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Secrets From the Eating Lab Chapter 12 and Final Words

Monday, February 24, 2020


Perks for exercising:
*More Energy
*Better Mood
*Look better in clothes
*Better sleep
*Lower resting heart rate and blood pressure

But, exercise does not cause much weight loss. One reason exercise won’t lead to MAJOR weight loss is you need to exercise a lot to burn off one indulgent treat.

Many end up eating more calories than they burned in their exercise period. One study showed people eating larger portions because they were exercising.

So, while exercise may not lead to weight loss, there are reasons to do it:
1.) It Really Does Make You Healthier
Exercise may increase your life span. Exercise also lowers your chances of developing major diseases including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

It is never too late to start to exercise to experience the benefits. Exercise helps even if you do not lose weight. Significant weight loss isn’t necessary to reap the health benefits of exercise.

A weight loss study, lasting 12 weeks, where the participants exercised in the researchers’ lab showed not all lost weight. Some even gained weight and it was not because of an increase of muscle. However, all participants showed improvements in heart rate, blood pressure and fitness levels.

Exercise improves your health whether you lose weight or not. A study where the groups were divided – those that exercised and those who just dieted. Those that exercised showed health improvements and those that dieted only did not show any health improvements.

2.) Exercise Really Does Make You Feel Better
Exercise helps control stress. No matter where our stress comes from, we need to learn to manage it.

The body’s response to stress is the release of the hormone epinephrine and raises blood pressure, (the flight or fight response). Everyday stress can activate the sympathetic nervous system which can eventually damage your heart and blood vessels.

On the other hand, stress slows down the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls functions such as growth, digestion, reproduction and energy storage.

Stress also causes the body to release cortisol. Higher level of cortisol can lead to higher blood sugar levels and storage of belly fat. Cortisol can also suppress the immune system.

Exercise can help us deal with stress as a distraction from worries. Having to focus of the rhythm and repetition of some exercises such as running or swimming can relax the mind.

Exercise sessions, even as short as 10 minutes can make you feel better by improving your mood, just do not increase the intensity to be more than what you are used to doing.

3.) Exercise Helps Your Think, Sleep And Age Gracefully
A regular aerobic exercise program helps provide long-term cognitive benefits – memory and decision making.

Morning exercise sessions may actually help improve sleep.

Us Government recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity per week, plus 2 sessions of muscles strengthening exercises.

Moderate intensity --> increase heart rate to 64 – 76% of maximum heart rates. The author states this is more intense than most realize and recommends using a heart monitor.

150 minutes = 30 minutes 5 days a week or you can break it up into 10 minute sessions. Either way, you will get the same benefit.

There is a gap between what we plan to do and what we end up doing.

There are barriers that keep us from exercising:

New mom with newborn
Kids missed the bus and now parents need to take time to drive them to school
Cannot afford a gym membership or exercise equipment
No safe place to go

Less motivation because we think we are not good at the activity
We aren’t losing weight
We do not see immediate health benefits
Just do not like to exercise

How to Stop Wiggling Out of Working Out
If you are too tired for a workout session after work, try to do it in the morning or at lunch time. You can pack your gym bag and leave it by the door.

Make your exercise time separate from what you want to do for “fun” in your free time. Your exercise time should be set aside for just that, exercise. Don’t make other plans for that time.

Instead of punishing yourself your missing a workout, reward yourself for doing it. However, it needs to be an immediate reward and often.

What if exercise itself was the reward? Find something you enjoy doing.

Be active without a specific health goal or weight loss in mind. Focus on a skill set within the exercise where you can become better. For instance, in yoga, try doing new poses; in running or walking, increase your distance within a particular time, etc.

Changes in fitness levels and skills can come quickly, but exercising to lose weight may become disappointing because it may happen slowly or not at all.

There are many measurable changes in fitness levels to track: number of push-ups, how far and fast you can run or bike, how much weight you can lift, etc.

Exercise may help you make healthier choices in what to eat. You just finished an exercise session and feel great and therefore, do not want to put junk into your body.


Make exercise a habit by using some of the same strategies for healthy eating.

“to create a habit we need to repeatedly pair a healthy behavior with a particular setting or cue…”
-Use the stairs instead of the elevator
-Use the If-Then strategy in anticipation of those times you know you will be tempted to skip your workout session. Example: “If I am tempted to skip a workout because I am too tired, then I will workout at a lower intensity.” Odds are once you get started, the motivation will be there and you’ll workout at your normal intensity.

We need to ACT on our intention to exercise. Sometimes having a workout partner will help you stick with a plan. IT may make you more likely to show up because you do not want to disappoint your workout buddy. Once you start, then you may exercise more intensely than if you worked out alone.

There are other benefits to exercise than losing weight. Find an exercise you enjoy doing, and then do it and reap the benefits.

There is not “diet” that will be the one that works to lose weight and keep it off, no diet is easy and pleasant to follow.

Diets don’t work. Giving up dieting means eating in a sensible way most of the time, without extensive rules or restrictions.

Dieting can cause stress in your life, while exercise and eating nutritious food can minimize stress.

Your goal ought to be leanest livable weight, which is that comfortable weight at the low-end of your weight range. Exercise regularly, use some of the smart regulations strategies to create reasonable eating habits.

As a reminder here are the strategies
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 1: Encounter Less Temptation by Creating Obstacles. (Chapter. 6)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 2: Make Healthy Food More Accessible and Noticeable. (Chapter. 6)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 3: Be Alone With a Vegetable (Chapter. 6)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 4: Eat With Healthy Eaters (Chapter 7)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 5: Get Someone in Your Household to Change Their Eating Habits. (Chapter 7)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 6: Don’t Eat Healthy Food Because It Is Healthy (Chapter 8)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 7: Change How You Think About Tempting Food (Chapter 8)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 8: Turn Healthy Choices into Habits (Chapter 9)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 9: Create an Automatic Plan for Anticipated Problems (Chapter 9)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 10: Pre-Commit to a Penalty for Indulging (Chapter 9)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 11: Don’t Eat Unhealthy Food for Comfort (Chapter 10)
SMART REGULATION STRATEGY 12: Savor (Nearly) Everything (Chapter 10)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you so much for sharing the book with us. I found quite a few surprises and things I need to think more about.
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    30 days ago
    I love the realistic analysis of eating that this book reveals. Much more useful than "the latest and greatest plan."
    33 days ago
    Thank you for sharing. This is very interesting.
    33 days ago
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