While we want our clients to increase their activity levels in Stabilization, they should still keep the “conversational cardio” rule of Phase 1. More intense exercise (i.e. weigh/resistance training, intense cardio, etc.) is not recommended until Maintenance, where it will be highly recommended. This is because during the Stabilization phase, our clients are trying to stabilize their new weight against the body’s biological response to regain by creating an “energy gap” in which the body attempts to drive calories in by increasing hunger and cravings, while at the same time reducing energy expenditure (body burns less calories). What we don’t want to do during this phase is to create a negative energy balance (weight loss) which can exacerbate this energy gap. High intensity exercise can just that. In fact, even the number of calories burned through moderate “conversational cardio” could impact long-term energy balance; Current research suggests that strategies for stabilizing body weight should also focus on energy flux – meaning, the number of calories that are going “in” should match calories going “out”. What this does is to almost “reassure” the body that it is no longer in a state of starvation (which our evolutionary genes interpret weight loss as being). This can help ameliorate the energy gap by easing up on energy conservation. So, in Stabilization, the goal is to maintain a moderate energy flux by increasing calories in to match the amount of “calories burned” via a fitness band or app.
It is hypothesized that energy balance may be easier to achieve at high energy flux, which will be the goal in Maintenance.