We can’t deny that exercise has a variety of benefits, but when it comes to losing weight, it is not the most important component. Gaining control over your diet is far more important than exercise and there are a plethora of studies that prove it.
The average person’s exercise regimen burns about 300 calories/session, not nearly enough to combat putting on the pounds if you continue eating the way you are accustomed to. Plus, the same calorie reduction can be achieved by eliminating two 16-oz sodas a day. The truth of the matter is that Americans have increased the amount of physical activity they engaged in from 2001 to 2009, but the percentage of Americans who are obese has also increased. Clearly, the former is not preventing the latter.
There are numerous studies that have looked at the relationship between physical activity and fat mass in children, and have found that being active is not the key determinant in whether a child is at an unhealthy weight. Further studies also have difficulty showing that a physically active adult has less of a chance of gaining weight than a sedentary person.
Technically, exercising also increases your appetite, because the more calories your body burns off being active, the more it looks to replace those calories in food. A study conducted in 2012 confirmed this by showing that a group of people who complied with exercise programs ended up burning less energy and increasing their caloric intake over time.
Other changes in the body can also offset the benefits of exercise. When losing weight, your body’s metabolism tends to slow down. Many people believe that exercise reverses this effect, however research has proven that the resting metabolic rate in all dieters slows significantly regardless of whether they exercise or not. This is why it gets progressively harder to lose weight over time.
We’re not here to argue that exercise should be completely disregarded; it is true that diet plus exercise is better than diet with no exercise. We just need to shine more light on the diet aspect of weight loss because it is the most determining factor.