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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I exercise without losing weight?

    I'm recovering from anorexia nervosa and would like to exercise to help improve my mood and to gain some lean muscle while not losing any more weight. I'm currently on a weight gain diet but I find it difficult to stick to so there is often a deficit in cals.

    I'm still quite underweight bmi of 16.4 so are there any specific exercises which I could do that wouldn't burn many calories but would still help release some endorphin's and possibly tone some of this new found fat?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Hi, I’m an Inner-West Sydney based Nutritionist and Accredited Practicing Dietitian. I’m committed to helping people finding a way of eating that allows them to … View Profile

    I'm glad that you're on the way to recovery and not wanting to lose any weight. 

    Exercise is a really great mood booster. The most important thing with exercise is that you are eating enough food to fuel the exercise and any more muscle you build. I understand that it's hard to stick to your eating plan, but it's not a good idea to do exercise if you can't increase how much you're eating, because you will not build any muscle. 

    Remember that having fat is vital for your health. Talk to your doctor, psychologist and other health professional team about what might be a good exercise plan. They might be able to refer you to an exercse physiologist or other expert in this area.

    Good luck on your recovery, 

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Adding to Jessica's excellent suggestions:

    Remember that muscle tissue is denser than fatty tissue (ie, muscle tissue weighs more per unit volume than fatty tissue).

    So, with regular exercise what may happen is that your muscle tissue:fatty tissue ratio will increase.

    The effect of that is that you will gain weight in a healthy way :-).

    All the best.

  • Gabrielle Maston

    Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    A qualified Dietitian, Nutritionist, Exercise physiologist and Personal trainer. Gabrielle studied at the nutrition and sport and exercise science at the University of Sydney. During … View Profile

    Hi There, 

    Just to add to the great comments above. You can still get great mood boosting benefits with short duration exercise. For example 10-15min moderate intensity training (cycling/crosstrainer/rower etc). You may want to try 30second intervals with 1-2min recovery sets for 10-15min. That way you burnt little calories in that time, but get all the benefits of mood enhancement.

    Hope that helps :)

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