Are you frustrated that despite your strict exercise regimen you are not losing weight? Are you running 5 times a week and disappointed to see the pounds dropping off much more slowly than your calculations predict?
You may want to take comfort in 2 recently published studies that show that weight loss is more about calorie intake reduction that it is about calorie expenditure through exercise. Won’t that disappoint some mega food corps.
The first study compared the metabolism of hunter gatherers, the Hadza of Tanzania, with people living a more modern lifestyle. Turns out that despite covering 7 miles of walking a day, the energy expenditure of an average tribesman was not that different than that of a westerner! Energy expenditure is a synonym for metabolic rate, or calories burnt. According to the researchers:
human daily energy expenditure may be an evolved physiological trait largely independent of cultural differences.
Study number two refutes the common belief that the more we exercise and lose weight, the faster our metabolism. The truth is actually the opposite. The less we weigh, the less energy we require and the less energy we expend while resting.
One of the few studies ever to have scrupulously monitored exercise, food intake and metabolic rates found that volunteers’ basal metabolic rates dropped as they lost weight, even though they exercised every day. As a result, although they were burning up to 500 calories during an exercise session, their total daily caloric burn was lower than it would have been had their metabolism remained unchanged, and they lost less weight than had been expected. read more from the New York Times…
This means your personal weight loss calculations need to be dynamic and updated each time you lose a few pounds.
That said, you should not abandon exercise. Working out, even it won’t help you lose weight, is healthy for you heart, increases your muscle mass, helps with flexibility, and helps you to sleep better. Not to mention that it can be fun.