People were not asked to count calories at all. Over the course of a year, both groups attended 22 classes reinforcing these very sound principles — and all participants had access to health educators who guided them in behavioral modification strategies, such as emotional awareness, setting goals, developing self-efficacy (also known as willpower), and utilizing social support networks, all to avoid falling back into unhealthy eating patterns.
Don't get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you've stopped moving. What that means for you: You're less likely to go back for seconds or thirds. Plus, it'll help you relax post meal so you won't be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories, quickly.
Lots of people have, for their entire lives, used food as a reward. To restrict their own reward, and then not be allowed to have their reward after they succeed is tough. It’s like going into an apathetic void of brain fog and sadness. And sure, you can rewire your habits over time and eventually your body will self-regulate so hunger won’t be an issue anymore, but it takes time. This period is a trial by fire where many people fail.