Study Shows Exercise More Important Than Diet to Maintain Weight Loss

Study Shows Exercise More Important Than Diet to Maintain Weight Loss

A new study from the University of Colorado was recently published in the journal Obesity.

The study looked at one of the harder questions we face in the world of physical health. Why do some people lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle while others gain the weight right back?

"By providing evidence that a group of successful weight-loss maintainers engages in high levels of physical activity to prevent weight regain -- rather than chronically restricting their energy intake." -Daniel Ostendorf, PhD

The study looked at individuals who were successful in maintaining weight loss and compared them to two other groups: one group with a normal BMI which was close to the current weight of the weight loss group, and an overweight group similar in BMI to the weight loss group prior to the weight loss.

Some key take-aways include:

  • The weight loss maintainer group burned and consumed more calories than the individuals with normal BMI, but not significantly higher than the overweight group.
  • The total calories burned in physical activity per day was significantly higher in the weight loss maintenance group.
  • The weight loss maintenance group also recorded significantly more steps per day (around 12,000) than the normal BMI group (9,000 per day) and the overweight group (6,500 per day), suggesting that their baseline of activity was also higher.

These findings make intuitive sense. From personal experience and working with other people, I find it is easier to maintain an active lifestyle over extended periods of time rather than trying to maintain strict caloric restriction.

My one qualm with the study is the use of BMI as a measurement. This is a silly and arbitrary measure and it is far more precise to use lean body mass and body fat percentages.

Overall though, the message is clear: if you want to maintain weight loss, you need to move more and be active.

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