Exercise Does Lead to Weight Loss – Behavioural Change

Yesterday I talked about reading an article by Dan Roberts in the Telegraph titled ‘Why your workout isn’t and the flaws in it’s argument in relation to the Physiological Adaptations which are Compensatory Responses to Exercise. I pointed out that there is individual variability in every piece of research conducted, and for this reason any expectation of Weight Loss following exercise must be valued against an individual’s physiology and psychology – one size doesn’t fit all!


You can also get Compensatory Responses to Exercise, which are Behavioural. Changes in behaviour, which arise as a result of exercise, may be automatic, resulting from physical changes such as metabolic adaptations and changes to the appetite system.


For example if metabolism slows down a person may go to sleep earlier, be more tired and less likely to move around when they are not exercising. A decrease in normal lifestyle activity resulting from fatigue or metabolic slowdown can deprive the system of a valuable source of energy expenditure.


When there are changes to the appetite system, this can lead to eating that is faster, more frequent or high in energy dense food. Other behavioural changes, which result from exercise, are volitional and purposeful.


Some people reward themselves for exercising by having a glass of wine and a pub lunch after a walk, or a coffee and a cereal bar after a swim. Misjudgement here means people eat more calories than they have expended. It may take an hour to expend only 200 calories with the most vigorous activity, while they can eat 600 calories in a slice of cake in a mater of minutes. So people who reward themselves for exercise are likely to gain weight.


A final behavioural response to activity is compliance, with the amount and intensity of activity reducing over time as a result of many complex motivational factors. We all start off with good intentions, but stuff just gets in the way.


So once again there are various behavioural reasons why research data will give mixed or sometimes inconclusive results. We are all different and will react to different life factors in different ways. Our lifestyle, physiology and psychology all collude to either help us maintain weight, gain weight or lose weight. How are your life factors balancing at the moment?


In the New Year, starting 1st January 2010, I will be starting a daily video blog of my attempt to lose weight leading to my 40th birthday on May 12th 2010. I want to share my personal experiences; feelings and insights into a diary to share with my readers, and at the same time combine it with the education that I give my clients here at the WeightMatters Clinic. Stay tuned and spread the word – it will be an interesting experiment!