Holiday Myths Debunked # 2 - Exercise and Weight Loss

Many people believe that if we exercise more, then we will lose more weight. Therefore, if we exercise more over the holidays, we will of course maintain or lose weight, right?

Unfortunately we have been taught that weight loss is simply calories in, calories out.  This is a powerful myth that the media grasped onto years ago and continues to promote despite all of the evidence and scientific research stating the contrary. (If you are interested, the book The Calorie Myth goes into great detail and provides wonderful information about this.) Our bodies do not follow the theories of thermodynamics as there are numerous other factors including metabolic disruptors, toxins, food sensitivities, stress, sleep, hydration, and so much more that affect our weight. In reality, weight loss focused on dietary change produces two to three times greater weight loss than programs focused on exercise as reported by

To give you a greater sense of how much exercise someone would need to do in order to use exercise alone to influence weight loss, consider some of these examples…..

Running for about 42-45 minutes may burn about 500 calories. That seems like a fair amount until we start comparing this to some of the tempting food out at this time of the year.

Starbucks does a great job of listing the calories and nutrients in their food as well as drinks.  Here are some Starbucks items that you could maybe burn off after running for 42-45 minutes.

1 slice of Starbucks pumpkin bread = 440 calories

1 slice of Starbucks banana bread = 420 calories

1 venti Starbucks holiday drink of Caramel Brule or Peppermint Mocha = 540 calories with most grande Starbucks holiday drinks being around 400 calories

This does not mean that we should not exercise. Physical activity provides a myriad of benefits, such as, cardiovascular health, mental and emotional benefits, anti aging properties, and so much more.  However, we can have the greatest impact on our weight by focusing on what we are eating and drinking.

Most people believe that exercise must occur for 30-60 minutes for it to have an affect. In reality, moving for 10 minutes at a time can have wonderful benefits. I encourage those who can’t find time to fit the gym in to look at Activity Burst Everywhere for Fitness at This site provides quick routines that can be complete at work, home, and just about anywhere.

Overall, keep exercising for all of those mental and physical benefits. However, if you are looking for weight loss, focus on the types and quality of food and drinks you are consuming for the greatest benefits.