Mantras,  Motivational,  PFOCUS,  Weight Loss

Why You Can’t Work Off Your Weight

diet AND exerciseI’m going to tell you something that could save you hours in the gym and weeks of wasted work for little to no results? Ready? OK, here it goes: you can’t exercise the weight off. (allowing a pause here for every woman to shriek in pure horror and disappointment)

Don’t get me wrong. There are SOME people who start exercising and lose weight, but normally they are also trying to eat better too. OR, maybe they were extremely overweight and sedentary so their new active lifestyle was a very drastic change for them. Whatever the case, it’s rare and exercise can only get you so far when it comes to weight loss. Weight loss requires cutting back on the calories taken in, unless you want to run 5-10 miles a day to get in the 500-1000 calorie deficit that is required for weight loss.

Unfortunately, many people join a gym and hire a trainer in hopes of losing weight and rely on those 3 workouts a week to do all the work. I only WISH this worked! Being a trainer would be awesome, everyone would get results and the world would be a happy fit and trim place. But it just doesn’t work like that.

Think about it. Do you really expect a one hour workout to erase all the poor choices you make for the rest of the 23 hours in your day? Does that even make sense? However, many people are doing just that. They expect their 3-5 hours in the gym each week to erase all the extra calories they eat over the 168 hours a week. Do the math! 5 hours vs 168 hours. If we were gambling, I’m pretty sure we’d all bet on the 168 hours winning the fight.

“You can’t compete with what you eat” 

sconeThink of it this way. If 30 minutes on the treadmill only burns 300 calories, but you can eat a 300-calorie pastry in 5 minutes, can you see how that math will never work? (PS: 1 blueberry scone at Starbucks is 460 CALORIES!!) So for every 5 minutes of pastry-eating, you’d need to work 30 minutes on the treadmill? Yeah, that ain’t happening.

It doesn’t have to be poor choices either. Most people just eat too much. They may eat healthy, but they eat a LOT of healthy food. And, the more they workout, the more they mentally think they can afford to eat.

Of course I’m just using these examples to help you grasp the whole exercise vs diet concept, do don’t get freaked out. This is also written for people who need to lose weight. Maintenance mode is totally different. When you are maintenance mode you aren’t trying to be in a caloric deficit so you can eat more. I can order fries if I want to and I probably won’t gain weight because I’m in maintenance. Now, if I did it every day, that’s another thing! However, I keep my calories low throughout the day so I CAN cheat here and there and not gain weight. I may also do an extra cardio here or there to make up for any extra calories, but I never can be completely irresponsible for several days straight or I will blow up quick. 😉

WORTH THE SACRIFICE copySadly, most people don’t want to give up their simple little pleasures – even for a much BIGGER and GREATER reward, like a fit and trim body. They feel like they “must have chocolate” or “can’t give up wine”. Maybe their goal is too far away that they don’t truly realize what that glass of wine or nightly ice cream is costing them. They don’t realize how fast they’d reach their goal if they just stuck to both diet and exercise.

So, to make themselves feel better they decide to exercise. Working out is awesome and you can absolutely get in better shape. You can have a firmer body, stronger muscles, better stamina and more energy BUT you may not lose one pound if you are burning as many calories as you are eating. Diet is required for weight loss.


Changing-Body-StructureThe same way you can’t eat a bunch of protein and magically grow muscle, you have to make sure you are doing what is required to reach your goal. If you want to lose body fat and lose weight, you have to diet. If you want to get fit, you have to exercise. If you want a better health report, you probably need to do both. If you want to look fit, you need to do both.

Most people act as if they are in maintenance mode – exercising and eating whatever they want. However, most people need to be in weight loss mode, which is dieting and exercising. The sooner you do it right, the sooner you can be in maintenance mode – but just a thinner fitter you in maintenance mode!

TIP: The longer you put off dieting, the longer you put off results. Go ahead and start today! You can lose 8-12lbs in one month with a great low-cal diet and exercise program. Do the math! How much do you need to lose? Isn’t it worth a few weeks of discipline!?  I think it is!! You’ll be SO glad you did! Otherwise, 5 years may fly by and you are still the same weight because you weren’t willing to work as hard in the kitchen as you were in the gym.

