Why Exercise Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss Results

Spring is here, and it is the time when most people begin to think about removing the layers of clothing, so weight loss is on their minds.  This Spring, in particular, these thoughts are at the forefront of many people’s minds because we can get out more, we can move.  Hopefully, fingers crossed, as areas of business, recreation and our homes begin to open, that means seeing people again, not hiding sequestered at-home stretchy yoga pants.  So, thoughts like……   “I want to lose weight, and how should I go about it?” emerge to our conscious mind, along with fear and panic.  In this article, I am going to address one of the more common methods people want to use to lose weight and why it is not the best.  This is exercise.  First though let me clarify what I mean by weight loss. 

The Ultimate Weight Loss Goal

When I talk about weight loss, I don’t just mean a number on the scale. I’m looking at the bigger picture, a holistic approach that produces great results that are sustainable, particularly for people over 40. I have found that often people over 40 feel very stuck and trapped because they are not seeing results. 

They are dedicating a lot of mental time and energy to managing their food and behaviours. They succumb to the belief that the extra weight they’re carrying, and the constant worry about food will be their permanent lifestyle.  The question is how to remove that mental block and get their bodies to shed the weight permanently.  

Ultimately, people want to feel good in their body; they also want to harness the routines and habits associated with that feeling.  Once a healthy lifestyle is embedded, people know how to eat well because they value their health and choose to maintain it.  A healthy mindset removes the fear and panic of losing weight and establishes a relationship with the body and food that supports them being able to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.  

A healthy lifestyle and attitude provide grace for the individual to feel comfortable in/with the body they occupy and offer flexibility and choices; they can relax, they can have indulgences, and they are empowered to make course corrections if they do overdo it.    Achieving a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mindset is freedom, not a number on the scale. 

Exercise and Weight Loss

No one wants the feeling of being trapped in a lifestyle where food is micromanaged, with hours spent at the gym, where mental effort, time and energy are dedicated to trying to lose and maintain their weight. That’s not freedom.  If the desired outcome is weight loss and achieving Body Freedom, then using exercise as a strategy is not going to work.  Exercise has many health benefits and is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but it is not the best method to use for weight loss.  Many will question why it is not the best method and say it’s been used for generations; people will quote fitness ‘experts’ who follow this methodology.  But to achieve Body Freedom™  I will be challenging using exercise.  

When people use exercise to lose weight, utilizing old-school burn more calories than consuming, they set themselves up to exercise a lot to get the deficit needed to lose weight.  I hear this from many women who approach me to learn about my weight loss programs because they are so frustrated with their lack of sustainable progress and frustrated with the amount of time they are spending working out.  

When people use exercise to lose weight, utilizing old-school burn more calories than consuming, they set themselves up to exercise a lot to get the deficit needed to lose weight.  I hear this from many women who approach me to learn about my weight loss programs because they are so frustrated with their lack of sustainable progress and frustrated with the amount of time they are spending working out.  

There are 2 reasons why exercise is a less effective strategy to lose weight and achieve Body Freedom™

  1. As an individual exercises, they will lose some weight initially, but that means their body is moving less mass over time, so they are burning less calories and this method becomes less effective as the body adapts. People think exercise is  great in the beginning but as the body adaptation occurs,  weight loss becomes stagnant.  Remember, there are 24 hours in a day, and we do not have several hours to exercise.
  1.  Once a person is over 40  and doing too much exercise, especially of certain types, it becomes counterproductive.   Effective Exercising in your 40s is vastly different from exercising in your 20s. What happens is as people over 40 do too much exercise, the stress hormone, cortisol increases and cortisol blocks fat burn, often resulting in the Stress Belly. Generally speaking  exercising is fantastic, the freedom of movement is amazing, it’s a mood enhancer that brings clarity, but hours of exercising is an ineffective strategy for losing weight. 

When People are losing weight, they must be mindful not to create a lifestyle where they feel trapped by hours of over-exercising and calorie counting, believing it is the way to lose weight.  This method is not empowering; instead, it creates the opportunity for weight gain because it is unsustainable as a lifestyle. 

People over 40 ultimately need to have a multifaceted approach on their weight loss journey, to achieve  Body Freedom™, a healthy balanced lifestyle, and mindset.  Achieving this state of Body freedom™ results in empowered people who understand their bodies and know how to fuel their bodies accordingly.  Once a person has mastered the Body Freedom™ mindset, they know how to be flexible and free.  They know how to enjoy food and appreciate its affect on their level of wellbeing and use exercise as a tool, to live a healthy, balanced, happy life.

Personal Testimony

I’m a massive supporter of an appropriate amount of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle and  it does help people maintain their weight.  However, using exercise as a stand-alone to lose weight is not effective and it will not help in creating the ultimate outcome of achieving Body Freedom™.  I have direct experience with this.  In my late 30s, I sold one of my businesses, and with the extra time I had on my hands, I decided to treat myself to a personal trainer and began intensive workouts.  There was a 3-month fitness challenge at the gym which I enrolled in.  After 90 days, I got fantastic results, but I had to spend 2 hours a day at the gym, including several sessions/week  with the trainer, and I was also watching my nutrition.  As fun as the experience was for 3 months, the time I needed to spend at the gym was not a sustainable lifestyle long term.  I know for many people that is not a realistic option for them either.   

Body Freedom Over 40

Once I  turned 50, I gained weight especially around the belly, here more about my story or visit my YouTube Channel for my personal weight loss journey.  I tried the method that worked for me back in my 30s. I got a personal trainer in the gym, and I ate a high protein and low carb healthy diet and reduced calories.  To my surprise, this did not work at all, the scale was not budging and my belly was not shrinking; my body was different, I carried fat differently.  I was also finding it very challenging to spend so much time exercising and noticed I was feeling more tired and hungry.  This was an  utterly different  experience as compared to when I did this in my late thirties.  The old weight-loss method was not a sustainable solution for me to achieve my goal; it just was not working in terms of required time commitment, results and overall sense of well being.  

This is why, when you’re over 40, using exercise as a strategy to lose weight is not effective because of time commitment and changes in your body.  Yes, exercise and nutrition are part of a healthy lifestyle down the road.   If your goal is to achieve healthy weight loss and set yourself up to achieve Freedom in your body where you are not a slave to the gym, a personal trainer and micromanaging your diet all the time, then you need to consider integrating the five principles of the Body Freedom Method™.I hope this blog helped you to see the pitfalls of thinking exercise is going to help you lose weight and achieve the ultimate goal of Body Freedom ™.  The idea of freedom in your body is powerful and empowering; it gives you the power, authority and grace to live a happy, healthy, balanced Body Freedom™ lifestyle.

I hope you found this information helpful.If you want to learn more:

  1. You can book a complimentary call, and discuss your challenges, and obstacles, and together we can determine if my program is right for you.
  2. You can also go to my Facebook page, @DrSherBovay, where you can find and join my Private Facebook group, The FastLane Mind Body Reset Mastery Group. Here, I host Facebook lives and frequent posts where you can engage and learn more.