Both of these articles were based on research that showed that people who exercise more tend to reward themselves by eating more and making poorer food choices. As Cloud states,
The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn't necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.
So, is it the exercise that is the problem or the fact that we have a need to reward ourselves with candy bars instead of vegetables after a good workout?
Every day I watch people exercising in the gym at the very exclusive hotel where I work. Most people come in and spend at least 30-60 minutes on some piece of cardio equipment, working at a moderate pace, and then they do a few single joint weight exercises, a few "core" exercises, and they're done. They will then discuss how many calories they burned during the workout (as if the calorie count on the treadmill has anything to do with reality) and go have pancakes and bacon for breakfast. Seriously, one day they will come up with an exercise and vending machine combination that will just drop out candy bars and chips for every 400 calories burned.
I have always exercised. But once I started to make better food choices and ramp up my exercise intensity I lost 50 pounds. Exercise did not make me fat!
The truth is, exercise helps build lean muscle mass and strengthen your muscles (including your heart). The truth is, exercise helps keep our bones strong, our joints mobile, and our heads clear. The truth is, exercise helps increase our lung capacity and the amount of oxygen we utilize out of the air we breathe. And yes, the truth is, exercise will make you hungrier! The more energy you expend, the more you need to replenish. But if you make the same smart food choices and ignore the calorie count on those machines you will lose weight, function better, and feel better too.