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 DSCN4363If you work out hard, you should be able to burn the excess fat.

Furthermore, you should be able to slip into that favorite pair of jeans without feeling like an overstuffed sausage, right?

When Dawn came to us she had been working out like many of us do: clocking in hours at the gym at least 5-6 days a week. Not only that, but she’d been religious about her exercise routine for a year. Yet no matter how healthy she ate, she was still 50 pounds overweight. 

What gives?

The idea that exercise is necessary for weight loss is wildly overstated. In fact, conclusions from multiple studies show that exercise ALONE will not help with weight-loss efforts, and that it could be making weight loss even harder.

Are you confused yet? Don’t be. We’re about to explain.

The basic problem is NOT that you aren’t working out hard enough, it’s the fact that exercise increases your appetite. It causes you to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits that occur from physical activity.

Dr. Timothy Church, chair of health wisdom at LSU, supervised a study among women who worked out at low, medium and high intensity, comparing them with a sedentary control group.

While the women in each of the four groups lost weight, the women who exercised – sweating it out with a trainer for 6 months – did not lose a significant amount more than the control group.

Sounds like Dawn, right?

So what is going on here? Church describes it as the “compensation” effect. Most of us have the tendency to overestimate the amount of calories burned during exercise and underestimate the number of calories we eat. Plus, the “I just worked out really hard and deserve a treat” mentality definitely comes into play.

Whether it’s exercise that makes you hungry or eating to reward yourself (or both), studies are showing that those of us who exercise are eating more calories than necessary.

Dawn was no different. Not only was she eating more than she needed, the types of foods she was choosing were not as healthy as she thought. Most of her “healthy” foods were very high in sugars and processed carbohydrates, and she wasn’t getting the right amounts of high-quality proteins.

After meeting with her Health Educator, she made changes to her daily meal plans and exercise routine. She found that by changing her eating habits, she was more satisfied with the foods she was eating and still able to stay active. Dawn went from a size 16 to a size 8 and is healthier and happier than ever before!

If you’re exercising and not losing weight, if you’re doing everything you know how to do and are still not satisfied with your results, maybe it’s time for a little outside
perspective.

At GreenLite, we have partnered with hundreds of clients just like Dawn. While exercise alone will not cause you to lose weight, we emphasize its critical role in maintaining a healthy weight in the long term.

Contact us today to see how Greenlite can help you learn, lose and live!

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