Exercising and Gaining Weight

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just last night I was reflecting with my mother about the lack of any weight loss benefit in spite of a substantial overhaul of my exercise regime.  Everyone says it must be muscle, I was explaining to her, but it doesn't seem like muscle.  If I had just gained muscle, I would expect to eventually be losing weight, but I'm not.

Almost as if it read my mind, today the New York Times published a story on exercising and gaining weight in which the Times reported on a study of women who undertook a new exercise regime under supervision and were told not to change anything about their eating habits.  Some women lost weight, but a substantial number of women gained weight, which suggests that, at least for some, exercising causes an unintentional increase in calorie intake that is not offset by the calories burned.

Before making observations about weight loss, though, I want to point out that fitness ability is more important than weight in terms of achieving health benefits, so it would not be advisable to avoid starting an exercise program out of fear that you'll gain weight.  But, a few takeaways from this study:

1. The old adage that diet causes you to lose weight and exercise doesn't really do anything may not be true.  It may be that exercise doesn't work because people are likely to increase their food intake without realizing it when they start an exercise regime, but if they held their caloric intake steady, they actually would lose weight.

2.  Exercise is not a cure-all, so it's important to track what you eat even if you're exercising regularly.

No comments :

Post a Comment