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ID-100363385Eat less, exercise more. That is the weight loss mantra, right?

The role of exercise in weight loss is often misunderstood. The State of Texas knows this first hand. They spend 37 million dollars on grants to help children in poverty reduce obesity through physical education between 2007-2011. The program was called, Texas Fitness Now, but researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that the program had no effect on children’s weight! However, the fitness rates of the middle school children involved did improve.

And this is the point. Exercise doesn’t always produce weight loss, but does improve fitness. Normally, you have to adjust your diet as well.

So many of my obese patients would expect that exercise alone would impact the number on the scale and then be disappointed when their weight didn’t drop as expected. They often said, “There must be something wrong with my metabolism as I am exercising every day now.”

As I stated in my book, Lose it For Life, exercise helps MAINTAIN weight loss. Think about it. If you really needed to lose weight and cut 1000 calories a day from your diet, you would see an impact on weight. But how much exercise would you have to do to burn 1000 calories? A lot!

Holistically, exercise is important for fitness, for keeping weight off and for elevating mood and feeling better. Those are important benefits that should not be overlooked in terms of motivation. But thinking that adding exercise to your week will peel the pounds off is not usually the case because most of us don’t exercise long and hard enough to make exercise a weight loss strategy.

You have to change your lifestyle on many levels–eat less, move more and make physical activity part of your lifestyle. Also think about how stress, sleep and relational issues trigger your eating as well. To lose weight and keep it off requires body, mind and spirit changes. Go ahead exercise, but don’t think that hitting the treadmill twice a week is peeling off the pounds.

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