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Energy compensation after exercise

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We all know how good exercise is for us. What you might not know is that studies show that when people lose weight on an exercise program, the amount of weight loss is highly variable and it’s not necessarily due to the variable effects of exercise.

Those who don’t lose as much weight actually compensate in other areas when they start an exercise program. This compensation occurs in two main areas and it usually goes unnoticed until the results on the scales are less than expected.

People generally compensate by eating more and/or moving less when they are not exercising. Exercise can cause changes in the hormones that regulate our appetite and these changes are not always consistent in everybody. Some people feel hungry after doing exercise, whereas others do not.

Studies show that the people who feel hungrier when they begin an exercise program are more likely to be compensators and weight loss is usually less in these people.

The other way people compensate is by moving less when they are not exercising. Some people might do less incidental activity like walking up the stairs if they know they’ve been exercising that day. This compensation means that the overall amount of energy used during the day isn’t as much as it could be and the weight loss is slower. Although a slower weight loss isn’t always a bad thing.

As we advocate in our TDGfit programs, good health should be a marathon not a sprint and regular exercise along with a diet that contains mostly whole, nutrient dense, unprocessed foods is the key to overall health regardless of how quickly excess weight is lost.


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