Sunday, February 24, 2008

Misconceptions about diet and exercise

Most people I talk to about losing weight have two misconceptions about getting and keeping their weight under control:
  1. "Going on a diet" is a good way to lose weight.
  2. If only I could exercise more, I could lose weight.
"Going on a diet" is a bad way to lose weight. Why? Because of the tacit understanding that the diet is something you would never willingly follow for the rest of your life, some day you're already planning up-front to go off the diet. What's going to happen then? You'll eventually be right back where you were before you went on the diet. As for exercise...well, we all know we should be exercising, but that doesn't mean we always have time to exercise. In fact, many of my overweight friends are just waiting for themselves to have time to exercise. Let's face it. Sometimes you'll have time to exercise, and sometimes you won't. There is no need to wait for yourself to have time to exercise. You can change the way you eat and lose weight without exercising. On the other hand, you could start exercising today, eat more, and not lose a pound. Diet and exercise are two different things that are very important to your overall health, but exercising while ignoring your eating habits is self-defeating: When you don't have time to exercise, you'll start gaining back whatever weight you lost. I submit that the only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than you burn. So, if your weight is relatively stable, then all you have to do is be consistent about eating a little bit less at every meal, and with no changes at all to your exercise, you'll stabilize at a lower weight than you have today.

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