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6 Reasons Why Exercise Is Not ‘The’ Answer To Fat Loss

Deb Gutierrez September 2020

Healthy Aging Kuel Category Expert: Deb Gutierrez

Yes, exercise has been my Go-To and will continue to be an essential tool for maintaining a healthy weight and personal physique goals. We absolutely need to move our body, but moving more is not the number one solution to losing weight. “You Can’t Out Exercise A Bad Diet.” 

I cringe when I see an article or a post that says you must spend so many minutes of cardio to burn off a slice of pizza. Quite frankly, marketing BS is used to feed into our psyche of guilt, shame, and remorse. It is a huge disservice. It is not that simple; our body is not a calculator, the body is far more complex, and it is different for everyone.

Yes, as always, calories matter, but there is far more to picture. We can’t justify eating 2000 calories of pizza and then grinding out 3 – 4 hours of cardio and expect to be the same. Ridiculous!

Here are my 6 reasons why more exercise doesn’t help fat loss:

1) Diet Impacts Metabolism Far More Than Exercise:

we watched a bulimic Jane Fonda preach on high to eat less and exercise more”

Changes in your diet are far more powerful for fat loss than exercise. We are of the age when we watched a bulimic Jane Fonda preach on high to eat less and exercise more. We are of the generation where we believed we could exercise our way out of any binge-worthy event. While exercise has obvious benefits for weight maintenance, overall health, and well being, nutrition is the most influential lever for weight loss. For exercise, strength training has the most significant impact and benefit. It will help preserve and add muscle mass, which is the most outstanding regulator of our metabolism. Spending time to prepare food for the week is time and attention well spent. You will set yourself up to to avoid overeating the foods that do not serve your goals.

2) Penance Over Yesterday’s Food Choices Is Destructive To Your Emotional Well-being:

Guilt and remorse are not the best motivational tools to fuel your desire to workout. The idea that you have to spend ‘x’ number of hours working out because you made ‘bad’ choices continues the cycle of an unhealthy mindset and the on-again, off-again diet rollercoaster. None of which helps you in terms of sustainable fat loss and healthy living. When you learn to tune into your hunger vs. cravings and understand your metabolism, it becomes easy to reach your and maintain your goals. Has guilt ever proven to be a sustainable motivator? I think it only leads to more frustration and confusion. 

3) Type Of Exercise Matters As It Impacts Hormones: 

Weight training is the missing piece I see for women who are resistant to fat loss.”

Strength Training impacts metabolism with a substantial net positive gain than cardio alone. This study shows that older adults doing strength training had 46% lower odds of allcause mortality than those who did not.

Remember, the body is not a calculator. There are many reasons why more exercise doesn’t help fat loss. Weight training is the missing piece I see for women who are resistant to fat loss. Incorporating weight training will improve metabolism by increasing muscle density and burning fat. Less muscle is what ages us the fastest, slows you down, increases fat mass, and shortens lifespan.

4)  Increasing Cardio exercise Increases Hunger And Cravings:

What is ghrelin? It is known as the ‘hunger hormone’. It will tell us we are hungry and increase our food intake, promoting fat storage. Yikes! Long-duration cardio will increase your hunger hormone. Have you ever noticed when you bump up your cardio, you want to eat more? I have, and the body indeed wants to re-feed what it used, therefore setting off cravings. It is best to choose more short-duration and a higher intensity workout if possible, a few days a week.

5) Too Much Exercise Can Be Unsustainable And Can Cause Damage To Our Metabolism:

Years ago, when I was running and using it as a fat loss tool, I found I had to do more to stay the same. It felt virtually impossible to achieve and maintain any fat loss. If you use exercise as your primary fat loss tool, you will find you have to do more to maintain your weight. Not fun and not sustainable. The metabolism will become sluggish and less responsive, the more your weight fluctuates. 

6) Quality Of Our Food Is Directly Correlated To The Quality Of Our Physique:

When you eat poor quality processed foods, you will set off a cascade of inflammation.”

We can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Eat sugary, fatty, salty foods, feel guilty, and then attempt to work it off does not equal canceling out the low quality, toxic nutrients you consumed. When you eat poor quality processed foods, you will set off a cascade of inflammation. You can see inflammation in your body – water retention, puffiness, thickness, and bloating. If you find you are resistant to weight loss, chances are it is a sign of inflammation, not the number of calories you consume and burn.

Join me next month when we get to the heart of inflammation

Remember, you can’t eat and drink 2000 calories of pizza and wine, and then try and do two hours of cardio hoping to ‘burn it off.’ The body isn’t a math problem. There are many reasons why exercise doesn’t help fat loss, as we have noted.

I am a Certified Fitness, Nutrition, and Health practitioner and not a licensed healthcare professional, hence, the information provided on this site is not a replacement or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or prescriptive treatment.

About the Author:

Deb Gutierrez is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Personal Trainer. Her transformational coaching method helps women take the “grind” and stress out of everyday life, ditch the chronic fatigue and anxiety, to be productive, feel incredible, and fulfilled. For her, Health and Fitness are at the cornerstone of what brings meaning to life. It is the process of pushing, pulling, moving, failing, and prevailing that equals feeling fully alive. She has been married for 30 years to her husband Jim, and they have a daughter and Identical twin sons. She loves speaking, creating, and working with other women to create and celebrate the life you deserve and desire.