3 reasons you’re not losing weight…reason #2

Today we’re diving into the 2nd reason you may not be losing weight or seeing results from your workout routine.

In my last post, I told you I hated to admit the reason (eating wisely) was true, but this one I kind of love.

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Reason #2: you’re focusing too much on “cardio.”

What? You don’t have to do hours and hours of cardio to lose weight? Absolutely not.

It’s great news for all of us.

Now don’t get be wrong, I’m a big proponent of movement; moving your body as much as possible, staying active and getting your heart rate up on a regular basis.

But another misconception that many of us have when it comes to losing weight is that we have to do hours and hours of “cardio” to burn calories – and then we will finally lose weight or see results.

I was queen of cardio in college. I’d go to the gym, hop on the elliptical and watch TV as I slaved away one foot after the other.

Did I see results? Nope. Not at all.

I didn’t see results because of faulty thinking.

I used to believe that if I did cardio or “worked out” that day I could eat or drink more of what I wanted.

When I was in my 20’s I specifically remember running 2 miles in the morning and feeling so proud of my efforts that I would treat myself with a large Ice Blended from The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

Just to give you a little perspective on how faulty my thinking was:

Calories burned during a 2 mile run at 10 minute pace: 200

Calories in a large Ice Blended: 600

Yikes.

I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in this temptation to reward myself after long, boring cardio sessions.

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For me, it all changed when I started Pilates.

Pilates didn’t rev my metabolism in the same way (for better or worse) which saved me from over-indulging and rewarding myself for a grueling workout.

Pilates let me to be more mindful of my body, my movement and my choices which carried over into my choices in the kitchen.

Rather than rewarding myself and (unknowingly) replacing my calories burned and then some, I found myself wanting to make food choices that supported my work on the mat.

So is cardio bad?

Absolutely not. Exercise that elevates your heart rate and improves your cardiovascular health is wonderful and I highly recommend it (please don’t send me an email telling me I said cardio is not good for you).

But the bad habit that many of us fall into is slaving away doing cardio as we’ve been told to do; cardio that we don’t enjoy; so that we can indulge (or over-indulge) later.

The important point I want to drive home is that even if you are doing hours of cardio like you “should,” if you aren’t being mindful of your food choices and movement choices you will not lose weight or see results.

RobinLongRunning1

What to do right now…

I challenge you to take an honest look at your cardio routine.

Can you relate to my story of doing cardio and then rewarding yourself beyond what it is healthy?

How can you incorporate cardio into your routine in a way that promotes balance, healthy food choices and mindfulness?

Come over to my Facebook page and let me know that you read this post and you’re thinking about this concept.

I’d love to hear any realizations or thoughts you have as well.

Have a great week! Stay tuned….reason #3 will be going out soon.

xo,
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PS – to get caught up: my disclaimer on writing about weight loss and Reason #1 you’re not losing weight or seeing results.

PPS – If you recognize some of your habits in this post I encourage you to join us in The Balanced Life Sisterhood. We are a community of women committed to living balanced, healthy, mindful lives in a way that makes us feel our best. Click here to check out what you get each month as a member of The Sisterhood.

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7 Comments
  1. Jodie 5 years ago

    Great post. How much is the 6 week program? Thanks

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Jodie!
      The 2015 price is still being finalized by it will be around $300 for the full 6 weeks. All materials are yours to keep. I’ve been told it’s a very good deal. 🙂
      xo,
      Robin

  2. Urban Wife 5 years ago

    The older I become, the more I realize just how true this is! If my eating is healthy, then I don’t have to worry so much about “pounding pavement” every single day especially when it’s not always feasible. Something I definitely tend to struggle with as a runner, but am learning to be balanced about it.

