why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight

Last week, I was scrolling through the Cupcakes & Cashmere weekly links when I saw one for an article about why people should stop blaming carbs for making them fat. Since I'd just written this post about carbs, I was intrigued and clicked through. It brought me to Vox, which is a site that posts ideas/opinions backed by actual science.

Although sites like Pop Sugar and Refinery29 are fun to browse, their advice and opinion pieces aren't always backed by much. I found it really refreshing to be reading something that had actual evidence behind it, so I started down the Vox rabbit hole of articles. One in particular I found especially interesting. It was all about the scientific connection, or lack there of, between exercise and weight loss.

The conventional formula we've always been told is diet + exercise = weight loss. But what if that's wrong? What if exercising actually won't help you lose weight? Well that's exactly what certain scientists have observed and come to believe.

The article points to how small a portion of daily calorie burn exercise actually accounts for, and how difficult it is to create any significant calorie deficit through exercising to back their claim. It was well written and easy to understand, so instead of recounting it, you can just check it out here. The video at the top sums it all up nicely.

I'm not going to lie though, my mind was a little bit blown, especially since it totally explained some of my own experiences. Just a couple months ago, I decided I was going to kick my exercise routine into full gear. Orange Theory, a high intensity interval class, had just opened a studio down the street from my office and was offering discounted memberships. I took full advantage and attended their hour long, butt busting class six days a week for two months straight, fully expecting to be in the best shape of my life by the end of it.

Well that far from happened.

It turns out, I actually gained weight instead of losing any. It could have been muscle mass, but I wasn't noticing any difference in the way I looked and neither were my friends or family. I couldn't understand how I'd been killing myself six days a week for two months and had no physical results to show for it. After reading this article, I feel like I've figured it out.

This new info isn't a free pass to throw your running shoes out the window or cancel your gym membership though. Exercise is still one of the number one ways to increase your lifespan and improve your overall health. It's also important for maintaining weight loss, even though it's not the golden ticket for getting there.

I'm far from swearing off exercise all together, but this newfound knowledge has allowed me to take a more realistic approach to working out. Like maybe killing myself in the gym six days a week isn't necessary? And if I happen to miss a workout for whatever reason, it might not be the end of the world. Revolutionary right? Maybe you knew that all along, but in a city where there's an exercise studio on every block and Equinox ads on every corner, it's easy to fall into that extreme of a mindset. This article was a great reminder to always seek balance.


  1. Yes, balance is everything. And wow, 6 days a week! I can't even get myself up the couch. Lol. I'm no fitness pro but most of the stuff I've read before do say that you only need to exercise a few days a week and give your body a break in between. Enjoy your fitness journey!

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    1. Thanks, Jeanne! I totally agree, 6 days a week of high intensity exercise is way too much and can actually put more stress on your body. I've transitioned to a much more realistic schedule and it's really been so much better all around. Thanks for reading!

  2. I agree - it's all about balance!
    A crazy amount of people still think carbs are evil. My friend just said this morning she was trying to eat less "bad" foods so she's going to cut out rice because carbs.

    1. Carbs are so not evil! And I agree that it's never good to place foods in the "bad" category - it's all about moderation and balance!

  3. This is interesting! I like working out to make sure I am fit or I don't feel like I'm panting by just going up the stairs, but I do think a lot of the weight (or fat) loss is based on diet... It's good to think of this to not kill yourself to work out and think of it all as a balance. Thanks for this food for thought!

    1. I couldn't agree more! I love working out and will always incorporate it into my life, but for the right reasons! Thanks so much for reading.


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