Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why exercise may be crucial to weight management

Don't worry folks, I'm OK.

Saw a lovely patient the other day. She'd been doing great with our program, had lost 7% of her body weight, and was thrilled to pieces.

About a month ago however, she developed an injury, and as a consequence, her exercise dropped down to nothing.

Wanna know what else dropped down to nothing?

Her healthy eating behaviours.

She stopped food diarizing, snacking, including protein, and having enough calories for breakfast. As a consequence, she's started struggling in the evening again and has gained a few pounds.

As far as her exercise regime went, it wasn't marathoning. She was walking some, and doing short group fitness classes 2-3x per week. I'd be surprised were she burning more than 750 calories a week through intentional exercise.

Yet that small bit of intentional exercise was sufficient to help fuel her healthy living attitudes and behaviours as a whole.

I've seen this pattern hundreds of times.

That's why despite raging against the notion that exercise alone is sufficient for significant weight loss, and regularly stating that exercise should never be promoted singularly for weight management, I include exercise as an integral component of our office's program. It's also why I think that for most, psychologically and practically, exercise has a crucial and relatively unexplored scientific synergy with dietary caloric reduction.