After menopause losing weight is becoming harder and harder. Especially if a sedentary life style contributes to a lack of exercise and physical activity.

Regular exercise is an crucial element to lose weight permanently- however, do you know how much exercise is actually essential to lose weight? You might say “the more the better” and you are right- theoretically. After all, the common thinking is: The more calories you burn, the more weight you lose.

But in reality things tend to work out otherwise. And this is because of the compensation mechanism. The meaning of the term "compensation" is: If you predict the weight lost according to the calories burned, and measure the actual weight loss accomplished, you'll often find a gap. It's easy to understand what causes the compensation effect: People start to eat more when they go on an exercise plan. It’s often justified by thinking “As long as I am burning off the extra calories, I can allow myself to consume more”.

But, most dieters assess the amount of calories burnt during exercising and the amount of calories consumed inaccurately: Calories burnt are overrated and calories eaten underrated. So the attitude of “when I am exercising I can eat more” lresults not in permanent weight loss.

In scientific research, the amount of exercise was measured and related to the compensation mechanism. The results are very fascinating. Postmenopausal, overweight or obese women went to 3 different exercise programs, consisting of 72, 136 or 194 minutes of exercise weekly. All women had a inactive lifestyle before.

The first two groups (exercising 1 hour and 2 hours per week) did not compensate. They lost as much weight as expected. They did not eat more after starting the exercise program.

However, the women on the intensive exercise program (more than 3 hours weekly) lost only half of the expected weight. It could be the case that they were thinking "I am allowed to eat more, because I work so hard on this program".

What do we learn from this? It naturally doesn't mean that a light intensity program is best. It means if you are exercising hard, there are chances you might feel compelled to compensate and start eating more. So: If you are doing an physical exercise program, control your food intake as well- or you might not be capable to lose weight permanently after 40.

By the way: All exercise groups had a fundamental reduction in waistline circumference indicating healthy weight loss. Losing belly fat lowers the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Everybody is different- and you will need an exercise plan taking your specific situation into account. A good weight loss program should be adjusted to your particular situation.

Author's Bio: 

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You can read another article from Perry at Woman Over 40? Lose Belly Fat Now - The Health and Beauty Hazard