Owner of Lift Vero and motivational "pfitness, pfood and pfaith" blogger in Vero Beach, Florida.


  • Deekron

    Great article Bonnie. Nutrition is definitely a bigger part of losing weight but fitness and diet do go hand in hand. I’m not sure about the 300 burned will get replaced with a 300 calorie muffin though. The equation is not that simple because our bodies are not 100% efficient at storing every single calorie we ingest. Especially if you’re talking about a thin person eating the 300 calorie muffin vs. an overweight person. Some of us (lucky ones) with fast metabolisms will burn off that muffin more easily. If you’re already thin, your insulin will spike less, and store less fat, than if you’re currently overweight. And if you care about losing weight, you’re probably not going to have that muffin in the first place. But good point, that in most cases, making poor food choices can’t be made up for by exercise alone.

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      We indeed are all different, but my warning is that too many replace the calories burned with calories consumed. Our body truly is checks and balances, while it is more scientific than a simple analogy, the basic principles do apply. And you are SO right! Most people will be less likely to replace those calories with poor choices if they really understand weight loss and are really trying. BUT (bug but) it never ceases to amaze me what clients will eat right after doing a killer fat-burning workout. It’s like they treat their workout totally separate from there eating. Our body is like a bank account, exercise is withdrawals, food is deposits. I’ve also learned that people with a high metabolism are also SO much more active than most heavy people. I’m amazed how sedentary so many people are …and then every calorie just sticks with them. I have a feeling you and I bounce around like the energizer bunny! lol

  • Teresa

    Best article yet!!! Too many times I tell myself I can eat more since I work out but then am unhappy with my lack of results. Thank you!

  • Ally

    Bonnie, your blog is a great resourse. Thank you. Can you do a post (or point me to an existing post) about what to eat for weight loss? eg, what would a typical day’s food look like on weight loss for a woman. Thanks again and God bless.

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      Click on the Welcome tab at the top – those are my top articles to get diet and exercise info. I also recommend my diet handbook (there is a banner for it on the top right) called Get PFIT Handbook. It’s everything I teach our boot campers and clients 🙂 SO GLAD you like my blog!!! <3

  • Francoise Levi

    Actually, if you go back to ‘maintenance’ mode after losing the weight and go back to eating whatever you want, you’ll gain the weight back. People have to realize that they can’t go back to their old eating habits once the weight is gone, and your article is misleading about that… Also, you don’t have to give up the things you love to lose weight.. just eat less of them.

    Otherwise I agree with you!

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      I agree with you. Sorry if I was suggesting that in maintenance mode, you can eat whatever you want. You are absolutely right – you CAN’T, or you will gain weight.

      I kinda touched on maintenance mode in the 7th paragraph where I talk about my maintenance mode (cause it can be a bit different for different people depending on their calorie expenditure): “I keep my calories low throughout the day so I CAN cheat here and there and not gain weight. I may also do an extra cardio to make up for any extra calories, but I never can be completely irresponsible for several days straight or I will blow up quick.”

      Thanks for pitching in in case someone else was under the impression is maintenance mode is eat whatever you want. EEeekk! that would be a huge NO! 🙂 And I’m with you! I eat what I want (not just how much I want, and not every time I want it) …or I’d be big as a cow! lol 🙂

  • Ed Porter

    I am not sure I understand what your saying. Are you saying that if you have a caloric reduction rate of 300 calories via exercise and then consume 300 calories, you will have a net zero effect ?

    • Bonnie Pfiester

      yes. I mean, you’ll be fitter, but you won’t lose weight if your output equals your input. It’s checks and balances. It’s not a zero effect (because exercise is healthy – and it also depends on what your goals are) but it’s a zero effect if you wanting to lose weight. For instance, I burn about 2,200 calories a day, so if I want to lose weight, I have to take in less than that (I normally take 1200-1400 a day when trying to lose weight). If I eat 2200 calories, I don’t lose anything, but I still can tone up and change the shape of my body with exercise, increased protein, decreased carbs/fats – but I won’t lose weight.

      Does that make sense?

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