  3. Lauren Carmichael 5 years ago

    I mean this with the highest respect, but I think your post is misleading. The difficulty you described with losing weight in the past stemmed from your choices with food, not your choices with cardio. As you explained, you replaced (and exceeded) the calories you burned through the food you ate. You viewed food as your reward. Losing weight comes down to math, right? Burn more calories than you consume, or consume less calories than you burn (hard to do), or a balanced combination of the two (most reasonable option) will result in weight loss. As you covered in the Reason #1 post, not every calorie is equal on the health scale and the types of foods we eat are important for weight loss and health. The problem is not about focusing too much on cardio, as you stated, it’s focusing too much on food and using food as a reward for exercise. I know I’m guilty of it! Our heart health and bone health depends on cardiovascular, aerobic movement. The most long-lasting method of losing weight is to develop a lifestyle of a consistent combination of cardiovascular movement, strengthening movement (yay Pilates!), and mindful, healthy food choices. Cardio is just as important as the other two. I wish this post and your challenge to us would have been to take an honest look at how we view food and how much we are really eating. I’m afraid that telling us we are too focused on cardio will mislead some folks into thinking that we really don’t need it to be healthy and lose weight. It’s just not true. That’s not to say we should all become slaves to the gym 2 hours a day, 7 days a week or run 100 miles each week. Consistent amounts of cardio will increase your resting metabolism (and burn more calories throughout the day) but that shouldn’t be an excuse to over-indulge with food. If a person has a tendency to over-indulge (raising my hand!), that’s where the focus for change should be… not on the type of exercise. I mean no disrespect or judgment at all. I still struggle with overeating whether I’ve worked out or not. I guess that is the reason why I feel passionately about this subject and need to remind myself daily of these very things as well. And I know your focus here is on Pilates over other forms of exercise; it’s your business and you’re beginning to promote the body program. I value your expertise and guidance and remain a loyal follower, just wanted to share my thoughts.

    • Robin Long 5 years ago

      Hi Lauren!
      I totally understand your thoughts and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. We actually agree on almost all points. 🙂

      If you re-read the post you’ll find that I stated clearly, “Now don’t get be wrong, I’m a big proponent of movement; moving your body as much as possible, staying active and getting your heart rate up on a regular basis.” and “Is cardio bad? Absolutely not. Exercise that elevates your heart rate and improves your cardiovascular health is wonderful. But the bad habit that many of us fall into is slaving away doing cardio as we’ve been told to do; cardio that we don’t enjoy; so that we can indulge (or over-indulge) later. The important point I want to drive home is that even if you are doing hours of cardio like you “should,” if you aren’t being mindful of your food choices and movement choices you will not lose weight or see results.”

      I realize I was walking a fine line with this post but I stand by my personal experience of working with hundreds of women who don’t understand why they’re not seeing results when they are focusing on the one thing – cardio. Through the 80’s and 90’s were told to to focus on cardio, cardio, cardio and low fat foods and that is no longer what science supports.

      I agree with much of what you said. I think it’s a matter of semantics to stay “focusing too much on cardio” vs “focusing too much on food”. My intention in this post was to share that focusing too much on one or the other is a common problem that people run into.

      I receive emails every week from women asking me why they’re not losing weight or seeing results even though they’ve been going to the gym and doing cardio 6 days per week.

      We really do agree and I see how my final question focuses more on the cardio than the food question – but for so many of us the two go together. My personal journey (and many of the women I work with) with weight loss is so deeply connected to this idea of “cardio” and that being the ONE thing that will get us into a healthy place. And what’s most important is our thought process around it and how it affects the way we treat our body the rest of the day.

      I do appreciate your thoughts and appreciate you sharing them with respect. You have great points and I respect them as well! All in all, my intention is to share that focusing TOO MUCH on any one part of healthy living is going to cause some problems. Whether that be cardio, weight lifting, dieting, or binging.

  4. Robin Melancon 5 years ago

    This post came at the right time. I’ve never had a weight problem…but after 3 kids there are “problem areas” that I’ve noticed don’t ebb as quickly as they do flow these days 🙂 I’ve done a combination of things in the past 20 years, running, yoga, Pilates…and I enjoy them all at different times for different reasons…but what I didn’t know – as slip I into my 40th year – is that my IN was really more then my OUT…I thought – oh a 20 min run will keep me on the loosing path. But, these days after failing to meet that goal of loosing a few inches around the belly – I bought a fitbit and started really getting serious about what goes in and not focusing as much on what I’m doing to burn it – just do something while monitoring my intake…and bam…in a week of eating the right calories (and even some wrong, like that extra glass of wine, but then not having that roll with dinner type of stuff) and doing whatever I could to burn calories and be in the ZONE (some days running, some-days your videos (LOVE THEM)…I lost 2 pounds and an inch off my waist-line…bottom line – you are so right – i was mindful of my moving choices (putting too much focus on them) and not enough on my food choices (eating more then that run burned)…simple math 🙂

  5. Maureen 4 years ago

    I walk with my hubby and son every day but have trouble viewing that as “enough”. When I do cardio workouts, I find I eat much more after, not to reward myself but because I feel hungry because I think I’ve worked really hard. Walking gives me movement without that happening.

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