Weight Loss Increases Appetite

Admittedly, there are several reasons we choose to run.  For some, running is a form of therapy to keep the mind clear of daily stress.  Perhaps its the social aspects of the running community.  For others, it’s all about the health benefits, including weight loss or weight control.  Thankfully, there are no wrong reasons to want to run.

You’ve most likely heard the phrase, “You can’t out exercise and bad diet” and this is true.  No amount of movement can compensate for poor food choices. This has led researchers to theorize that weight loss is more about how we eat and keeping weight off is more about exercise.  New research supports this theory.  A study published in the journal Obesity in 2016 found that weight loss increases appetite.  For every kg of weight they lost, patients in the study consumed an extra 100 calories a day — more than three times what they would need to maintain the lower weight.  This increase in appetite may explain why loosing weight and maintaining weight loss over the long-term are so difficult.  Senior author Kevin D Hall, MD, from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, Maryland stated, “… our new results suggest that proportional increases in appetite likely play an even more important role in weight plateaus and weight regain.” He did caution that these results need to be confirmed by future research, but this study does provide context in which to understand how running may affect our appetite and our weight.

The take home message from this study is that we can expect our appetite to increase with greater physical activity.  With that increase in appetite comes a greater need to monitor our diet.  As runners, we must not neglect the food-intake side of the equation.  For those struggling to control appetite, a consultation with your doctor may give your access to options such as appetite controlling medications to gain control of weight loss or maintenance of lost weight until dietary habits can be solidified.  But, we should not use medication as a substitute for healthy food choices.  The most important factor when considering weight loss and exercise is the need for patience.  Give yourself time to learn what your body needs and most importantly, listen to your body. What we’re looking for is a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise balanced in a way that produces a happy and long life.



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