One fact about exercise that many tend to ignore is that when we work out, the calories burned only account for a tiny part of our total energy expenditure. “In reality,” says Alexxai Kravitz, a neuroscientist and obesity researcher at the National Institutes of Health, “it’s only around 10 to 30 percent [of total energy expenditure] depending on the person (and excluding professional athletes that workout as a job).”1
Exercise has another effect that actually deters us from losing weight. Many of us consume more calories after exercising vigorously than without a workout. We also might take on “compensatory behaviors” after exercising, behaviors that actually slow down the metabolism. Examples are lying down to rest, being too tired to cook, eating whatever food is at hand, whether it’s processed or not. These compensatory behaviors cancel out the calories burned during the workout.
Simply increasing physical activity won’t help us lose significant amounts of weight. While exercise is hugely important for Active Wellness, how much and what we eat helps determine our waistlines much more. It therefore would make sense for public health policies to prioritize fighting overconsumption of low-quality processed foods while educating the masses and improving the food environment.
The National Weight Control Registry has conducted a study with 10,000 enrolled members. The study analyzed the traits, habits and behaviors of adults who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a one-year minimum. The researchers behind the study found that people who have had success losing weight have a few things in common: They weigh themselves at least once a week; they restrict calorie intake; they omit high-fat foods and watch portion sizes; and they exercise regularly.2
Decreasing calorie intake is necessary to lose weight, even with an increase in exercise. Research suggests that a person may be able to lose weight with extremely high levels of exercise, but even then, losing more than 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) is unlikely.3
When it comes to decreasing calories, omitting sugar and high-fat foods is basic. However, did you know eliminating or decreasing alcohol intake may help with weight loss goals? Alcohol tends to be high-calorie in general. For example, a 12-ounce beer has about 153 calories and a glass of red wine has about 125 calories. Evidence suggests that in most cases it is not necessary to avoid alcohol completely to lose weight; however, it is helpful to limit drinking to two or three per week, and to stick with low-calorie selections, such as vodka or whiskey.4
In a nutshell, the most important thing a person can do to lose weight and maintain the loss is to limit calories in a sustainable way and exercise moderately. That means focusing on eating healthful yet delicious foods as in an Active Wellness lifestyle, not only as a temporary way to lose weight. To help ensure adequate intake of fruit and veggies, try supplementing with Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix. By substituting some meals with Kenzen® Vital Balance Meal Replacement Mix, you may help achieve weight management goals, as it is formulated specifically to help burn fat, boost metabolism and build muscle!