Physical Activity and Movement Part 8
Most people who decide it’s time for weight loss follow a standard protocol. It’s the one we’ve all been taught to do. Sign up for a training program or join a gym, and go on a specific diet. Now, I’m not saying this is bad. The before-and-after testimonials, and the 6-week and 90-day pictures will give evidence to the fact that these programs can work. If you go from being sedentary and having a very sloppy diet, and you begin to eat a nutritious diet, reduce overeating behavior, and become physically active, you’ll become physically healthier, and you’ll lose weight.
That’s great. I am absolutely for this.
However, we all have either personally experienced or know people who’ve gone through the “yo-yo process.” They engage in the program, they lose the weight, and then they slowly return to where they were before. This happens not because the program was ineffective, but because it was unsustainable. It was not honoring the overall principles that affect the energy balance of the body.
The Role of Energy Balance
There are many principles that influence energy balance. Physical activity and your eating habits are two of the major ones, but they are not the only ones. It’s beyond the scope of this particular blog series to go into a full discussion of weight gain and weight loss. I’m creating a separate blog series that will walk through this topic, and I’ll also create a video series available on our YouTube channel, The Family Doctor. This is the truth about weight gain and weight loss. If you’re interested, you should definitely watch it. Just like this teaching, you may find it refreshingly simple and liberating.
If you go from being sedentary and having a very sloppy diet, and you begin to eat a nutritious diet, reduce overeating behavior, and become physically active, you’ll become physically healthier, and you’ll lose weight.
But when it comes to physical activity for weight loss, there are a few principles you need to understand. If all you do is take up a walking program, for example, that’s good. It might help you lose a little bit of weight because you will increase your daily calorie burn. But you’re generally not going to maintain long-term, sustained weight loss to the level that you might need to through just a walking program.
The overall program I’m outlining does address the basic physical activity paradigm for weight loss. Essentially, you increase daily body movement, which will increase metabolic rate, and up-regulate daily calorie burn. You engage in some form of strength training on a consistent basis, which will also create the signals to your metabolism that can improve your metabolic rate and reduce weight. And you include some form of sprinting.
You also honor your body’s need for recovery so that you don’t overstress your body and create inflammation, which is another cause of weight gain. It’s pretty simple.
What If I Exercise Harder?
You can accelerate the results by working out more intensely on a more consistent basis. That’s why so many people join boot camps and 6-week training programs and have the before-and-after pictures to demonstrate the effectiveness. Many of my friends and colleagues who have similar views about health, who own gyms and run training programs, understand these principles. I applaud their work and support what they’re trying to do.
But they also know that a 6-week boot camp is just a starting place. That ultimately, it takes more than that. It’s a consistency in a routine that honors the body’s design, that’s used day-after-day, and year-after-year, and just becomes your daily habit.
Other Weight Gain Factors
Then you address the other factors that are the primary contributors to weight gain, which include your:
- Eating habits
- Stress responses
- Sleep patterns
- And many others
Don’t rely on physical activity alone as your weight loss mechanism, but it can certainly assist in this process.