Does exercise really help with weight loss?

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Author's Note: Does exercise really help with weight loss?

I enjoy exercising. A lot. And I've always counted myself lucky for this. But here's the interesting thing. Over the last 20 years, I've increased my exercise regimen from running two or three miles a few days a week to running 10 miles a day — or doing the equivalent on the elliptical — six days a week. I also take a strength training class once or twice a week on top of that. You'd think I'd be a waif by now. Yet my weight has remained the same. I haven't lost a pound, despite all of this exercise.

First I thought it was because my metabolism was slowing as I aged. But in the back of my mind, I knew I was simply burning off everything I ate. I was eating more calories. No, I wasn't gorging on burgers or chips. I was eating pretty healthily, actually. Still, I might treat myself at night with a glass of wine, some mixed nuts and a little cheese — for a total of about 500 calories, almost the same as a Big Mac! Now I just have to decide if I want to keep exercising so much every day, or cut back on the exercising and let the extra time I'll have be my nightly treat.

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