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Today I will be continuing our discussion with the role that exercise has in making weight loss permanent.

5. Exercise – I know you’re tired of hearing about how our metabolisms are just here to make our lives more difficult but dieting at a caloric deficit is not the only thing that will slow down our metabolism. A lot of exercises, especially cardio, have been shown to slow down our metabolism over time. This is just another way our body adapts to preserve our stored fatty energy. Using another example here might help to show that overdoing exercise may not always be for the best. There have been studies done on the metabolisms of hunter-gatherer tribes that still live very primitive lives today. These tribes still hunt their food by tracking their prey and running them down. The hunters of these tribes walk, jog, and run many miles each hunt. They are not starving, but every bit of food is earned with physically taxing effort. So how are these hunters able to have enough energy to run miles to hunt but also consume few calories per day? The hunters have great cardiometabolic endurance of course, but that is not enough to keep the body functioning on so few calories. The most likely answer is that their metabolisms have adapted and are so slow that they burn very few calories at rest and with activity.

6. Exercise continued – Yes, I know I told you above that physical exercise can slow down your
metabolism over time. This is thought to happen to those who do frequent intense exercise while eating at a calorie deficit. But there is no mistake that exercise is still super important for long-term weight loss and overall health. When you consider all of the people who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off for good, their most common factor between them was that they reported exercising at least 5 times per week. This does not mean that they all went to the gym every day. The most common form of exercise reported was walking.

7. More Exercise– Don’t overthink your exercise routine. With exercise, the most important thing is consistency. Just don’t torture yourself with crazy intense exercise every day and it will be good enough, to begin with. Doing different types of exercise is not only healthy but keeps things from growing boring. A mix between low-intensity exercise (ie walking), cardio, and resistance training will meet all of your needs.

8. Muscle Mass – Resistance training may sound scary for a lot of people but the benefits for overall health and for keeping the weight off are incredible. By only doing cardio as exercise, we risk our metabolism slowing down and usually don’t gain much muscle at all. Muscle mass is very important for speeding up our metabolism. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn on average per even at rest. I’m not saying that everyone needs to start lifting heavy weights and throwing around a barbell but increasing our muscle mass is a way for us to increase our metabolism. This enables us to be able to eat more food per day and helps prevent our metabolism from slowing down after dieting for a while. You can just keep eating less and less as your diet goes on, or you can try adding some lean body mass so that you won’t have to starve yourself by the end of your diet. Adding muscle mass does not mean that you are required to have visible muscles if this is something you want to avoid. You can generally add quite a bit of lean muscle mass before you will be getting comments about your new biceps. Gaining muscle mass and tone can be achieved in many different ways and the best way
is the one you enjoy and feel comfortable with. This could be weightlifting, Pilates, bodyweight
exercises, resistance bands at home, machines at the gym, etc.

I hope you got something useful from reading and check back next week as we wrap up this blog series on achieving weight loss healthily and permanently.

Joshua White PA-C