Carrying around a bit of extra “padding” these days?
If so, you’re not alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 93 million Americans now qualify as obese. That’s almost 40% of the US population!
So many of us could do with shedding a few pounds. And let’s face it: Most of us would also prefer to drop that excess weight as quickly as possible.
Both for our health and for our vanity.
But what’s the secret?
What’s the BEST way to lose weight fast?
When you boil it right down, there are only two ways to go about it:
Diet and exercise.
Problem is, dieting sucks. No one likes being hungry all the time. Especially when we’re surrounded by sweets and junk food everywhere we go. Plus, most mainstream diets don’t even work!
So let’s talk about exercise.
Is sweating it out a better way to say goodbye to those extra pounds?
Read on to find out what the science says.
In June 2019, a new study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on the effects of exercise on metabolism and weight loss.
And the results were shocking.
Here’s what happened:
Researchers split 171 overweight men & women into 3 groups.
Group 1 was the “no exercise” control group. These folks did zero exercise for the entire duration of the study.
Group 2 worked out 3 times a week, until they had burned 8 calories per kilogram of bodyweight. This came out to about 700 calories a week.
Group 3 worked out just as often — 3 times a week — but they went even harder and longer, until they had burned a whopping 20 calories per kilogram of bodyweight. That amounted to just under 1800 calories a week for most people in the group.
(that’s a LOT of exercise!)
The study ran for 6 months. And in addition to measuring things like participants’ metabolisms and waistlines, researchers also dug into their psychology and beliefs about exercise.
Now, here’s the key part:
Participants in all 3 groups were allowed to eat whatever they wanted. Because the goal of the study was to see how exercising more often influenced their appetite and bodyweight.
So, what do you think happened?
Surely the two exercise groups must have lost some weight, right?
Some of them did. But not many. And not much weight was lost, either.
Meanwhile, a handful of people in the 2 exercise groups actually managed to GAIN weight!
In short, researchers were stunned at how small the impact of exercising 3 times a week proved to be.
So what gives? How is this possible?
Well, it became clear that folks who started exercising more often felt their hard work made it okay to compensate with more food.
“If I jog now, I can eat that doughnut later.”
In the end, more exercise just led to more hunger. Which, in turn, killed any potential weight loss. But that’s only one study, right?
So let’s take a look at another, this time focused on one of the hottest trends in fitness: step trackers.
Wearable technology has exploded in popularity over the past few years.
In fact, consumers purchased over 172 million wearable devices in 2018 alone! And one of the most popular pieces of wearable tech is the FitBit, a device designed to help you count the amount of steps you take each day.
That’s why researchers at the University of Pittsburgh decided to study the effect of wearable tech on weight loss.
The study included 471 overweight adults and ran for 2 full years.
All participants were placed on a low-calorie diet and split into two groups:
Group A received step trackers to help monitor their physical activity, while Group B did not.
Both groups were given access to the same counseling and training materials on how to successfully lose weight.
I’ll let this section from the authors’ conclusion speak for itself:
“… the addition of a wearable technology device to a standard behavioral intervention resulted in less weight loss over 24 months.”
Participants with step trackers lost LESS weight. Even on a low-calorie diet!
Meaning more physical activity did NOT produce the results researchers (or any of us) were expecting.
Based on the evidence, it’s NOT working out like crazy.
But it’s not going on a starvation diet, either.
So, what is it?
Well, the best answer lies somewhere in the middle. And it starts with adjusting your expectations. Because the science on this subject is unequivocal:
Trying to lose weight fast just leads to more hunger.
And hunger is your #1 enemy when it comes to sustainable weight loss. So instead, focus on ways you can slowly reduce your calorie intake & increase your output — but without making yourself hungry all the time.
Here are a few action steps you can take:
Incorporating these things into your daily life will help you lose weight, just maybe not as quickly as you want.
But remember: Slow and steady wins the race!
Now, we want to know where YOU stand.
Do you still think exercising is the best way to lose weight fast? Or did this article change your mind?
Comment below and let us know what you think!
1. Effect of different doses of supervised exercise on food intake, metabolism, and non-exercise physical activity: The E-MECHANIC randomized controlled trial https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqz054/5512180?redirectedFrom=fulltext
2. Effect of Wearable Technology Combined With a Lifestyle Intervention on Long-term Weight Loss https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2553448
3. Forecast wearables unit shipments worldwide from 2014 to 2023 (in millions) https://www.statista.com/statistics/437871/wearables-worldwide-shipments/