No Fun? How Exercise May be Making You Fat

RealClear Staff


The New York Times reported some stunning findings about our exercise routines.

A recent French/American psychological study proves we might shed more pounds if we did the same amount of work with a smile on our face--shooting hoops or taking a fun step class or, maybe, pretending we were being chased by a Beatles-esque pack of wild teenage fans (No? Maybe that's just me).

Here's the scoop: 

Findings: Exercisers Don't Shed as Many Pounds as Previously Thought

"According to multiple studies and anecdotes, most people who start exercising do not lose as much weight as would be expected, given their increased energy expenditure."

Because Exercise Makes You Hungrier

"Past studies of this phenomenon have found that exercise can increase the body’s production of appetite hormones, making some people feel ravenous after even a light workout ."

So, Scientists Added a Dash of Fun to the Routine

"French and American researchers turned to psychology and the possible effect that calling exercise by any other name might have on people’s subsequent diets… The women were given maps detailing the same one-mile outdoor course and told that they would spend the next half-hour walking there, with lunch to follow.

"Half of the women were told that their walk was meant to be exercise, and they were encouraged to view it as such, monitoring their exertion throughout. The other women were told that their 30-minute outing would be a walk purely for pleasure; they would be listening to music through headphones and rating the sound quality."

Fun = Smaller Appetite

"When the women sat down to a pasta lunch, with water or sugary soda to drink, and applesauce or chocolate pudding for dessert, the women in the exercise group loaded up on the soda and pudding, consuming significantly more calories from these sweets than the women who’d thought that they were walking for pleasure."


"Experiments underscore that how we frame physical activity affects how we eat afterward, said Carolina O.C. Werle, an associate professor of marketing at the Grenoble School of Management in France, who led the study."



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