Why Many People Who Start an Exercise Program Do Not Lose Weight

BY Gabe Mirkin TIMESeptember 28, 2014 PRINT

If you want to use exercise to help you lose weight, you have to spend a large amount of time exercising or you have to eat less food. Researchers reviewed the scientific literature and found that most people who start an exercise program to help them lose weight do not lose much weight because they do not burn enough calories during exercise, and they often eat even more food after they start exercising. Furthermore, you cannot increase metabolism significantly to burn more calories after you finish exercising unless you do a huge amount of exercise or exercise very intensely.

Using Exercise to Lose Weight:

If you are overweight and want to lose weight, pick a sport that you enjoy doing and try to do your sport with other people. Most middle-aged people who start an exercise program drop out within the first few weeks. The people most likely to continue exercising are those who exercise in classes, with a personal trainer or with a spouse or partner.

A major advantage of exercise classes is that most experienced exercise leaders understand that you have to:
• alternate the pace of your hard workouts (pick up the pace for a few seconds, slow down, and then pick up the pace again), and
• follow a very hard day with a slower, more relaxed recovery workout day.
For example, your hard days may be an aerobic dance or spinning class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For the rest of the week, do easy recovery days of cycling, walking, swimming or dancing slowly.

Using Diet to Lose Weight:

Do not think that you will lose weight just because you are starting an exercise program. You need to eat less food also. Eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables. Try to restrict the calorie dense foods:
• meat, poultry and dairy products
• fried foods
• all refined carbohydrates: (foods made from flour, sugared drinks and sugared-added foods).

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Gabe Mirkin
Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D. brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology.
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