The Best Exercise to Lose Weight

Everywhere you look you can find en "expert" giving you their magic formula for losing weight. Motivational quote fill up every fitness Instagram page like all you need is a the right quote to give you the drive to follow their advice.

Almost every one tells you something different. Don't eat carbs. Put butter in your coffee. Do cardio first thing in the morning before you eat anything. All of them promising you results that will make you look like their 20-something-genetically-gifted body.

The thing is none of that stuff really matters because weight loss is, in every sense of the term, pointless. A 2020 study published in Obesity Reviews found that of the 51 identified weight loss and maintenance strategies, grouped in 14 domains of the Oxford Food and Activity Behaviors taxonomy, the following were the most frequently reported: having healthy foods available at home, regular breakfast intake, increasing vegetable consumption, decreasing sugary and fatty foods, limiting certain foods, and reducing fat in meals. Increased physical activity was the most consistent positive correlate of weight loss maintenance.

To truly change your body, the silver bullet exercise for weight loss is to exercise the mind.

The most difficult thing you can ever do is to see yourself for who you really are. If you have a clinical issue, morbid obesity for example, that requires intervention and, ultimately, weight loss, you need medical advice. And no, Instagram models and "science and evidence-based" trainers are not recommended as medical experts.

Based on general patterns of results and the most frequent published associations, participation in physical activity and sport was related to less negative and more positive body image. Furthermore, negative body image, predominantly studied as body weight or shape dissatisfaction, was linked to lower physical activity and sport participation and was discussed qualitatively as a barrier to participation. Alternatively, positive body image, studied most frequently as body satisfaction, tended to be associated with greater participation in physical activity and sport. This pattern of findings was consistent for men and women, and across the ages included in this scoping review. - Sabiston et al., 2019

So, here's the exercise.

1 Round, No Time Limit. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Why do I want to lose weight?

  • If it is to look good, define what looking good means addressing issues of age and sex while also reviewing how you would measure results)

  • If it is about feeling good, define what that means based on your age and sex while also reviewing how you would measure the results)

  • Make a list of all the good things that will happen as a result of weight loss)

2. What happens if I don't lose weight?

  • Make a list of all of the catastrophic things that will happen to you as a result and then compare to them all the things that will not happen)

  • Compare list to all the good things that you thought would happen if you lost weight)

3. Then, you finish off with warm down:

  • Do you know that if you build muscle, your weight may not change but your shape will, and that it may mean fat loss but not weight loss?

  • Do you know that there is no ideal weight for the average person?

Having done all of that, you may still want to be a ripped, lean, mean machine of a human being. You have idealized that body in your mind or you have an ideal body image that you aspire to acquire.

You then have to ask yourself one question: are you willing to do what it takes to get that body because it is a serious undertaking requiring deprivation, abstinence, single-minded devotion and an environment that will support you through the process, however long it may take?

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