New research demonstrates that simply reducing caloric intake is not enough to cause significant weight loss. This could be the result of a natural compensatory mechanism that reduces physical activity following a reduction in calories.
Diet and exercise must be combined to achieve weight loss goals, according to the study.
These findings suggest that when you cut down on calories, your body automatically responds by reducing your activity levels. Years ago, when finding your next meal was not as easy as opening your refrigerator, this mechanism could help your body to hold on to valuable energy stores and survive longer in times of famine.
Today however, this process may backfire, causing you to hold on to excess weight if you do not make a conscious effort to increase or at least maintain your activity levels.
Also, although low-calorie diets have been sited as a plan to lengthen lifespan, if you simply cut way back on calories without meeting your body’s nutritional requirements, it can send you into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism and make it more difficult to lose weight.
The key to healthy weight loss is to use a combined approach of both diet and exercise together. This is the strategy that will lead to gradual weight loss and a healthier lifestyle that you can actually sustain and live with.
A Lack of Activity is Detrimental to Your Health
If you’re trying to lose weight or not, regular physical activity must be a part of your life if you want to stay healthy. This is true even if you’re eating a balanced diet, and whether you’re overweight or not.
In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who were at least somewhat active were less likely to develop heart disease than those who were not, regardless of their weight.
Another study also found that both diet and fitness levels are crucial for lifelong health. After analyzing more than 115,000 nurses, results showed that being overweight or being sedentary increased your risk of death independently:
Women who were obese and inactive had a 2.5 times higher mortality rate than women who were lean and active
Those women who were active (despite being obese) were twice as likely to die a premature death than those who were lean and active
Lean women who exercised under 3.5 hours a week increased their risk of premature death by 55 percent, compared to those women who worked out more often
Obese women who worked out for at least 3.5 hours a week experienced a death rate that was 91 percent higher than lean women who exercised similarly
The premature death rate was 142 times greater for obese, inactive women
Therefore being overweight or obese certainly increases many health risks, those who were lean and inactive also had their share of risks. And the most significant risks apply to those who are both overweight/obese and also sedentary.