We all know how hard it is to lose weight.
We slog away on the treadmill, lift heavy weights, and even try to dance our weight away with Zumba.
But our flab remains as stubborn as America on gun control. Why is that?
New Study Tries To Find Out Why
A new study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition might have the answer.
According to The New York Times, researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research and other institutions recruited 171 sedentary, overweight men and women for a controlled study.
They measured the participants’ weight and metabolic rates. They then assigned exercise programmes to some, while others were to continue their normal lives as a comparison.
For instance, in one programme, participants had to exercise on treadmills or exercise bikes until they had burned eight calories for every kilogram of their body weight. In another, they had to burn 20 calories for every kilogram of body weight.
Then, after six months of this monitored exercise, participants returned to the lab for remeasurements.
The results were surprising, to say the least.
The participants who continued their normal routines without exercise did not lose any weight, as expected.
But neither did most of the exercisers.
Some exercisers had lost a few kilograms, but most of them had lost less weight than expected. How is that possible?
It Could Be Compensation
Researchers found out that the exercisers had compensated for their extra calorie loss.
They weren’t moving less, like lazing in a massage chair for four hours after exercises, but they were eating more.
Many of us fall into this trap. “Phew, I can’t believe I ran a whole marathon. I deserve a whole pizza and a chocolate cake as a reward!”.
For some exercisers, this compensation only amounted to about 90 to 125 additional calories a day, which is about one large apple.
But this was enough to undo their hard work in the gym.
A Worthy Trade-Off?
Researchers also found that those who had compensated the most tended to be ones who believed that healthy habits justified other, not-so-healthy ones.
Exercisers who avoided the extra snack, however, did lose weight.
So what’s the takeaway here?
If you see a creamy slice of cake after exercising for hours in the gym and think, “well, I did exercise today”, put your salivating tongue back in your mouth, and walk away.
Your body will thank you later.
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