As scientists gain a greater understanding about the body, it’s becoming clear the ‘calories in, calories out’ concept for weigh loss is merely an attempt to simplify something that is much more complex in our body. What happens to the calories we eat is dependent on many factors, not just the total number we consume in a day. Factors such as stress, sleep deprivation, and the type of foods eaten all change what happens to those calories in our body. Also, the amount of calories we burn is unpredictable and does not continue to increase as we are more and more active, showing that more exercise will not necessarily lead to more weight loss. As much as we wish it were true, solving the weight loss problem is not just simple math.
Backed by science, I extend to you an invitation to be free from trying to exercise to lose weight. Enjoy this freedom in three ways:
- Freedom from the notion your body needs fixing. The truth is every system in your body is charged with the mission for keeping you alive and well. Exercise, when well designed, helps these systems function at their best, instantly! No “fixing” or goal-reaching is required.
- Freedom from exercises that don’t make sense to your body, for example, sit-ups and crunches. There is no functional reason to do them. Absolutely none! They do nothing to help the body in daily life, nor do they slim your middle (dare I say planks too – but that is a story for another blog!) No wonder no one likes doing them!
- Freedom from letting the scale and the mirror (aka our culture) hijack your motivation. These external motivators can easily trigger automatic self-critical thoughts. Studies show that external motivators and criticism are great ways to get a surge of motivation. Yet, no research has ever proven that criticism leads to lasting motivation. You no longer need to let the scale tell you exercise is “working” or waste any more time on the most common ways to “trick yourself” into wanting to exercise.
Over the years, countless people have told me why they want to lose weight. It all boils down to one reason: “I want to feel better.” Physically as well as mentally, they want to feel better. We all do! That is our motive to do anything in life: to feel better in some way. Now that you can stop trying to burn more and more calories, you are free from trying to use all kinds of gimmicky, exhausting exercise programs to get “results.” You don’t have to talk yourself into doing exercises that makes you feel worse so someday you can feel better. You are now free to work with your body and brain to design exercise in the way that leaves you feeling better every day!