Are you disappointed by the report from your bathroom scales? You are not alone. Many people start an exercise regimen and wonder why the scales keep reporting the same number, or maybe even one that's higher. What could be wrong?
Gretchen Reynolds edits the New York Times Phys Ed Column. She recently sat down with the folks at Greatist.Com to talk about her new book, "The First 20 Minutes." She has the experience as a former competitive runner and cyclist to understand diet and exercise, along with the research skills as an editor to evaluate the latest research on health and fitness. In the interview, Reynolds says
- Exercise does not have to mean running,
- Stretching before exercise may not be good,
- Cool down after exercise not really necessary,
- Exercise alone does not lead to weight loss.
It is this last point that needs emphasis. In my brief post a few days ago, I shared an image that first appeared on SparkPeople.Com to accentuate my basic rules for losing weight and keeping it off. Eat Right. Exercise. You have to do both. Losing or gaining weight is simple math. If you add exercise without controlling how much you eat the results will not be what you are looking for. Here is what Reynolds says:
People start exercising and do not immediately — or even for a longer term — lose the weight they expect, so they quit exercising. So, it is important to somehow get the message out that if you do not control your eating habits, if you do not cut calories, exercise almost never leads to weight loss by itself. And that's especially true for women. It's really unfair. But exercising does seem to stimulate the appetite more in women than it does in men. It's not uncommon at all for women who join marathon-training groups to gain weight. And that can be really discouraging. What is important to understand is if you are taking in fewer calories than you are burning you will lose weight. And once you've reached the weight you want to maintain, exercise has been shown to be the best way to maintain a reasonable weight. It does help your body essentially reset its sense of how much you should weigh and it stops producing as many appetite hormones.