“Reality Check” is an article series which looks at common mistakes people make when they begin dieting for weight loss. We’ll check out some ‘thought adjustments’ that will help you make better choices on your journey. The articles include tips, new ideas to try, strategies to follow, and encouragement to keep you moving forward.

Exercise is NOT magic

“I know I eat a lot. But I can, because I exercise EVERY day! So I will never put on weight…”

This is as ambitious as planting a R5 and expecting to grow a money tree. It’s not very likely to happen.

You see, exercise is very good for you – even if you’re eating unhealthily. It can make you fitter, stronger and more able to function well in your daily life no matter what you eat.

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However, that tiny little text on exercise device adverts that says “only works for weight loss when used in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet” really is there for a reason.

Exercise can’t make you thinner if you eat whatever the heck you want

And this is true for a very simple reason – let’s do the maths. Let’s say you eat a bit too much, so you need 2000 calories per day to maintain your weight, but you eat 2500 calories every day because you exercise. And also remember we’re trying to LOSE weight here.

You’re eating enough calories for a nine day week in seven days. That means you’d have to shed two whole days’ worth of calories in your gym sessions – unlikely unless you’re training eight hours per day. And again, that only puts you back at maintenance-level.

So yes, exercise is important. And, also yes, exercise CAN help you to lose weight. But this only works if your calorie total is closely moderated and controlled. Otherwise you’re just fooling yourself.

Read more ‘reality check’s below: