Can Exercise Sabotage Your Diet?

We’ve all heard the old expression about “working up an appetite,” but what does that really mean? Can exercise actually sabotage your diet? As the theory goes, we eat more food after exercising in order to replace lost calories. Not only does the old adage bring up a list of doubts about exercising as a means for weight loss, but it also offers an excuse to some lazy folks who choose to forgo exercise. Well, it’s time for those lazies to listen up and take action because a new study found that the old expression might be nothing more than a myth.

The 2012 Brigham Young University study shows exercise won’t cause an increased appetite, and it actually may even reduce food cravings. When participants didn’t exercise, their EEG-monitored response to food images was stronger than when they were presented with the same images after 45 minutes of exercise. You can almost see that old theory flying out the window now.

But as much as this study disproves one concept, it proves another: Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. Apparently, our bodies already know this. When we’re taking steps toward health by exercising, not only do we gain muscle, but we also ditch some of those bothersome cravings. It’s as if everything is working in harmony.

So, now that we know that exercise can work as an appetite suppressant, let’s get down to business. The women who participated in this study each took a brisk walk on a treadmill as exercise. Imagine what would happen if we kicked it up a notch. Now that we know exercise won’t contribute to overeating, it’s time to make a serious effort. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Hiking as an appetite suppressant – If you’re the kind of person who loves the outdoors, hiking will barely feel like exercise. You may find the urge to eat after (or during) a long hike, but it’s not the kind of binge eating that happens in front of the television after a long day of lounging around.

2. Aerobic dancing to boost metabolism and curb cravings – If someone offered you a magic pill that promised an increased metabolism and appetite reduction, you’d jump at the chance to take it, right? Well, instead of jumping for a non-existent magic pill, jump for your goals. Get on the dance floor and shake things up. Forty-five minutes of aerobic dancing can certainly count as vigorous exercise.

3. Kickboxing your way out of food addiction – Have you ever noticed that when you take a break from exercise, you’re more likely to want to sit around and do nothing? Fight the urge to “fall off the wagon” by doing something you enjoy like kicking butt at the gym. After some time, you’ll notice that muscle is crowding out the fat and cravings are falling by the wayside.

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One Response to “Can Exercise Sabotage Your Diet?”

  1. Sue says:

    Hi-
    You’re very intuitive to be writing about this at a time when a lot of us are considering a gym membership bu don’t want to load up on those calories after working out because you think you just burned them! Can you recommend a beginner workout routine at the gym? Thanks!

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