] through exercise, then how do we do it? Can we do it at all?

Maybe it’s just quality not quantity that’s important. Exercise, but don’t expect a miracle from your workout, it may not be in your genes.


  1. So yesterday I ran for three miles straight. Considering I ran for my first mile straight last month, this was quite the accomplishment for me. I did this because despite this frigid weather I've been running three times per week, every week.

    And I haven't lost a pound. ((sigh))

    I really think that it's the combo of diet and exercise that works. Unfortunately I suck at the diet thing, so I'm just going to keep on exercising and hopefully be "fat but fit"

  2. If someone training for a marathon isn't losing weight, what hope have I got that a walk around the block will help? I think the problem is doctors don't believe in 'fat but fit' - it's outside their realm of understanding if you're eating right and exercising and still not stick thin.