Exercise With DietingExercise while dieting has always been critical to losing weight – at its core, it requires you to burn more calories than you take in, and regularly exercising builds in more opportunities to burn calories. While exercise does help weight loss, diets just aren’t that simple for everyone, especially when our appetites constantly lead us astray with temptation.

But what if we told you exercise can help with that too?

Body Heat from Exercise Diminishes Appetite

You may remember hearing about numerous studies showing a correlation between aerobic exercise (e.g., running, cycling) and decreased appetite. You may also have heard about how spicy foods (i.e., foods containing capsaicin) also decrease your appetite. Thanks to a recent study published in the PLOS Biology journal, we now know that there is in fact a direct reason why exercise is important for weight loss. It all boils down to how hot our bodies become.

First, let’s provide a little background. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for thirst, hunger, and body temperature. Without getting technical, a certain type of receptor located there is known to be sensitive to the “heat” caused by capsaicin.

The study started by comparing mouse brain tissue exposed to capsaicin and tissue exposed to heat and found that these receptors activated for real heat in the same way they reacted to the “heat” from capsaicin. Then, researchers compared mice that did not exercise, mice that exercised on a treadmill for 40 minutes, and mice that had pertinent receptors suppressed and exercised.

Both groups of exercising mice had elevated body temperatures which rose during the first 20 minutes and plateaued for the remaining 20 minutes; the body heat remained elevated for about an hour. Mice that didn’t exercise or had their receptors suppressed showed no change in appetite. But the mice that exercised had 50% lower food intake, indicating diminished appetite. That means that, like the nutrients we consume and our hormones, body temperature can regulate when we’re hungry and how hungry we are. Exercise does help weight loss by helping stave off your hunger!

How Can You Use This to Your Advantage?

Exercising while dieting is about more than just dropping pounds. You need to establish a healthy lifestyle that allows you to maintain good habits that prevent weight gain. That’s where a routine becomes so important. In light of this new study, we strongly recommend that you exercise at the same time (or as close to that as possible) every day.

This will help you regulate when you’re hungry and how hungry you are. It’s just like going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every morning, which trains your body about when to be tired and how long to sleep. You can train your body to be hungry at certain times while diminishing your appetite, allowing you to plan on eating smaller meals and healthy foods. In turn, exercising for your diet makes it easier for you to avoid temptation.

When cutting edge research suggests that exercise does help weight loss by helping you curb your appetite, it provides just one more reason to incorporate it into your dieting plans. Starting a medical weight loss plan with doctor supervision is a good way to dive in if it all seems a little overwhelming, and having a routine you stick to every day will make it easier to stay on track with exercising while dieting. Be sure you’re planning for healthy snacks and meals to be on hand or ready to cook for those times, and you’ll be able to avoid the type of unhealthy snacking that can undermine your goals.