Increase Your Calorie Deficit
Weight loss happens through a calorie deficit. A deficit is achieved by burning more calories than you consume. You naturally will burn a certain amount of calories during the course of an average day. This is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR). In order to get into a calorie deficit, you have two options: eat less calories (diet) or burn more calories (exercise). If you want to know more about calories and diet, our weight loss 101 series has more information on that.
Aside from general fitness, health, and well-being, exercise allows you to create a greater calorie deficit and lose weight faster.
Boost Your Metabolism (Avoid Plateaus)
Our bodies are very good at adapting. One thing that most people don’t know is that over time, if you lose weight without also increasing exercise your metabolism (BMR) will slow down as your body adjusts to its new weight. This is called “hitting a plateau,” and will result in decreased weight loss.
At this point, your BMR has changed. If you continue with your existing diet, you may still be able to maintain a calorie deficit, but your weight loss will slow down. If you want to continue to lose weight at the same pace, maintaining your existing calorie deficit will require eating less calories. This isn’t always manageable – it’s not a good idea to eat less than 1,000 calories per day.
The good news is that exercise can help with this. Exercise does two things: it allows you to maintain your calorie deficit by burning more calories, and it also increases your overall metabolism. Exercise can even boost your metabolism for several hours after a workout.
By adding exercise, you can keep your metabolism (BMR) from dropping and burn more calories. If you want to keep losing weight and avoid plateaus, it’s a good idea to include an exercise regimen as part of your weight loss plan.
It Doesn’t Take Much
When we say to incorporate exercise, it doesn’t mean you need to join a gym or go buy fancy equipment. One of the best exercises you can perform is just walking. Even something as simple as a 15-minute walk every day can benefit your weight loss efforts and your overall health.