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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Low Fat Diet vs. Exercise
May 2000

Q. I have been trying to lose weight and have been on Xenical. I am good with following a low fat diet, but I have a hard time doing aerobic exercise. I have only lost 5 lbs. What can I do?

A. I'm glad you asked that question because there is a common misconception that one has to do very vigorous workout programs in order to qualify as exercise to lose weight. The truth is that even low level exercise such as walking is very effective in cardiovascular protection (decreasing the risk of heart attacks) and with weight reduction. In fact, I have found in my practice that those that exercise walking 5 to 6 hours per week have the highest success rate with weight loss (in conjunction with a low fat diet). Another myth is that if one exercises they will eat a lot more calories due to increase appetite. In fact, those who exercise usually eat about the same calories or slightly more. However, they should be burning off more calories from exercise than their caloric intake. Therefore, if one can make time to walk about 1 hour per day 5 to 6 days per week, they will likely be successful with their weight loss program (in conjunction with diet).

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