NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you’re trying to lose weight with exercise, a new study finds just working out isn’t enough and some find they actually gain weight.
If you sweat it out, you expect to lose weight, but a biomedical research center found that’s not always the case. Nearly 200 overweight men and women took part. Some were put on exercise programs for six months, while others changed nothing in their lives. Scientists found many in the group that exercised actually gained weight because they ended up eating more.
That’s not a surprise to fitness instructor Melaney Wolf.
“It’s the compensation. Well, I can go eat this because I just did that and so you do,” Wolf said.
For Wolf, it was bacon cheeseburgers she’d eat after working out, until she changed her mindset and focused on how her body felt.
“That’s definitely what clicked for me was feeling better and not ever wanting to go back to feeling the way I use to because I remember that,” Wolf said.
Starting to exercise increases your appetite, and, as you gain muscle, that may register on your scale. Registered dietitian Willow Jarosh said don’t focus on weight.
“Focusing on health tends to be a much better way to reach goals in the end and having your body be at the weight it’s supposed to be,” Jarosh said.
She said to look for health markers, such as better sleep, higher energy, lower stress, and with your doctor look for improving cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
Susan Rappaport, the owner of NuYu Revolution Fitness Studio, said start with baby steps.
“Take the path slowly that the results have a lot better chance of sticking for a lifetime,” Rappaport said.
She said the more you get involved with exercise, the easier it becomes to make good choices with food.
Nutrition experts also say it’s best to steer clear of fad diets that often set you up to end up gaining weight.