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After taking a hiatus from my road biking due to other commitments and cold weather, I hooked it up to my trainer last weekend and went for a ride.

It was a much-needed break from all the lack of exercise and terrible eating I had been doing. So though it wasn’t exactly fun, it felt great.

As soon as I got off the bike, I also found that I suddenly had an aversion to snacks and fatty foods. Why should this be?  I know that exercise has been shown to be an appetite suppressant, but is what’s going on here really just physiological, or could it also be psychological?

As I pondered my situation, I realized that what was pushing me to suddenly eat more healthfully was the desire to not destroy the benefit gained from exercise.  I was, it seemed, experiencing loss aversion at work.

Could this be why dieting is so unsuccessful when not accompanied by exercise?  Could it be that when a change in diet is the focal point of healthier living, that exercise feels like an additional sacrifice?

When exercise is the focal point, however, eating healthfully is a natural response based in our loss averse tendencies.  I mean, you just burned all those calories. You’re not going to put them back on by eating that fatty cheeseburger, are you?

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