A report by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that although Americans say they are more active, it has not made much of a dent in the obesity epidemic that affects more than one-third of U.S. adults.
Instead, we as a nation did not lose any weight, we got fatter - why is that?
Most fitness experts agree that rewarding yourself with rich food after exercise is the reason why most people do not lose weight despite of all the running, walking and pumping iron they do in the gym.
Exercise has many health benefits, but it takes too much walking and running to burn off the calories of a single donut. Exercise can help with weight loss, but without broader lifestyle and nutritional changes, that role is limited.
Your diligent exercising will not help you lose weight if you insist on rewarding yourself with rich, calorie-dense foods after exercise.
Both proper nutrition (avoiding junk and calorie-dense foods) and moderate exercise are important to maintaining healthy weight. But doing one without the other is not enough. Rewarding yourself with food after exercise backtracks and sabotages your weight loss efforts more than if you did not exercise at all and did not reward yourself afterwards.
It is akin to a hamster on a wheel, running and running without getting anywhere.
U.S. health officials recommend that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, or around 20 minutes a day. But, according to experts, these guidelines are for maintaining fitness, not for weight loss. To lose weight, studies suggest 250 to 300 minutes of exercise per week.
You must be physically active whether or not you are trying to lose weight. Exercise is essential for maintaining health. The goal of any exercise is to maintain vitality and capability, to feel better in your body. Moderately intense 10 minute exercise two to three times a day reduces our risk of all causes of mortality, heart disease, deaths due to hypertension and strokes.
It is impossible to lose weight with exercise alone. One pound of fat has 3,500 calories. If you run, you burn an average 100 calories per mile. You'd have to run 35 miles to lose one pound of fat. To lose that one pound of fat in a week just from exercise, you'd have to run 5 miles every day. The task that's nearly impossible for people who are not already trained runners in great shape.