Get off that treadmill now! According to a cover story in Time Magazine, exercise stimulates hunger making it impossible to lose weight. In other words the giant blueberry muffin after the gym will cancel out the one hour step class and then some. Not to mention that humans are built to hoard calories and our bodies will defeat any attempt to get rid of excess fat.
Wait a minute. The Los Angeles Times strongly disagrees. They believe that most research suggests that working out and dieting are important to weight loss and is the only way not to gain it back. Besides anyone who is trying to lose weight understands the folly of fresh baked goods and will find a less caloric way to satisfy post workout hunger. One expert points out, if exercise makes you eat more and gain weight, why do people who regularly workout look so good?
There is no disputing scientific research. Or is there? Time Magazine refers to a study done by Dr. Tim Church who published his findings in the peer reviewed journal PLoS One, the nonprofit Public Library of Science. He had broken up a group of 464 overweight women into four groups. He then found that the group who exercised the hardest did not lose significantly more weight than the other groups.
Dr. Church refers to this phenomenon as compensation. The group that worked the hardest was suddenly eating more and moving around less when they got home.
“I see this anecdotally amongst, like, my wife’s friends. They’re like, ‘Ah, I’m running an hour a day and I’m not losing weight. I ask them what are you doing after you run? It turns out one group of friends was stopping at Starbucks for muffins afterwards. I don’t think most people would appreciate that, wow, you only burned 200 calories, which you are going to neutralize with just half a muffin.”
Later Dr. Church declared unequivocally to the LA Times that Time Magazine misunderstood his professional opinion. What he actually believed was that virtually all people who lose weight and keep it off are exercising. According to Vitals.com, Dr. Church received his medical degree and residency in preventative medicine at Tulane University.
There are more than 45 million Americans belonging to health clubs and spending about 19 billion dollars for that privilege. Although some rarely enter the building, a study that followed members over a period of years found that 57% were in fact engaging in exercise.
Would these people be better off sitting on the couch crunching Tostitos and watching John and Kate plus 8? Stay tuned.