Have you heard about the Time Magazine article with this eye-catching title? It's created quite a controversy and discussion in both the online and offline fitness community.
This excerpt provides the basic message of the article.
The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn't necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.
I agree that it is pointless to work out and then put the calories right back in to the point of where you don't have a deficit. But, this article has many flaws. Frankly, the author even sounds a little bitter. Just because he gets hungry and wants pizza the next day does not mean everyone else in the gym has the same experience.
So many of his points have flawed logic behind them. He seems to be blaming exercise for his poor food choices. While it may be easy to negate your exercise with eating more, it is only exercise that will improve your overall strength and tone. Eating right cannot give you sexy, toned calves and legs, and arms strong enough to pull your own body weight...not every goal has to revolve around the numbers on the scale.
I think the article is a good cautionary tale for those who think they can safely ignore their caloric input just because they "workout". I've lost over 45 pounds and now I am maintaining. I know for sure my 45 mins of vigorous exercise burns around 630 calories. I know this because I've been carefully weighing myself, counting my calories, and tracking my caloric burn for a few years now. I am under no illusion that my 45 minutes will cover uncounted trips to a fast food restaurant or the pastry shop. It helps me burn a certain number of calories and it has helped me lose weight. No question.
While I think the piece was poorly thought out, I think the title was the most unfortunate thing about it. It was likely chosen for shock value. If you are disciplined enough to exercise regularly, then you should be disciplined enough to eat properly. It is not rocket science. Calorie deficiency = weight loss. The real problem with us today, is food is the answer to EVERYTHING! You break up, let's eat. Someone dies, let's eat. It's your birthday, let's eat. Americans LOVE food.
I love food. But having a plan and changing the way we think about food is the only to avoid falling under the trap of hunger. After a workout, if you find yourself hungry. Think: Wow, I just worked my butt off, there is no way I am putting "that" in my body. It is hard, I know, but put in your mind that working out and eating well will create the best YOU... life is too short to be otherwise.
- Coach Jenn of PersonalFitCoach.com