The Exercise Myth


When I was a freshman in high school President John Kennedy created The President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Schools  a program where schools were encouraged to improve their physical fitness and exercise programs.

Ever since then we have been told to exercise to lose weight lest we get fat, over weight, or obese. And ever since then Americans have gotten fatter, weigh more, and are more obese then ever.

Rousing success, wasn’t it?

Here’s the thing. It is a total and complete myth that you can lose weight by exercising.

Actually Exercise Makes Us Hungry

While it is true you have to burn calories to lose weight, and while we do burn some calories while exercising, for most of us exercise is not enough. Then there is the strange thing that exercise makes us hungry. So then we eat more in a never ending cycle of exercise, eat, exercise, eat, exercise more and harder, eat more………….

This does not mean that there are not good and healthy reasons to engage in moderate exercise. However, if your goal is to lose weight you are probably not going lose weight by exercising.

According to The Guardian:

More and more research in both the UKand the USis emerging to show that exercise has a negligible impact on weight loss. [Emphasis mine.]

In fact, in the research cited in the article above, some of the subjects who exercised the most gained weight, while those who did not exercise at all lost weight.

Another issue is the number of injuries from too strenuous workouts.

Playgrounds in Fast Food Restaurants

Why do you think so many fast food establishments have jungle gyms and playgrounds in their stores???? They know that exercise stimulates hunger. Hunger leads to more hamburgers being purcha$ed.

In an article in the Denver Post:

If you still think sit-ups will reduce your belly flab, we’ve got some depressing news: You’ve fallen for one of the all-time great exercise myths.

Fitness misconceptions are rampant, in part due to misleading infomercials, but also because scientific results are mixed on some commonly held beliefs.

Meanwhile, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily benefit another.

In other words, when it comes to losing weight there is no, “one size fits all,”  program.

There is an excellent book, The Exercise Myth by Dr. Henry A. Soloman, M.D. if you want a more in-depth look at this issue.

Exercise Not Efficient

Exercise is not the most efficient way to lose weight. The math just is not in our favor. It takes about two hours of cycling to burn off just 500 calories. Who has two hours to exercise every day?

Furthermore, women’s bodies store fat more efficiently than men making it harder to lose weight. During exercise women’s blood levels of insulin decrease while appetite hormones increase. Not so in men.

Also from the Guardian article was a report of a French study. In a nutshell, they studied students at school.  Those that had lots of Physical Education classes in school flopped down when they got home. But those children who had less P.E. at school perked up when they got home. The conclusion is that physical activity is controlled by the brain.

Also from the Guardian article:

The latest scientific findings from the US suggest that an intense workout in the gym is actually less effective than gentle exercise in terms of weight loss.


One way to get some gentle exercise is to walk 15-20 minutes a day. This can be achieved in many ways: park your car away from the entrance when you shop and walk to the store. Take a flight of stairs at the office rather than the elevator.


Why No One tells You This

I doubt we hear too much about the real way we can lose weight. If we did it would mean the loss of a multi-billion dollar weight loss industry: exercise equipment, gyms, weight loss programs, diet foods, weight loss books,  weight loss pills, and all the other weight loss products out there.

Featured Recipe   
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes

A picture of this recipe is on the cover of the November 2011 Whole Living magazine, a Martha Stewart magazine. I knew the second I saw the picture I was going to make this recipe and that I would love it. (If you click on the Whole Living link above and then scroll down about half way  you will see the cover of the November issue on the right side of the page.)

I knew then too it was a Thanksgiving recipe. This is the first of several Thanksgiving recipes I will share with you this year. I will share several sides you can choose from and one entrée. All of them budget friendly, of course.

I love roasted Brussels Sprouts. I make them a lot. In fact, I make roasted vegetables a lot becasue they are so easy. And I have cooked grapes in the skillet till they pop ~~~  Sweet Italian Sausages with Grapes ~~~ and I love them too. I never thought about putting the two together. So I knew this recipe would be scrumpdillyishous! I was not disappointed.

I leave out the thyme and the Balsamic vinegar. I tried the Balsamic vinegar once and it was very good. But it does tend to over power the sweetness of the sprouts and grapes. So I leave it out. I did not like the thyme in this recipe at all.

I also left out the walnuts simply to keep the cost of the recipe down for you. They are very good in the recipe and give a nice crunch to the dish. But theyare very expensive.

 One of the things I really like about this recipe, is that in the picture of the finished dish on the cover of Whole Living, you can see that some of the grapes still have the stems on them. That is soooo cool!!  This is one of those details Martha Stewart does so well.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

12 ounces Brussels sprouts or about 6 per person

12 ounces grapes, about ½ pound

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Optional Ingredients:

2  tablespoons fresh thyme

1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar

¼ cup walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped

Here is what you do:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash the sprouts and grapes.

Trim a  thin slice from the stem or hard part at the bottom of the sprouts. Do not cut the entire stem off or the leaves will all fall off.  Then remove the outer leaves of the sprouts.

Then cut each sprout in half, or into fourths if really large.

Now remove the stems from the grapes. If you like the idea of keeping a few on the stems do that as well.

Optional: If you are using the thyme strip the leaves off of the stem until you have 2 tablespoons.

Place the halved sprouts, the grapes, and thyme if using on a baking sheet or two. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the salt and pepepr.

NOTE: Do not crowd the sprouts and grapes on the baking sheet. Use two baking sheets if necessary. I only used half the amounts of sprouts and grapes so I did not need two sheets.

Using your fingers mix everything till the sprouts and grapes are coated in the olive oil.

Place the sprouts and grapes in the oven and roast until caramelized and tender, about 20 minutes. Check at least once during the roasting to ensure the sprouts brown but do not burn.

NOTE: If you are using the walnuts, while the sprouts and grapes are roasting  give the walnuts a rough chop and toast them over low heat in a skillet. Just toast them till you can begin to smell them.

When the sprouts and grapes are done remove them from the oven.

Optional:  If you are using the Balsamic vinegar, add 1 teaspoon to the sprouts and grapes and scrape up the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. You can easily see those dark caramelized bits on the pan in the picture below.

If using the walnuts add them right before serving.

Bon appétit!!!


12 ouncesBrusselssprouts              $2.88

12 ounces grapes                          $2.41

1-2 tablespoons olive oil                 $0.24

Salt & pepper to taste

Total cost = $5.53
Cost per person = $1.38

Quote of the Day

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall.

Nelson Mandela


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