If trimming down is your main goal, it’s not a question of diet vs exercise: both are equally as vital as each other. But as far as weight maintenance is concerned, things aren’t always so black and white.
According to a new study published in the journal Obesity, physical activity may do more to prevent a person stacking on the pounds post-weight loss than diet.
Researchers compared the stats of weight-loss maintainers (e.g. those who have been able to maintain a reduced body weight of 13.6kg or more for over a year) to two control groups: those with a normal BMI and those who were overweight or obese.
They looked at each individual’s energy expenditure and intake and measured their resting metabolic rate. Their aim was to understand how much of the total daily energy expenditure happened at rest or through physical activity.
The team established three key things:
- The weight-loss maintainers consumed and burned approximately 300 calories more compared to those with a normal body weight, although this was similar to that of the overweight individuals.
- The weight-loss maintainers burned significantly more calories (180 on average) via exercise in comparison to the other groups.
- The weight-loss maintainers also averaged a larger number of steps per day (12,000) compared to the participants with a normal body weight (9,000) and those overweight (6,500)
“Our findings suggest that this group of successful weight-loss maintainers are consuming a similar number of calories per day as individuals with overweight and obesity, but appear to avoid weight regain by compensating for this with high levels of physical activity,” explained Dr. Victoria A. Catenacci, one of the study’s researchers.