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If you think that a couple of sessions at the gym will help to work off those Thanksgiving pounds, think again. A new study shows that when it comes to losing weight, exercise alone is unlikely to do the trick — for women, at least.

Researchers at Bangor University in the United Kingdom found that women who engaged in exercise classes three times per week for 4 or 8 weeks — but who did not change their diets — failed to lose any weight.

Study co-author Dr. Hans-Peter Kubis, of the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences at Bangor University, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

The study involved two experiments. For the first experiment, 34 women aged 18 to 32 years took part in a circuit exercise training session three times per week for a total of 4 weeks.

The second experiment included 36 women of the same age group, all of whom took part in the same training sessions, but for a total of 8 weeks.

At the beginning and end of each experiment, the weight, muscle, and fat mass of each woman were measured.

Blood samples were also taken from the participants, which allowed the team to measure levels of appetite hormones, including insulin, leptin, amylin, ghrelin, and peptide YY. Such hormones can influence feelings of hunger and food intake.

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