The National Weight Control Registry, the largest on-going study of triumphant dieters, has identified regular exercise as one of a handful of common denominators in those who succeed in keeping lost weight off for the long run. A fascinating new report (American Journal of Physiology, Sept 09) shed some powerful, really bright and happy light on exactly why regular physical activity is oh-so-valuable for warding off weight regain. For the study, researchers placed 1 group of obesity-prone rats who had previously lost weight on a maintenance phase diet (unlimited access to low-fat rat chow) with no exercise and a second group on the same maintenance diet along with daily exercise. After two months, there were several notable differences in the exercisers versus the sedentary rats including: less weight regain, a lower body weight “set point”, greater fat burning early in the day with “carb-sparing” for later in the day, less belly fat accumulation, and less fat cell development. (American Journal of Physiology, Sept 09). Taken together, this translates to better appetite control and less potential for ingested calories to get deposited as fat.
Based on a solid and compelling body of powerful science, it appears that keeping lost weight off without a regular exercise regimen is nearly impossible. So just do it!