It may seem like a simple mathematical equation: One pound equals about 3,500 calories. If you want to lose one pound, you simply eat less and/or exercise more so that you consume 3,500 less calories than you’re burning.
But the truth is more complex. Although if you eat less and exercise more, you can lose weight, most people who take this limited approach have a hard time and often wind up like our friend Debby who reported, “I exhausted myself losing five pounds, but they found me again!”
As Raymond Francis says in Never Be Fat Again, overweight is a disease, a disease that can only be cured by normalizing body chemistry. This is done by permanently adopting a holistic lifestyle that supplies the body with all the nutrients it needs to be healthy, and eliminates toxins that interfere with good health. A body in optimal health sustains self-healing, self-regulating mechanisms that automatically shed excess pounds and then maintain a healthy weight.
Regular exercise is an essential component of this lifestyle because of the changes it makes in your body chemistry, supporting healthy cell function and maximizing fat-burning and energy production.
* Nutrient utilization: Oxygen and other nutrients as well as enzymes that are necessary for burning fat are carried to our cells by both blood and lymph systems; exercise activates the lymphatic system and increases cardiovascular circulation and fat-burning efficiency.
* Detoxification: These same systems improve fat burning by carrying away debris from fat-burning and other toxins from the cells.
* Hormones: Exercise increases muscle-building HGH (human growth hormone), and regulates insulin for better blood sugar control and fat metabolism. Exercise reduces stress, which minimizes the fat-storing hormone cortisol (and stress-related overeating), and improves sleep (sleep deprivation increases cortisol and causes carbohydrate cravings and overeating).
* Energy. Aerobic exercise stimulates the creation of more mitochondria, our cells’ energy factories. Although over-exercising can increase fatigue and appetite, appropriate exercise increases energy and reduces appetite.
* Thermogenesis: Exercise revs up metabolism so you burn more calories for hours to days after exercising (weight-training is especially effective). Exercise stimulates a gene named UCP1 that makes energy-burning brown fat more active. Resistance exercise builds muscle; the more muscle you have, the more energy-consuming heat your body will produce.
Moderate exercise has been shown to be as effective as more strenuous exercise—you just have to do it longer. And longer periods of exercise are especially beneficial if you want to lose weight. For about the first half hour, the body relies on burning glucose (sugar); but then it starts to burn fat instead. Regular exercise (three or more times per week) stimulates production of fat-burning enzymes that burn even more fat.
Motivated to get going? Good! You can’t make a better investment in your health, or your figure!
For the full scoop on losing weight the natural (and easiest) way, see Raymond’s book, Never Be Fat Again.
- Francis R. Never Be Fat Again. (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc, 2007), pp. 183-188.
- BH Staff. Exercise as housecleaning for the body. BH Blog, January 16, 2014.
- BH Staff. A little known key to immunity. BH Blog, January 4, 2016.
- BH Staff. Become stress resistant with exercise. BH Blog, November 29, 2012.
- BH Staff. Want more energy? Make new energy factories! BH Blog, June 22, 2015.
- Moyer MW. Supercharging brown fat to battle obesity. Scientific American. July 15, 2014.
- Rowland LA. The role of skeletal-muscle-based thermogenic mechanisms in vertebrate endothermy. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society. November 2015;90(4):1279-1297.
- BH Staff. Moderate intensity exercise is as good as vigorous exercise. BH Blog, January 16, 2014.
- Francis R. Never Be Fat Again. (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc, 2007), pp. 184-185.