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Exercise and hunger – the compensation problem

By May 23, 2012 May 28th, 2012 No Comments

Modern thinking and research leads us to think that exercise is a vital part of any weight loss problem. But is it? On its own and with no adjustment of calorific input (what you eat) exercise has been shown by many studies to actually make some people fatter. Exercise and hunger have a complex relationship.

Your weight is an equation that includes lots of factors, not just how much you exercise vs how much you eat. There are also hormonal factors, emotional issues, psychological complications and genetics to be considered.

Many studies have shown that although exercise does indeed burn calories, it may not be as much as you think. Exercise also makes you more hungry and can lead to a compensation culture. Let’s say that you have done an hour in the gym. You have worked reasonably hard. But, feeling great and guilt free, you then go to Starbucks and have a muffin. You burned 400 calories in the gym, but the muffin contains 600. It’s not looking good. If this carries on then over the course of a few weeks you will start to get fat.

Your weight will be influenced by many factors, but the energy gap remains the most important one. This is the difference between the amount of calories that you take in compared to the amount that you expend. Exercise will make a difference, but you must also look at the calories that you are burning outside of exercise. Including more activity in your every day routine will make as much difference as working out. Being controlled and disciplined with eating is also vital.

Other things that will make a difference are the type of exercise that you do, the intensity and duration, as well as the frequency. There is a contentious but interesting article from Time magazine here.

So keep exercising, remembering that exercise is not just about weight loss. It’s the most powerful tool in the world to keep you health, happy and fit into old age. But look at all the other factors that will help to make you lighter. Put all of the pieces togther and success will be yours!

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