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Fitness: How to keep lost kilograms from returning

Jogers break through Mount Roial. "Although only changes in eating habits can cause weight loss, exercise is needed to avoid gaining weight again," writes Jill Barker.

Pierre Obendrauf / T Montreal Gazette

The latest battle cry from the weight loss experts is not to rely solely on exercising to lose unwanted pounds. But this does not mean that the exercise does not play a role in maintaining healthy weight. In fact, there are those who encourage weight loss with almost any means, but they preach the importance of exercising when it comes to restoring unwanted kilograms. So, although changes in eating habits themselves can cause weight loss, exercise is needed to avoid gaining weight again. How difficult it is to lose weight, it's hard to keep it to not return.

Part of the struggle to lose weight permanently refers to the physiological changes that occur when the body is reduced. Lightweight body burns less calories than harder because of the reduced effort needed to move smaller masses. It also burns fewer calories at rest. So what helped to lose weight does not have to be so effective when it comes to maintaining this new weight.

Some of the most interesting data related to weight regeneration were collected from themes in the popular reality show The Biggest Loser, many of which regained all the weight they lost. Another valuable source of information comes from people who are registered in the National Weight Loss Register, a database of people who have lost at least 13.6 pounds (30 pounds) for at least a year. Both sets of weight loss subjects gave an interesting look at how much exercise needed to get lost kilograms back.

The problem with the majority of available data is, however, that they themselves have been reported, which means that there could be a gap between how many subjects actually exercise and how much they say they practice.

To gain a more accurate picture of how successful weight-carriers are, a group of researchers from the University of Colorado has gathered three groups: those who have successfully sustained a significant weight loss (30 pounds or more for at least a year); subjects with normal weight with body mass index (BMI) similar to those with weight loss; and overweight people whose BMI was similar to a weight loss group before losing weight. Then they compared the number of calories spent during exercise, as well as the total number of calories consumed daily.

As the researchers suspected, successful weight lossers were significantly more physically active than normal weight and weight control. As for the number of calories burned every day, weight lossers spent more than normal weight subjects, but were at the level of the overweight group – probably because of the extra effort needed to move the body through space. Weight maintainers also accumulated the greatest number of steps per day compared to normal and overweight subjects.

"The high level of energy consumption in physical activity and the total daily energy consumption observed in successful weight loss maintainers suggest that the group relies on high levels of energy consumed in physical activity to remain in the energy balance (and avoid weight gain) with reduced weight – they say researchers.

How much did they practice? Weight loss workers consumed about 12 calories / kg / day compared to normal weight (10 calories / kg / day) and individuals with overweight (seven calories / kg / day). Translated to the grade number, the researchers reported that weight lossers reported 12,100 steps per day compared to 8,900 steps in normal subjects and 6,500 overweight.

These results are approaching those obtained from The Biggest Loser, with successful weight lossers (they maintained a weight loss of 13% or more of their original body weight six years after exiting the show) consuming 12 calories / kg / day and weight regenerators only consumed eight calories / kg / day.

These findings are in line with the recommendations of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, which recommends people who are hoping to lose their kilograms from returning to 60-90 minutes of moderate physical activity (walking) or 30-45 minutes of strong physical activity (daily).

As for food intake, the study did not control the diet, but the researchers suggested that the number of calories burned would be close to the number of calories consumed per day, which is a type of energy balance typically associated with maintaining weight (it does not gain or lose weight).

"Together, these results suggest that physical activity can have a relatively greater role in maintaining weight loss and chronically limiting energy intake," researchers say.

So, what about anyone who was successful at losing weight, but was not so successful in maintaining his new weight? Spend more energy than calculating calories. Changing everyday habits to include more walks, cycling, and daily fitness is your key to staying worn out. For many, this means investing in some type of home exercise equipment or membership in a local gym. Watch your favorite TV shows as you walk around the running bar or ride a bike on a fixed bike. Try out the fitness class and take your dog to an extra long walk before and after work. The more you move, the trimmer will stay.


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