Diet and exercise, diet and exercise: this is the way to lose weight? Is it really?
Did you ever stop to think that this may not be so? Exercise might not be the great weight-loss enhancer that it's touted to be.
Let's look at exercise as part of our "energy" system. A pattern of energy imbalance with more energy being taken in than expended is what leads to us being overweight. Eating is energy taken in and exercise is energy put out. The three components of energy expenditure are resting energy expenditure, thermal effect of meals, and energy expenditure from physical activity. It's this last one, energy expenditure from physical activity - exercise - that we are focusing on.
It's been calculated that in order to lose weight at a rate of 1 lb a week, you would need to create a daily energy deficit of 500 calories. If you were to do this through exercise alone, a 176 lb person would have to walk almost 2 hours a day every day. A number of years ago, British researchers from the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Center and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculated that the 1,411 calories from a Big Mac lunch would take a walk of 9.5 miles to burn off.
As you can see, the exercise part of the prescription, 'diet and exercise', is not really the effective part when it comes to burning off those calories you've put on. It's the diet part that counts. And if it's the diet part that counts, it's the dieting part that really counts.