It turns out that our bodies are savvier than we think. Scientists have discovered in recent trials that our assumptions about exercise and weight loss may be completely wrong. We have been told for years that a calorie-controlled diet combined with exercise is the safest and best way to lose those excess pounds.
However, if the latest studies are to be believed it appears our bodies try to claw back the calories burnt on exercise by reducing the number of calories we spend on normal activities. For example – you go for a run, check your Fitbit, and see you have burnt 300 calories. You would assume that means you have burnt an extra 300 calories of your *2,000 calories a day allocation. However, what our bodies appear to do is reduce the number of calories we use on other things – like cleaning and general everyday activity.
What does this mean for those of us wishing to lose weight? Quite simply, nobody knows – yet. By no means should you stop exercising. In your efforts to lose weight staying healthy should always be the focus. Of course, we should all still exercise. Weight loss alone is not a reason to stay fit and healthy. Exercise is great for our mental health & keeping our hearts healthy, it reduces the risk of developing type 2 Diabetes and keeping mobile helps keep our muscles and joints healthy.
One thing that has become clear is that exercise alone is not the most effective way to lose weight – a calorie-controlled diet is integral to the process.
Perhaps one of the most interesting things to have come out of this research is that it seems people with a higher BMI tend to compensate even more for excess calories burned – although scientists are unsure why. This seems unfair but our bodies are built for survival and could just be balancing out what they think is a ‘threat’.
On a positive note – years of documented cases prove that significant weight loss has and can be achieved by adopting a healthier lifestyle – whether our bodies initially resist it or not! For those with a higher BMI weight loss medication can also help as part of a healthy eating and exercise plan.
*2000 calories is the NHS recommended daily intake for women, 2,500 for men