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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013 Aug;45(8):1600-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31828ba942.

Resistance to exercise-induced weight loss: compensatory behavioral adaptations.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado, Denver, CO 80045, USA. Ed.melanson@ucdenver.edu

Abstract

In many interventions that are based on an exercise program intended to induce weight loss, the mean weight loss observed is modest and sometimes far less than what the individual expected. The individual responses are also widely variable, with some individuals losing a substantial amount of weight, others maintaining weight, and a few actually gaining weight. The media have focused on the subpopulation that loses little weight, contributing to a public perception that exercise has limited utility to cause weight loss. The purpose of the symposium was to present recent, novel data that help explain how compensatory behaviors contribute to a wide discrepancy in exercise-induced weight loss. The presentations provide evidence that some individuals adopt compensatory behaviors, that is, increased energy intake and/or reduced activity, that offset the exercise energy expenditure and limit weight loss. The challenge for both scientists and clinicians is to develop effective tools to identify which individuals are susceptible to such behaviors and to develop strategies to minimize their effect.

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