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You may have heard that research into weight loss has shown that exercise doesn’t make much of an impact. You might have even found this out for yourself when you tried to start a new workout regime only to find that you didn’t shift so much as a gram on the scales.

So why isn’t exercise alone effective, and why even bother doing it?

It makes us hungry

When you exercise you do burn up calories, as any activity where your body moves requires energy to fuel that movement. So if that’s the case, why does exercise on its own not seem to shift the weight? It turns out it that exercise changes the way we eat. If we exercise we feel hungrier, so are likely to consume more calories to make up for it.

We overestimate the effects

We tend to overestimate just how many calories we burn off during exercise. For us to reach a big enough energy deficit to cause any real effect on our weight, we would have to do much longer sessions or higher intensity workouts than most of us would be capable of.

We’re talking 2 or more hours of moderate intensity exercise most days to lose around 1-1.5kg a week.   And that’s only if diet doesn’t change from pre-exercise levels.

We think we deserve a reward

Especially if we just can’t stand exercise, we think that if we have put in a gruelling hour at the gym that we deserve something special to reward ourselves for our efforts. What we don’t realise is that many “treat” foods are much higher in calories than the amount of energy burned out during a workout.

So why exercise when losing weight?

Exercise is incredibly good for us, it prolongs our lifespan, prevents a lot of lifestyle related diseases, and have fantastic psychological benefits such as better mood and energy. It’s also helpful in preventing muscle loss during weight loss, which is especially important once we reach our goal weight and want to maintain it. Plus it functions as a wonderful alternative to stress eating!

While getting started with regular exercise can feel challenging, once you build up a little bit of baseline fitness you may find that you actually start to enjoy your workouts. If used in combination with a healthy eating plan, exercise can become part of a total lifestyle change that produces positive long term results.

If you would like to learn more about the exercise programs that are part of our weight loss retreats you can check them out here.

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