When it comes to losing weight, we’ve been told that if we take a gym membership, follow strict exercise routines, we will soon become our slimmest best.

But science says something else.

It turns out, just by itself, exercise is pretty useless.

Let’s understand why, and what you really need to do to lose weight.

(Read more: How to lose weight fast)

Exercise is important

Exercise needs a re-branding. 

Don’t get us wrong - after quitting smoking, regular exercise is probably the best thing you can do for your health.

Most Indians do not exercise enough. Especially these days, when a big part of our daily routine is sitting with our smartphone in one hand and... junk food in the other.

So we don’t mean for you to stop or even reduce exercising.

But relying on it as a sure shot weight loss tool is fooling yourself.

Exercise is not a sure-shot way to lose weight

The reason has to do with how our bodies use up energy.

There are three main ways our body uses energy - 

  1. Digestion, which is breaking up food that you eat, which takes up about 10% of all the calories burnt
  2. Metabolism - that is converting the broken down food into energy - takes up about 65%
  3. And physical activity, which includes exercise, takes up 15 to 25% of all the calories burnt

So, more than three-fourths of the calories you burn aren't even in your control.

But 100% of the calories you take in are in your control!

Importance of calories in weight loss

One study found that if a 90-kilogram man ran for an hour 4 days per week for a month, he would lose around 2 kilos only!

That is if all his other behaviour stays the same.

But our behaviour doesn’t stay the same when we start exercising more!

For one, we eat more - sometimes because the body needs it, and sometimes because we allow ourselves to do so.

A second thing that can happen is that we reduce our other physical activity because we have started exercising - like taking the lift instead of the stairs.

A third theory being tested is that as we lose weight, our resting metabolism slows down and we burn fewer calories.

(Read more: Foods that increase metabolism)

So how to lose weight?

It’s simple - do not overeat!

We can undo the calories burnt in exercise by poor eating choices pretty quickly.

Sample this: just 2 samosas contain the same amount of calories that you would burn in an hour of running!

Again, exercise is very important. All of us should exercise regularly - everyday if possible.

But as far as weight loss is concerned, it is a supplementary tool to the correct diet.

And this is the exact opposite advice we normally get from the average trainer in your neighbourhood gym - that “diet is a supplement to exercising”.

The truth is that it is the other way round!

Which is to say, your calorie intake should be lower than your calories burnt.

And for most people, the much bigger problem is the excess calorie intake.

So watch what you eat!

(Read more: Diet for weight loss)

Doctors for Why focusing just exercising is not the best way to lose weight
Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Nutritionist
8 Years of Experience

Surbhi Singh

Surbhi Singh

Nutritionist
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Nutritionist
20 Years of Experience

Dr. priyamwada

Dr. priyamwada

Nutritionist
7 Years of Experience

और पढ़ें ...
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