A close member of my family recently went on a weight loss diet and happily dropped 25 pounds within two or three months. Suddenly encouragement changed to despair as she found that try as hard as she must, sticking close to her diet, she could hardly lose even another 5 pounds over the following two months. Discouraged, she fell off the wagon and gained back 10 pounds of what she originally lost.

So what happened? One thing is that she was going to the gym regularly, getting healthier and the fat she accumulated was being replaced by muscle, which is denser and heavier. If she had stayed on the diet longer, eventually she would have begun to lose weight again at even an even faster rate because her muscle growth due to exercise would have increased the body’s fat-burning ability.

A common mistake for many who go on a diet to lose weight is in believing that somehow if they exercise more, they burn more calories and therefore will lose weight faster. In fact, one has to burn at least 500 calories a day for a week, which comes to 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat.

So what is the value of exercise in weight-loss dieting, given the fact that the amount of exercise one is able to do will always be limited by how fat we are?

Exercise is vitally important in losing weight, not so much for burning calories as it is for revving up Yang metabolism. This literally turns your body into a fat-burning machine.

However, the transition from fat to muscle may seem to be a no-man’s-land in terms of actually shedding of pounds.

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