Exercise and Diet
A recent report in The Sunday Times reminds us that exercise alone does not automatically lead to weight loss. In fact, if you are not careful, exercise can lead to weight gain. Confused? Read on.
It all comes down to the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned. Whether you are exercising or not, you will gain weight if you are consuming more calories than you are using up.
Whilst exercise can improve the metabolic process, it can also increase the appetite which can result in you consuming more food than you would if you weren't exercising. To make matters worse if the first thing you reach for after exercise is a chocolate bar or a cool beer then you will very quickly be replacing the calories that you have only recently burned. It is vital that you combine exercise with diet, as well as watching what you eat, if you are serious about losing weight or burning fat.
Why exercise is important
From the viewpoint of diet and weight loss, metabolism is the process whereby the body converts food into energy (or uses it for bodily repairs) or stores it as fat for future use. In simple terms, if we have a faster metabolism we burn calories more efficiently and store less fat. If we have a slower metabolism we burn calories less efficiently and therefore store more calories as fat. So exercise is an important contributory factor in helping you to lose weight but it won't do the job on its own.
Many people find exercise difficult or impossible because they are overweight or obese. Initially they should try to lose some weight through diet and then incorporate an exercise programme which, combined with diet, will provide them with a more rewarding lifestyle. And remember, studies support the view that people who do not take regular exercise, over time, cannot stop themselves getting fatter. Doctors have also discovered that exercise reduces stress, depression, heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and dementia. So there are many reasons why you should try to stay active for as long as possible.
Watching the Calories
The recommended daily intake for a woman is 2000 calories and for a man 2500 calories
It's important to know how many calories you are consuming, even if you exercise regularly, as it's surprising how the calories add up, particularly nowadays when there are so many, so called, healthy energy snacks available. A Nutra-grain bar for example contains 130 calories, which would take about 20 minutes to burn, rowing steadily on an indoor rowing machine. A blueberry muffin containing 420 calories would require 45 minutes of running on a treadmill at 7 mph. The food that we constantly consume, either as a treat or to provide us with some much needed energy, is often loaded with calories. Consider the following list:
Cappuccino 108 cals
Banana 105 cals
KitKat 106 cals 10 grapes 35 cals
Low-fat fruit yoghurt 55 cals
Strawberry smoothie 138 cals
Mince pie 255 cals
Low-fat Hot Chocolate 185 cals
Our advice is to have plenty of fresh fruit available around the house and to cut down on the number of biscuit or pastry snacks. A medium sized apple contains around 90 calories or 10 seedless grapes around 35 calories, and these will often satisfy the craving for food after exercise. Another tip is to exercise before a main meal so that the meal replaces the energy lost rather than a snack.