Dieting without exercise

The most common approach to fat loss for most people is to simply restrict calories without exercise. The biggest problem with weight loss by caloric restriction alone is an inevitable loss in lean body mass (LBM), with a large part of the LBM drop from muscle stores, and a drop in metabolic rate. The more that calories are restricted, the more the body lowers metabolic rate to compensate. This reflects the body going into starvation mode to prevent further weight loss. Depending on the amount of caloric restriction, the addition of exercise may or may not have benefits in alleviating or preventing this drop in metabolic rate.

When food intake invariably increases again, the lowered metabolic rate makes the change of fat regain very likely. As many individuals have found out, dieting by itself is not effective for long term weight loss. In fact a recent analysis of studies shows that weight maintenance is much better when individuals include exercise as part of their weight loss efforts than when it is not. Other issues dealing with weight regain are discussed in more detail in chapter 14.

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