We are constantly told to lose weight we need to eat less and move more.  However, a new study from Loyola University, Chicago questions this theory.  The researchers followed 2,000 adults who were aged between 20 and 40 over 2 years.  These adults lived in 5 different countries and their physical activity was recorded by a movement tracker that they were required to wear every day.  Their weight, body fat percentage and height were also recorded. 

What did the researchers discover?  Only 44 % of American men and 20% of American women met the minimum standard of 2.5 hours exercise per week.  Researchers also discovered that their physical activity didn’t’ impact their weight, in fact, some people even gained weight, and this weight gain was despite their physical activity. 

The lead author of the study Lara R Dugas Ph. D, M.P.H., an assistant professor at the Loyola University in Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, noted “In all the discussions of the obesity epidemic, people have become too focused on exercise and not enough on the impact of our obesogenic environment.  Physical activity won’t protect you from the impact that a high-fat, high-sugar diet has on weight”.

I always inform my clients in clinic that exercise can increase their appetite, as mentioned in this study and that for weight loss, we need to pay more attention to what we eat.  I prefer my clients to spend their time on food preparation, particularly their vegetables, rather than on exercise, is much more powerful for weight loss than hours spent in the gym.  Exercising when overweight or obese may also pose dangers as it increases the risk of injury and damage to joints.

When it comes to health, well-being and weight maintenance I certainly recommend exercise as it can promote a long and healthy life, but for weight loss, getting your diet right has to be the top priority!