Exercising to lose weight: the truth!

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Who hasn’t already considered as a new year’s or new week’s resolution: “this time it’s good, I’m starting to exercise, I’m sticking to it and I’m losing weight!” »

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

Unfortunately, if it were so simple to be able to dictate our desires to our body and mind, it would be known. Losing weight on command is unfortunately smoke and mirrors.

As a Dietitian Nutritionist, guilt-free Sunday athlete, I wanted to offer you my point of view on the issue.

Let’s ask ourselves the question clearly: Does sport make you lose weight?

The answer is no. I explain to you.

Exercising increases your body’s energy requirement. It’s a fact: you burn calories by being active, whether it’s endurance sports or strength sports.

Logically, when we go in this direction, it should be normal to lose weight while doing sports.

But to lose weight by doing sport you must, beyond burning calories, adapt your diet and adjust your eating sensations according to this new expenditure experienced.

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It is very often observed that a person doing sport to lose weight will compensate for the energy expenditure by eating more or richer foods. As if these people were trying to prevent physical effort (perhaps for fear of having hypoglycemia during the session) by increasing the quantities consumed, or as if a rich, fatty meal became a reward after this effort.

I will give you another example to illustrate this: take smokers who, knowing that they will not be able to smoke for several hours (if they take the train or the plane for example) will smoke two consecutive cigarettes to prevent withdrawal. future.

Normally, they would only have smoked one though. It is a preventive behavior in view of a fear of missing out. This extra cigarette smoke is only motivated by the fear of lack.

Eating more because there has been (or will be) energy expenditure is very often observed in many people. If you have been doing sports for some time without losing weight, maybe this is why?

I invite you to discuss with a nutrition professional this compensation mechanism that you activate without really realizing it.

Exercising and losing weight is possible!

What you need to do is listen and respect your feeling of hunger which will be impacted by this change.

Wait until you feel a feeling of hunger to start eating, this will be a quality indicator to signal to your body that it is time to eat, that it needs energy.

Thanks to tasting you will become aware of the quantities on your plate (chew, put down your cutlery, savor the food), quantities which you will be able to regulate/adapt or modify when you have reached your satiety. Thanks to these three awarenesses you will be able to reduce your portions if necessary or increase them without fear of gaining weight.

Pay attention to the number on the scale: bad indicator!

Did you know that muscle weighs more than fat?

When you exercise, your body will lose its fat mass to be replaced by muscle.

On the scale, the number may increase as your figure becomes slimmer.

The weight, this number on the scale is therefore misleading!

A good compromise to observe the impact of sport on your body is to take a photo of yourself in the same outfit over the months.

This way you will actually observe the change, without needing to rely on the number (which often makes you feel guilty).

Pleasure sport different from slimming sport

Another point should also be noted in my opinion.

Do you exercise to lose weight or for real pleasure without thinking about the consequences on your weight?

The reason that pushes you to do sports will have a direct impact on whether or not you lose weight.

Doing sport to lose weight means putting pressure on yourself to achieve success following an effort. Which means that it is your head that is in control and not your needs.

The brain does not like to be controlled, so it will sabotage you without your knowledge because from the start, your action was motivated for the wrong reasons.

Doing physical activity for pleasure is totally different.

Nothing better than doing sports to clear your head, meet people, build muscle and be in better shape, of course.

Sport is a health ally that will give you tone, daily energy and improve your sleep. Its benefits are no longer to be proven. Go for it !

When you decide to do a physical activity to do your body and mind good, then you’ve won!

Do you see the nuance?

Play sports to gain something and not to lose something else. It’s a positive state of mind.

Dear new (or not so new) athletes, I wish you great sweating sessions, feelings of well-being and accomplishment and pride in your physical efforts.

Take care of yourself by having a physical activity adapted to your desires, your tastes, your needs and which is not motivated by a wish for an erroneous slimming objective.

So to conclude this article I tell you again: be careful of the conflation of sport = slimming…!

Prefer the association of sport = pleasure = well-being.