Losing weight is a popular and commendable goal, but when beginning to navigate the vast amount of theories, diets, and exercise routines available to those looking to accomplish weight loss, it can be difficult for a newbie to make sense of it all. Some people attribute their weight loss to their paleo, ketogenic, or gluten-free diet, while others attribute theirs solely to working out. So which is more important when you want to know how to lose weight, diets or exercise?
Diets and Exercise: Which Is More Important?
When it comes to diets and exercise, they each have important roles to play.
Exercise is an important part of a balanced life. Whether you’re attempting to get fit or simply maintain a healthy body, exercise is an important factor. However, the relationship between exercise and weight loss is not always straightforward. In the International Journal of Epidemiology in 2015, researchers concluded that while physical activity is, of course, beneficial for a person’s health, diet is of the utmost importance when trying to lose weight.
While exercise can be a great motivational tool, the researchers believe that because exercise often increases appetite, it is less effective than a change of diet when it comes to losing weight; clinical trials have also shown that there is no significant difference in weight loss between people who exercise and cut calories, and people who simply cut calories.
The Problem With Exercise Alone
One of the problems with solely relying on exercise for weight loss is that, as humans, we often reward our own behavior in ways that do not actually benefit us. Adhering to a strict diet and exercise routine – that’s how to lose weight; the problem arises when people justify eating junk food because they’ve just worked out. Unfortunately, life just doesn’t work like that.
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Changing your diet and nutrition can be difficult, especially if your habits have been formed over many years. It can be especially difficult to know where to begin. When beginning, simply changing the amount and type of food you eat can have a huge effect. Your first step should be to download a calorie counting app or keep a food diary – you’ll be surprised how much you can change just by keeping track of your caloric intake.
Does Calorie Counting Work?
While exercising your way to your goal weight while eating whatever you like may seem appealing, it is in reality much easier to successfully lose weight by adhering to a simple application: expending more calories than you consume. Exercising can certainly help to boost your success, but there’s a popular saying in the fitness community: You can’t outrun your fork. Remembering this golden rule will help you to make positive decisions regarding your exercise/calorie ratio.
Calorie counting ensures that you are aware of how you’re eating, ideally resulting in less temptation to grab an afternoon snack, knowing you’ll have to include it in your daily allotment of calories. Allowing for proper nutrition, however, takes more effort than simply counting calories, and should be planned for.
Diets and Exercise: How to Lose Weight
The best diet plan involves eating a calorie deficit diet consisting of healthy foods like fruit, leafy vegetables, and whole grains. This will ensure high energy levels – you don’t want to crash halfway through the day! Your food should be relatively low in fat and sodium, substances which are difficult to avoid when eating out; planning your meals and preparing accordingly helps immensely in successfully adhering to a diet.
Thus, the key to weight loss, at least in the beginning, is diet. To some people, it sounds too simple – you mean I don’t have to spend hours in the gym every night? But it truly is the key to successful weight loss.
Once you’ve got the hang of counting calories, consider again the importance of proper nutrition. While it is possible to lose weight simply by limiting the amount of calories you consume, proper nutrition will allow for healthy, sustainable weight loss.
A simple solution for how to lose weight? Cut out the diet soda. Your body can’t function properly if it’s running on that stuff and it will run much more smoothly if you eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and legumes. Eating properly also ensures you’ll have the energy required for your day, an importance that cannot be overstated, as when you’re tired, you are more likely to make poor food choices.
Forming healthy habits and keeping them over your lifetime will also help you to avoid a myriad of weight-related illnesses as you grow older. Knowing what you are putting into your body is a significant part of a weight loss or health journey: avoid empty calories, which are calories found in food of little to no nutritional value, such as soda, heavily processed meats, and sugary baked goods.
It is also important to remember not to revert back to poor eating habits once you reach your goal weight, as this is the quickest way to gain back all the weight lost from all your hard work! Eating healthy should never be a secondary goal to losing weight; the two are intricately related, and proper nutrition should be considered as important as weight loss.
Take time to plan your meals and always factor in at least a half-hour of exercise per day, regardless of whether it will help you lose the weight or not. The endorphins experienced after a run or a swim will help to keep you motivated, and your body will thank you for it.
For more tips on diets and exercise for healthy weight loss, see:
- Top 10 Fat-Burning Plant-Based Foods
- Balancing Your Hormones to Lose Weight
- 40 Low Cal Foods that Help Burn Fat
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