Maybe I’m a little strange, but I love to exercise. Although occasionally I struggle with motivation, exercise is rarely a chore for me. Infact it is a treat. It’s also a release, an escape, a mood enhancer, and a joy, really. I consider myself lucky. I know a lot of people who don’t feel the same way that I do about exercise. It is not something they look forward to and they really have to force themselves to get it done.
That being said, if weight loss is the goal, exercise is just a part of the solution. Frankly, I don’t even think it is the main part. We all know people who exercise a lot, but don’t really shed the pounds. There are probably lots of reasons for this. But I think one of them is that appetite is increased when we exercise, and we can over compensate for that by eating more than we should. The old, “calories in calories out” theory still holds true. I am obviously not advocating dieting and not exercising. I just happen to believe that the nutritional aspect of maintaining a healthy weight is at least as important (if not more), than the fitness component. Ideally, combining the two is how we achieve lasting results.
However, eating too little can sabotage weight loss in a different way than eating too much can. When we don’t take in enough calories, our body goes into “starvation” mode, slowing down metabolism and burning less calories. I have heard the number of 500 as being the maximum number of calories that should be reduced at one time. That seems like a lot, but I am not a calorie counter so it isn’t something I am used to doing. Regardless of whether we count calories, eating sensibly isn’t hard if we think about eating a variety of foods. Also staying away from “whites” (sugars, white breads, and white pastas) helps to maintain good nutritional goals. I think there are plenty of good carbs like fruits, vegetables and whole grains that help with energy and satiation. And as a mother of nine, I need all the energy I can get.
So, to maintain a healthy weight, I rely on what I’m eating. To stay healthy and strong, I exercise and lift weights. When things go smoothly and I can exercise and eat well, I’m a happy camper. When I eat too much sugar and don’t have enough time for exercise, it can be ugly …just ask my kids!
What do you think about the relationship between exercise and nutrition?