Exercising regularly makes it easier to stick to a healthy diet
07/06/2021 / By Brocky Wilson / Comments
Exercising regularly makes it easier to stick to a healthy diet

You may be aware that regularly exercising burns calories and makes you lose weight, but do you know that it can also help you commit to a healthy diet?

That’s according to a 2020 study led by Drexel University researchers, who found that working out makes it easier to stick to a calorie-restricted diet by helping prevent overeating.

Exercising for at least 1 hour helps prevent overeating

The researchers aimed to determine how exercise affected people’s commitment to diets designed for weight loss. To that end, they instructed 130 overweight or obese adults to adopt a calorie-restricted diet and regularly engage in light to vigorous exercises.

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The researchers found that engaging in physical activity for an hour cut the odds of overeating in the succeeding hours from 12 to five percent, with longer workouts causing bigger decreases.

“Interestingly, our study suggests that exercise may also aid in adhering to a reduced-calorie diet,” said lead author Rebecca Crochiere, “perhaps through improved regulation of appetite or eating behavior.”

The results of the study also suggested that lighter physical activity was more strongly associated with decreased odds of overeating compared to vigorous activity. However, the researchers noted that more studies are needed to confirm this finding, as it might be based more on the individual study participant than the intensity of the workout.

In any case, knowing that working out can help prevent overeating may also be useful if you’re following a different diet, such as intermittent fasting. Many people on an intermittent fast tend to overeat when not fasting, so the finding may also apply.

This is the not first study to show that regular exercise helps you adhere to a healthy diet. A 2011 study also found that exercising for four or more days a week was associated with eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day in the following week.

More tips to stay committed to your diet

Staying committed to a healthy diet isn’t easy regardless of whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle or keep your weight off. Try the following diet maintenance tips to stick to your diet:

  • Take your time before starting. You need to have the right mindset before starting a new diet. Learn how to motivate yourself every day, beat your cravings and get back on track after a cheat day before committing yourself to a new eating plan.
  • Think long-term. Always remember your reasons for starting a new diet to help get around your cravings. Write your long-term fitness goals so you can pull this list out when you feel vulnerable.
  • Plan your meals. It’s hard to break your diet when you already have your meals planned or prepared beforehand.
  • Keep a food diary. When you write down what you eat, you’re more likely to take stock of your poor dietary choices and change your behavior moving forward.
  • Stay accountable. Report to another person what you have eaten and whether you have followed your diet throughout the day. Do this daily through email, texting or voice message. You can also take yourself to account by weighing yourself every day.
  • Go easy on yourself. Going cold turkey can seem like a good idea, but it’s unsustainable and unrealistic. Leave room for one of your favorite foods to relieve some of the pressure of eating a strict diet. You can incorporate your favorite snack into your diet by eating it in moderation.
  • Change your mindset about eating. Recognize that you can’t eat whatever you want and achieve your fitness goals at the same time.
  • Snack on fruits. Fruits are not only nutritious but are also delicious and versatile. You can make a smoothie, salad, fruits on sticks, spring rolls, etc. Snacking on fruits may also improve your palate and get rid of your cravings for unhealthy treats.
  • Learn to distinguish between hunger and craving. Hunger is the empty feeling in your stomach when you haven’t eaten for several hours while craving is an intense desire for a specific food. Knowing the difference between the two can help you police your cravings.

There are many ways to stick to a healthy diet in order to stay on track of your fitness goals. Exercising regularly, meal planning and keeping a food diary are just among the strategies you can employ to boost your willpower.

Sources:

MindBodyGreen.com

PsycNet.APA.org

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

PsychologyToday.com

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