Exercising is not the same as Dieting
Recently I read this question on a Forum, "This may sound weird, but I lose zero weight when I exercise, but I can lose almost a pound a day when I don’t. I used my elliptical for half an hour and ate my usual 1,250 calories. The scale didn’t budge. I tried adjusting my calories and watching my sodium, with no luck. I stopped exercising and just watched what I ate. When I do that, I lose a lot of weight."
Why is this?
Obviously there is a lot of information missing from this question, mainly the diet this person eats and how they derived at their Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE, but it does bring up a very good discussion. To keep this Short-n-Sweet we will avoid all the science mambo jumbo, and take an easier look at exercising and eating, or dieting.
Exercise is an activity that will help you improve many aspects of you physical being, your physique, it helps with endurance, cardio, and helps tone muscles, in the same way a tune up will help your car run better, diet on the other hand is what we eat, the fuel we burn in our cars, or our bodies. With this simple comparison we can start to figure out why we don't always lose weight even though we exercise regularly.
Check the Fuel Gauge First.
TDEE Total Daily Energy Expenditure, is the final results that we seek for True and Accurate Weight Control. The World Health Organization in 1985 expressed the calorie needs of adults as multiples of RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate). The expert committee on energy requirements came up with the formulas, and has been shown to be spot on, so once we know how much fuel we will burn, we know how much to put in our Tanks, or our stomachs.
Look at it this way, your car gets 25 MPG, so if you need to drive 100 miles, only put 4 gallons in your tank, and our bodies are much the same. If you burn 1500 calories per day, TDEE, then put only 1500 calories in the tank, by doing this you will have no need to go to the gym and burn off those EXTRA Calories. If you are working out and Exercising every day, just do the math, and you will have the proper amount of fuel for that days activities, or drive.
Too many people overeat on a daily bases and try to work those extra calories off at the gym, unfortunately their bodies have already processed those calories into body fat. Here is an article I put together on how this all works, the science plus the math to help you out with TDEE.
Muscle Vs Fat
Muscle weighs the same as fat, the same as a pound of lead weighs the same as a pound of feathers, muscle is more dense and compact, where as fat is fluffy, so to speak, and takes up more space in your body. That means if you gain muscle, because your Workouts are Working out, your scale weight may go up even as you're slimming down. Many people forget this and become disillusioned and unhappy with their diet and or exerciser plan, and lose focus on their goals. Your goal should be getting into shape and looking great in that new swimsuit, not just a number on a scale.
My wife looks great, and her body fat is around 17%, which is a awesome number, she works out everyday and plays Softball, yet there are other gals that do the same workouts at her gym and also play on her Softball League, but aren't even close to her body fat percentage. As you can see, Exercise is not the only factor in weight loss, in fact it has very little to do with weight loss at all.
Both my wife and I are on a Very Low-Carb Diet, and yes, we eat High Fat, always, our fuel is fat, not carbs. I say VERY low Carb because most so-called LCHF Diets are telling people to consume from 100 to 200 grams of Carb per day. The dietary guidelines recommend that carbs should provide 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. So if you eat a 2000-calorie diet, you should aim for about 225 to 325 grams of carbs per day, and that is just insane, plus, 200 grams per day may also raise insulin levels too high to burn fat. I stay way below the dietary guidelines for sure, and keep my Carb intake below 75 grams per day, my wife is at less than 10 Grams of carbs per day.
I Never Go To The Gym...almost never
Unlike my lovely wife, I only go to her Gym when she is in a competition, and there had better be a Bar-B-Que in progress, sense I never see the inside of a gym, and if exercise is the end all, be all, to weight loss, I should be a big fat-fatty, but I'm not. Exercise can accomplish many thing, weight loss, unfortunately is not one of them, so what is?
Beating a dead horse won't help anyone lose weight, and it is just wrong, but, it is all about Calories-in, Calories-out, yep, Thermodynamic, that proverbial Dead Horse, Counting Calories. Most experts these days say that you don't need to be bothered with counting calories, and that it is not that important, I disagree.
If you do any research on most of the popular diets, you will see this calorie counting theory in disguises like, Portion sizes, Macro, Points, you name it, it's there, it's all the same, they have just changed the names to protect you from math, and make money. The established experts will say that it is to complicated, and most people won't keep an accurate accounting, and that may be true, but if you want to control your weight, you have to try.
There is a reason for this, and the reason proves my point that Calories do count, every diet must be approved by a Medical Doctor it they say words like You Will Lose Weight, Proven Results, listen to any Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or Nutra Systems a Advertisments, and it is there. and those Doctors MUST follow the established FDA Guidelines, or lose their Licence. So what are these Guidelines, just look at MyPlate, and I'm not saying check out what I had for dinner, no, the Federal Government's, MyPlate. Go here to see
MyPlate is divided into four sections of approximately 30 percent grains (Carbs), 40 percent vegetables (Fiber, or cellulose and more Carbs), 10 percent fruits (Fructose or sugar I mean Carbs) and 20 percent protein (of which 66% become Carbs), accompanied by a smaller circle representing dairy, such as a glass of milk or a yogurt cup (PS, More Carbs).
Here is the proof that Calories Still Count, according to the FDA, Click on the image to the right and read the fine print at the bottom. Let me clarify, the values shown in percentages, are the percentage of the Daily Value based on...wait for it, 2000 Calories per day, OMG, the Calories Theory still matters to the FDA. The FDA and their evil twin the AMA, they hand out the licences to Doctors, and Doctors make up those fancy Fad Diets.
I am not bashing on the Calories-in, Calories-out Theory, just the Doctors that make up Diets, diets we follow and can't lose weight on. Thermodynamics is not a theory it is a Scientific Fact, and is how our bodies "Burn" the food we eat, and that is why we must count calories, not because the government says so, but because of Physics.
WTF does all this mean, if you listen to your Doctor, Nutritionist, or Dietitian (Licence by the FDA) you will be eating way to much surgery foods, and in a real diabetic danger. To lose weight, he or she will tell you to cut back on the amount of food you eat and supplement with Wholesome Snacks like Salads, containing no Calories or Fruit containing more Sugar. You will be hungry and starving in the face of obesity, so you will cheat because counting calories sucks, and chips taste good, guilt sets in and you head out to the gym to burn those "Bad Calories" wake up and do it all again.
It's Yo Yo Time
This is not a CrossFit expression like AMRAP, EMOM or WOD, it is an acronym for Your On Your Own, and it means that help will not be coming from the Medical Establishment, your on your own. To brake the Eat too much, Exercise too Much, and Lose too little Cycle, you need to understand that the types of fuel you eat, will make all the difference, Read this for more help it is short.
There are thousands of Peer Reviewed research papers out there today that prove beyond any doubt that it is NOT Fat, or High Cholesterol that causes all of our diseases but Carbohydrate consumption. Your Doctor can not legally tell you, for fear of losing his or hers licence, but the facts are there, and you must find them. It can seem to be an impossible task when a Google Search for Fat will find over seven hundred million results in less then one second, so start simple, read books by biochemist like Greg Ellis' book The Glycation Factor, or thinkers like Russ Scala's book American Biohacker, as a Starting Point,and go from there.
Use the time you would spend at the gym for just one day a week, to read, to learn, and to educate yourself on a LCHF, Keto or Paleo Diet and give it a try.
It is not illegal to eat a Steak smothered in Butter, or to give up Carbs in most countries, but it is illegal for me to say it WILL help, so you must determinate what works for you and stick with it, IF it works for you, keep doing it, and you will reach your weight goals.