Yet another study showing if you increase exercise, your body compensates

(Bob M) #1

Another study indicating that if you increase “calories out” via exercise, your body compensates at other times by decreasing your “calories out”.

Energy compensation

One snippet:

(Bob M) #2

This is a bummer:

(Robin) #3

Confession: I usually just read the title and subtitle of articles shared here. But… this title makes me very happy!!! I do exercise regularly but I don’t bust my butt. At 67 with arthritis under control for now, I am mainly trying to stay limber and strong enough to get myself off the floor. LOL. So far so good. (And I really do appreciate you folks sharing the research etc.)

(Joey) #4

So perhaps CICO could be understood as calories in, colon out?

(Bob M) #5

@robintemplin I have been an exerciser since I was 15 or 16 (now, 57) and while I love to exercise, I don’t think it has much to do with weight. I gained weight to 250+ pounds while exercising. I decreased my exercise, stopped eating carbs, and lost weight.

I also think that “exercise” has this connotation that you have to go out and run around. But I have this expansive view. If you go to the park and walk around it with your friend, to me, that’s exercise. If you’re like me, and work on your house, that can be a ton of exercise.

I also think for very heavy people, they shouldn’t try to exercise at first. Try diet, then at some point, see what happens with exercise. I see people on Twitter who were very heavy, and did not exercise until they got thin enough and had enough energy they wanted to exercise.

@SomeGuy I think at some point, CICO does work. If you eat a huge amount or if you don’t eat or eat very little, you will gain or lose weight. The body can only compensate so much.

But it’s not as simple as “If I exercise 500 calories, I’ll lose 500 calories of fat”. You will likely lose less, possibly a lot less. I wouldn’t doubt, with increased hunger, you don’t lose anything.

(Jane) #6

I can relate to that. My husband and I had the same activity level and I ate less than him but he was thin, I was fat. He is around 5’ 7” so not a big man - taller than me but not by so much to make that much difference.

Obviously I was an energy compensator.


We have it similar (except he was more active than me, still is but the difference is tiny… or I don’t know, he runs but I lift :smiley: he doesn’t dare to lift my weights and I assure you, I use light ones :smiley: I am still a beginner) but he is a male, he has way more muscles even without working out (his leg muscles are impressive, the rest not at all), of course he needs more energy even without counting the size difference (he is 5’9", I am 5’4" but I am fattier, the same weight. it balances out something even though it’s muscles vs fat again).

Anyway. People are different, once I met a hobby but serious bodybuilder online with similar stats as my SO except 20kg extra muscles. Their energy need was about the same, it seemed. The guy must have had some super sparing body! While I had to set very hard physical work for my SO in calculators to go anywhere near to his real energy need…

But of course, this compensation may be different too. Everything is different, this phenomenon too.

One problem is that we can’t know if it’s 500 cals. Or 300. Or 700. I go hiking for 10 hours with breaks, no one can tell me how much I burned. Surely way, way, way less than what I am able to eat extra (it isn’t true for everyone, probably) so it’s a good day, too bad I don’t do this anymore…

I saw so, so many times in the “CICO site” I frequent that people totally believed the extremely guesswork numbers for exercise. Exercise energy need is impossible to guess well to begin with but when people mix downhills, uphills and even speeds, it’s hopeless :smiley: I didn’t care, my hunger guided me regarding how to eat and I had a good idea how much I can afford on my inactive days (and I ate less or way more, according to my hunger… but it wasn’t that hard to stay below for a while… significantly above what the calculators said about my maintenance calories but yeah, that can’t be calculated either).

I’ve heard about this compensation things before. It makes sense.


What kind of exercise? Walking? Resistance training?

If walking, what distance did they walk?

(Central Florida Bob ) #9

The thing that gets me about this kind of result, is that it shows up over and over ad nauseum, but it’s always regarded as surprising. Didn’t Ancel Keys get famous for starving WWII conscientious objectors and showed this kind of result? That was 75 years ago, so it has been known at least that long.

One of the things that study said was that people deprived of a larger percentage of their calories in a day showed massive changes in behavior that conserved calories. They’d lie around more. One of the vivid things I recall was they’d make their meals last as long as they could and they’d put any sort of spices on the food they were allowed to use to intensify the experience.

I remember reading a study of Olympic-level cyclists at the US Olympic Center. There’s a “sweet spot”; a narrow window, for the amount of power a cyclist can generate per unit of body weight that every winner of the Tour de France has met (well, I haven’t read about this in a while). The study was how to get these very high level cyclists to lose those last few pounds to get into that window. Some of the cyclists didn’t meet the predicted amount of weight they were supposed to lose and the researchers concluded they moved less in their sleep to compensate for less food.

To those who have been put on diets by their doctors, what do you think the doctor would say if you said you didn’t lose what he expected because you moved less in your sleep?

One of my favorite sayings is, "the most important phrase in science isn’t ‘Eureka! I’ve found it!’ The most important phrase you’ll ever hear is, ‘that’s funny…’ " They had a “that’s funny” and didn’t study it closely.

(Butter Withaspoon) #10

That’s kind of funny because I definitely dance in my sleep. Going from low carb to keto took me from restless to dancing. It’s pretty strange!

My sis wanted to share a tent with me for 2 weeks of hiking. I found it hard to convince her just how much twitching would be keeping her awake. We went separate :tent: phew

(Robin) #11


(Edith) #12

Being perimenopausal took me from restless to dancing, but that unfortunately has not made me thinner. :laughing:


I’m just a mover.

I don’t exercise any set plan or routine ever.

I think in a way I follow a natural lifestyle in that I do my hobbies, like horses and bikes and hiking and kayaking and then I just move as needed to do all that…then I relax.

Kinda put out all energy required when I feel I want to do just that.
I never force exercise cause I don’t enjoy it. I wish kinda I was one who loved a gym or that type of thing but I am not.

I kinda say it is more natural in that I just move. When wanted. Kinda like hunting prey one sprints and uses tons of energy on a shorter time frame to make the kill to eat…then ya eat and relax LOL

I do wish tho I had that gumption to attack some ‘toning’ and such to target certain aspects but nah, in the end, it ain’t me and I don’t wanna do any of it :wink:

I also never bothered to research what exercise does or doesn’t do ya know when it came to my menu eating change for my life. Never had the interest either to bother putting my energy into knowing any of it.
Just me on it all.