Exercise is great for your health, but it won’t make you lose weight. You need to cut calories, too.

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Exercise alone will not help you lose weight.

This isn’t to say that exercise is not good for you; it is, in fact, good for you. It conveys an astonishing array of health benefits.

However — and we all hate hearing this — many specialists, while extolling the benefits of exercise, state the primary villain when it comes to excess weight is what is on our menu. To lose weight, we must cut calories.

Exercise helps keep lost pounds off, however exercise alone can not do the first task of losing it.

“I believe the function of exercise in weight loss is highly overrated,” says Marc Reitman, chief of the diabetes, endocrinology and obesity division of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, or NIDDK. “I think it’s really great for being healthy, but I am a strong believer that overeating is what causes obesity. To exercise your way out of overeating is hopeless.”

Michael Joyner, a Mayo Clinic researcher who studies how people respond to the stress of exercise, agrees. “The key for weight loss is to generate and maintain a calorie deficit,” he says. “It’s pretty easy to get people to eat 1,000 calories daily, but to get them to do 1,000 calories each day of exercise — walking 10 miles — is daunting at many levels, including time and motivation,” he says.

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