According to researchers at Harvard University reporting in the journal Obesity Reviews, “Physical exercise seems to encourage a healthy diet. In fact, when exercise is added to a weight-loss diet, treatment of obesity is more successful and the diet is adhered to in the long run.”
Exercise helps to control hedonic responses to food stimuli. “Therefore, benefits can be classified as those that occur in the short term (of metabolic predominance) and those that are seen in the long term (of behavioral predominance),” say the researchers.
And they go on to state that “regular exercise improves output in tests that measure the state of the brain’s executive functions and increases the amount of gray matter and prefrontal connections. Inhibitory control is one of the executive functions of the brain and is basically the ability to suppress inadequate and non-conforming answers to an aim (the opposite of this would be impulsiveness), which makes modification or self-regulations of a behavior possible.”
Bottom line: You need to combine diet with physical activity to lose weight and keep it off.