When Exercise alone isn’t Working
According to a recent study conducted at the University of Leeds in the UK, exercise for weight loss doesn’t always work out the same way for all individuals. While it is not surprise that individuals vary in their ability to lose weight, the real kicker is apparently the finding that some people are more prone to compensatory eating than others.
In this study, thirty-five overweight and obese people participated in a supervised exercise program that lasted for 12 weeks. Unlike other studies in which participants merely reported the amount of exercise they did, this study actually supervised the exercise.
Exercise routines were designed to burn five hundred calories per session. Throughout the session they were monitored and then evaluated at the end of the study for weight loss results.
What the study found was that although all the participants should have been expected to lose weight based on their new exercise routines, some did not. The study further revealed that the reason for some people failing to lose weight was that they were engaging in what scientists call ‘compensatory eating’.
Compensatory eating is just as it sounds, eating more than they otherwise would have had they not been engaged in exercise. As such, these people failed to reap the rewards of their 500 calorie deficits.
Researchers are not sure to what extent this eating is simply a biological drive to eat more when you workout more in order to stabilize weight, or if it more frequently involves more conscious decisions to reward oneself with food.
Although probably some combination of both, the results were interesting in that they showed that for some people simply adding exercise is not enough. If you don’t have a portion restricted or calorie controlled diet alongside the exercise, some people are simply going to eat more and therefore fail to shed the pounds.
So, if you’re exercising like a dog and still failing to lose weight you will have to look more carefully at what you are eating. Keep a running tally of what you’re eating just for a few days and try to observe if you are overcompensating for your exercise with extra calories.
The mathematics of weight loss is usually pretty simple. Expend more calories, consume less and watch the scale move downwards. If this isn’t happening a closer look should help you overcome whatever might be hindering your weight loss progress.
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