LUST FOR LIFE CAN EX­ER­CISE MAKE YOU FAT?

SWEAT­ING IT OUT ON THE TREAD­MILL ONLY TO FIND YOUR PANTS WON’T ZIP UP? NA­DIA STEN­NETT ASKS WHY THERE’S PAIN, BUT NO GAIN.

CLEO (Malaysia) - - SMART REPORT -

Rush­ing for work one morn­ing, I was caught off guard when my skinny jeans didn’t shimmy on with their usual ease. I toyed with the no­tion they’d shrunk in the wash, but the more log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion nig­gled at me. There was just one thing that didn’t add up, though – I’d been ex­er­cis­ing like a de­mon for months. In prep for a fig­ure-hug­ging brides­maid’s dress, I’d signed up for boot-camp tor­ture be­fore sun­rise and spin-class hell pre-sun­set. The only thing get­ting me through the or­deal was the thought of how svelte I’d look in that dress. So why were my jeans hat­ing on me? De­spite fol­low­ing the so-called “rules” of stay­ing in shape (you know, 30 to 60 min­utes of ex­er­cise a day, five days a week), many of us are left strug­gling with jeans that won’t slide over our thighs or a se­vere case of muf­fin top. But while we fork out a stack on gyms, the only thing grow­ing faster than our credit card debt is our waist­line. And the bad news is that our ex­er­cise ob­ses­sion may have more to do with it than we think, say au­thors Teresa S Wi­ley and Bent Formby in their book Lights Out: Sleep, Su­gar, and Sur­vival. They sug­gest that chronic high in­ten­sity ex­er­cise sets off the body’s prim­i­tive “fight or flight” re­sponse, trig­ger­ing a surge of ex­tra cor­ti­sol – the stress hor­mone linked to in­creased ab­dom­i­nal fat in women.

SOURCE: THE WORLD HEALTH OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION (WHO) SUR­VEY IN 2010

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