Why You Shouldn’t Count On Exercise Alone to Lose Weight

iStock_scale saying help

Have you been exercising regularly without seeing much weight loss? If so, you may need to make some adjustments to your eating plan.


A recent study at the University of Texas has shown that exercise alone without adjustments to diet produces minimal weight loss. The University studied two sedentary control groups. One group of 50 people made no changes to their diet or activity levels at all and were monitored for 12 weeks.

The second group of 50 people exercised with a personal trainer up to five hours per week for a total of 12 weeks and made no changes to their weekly diet. This group lost a mere 1.5 lbs in 12 weeks. I know what you’re thinking, not that impressive.

I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 26 years and I can confirm that these statistics are unfortunately true.  Unless you are exercising at the level of an Olympic athlete or a professional football player, it’s pretty tough to lose weight with exercise alone.

Please understand, this DOES NOT mean you should quit exercising. Quite the opposite! The study reveals that exercise alone makes it hard to lose weight.  There are many reasons we should all be exercising regularly.  Research shows that exercise can help with depression, lower the risk for heart disease and cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes, and even grow new brain cells.  Exercise is an excellent anti-aging tool. It’s just not that effective when it comes to weight loss.

The best way to shed pounds for good is a combination of a healthy eating plan AND regular exercise.


1)  Eat carbohydrates.  This is where the media often gets it wrong.  Your body needs carbohydrates to lose weight.  What’s most important is the type of carbohydrates you are eating.  Skip the processed white flour and focus on whole grains like wild rice, quinoa, brown rice, organic corn, and beans.

Sweet potatoes and other root vegetables are great options as well.

2) Plan your meals.  Planning your meals helps you eat regularly and choose the right foods to stabilize your blood sugar.  Stabilizing your blood sugar helps you avoid “storing fat.”  You need to eat food to burn energy or “calories.”  However, what you eat really does matter.

Try websites or magazines like Cooking Light and Eating Well.  Make sure your three main meals are balanced and have a combination of complex carbohydrates (whole grains), protein, healthy fats, fruit, and lots of vegetables.  You can never go wrong with plenty of veggies!

3) Snack wisely. A small serving of chips is about 150 calories on average. But, did you know you can eat four cups of popcorn for only 60 calories? Popcorn is way more filling, and will keep you satisfied longer. Not crazy about popcorn? Eat a piece of fruit.

4) Limit the fast food. I realize this may be obvious to some. However, with 25% of our nation eating fast food daily, I do not like to ignore this one.  One of our family members lost 22 pounds when she gave up her daily trip to the fast food joint and started brown-bagging her lunch.  And, she did not add any exercise to her daily routine.

Most of us picture a drive through window when we think of fast food. However, fast food can come from restaurants that are considered “healthy” as well. When you let someone else cook the meal, you have zero control over how the meal is prepared and/or the ingredients.

Take a look at what’s on the menu at your favorite take out restaurant and decide if the food choices meet your weight loss goals. If not, look for other take out options. Or, have some healthy frozen food on hand and combine it with a fresh salad for a last minute dinner option.

5) Eat Breakfast! This important meal jump starts your metabolism. Once you are awake the body has already been fasting for an average of 10-12 hours depending on eating and sleeping patterns.

Skipping breakfast increases the fast to approximately 15-20 hours. This keeps the body from producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat to lose weight. When you skip breakfast, you risk sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

Not hungry in the morning? Start with something simple like a piece of a fruit, and have the rest of your breakfast as a mid-morning snack.

A well balanced eating plan is critical for weight loss. When you combine exercise with the right nutrition, it will be easy to lose weight and keep it off for good.

Any questions? Please ask me in the comment section below. I’m happy to help!


The safer and way more effective than “fad” diets secret

The safer and way more effective than “fad” diets secret

Did you remember to eat breakfast today? I really hope so! It’s one of the most important things you can do if you want to lose and/or maintain your weight.

In today’s video I share the main reason you want to eat breakfast, how soon you should eat something after you wake up, and what to do if you are not really a “breakfast person.”

After watching this three minute video you will never want to skip breakfast again. I promise. 🙂

Have a great day!
Jennifer Ledford

P.S. Greta, our little chihuahua mix makes a surprise guest appearance. You don’t want to miss it. 🙂

Drinking Water Can Help You Lose Weight


Everyone tells you to drink more water– and it can be life threatening if you don’t get enough.

However, not only is it important to stay hydrated for health reasons, being properly hydrated also helps you lose weight.

Let me explain.

Being properly hydrated helps you stay energized during physical activity and throughout your day.  The more active you are, the more calories you burn.

A hydrated body looks leaner. Why? Because when you’re dehydrated, you retain water.  Yikes!

I bet the magazine rack has at least one headline screaming “Rev up your metabolism with this one trick!” Well, here’s a good one.  If you drink enough water you help your body to metabolize properly. When you’re dehydrated, your metabolism can slow down.  We all know what that means for weight loss.

So how much water should you be drinking?

It depends. The suggested guidelines for water consumption used to be sixty-four ounces per day. While it is still a good amount of water for some, others may need more. Here are some guidelines to help you decide:

Drink more fluids when you are in situations where your body loses water:

in warmer climates,
during more intense exercise,
at high altitudes.

Try to be more aware of your water intake:

if you’re the type of person who usually doesn’t notice thirst; or
when you are very busy and likely to forget to drink.
If you talk for a living. Water is lost though saliva.

Here’s five tips to increase your fluid intake:

1) Try naturally flavored waters. Flavored water and various other “hydrating” drinks usually have some type of sugar in them, pay attention to the calories on the label.

An alternative to buying flavored waters would be making your own. The possibilities are endless. Cucumber, mint, ginger, lemon, lime, strawberries, and raspberries are all examples of natural foods and herbs you can flavor your water with.  Allow the fruits, vegetables, or herbs to soak in the water for a few hours for the flavors to release.

2) Eat foods that are mostly water each day.  Include foods high in water like oranges, watermelon, yoghurt, grapefruit, pineapples, and broth-based soups when choosing your meals and snacks.

(3) Replace still water with sparkling water. If you discover sparkling water works for you, consider getting an in home soda machine. They take up very little counter space. You also save money and there are less bottles to recycle. This helped my husband Matthew go from not liking water to drinking plenty of it!

4) Add a glass of coconut water to your day.  Coconut water is a great way to hydrate and get potassium.  It’s used as a natural alternative to sports drinks, but you don’t have to be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of this popular beverage.

5) Have a hydrating beverage with every meal. Tacking a new goal on to an established habit is usually less daunting than trying to develop a new habit on it’s own. For example setting a goal of drinking a glass of sparkling water at dinner seems more manageable than a goal to drink 64 oz. of water every day.

How do you know when you’re getting enough water?

The best way to tell if you are hydrated is the color of your urine. Clear to pale yellow is ideal. Yellow to dark yellow means you need water, and if it looks like tea or beer you are dehydrated! Supplements can also cause urine to be dark yellow. So keep that in consideration.

Avoid allowing yourself to get “thirsty”. If you are getting a thirst signal then the body is already too low on water!

At first it may seem like you have to go to the bathroom a lot. This is normal when you up your water consumption. It is not uncommon to have to use the restroom every hour.

If you sit at a desk, this will encourage you to get up and move every hour. It also allows you to monitor your progress!

Have a question or a comment? Leave a note for me below. I love to hear from you!


Jennifer Ledford