Why You Need to Stop Exercising For Weight Loss

“Do this one move to blast belly fat!”

“Build a beach body with these 6 exercises.”

“Get ripped, right now—a 4-week exercise plan!”

There’s a myth that is perpetuated constantly by the media and even by some medical professionals. Nearly everyone believes it. It’s the exercise myth. It goes something like this: “I need to lose weight. I’m going to start exercising. I’ll go to the gym every day after work/start running every evening /break out that old workout DVD.”

Barre class

Exercise- It’s just about the first thing people start thinking about when they decide that they want to lose weight. And while there are 200+ good reasons to exercise, losing weight isn’t one of them. Sure, some people can and do lose weight by exercising more, but more often than not, if your sole means of weight loss is by hitting the gym, you’re more likely to gain weight than to lose it.  There are a lot of reasons why, both physiological and psychological.

It starts with the belief that because you exercised so much, you definitely deserve an extra serving at dinner, and why not dessert, too? The truth is, even an hour of exercise wouldn’t cover the extra calories consumed at dinner, let alone dessert. We tend to vastly overestimate the calories we burn during exercise, but underestimate the calories in the foods we consume.  When we rely on technology to do the counting for us (think of the calories display on any treadmill, elliptical, or stairmaster), the technology does the same—overestimates calories burned through exercise and underestimates the calories in food.

Another reason people tend to gain weight when they start to exercise is usually because they follow the advice “eat less, exercise more” which stimulates the body’s appetite. If you suddenly increase the amount of exercise you do and reduce your energy intake, your body is going to think something is going wrong and you’ll start to feel hungrier all the time. This is a normal body response, but it sure doesn’t help you lose weight.

Something else to consider is you might be having trouble people often compensate for exercising by being more sedentary the rest of the day. Where you might normally be lightly active in the evening, after an exercise session you might feel that you deserve to sit on the couch and watch Netflix instead.

If exercise isn’t going to help with weight loss, what’s a person to do?

Firstly, recognize that a lot of the time the changes in your behaviour are more about your perception of exercise than it is about the exercise itself. In studies where people are told they are exercising, those same people will consume more calories when offered food after the exercise than another group who did the same amount of physical activity but who weren’t told it was “exercise.” This tells us that our perception of how much we enjoy physical activity will change how much we feel we deserve food after the fact. Find some things that you like to do, and do more of those activities because when you have fun you don’t feel the need to reward yourself with food—having fun is reward enough.family walking

Second, make changes to your diet your first priority. Make small changes first, and make sure they’re ingrained habits before you move on to your next new habit. Small consistent new habits will help you to lose more weight than making sweeping changes that you’re only able to sustain for a couple of weeks or months. If you’re not sure where to start, seek out advice from a Registered Dietitian.

various fruits with tape measure - healthy food

Lastly, don’t forget that exercise is still good for you. There are many reasons to be physically active, and while being active won’t necessarily speed weight loss efforts, it can definitely help maintain weight and build the body shape that you want.

Remember: Your body is built in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym!


Sledding Safety


So have you had enough snow yet? We’re forecasted to get another winter storm this Sunday, are you planning to snuggle up inside, or get outside with your family? Sledding has always been a huge favourite of kids and adults alike. Like many outdoor activities, there are some precautions that kids should take to ensure a fun and safe day on the hill!


Choosing the hill:

  • Select a hill that is not too steep and has a long flat area at the bottom for you to glide to a stop.
  • Avoid hillsides that end near a street or parking lot, near a pond, fences, trees, or other hazards.
  • Make sure the hill is free of obstacles such as jumps, bumps, rocks, poles, or trees before you begin sledding.
  • Choose hills that are snowy rather than icy. An icy slope makes for a hard landing if you fall off your sled.
  • Sled during the daytime, when visibility is better. If you go sledding at night, make sure the hillside is well lit and all potential hazards are visible.


Dress for winter:

  • Wear appropriate winter clothing — hats, gloves or mittens, snow pants, winter jacket, snow boots — that is waterproof and warm, and change into something dry if your clothes get wet. Bring extra mittens, as the hands tend to get the coldest and wettest, and mittens tend to be the first thing to get so wet that they become useless.
  • Wear a helmet designed for winter sports. If you don’t have a ski or winter sports helmet, at least wear the helmet you use for biking or skateboarding.


The Right Sled:

Try to choose a sled that can be steered and has brakes. Avoid those that can’t be steered, such as tubes, saucers, toboggans, or crazy carpets and never use a sled substitute like a cardboard box. Good sleds are relatively cheap to buy and are well worth the extra money.


Follow These Simple Safety Rules

You are dressed warmly, helmet has been adjusted, sled in hand, and you found that perfect hill. You’re ready to go. Here are some more safety tips to ensure a safe experience:

  • Assign an adult to be in charge in case of injury.
  • Always sit face-forward on your sled. Never sled down a hill backwards or while standing, and don’t go down the hill face-first, as this greatly increases the risk of a head injury.
  • Young kids (5 and under) should sled with an adult, and kids younger than 12 should be actively watched at all times.
  • Go down the hill one at a time and with only one person per sled (except for adults with young children).
  • Never build an artificial jump or obstacle on a sledding hill.
  • Keep your arms and legs within the sled at all times, and if you fall off the sled, move out of the way. If you find yourself on a sled that won’t stop, roll off it and get away from it.
  • Walk up the side of the hill and leave the middle open for other sledders.
  • Never ride a sled that is being pulled by a moving vehicle.

We want to hear from you: Where is your favourite sledding hill?