Friday, August 07, 2009

Could Exercise Be Making Us Fat?

That's an inflammatory headline right there. But this article is interesting: Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin.

"Could pushing people to exercise more actually be contributing to our obesity problem? In some respects, yes. Because exercise depletes not just the body's muscles but the brain's self-control "muscle" as well, many of us will feel greater entitlement to eat a bag of chips during that lazy time after we get back from the gym. This explains why exercise could make you heavier - or at least why even my wretched four hours of exercise a week aren't eliminating all my fat. It's likely that I am more sedentary during my nonexercise hours than I would be if I didn't exercise with such Puritan fury. If I exercised less, I might feel like walking more instead of hopping into a cab; I might have enough energy to shop for food, cook and then clean instead of ordering a satisfyingly greasy burrito."

Yeah, ok, I can see that. Except for me, personally, when I'm in a regular exercise routine, I want to eat healthy stuff afterward. I feel pumped up and energized from the exercise and I don't want to lose that by eating a bunch of crap. My typical post-workout breakfast is scrambled eggs and a fruit and protein smoothie. The idea of inhaling a Starbucks muffin after a good workout (as the author's wife's friends do) is kind of revolting.

How do you feel after you work out? Do you want a bunch of sugary/salty/greasy food, or do you feel like being healthy?

Thanks to Rachel of The F-Word for the link via her Twitter feed. FYI, she links to some really fascinating stuff @thefwordblog.


Hallie said...

I used to always have a great workout, then go to the nearby Bruegger's and have a chicken salad sandwich on a garlic bagel, a diet cranberry-rasperry Snapple, and a dessert bar. I still want that after working out at the gym, and that Bruegger's has been closed for years. I think there may be some kinds of exercise that contribute to weight loss, but I'm beginning to see things the way of the article - exercise, while being awesome in and of itself, is not the key to weight loss. I used to exercise all the time and I got pretty healthy but I stayed fat. The last 45 pounds I lost mostly without exercise. My Mom always said, when I relied on the gym to help me lose weight so I wouldn't have to eat less, that the only thing that ever worked for her was counting calories. So I do exercise some when I have time, but for the benefits that exercise brings, like cardiovascular health, strength and flexibility and muscle tone, but I don't consider exercise a fat loss tool right now, and focus on the diet for that.

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

These days, I think exercise helps me to eat better. I agree I want to eat "good food" before and after I work out.

However, there was a time when I felt "entitled" to eat certain things because I was exercising (and I certainly didn't lose any weight!). I also find the argument that going to the gym may cause people to move less the rest of the day interesting. It's sort of true for me. Since I have been going to the gym every day (partly to have the toddler play at the Play Care), I don't walk as much anymore because I tell myself, "Oh, you already worked out..."

Thanks for sharing the link and your thoughts on this! :)