A new study from Israel shows us once again that dieting without exercise does not work. The participants took off only 6 to 10 pounds in two years. No matter what diet they were on, most regained some of the weight they lost in the early months by the end of the study (NEJM, July 17, 2008). It didn't make any difference whether the overweight person was on a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet, or diet that stresses fruits, vegetables, whole grains beans, seeds, nuts and seafood. However, their small weight loss did result in improved cholesterol and blood pressure readings.
If we really want to lose weight for good, we have to exercise. Appetite is controlled in a part of our brain called hypothalamus. If we try to lose weight just by eating less food, our hypothalamus makes us miserable when we see tasty food and know that we shouldn't eat it. If we exercise, we will eat more, but we will not increase our intake of food to equal the extra calories that we burn when we exercise. After we have been exercising for a few months, our muscles will be stronger, we will feel and sleep better and we can actually start to enjoy our new activity. Then we are set for a life-long pattern of burning up the calories that we take in.
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