Grabbing Those Sport Shoes?

Once waste expansion hits in, we tend to leave it aside for a moment.

It is in our human nature not to get worried about it and whether something immediate needs to be done. We just had a massive meal. Our toilet times are not as regular as they used to be. Or we simply are more interested in settling down when all household chores or working hours are done and dusted.

And what better way to celebrate these victories of productivity with a snack, a drink, or a meal. We have checked off all must-do boxes so we deserve a jolly good relaxation time.

Keen not to let the incremental growth of what once was your so-called six-pack drape over your trousers. We consciously create awareness that something may need to shrink a bit. We say it to ourselves so many times that we do need to exercise.

Admit it.

Either after a relaxing holiday with family or perhaps when we say farewell to the past year and laud in a new one. We continue to tell ourselves that we must exercise or take up a sport. Be active, and we will fit in those jeans again we bought two years ago.

Dusting off our sports shoes and running outfits, the majority of those with a keen wish to lose weight dash into movement mode. Be it running or taking up classes at a nearby gym. Completely kitted out, mindset on weight loss, the habit of purposeful exercise becomes a habit.

The international science community has done a lot of studies on what the ideal moving time per week is. Be it HIIT, running, weightlifting, playing soccer or just going on a hike through the forest. Most of the research leans towards 150 minutes per week spread across a period of 5 days a week.

Sounds reasonable, right?

We can block off 30 minutes a day for five days a week in favour of scrolling through your social media feed? 

The thought alone that we will lose weight through fun-filled exercising must be too good to be true. 

However, there is a massive caveat in choosing exercise as the sole purpose of weight loss. We can relate well to the following statement when a rain shower of sweat is the result of your weight loss efforts. 

A 1-hour run through the forest with a coach or friends may burn up between 400 and 600 calories (on average, depending on numerous factors). The feeling of being active gives you that serotonin spurt, alerting you have done something great. Especially when you just start, that sense of accomplishment is often followed by a little celebration. And this celebration is more done through food than through anything else. Or when you finished a great football game, a few beers to share the win or drink away the sorrow of losing are just what rounds off a good time.

It is that post-exercise habits that may not be getting you the results. Noticing no change after months of doing this, going for that, and yet, that carry-on airbag retains its original form and shape. 

We are so entrenched in the belief that exercise is the magic formula to weight loss. Those 150 minutes are the magic number to shed that bodily ballast?

Weight loss, in a crude and most simplified way, is based on the number of calories you burn versus the amount you inhale. In the so-called calorie deficit principle, it is in our human nature that we have no idea how much we burn during exercise. See earlier, and this is merely one example. And these days, who is actually persistently moving around for 2.5 hours a week? 

Statistics show that around 80% of the world population in western countries does not reach these numbers. By far.

Exercise itself comes with a lot of benefits – a lot. However, in the context of weight loss, exercise alone only takes up a fraction of the results. It is checking in with your caloric intake that kicks in hard when not keeping it under control. I exclude other aspects here – sleep, stress levels, hormone imbalances – as this plays a crucial factor in the whole picture.

With purposeful exercise taking up only a teeny tiny portion of your week, the amount of time you spend eating and drinking during one week is definitely more than 2.5 hours. A good 8-10 hours a week is spent enjoying a home-cooked meal, snacking in front of the television or having a ball with some wine and beers with friends on a Saturday evening.

Weight loss is around 75% controlled by what you consume. Not by those 2.5 hours of intense exercise you block off during the week. You can go harder, faster, and more frequently to boost your metabolism and allow your body to tap into your fat reserves, it does not solve the issue. Your body simply does not go into higher fat-burning gear because you increase your exercise. There’s more happening when at rest than most people think.

Many other factors are coming into play when thinking you can point the needle of your scale towards more acceptable levels when balancing out movement versus nutrition. From “bio-hacking” to using simple tricks of the nutrition trade, it is definitely not pivoting to what’s happening when going for a run or hitting an early morning yoga class.

There is one final thing that encompasses all the above. Without what I am about to unveil, the chances of success will drop by a factor of 10, even though you have balanced your nutrition and movement well enough. 

If you are not consistent through an extensive period of time, no matter how well you plan, the results will not show. Doing the same routines regularly is the key to success. Setting firm targets for hitting your goals requires habit changes. 

  • Do you know your ‘bad” habits? 
  • Are you holding yourself accountable for your actions? 
  • Do you know your true blind spots?
  • Why do you do what you want to achieve?
  • Do you know what you do to reach peak performance?

Let me know if you want on a discovery call and get to know The Thrive Approach.

A year from now you may wish you had started today. | Karen Lamb

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