As a kid, I loved when my dad told this joke.
However, we all know that when you lose your keys its best to look for them where you lost them, not where the light is better. You'd think the fitness industry would get this joke by now but alas they don't.
Fat loss or gain has virtually nothing to do with exercise or the lack of it. Why people continue to focus on exercise as the cause or cure when study after study shows that exercise is virtually worthless is beyond me.
When I go to work each day, I pass by several major gyms like the Equinox and NY Sports Clubs. I look into the windows and see dozens of people hamstering away on the treadmills. I feel for these folks who have been fed a load of fitness bologna and who would be better off eating such rather then the rabbit food they will scarf down after their hour long bout of joint pounding plodding.
If you're a believer in exercise for fat loss and haven't read this article by Gary Taubes yet, please do so.
Significant fat loss can only be achieved by eating in a manner that promotes the release of fat from your fat cells and resists fat storage within them. What this means is, you need to eat in such a way that your fat storing and releasing hormones are in your favor.
Any basic nutritional biochemistry textbook will reveal that this hormone is insulin. I will spare you the science lesson and dish out the answer:
Don't eat refined carbohydrates and limit your carbohydrate intake to vegetables only.
Many of you may argue with this but resistance is futile. Biochemistry is biochemistry. We are all the same when it comes to our internal workings on this matter more or less. Mary Smith will not do better than Anne Jones eating lots of sugar and little fat to maximize fat loss.
Though exercise should not be considered a viable means of fat loss, it does provide benefits that can aid fat loss a touch. It improves insulin sensitivity. If performed correctly, it can build muscle and bone thus increasing your metabolism an eensy-weensy bit. It can elevate mood and provide a sense of well being which decreases stress. All of these outcomes aid fat loss.
But for maximizing fat loss? Fagettaboutit.