Healthy eating is a great foundation for any weight loss plan. As I like to say, if you’re going to eat, you might as well eat healthy. But there are many reasons why you want to make exercise a part of the picture. The primary reason is that it’ll help you level up your weight loss results, and here are four concrete ways it can help you do this
#1 Exercise will help you lose weight without starving yourself
When you consider the fact that you need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight, it is always good to have exercise in your toolbox. To lose weight you’ll have to alter your eating pattern by eating higher quality calories, but less than what your body needs on a daily basis to maintain your current weight.
And since exercise burns calories, you can eat a little more than if you focused on eating healthy alone or it can help shorten the amount of time it takes to reach your goals.
Caveat Alert: There are two caveats to pay attention to with this
- When you exercise to burn calories, your body will demand more energy, and that could make you feel hungrier. Your increased hunger is why more exercise isn’t always better. The fix is to do just enough exercise to preserve muscle while using healthy eating as your primary tool for weight loss.
- There’s a finite amount of calories that you can burn in a day or even a week, so don’t use the fact that you burned calories as an excuse to overeat. When I started my weight loss journey, I started with exercise because it burns calories and I would eat a honey bun and down it with a vanilla coke to reward myself. Of course, I gained weight instead of losing! So learn from my mistake and don’t compensate for your calorie burn by overeating.
#2 Exercise will help you get stronger even as you get smaller
When you incorporate exercise into your weight loss plan, you’re setting yourself up for a world of good health now and later in life. For now, your muscles will get stronger, and you’ll be able to go about your daily life without being prone to hurting yourself doing simple things like picking up a heavy box of supplies that the FedEx guy dropped at your door.
It’ll also make you physically stronger by being the support structure your bones need to keep osteoporosis at bay.
Now there’s physical strength, but there’s also mental strength.
Exercise can help you feel more confident because the satisfaction you get from completing a session is like no other. With an exercise plan, you’re committing to show up for yourself at a particular time and you’re taking time to take care of you while you take care of others.
And that’s a very empowering message that you’re sending to yourself. You’re saying “I’m as important as my other priorities,” and I promise you that the feeling you get will increase your resilience and your badass-assery (yes it’s a word). And you won’t need someone else to tell you your value; you’ll own it wholeheartedly!
#3 Exercise will show off your beautiful shape
Our bodies are composed of muscle and fat (among other things). When you lose weight, you lose a combination of both.
You want to lose fat rather than muscle because muscle is what creates that sexy shape in your favorite dress and it burns more calories than fat when you are at rest.
The results you’ll get from exercise means that you’ll:
- look great in just about anything you want to wear,
- spend less time at the store and in your closet trying to find an outfit that actually fits you,
- and you won’t have to work as hard to get weight loss results that you want, which is what I call the smart play!
Since exercise keeps you from losing muscle and can build muscle, wouldn’t you want to do it?
#4 You just might like your exercise sessions
Our bodies were made to move, and a lot of us have lost sight of that because we have an idea of what exercise should and should not be. Choosing an exercise routine that you like helps you commit plus you get to sweat and revel in the beauty of what your body can do.
To give you a personal example, I came upon HIIT when I wanted a way to stay consistent with my workouts without taking too much time away from my life. And I’ve found it to be the most efficient way to stay healthy using exercise and to feel strong & capable of taking care of me and mine every single day.
So while you can lose weight by eating healthy, you are better off combining healthy eating with exercise.
Answer these two questions and hold yourself accountable for the answers by setting goals and tracking your actions:
- If you plan to stick to healthy eating alone, how do you intend to make it a consistent habit?
- If you’re going to add in exercise, write down when you’re going to add it in and a few ideas on the types of exercise you’re going to start with?
Exercise is an important tool to help you live a healthy lifestyle, but there are more…
In You Don’t Need a Diet, I break down why diets don’t work to help you get healthy and lose weight, but I also share the eight tools you need to get results without dieting + how to get started no matter how busy you are.