You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet

I have tried many exercise regimens: running, Zumba, kickboxing, hip-hop, boot camp, etc. When people find out I’m a dietitian they always ask me the same thing; why are they not losing weight when they are exercising “all the time”. Let’s break it down shall we?

First and foremost, many people tend to overestimate how much and how often they workout and underestimate how many calories they eat.  Let’s be honest, working out for 30 minutes 3 days a week is not going to burn enough calories to lose a significant amount of weight. Often we feel that since we are exercising we can indulge in extra treats or bigger helpings at meals without us noticing what we are doing. This leads to frustration when you step on the scale and don’t see any progress.

Others actually workout very hard, 4-7 days a week for an hour each day but still don’t see results. Why? Most likely it’s because their daily calorie intakes are higher because they feel they can eat whatever they want because they exercise. Unless you’re a competitive athlete, this is not true (and in most cases they too have to restrict their diets to perform at an optimal level).  A proper diet is 70% of weight loss and exercise is 30%. But when both are done in unison you will get 100% results!

How can you be successful in creating a winning combination?

  • Do some form of physical activity for at least 150-250 minutes a week.  This sounds like a lot but is just 30 minutes 3-5 times a week. Without any changes to your eating, this can lead to 4-7 lbs of weight loss per year.  With some appropriate calorie restriction, this can be significantly increased (average between 10-20 lbs in a year). 
  • Can’t exercise for 30 minutes at a stretch? Break it down to 10-minute segments throughout the day. Every minute counts towards your daily goal!
  • Which workout burns the most calories? Answer:  the one you stick with! If you don’t love (or at the least like) the physical activity that you’re doing, you won’t stick with it or do it consistently. Whether it’s walking, dancing, gardening or any form of activity that gets your heart rate up for a sustained period of time, just do it and do it often.
  • Instead of 3 large meals, start eating 5 smaller meals/snacks throughout the day. Fueling your body with small frequent meals and snacks make it a calorie burning machine. Each meal or snack should consist of a protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat.
  • The kind of calories you eat makes a big difference in your success. Eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well as lean proteins and healthy fats (yes fats are important) in the right amounts can leave you feeling satisfied and happy rather than deprived.

The road to success awaits you; so eat and run, walk, or dance your way to a new you!

Vijaya is the lead dietitian and president of Alamo Nutrition Consultants LLC, a private nutrition counseling practice located in San Antonio. If you would like to schedule an appointment to jump start your weight loss goals, ANC can help. For more information, call 210-971-0044 or visit their website at

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