Ok ok, it can work.
bonus if it’s outside under the morning sun after a protein-rich brekkie 🙂
Very nuanced, however. Types of exercise, modality, intensity, many factors involved. And on of the most important: food intake.
Was food intake controlled? How? A few hundred calories burned during exercise can easily be compensated with a few more bites of food, slightly improved food absorption, reduced energy expenditure at other times of day, etc. And I bet in a free-living population, those things happen to varying degrees.
Exercise can cause weight loss and it might not have to do with the calories burned while you’re actually exercising. Higher intensity work that supports lean mass could give you a little TEE boost or as you get stronger, moving becomes easier so you climb stairs faster or don’t mind getting up and down from the couch numerous times for whatever reason. I bet these things happen, too.
Here is my favorite study where exercise alone didn’t cause weight loss.
Most important critical detail: they were given no diet advice. Period. Not told to eat to satiety, not told to continue with their regular diet, not ad lib. Nothing. No diet advice. Nada.
That makes a difference.
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Get some dark chocolate, too