The Biggest Misconception About Exercise and Weight Loss in Midlife

Last week I shared that if you currently write a food journal, that is, writing down all the food you eat at the end of the day, you may be missing this key element that is really helping my clients make healthy changes.

This simple tip I shared with you might be something that could help you get from where you are now to where you want to be when it comes to your nutrition. It’s sure helping some of my clients who are doing it.

Today I’m taking a break from nutrition and talking about something else that contributes to your overall health – Exercise.

If you read the Time magazine article “The Weight Loss Trap”, you may already know about the big misconception that I’m going to share with you about exercise.

If you want to lose weight, it’s all about calories in, calories out, right?

Not exactly.

If you’ve been frustrated with the speed of your weight loss and you’ve been exercising more or harder than ever, you have to read this.

When it comes to weight loss, exercise has a much smaller role than nutrition, sleep, and stress do. It’s something we all have to accept.

I say “accept” because I, too, understand that it’s hard to accept the fact that exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight because we’ve all heard the mantras over the years:

“It’s all about diet and exercise.”

“You have to eat less and move more.”

“Weight loss is all about calories in and calories out.”

You might be thinking, “So if exercise isn’t the best way to lose weight, then why exercise at all?”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science. I stand behind the importance of exercise 100%.

Here’s why.

Exercise is great for things like increasing strength, endurance, bone density, range of motion, mobility, flexibility, posture, and balance.

On the other hand, if your #1 goal is weight loss, focus more on the foods you’re eating, how much sleep you’re getting, and how much stress you’re carrying around.

Exercise’s greatest role in weight loss is that it when you do it regularly, it changes the way your body processes food.

What’s more, it helps you sleep better, lowers your stress, and helps you make better food choices.

In other words, while exercise doesn’t have as much of a direct role in weight loss, it does help you improve other areas that DO facilitate it.

So, continue to make exercise a priority, but understand that it’s not the #1 driver of weight loss.

Here are 15 reasons why you should exercise in midlife:

  • Increase strength
  • Increase endurance
  • Increase bone density
  • Increase range of motion
  • Increase mobility
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve posture
  • Improve balance
  • Improve the way your body processes food
  • Better sleep
  • Better mood
  • Better food choices
  • Lower stress
  • Increase confidence
  • Improve your overall quality of life

The most important question to ask yourself is, “Why am I trying to lose weight?”

If the answer is so that you can be healthier, play with your grandchildren, travel, and wake up feeling great, then it might be worth considering that exercise will help you do these things.

Sure, weight loss helps make life easier, but it’s those 15 reasons I shared above that make continuing to exercise a top priority, even if that means you carry around a little more weight than you’d like.

Remember that it’s not one thing that contributes to better health; it’s a combination of exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress.

So keep exercising, but not for weight loss – use nutrition, sleep, and lowered stress for that.

Exercise will make you feel better, move easier, and improve your overall quality of life.



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