Diet vs Exercise: Which is More Important for Losing Weight?

Diet vs Exercise: Which is More Important for Losing Weight?

Fitness plans make people do strange things. From trying out the latest fad diet to quietly sitting through bizarre exercise videos and even stranger in-person classes, every dedicated dieter has found himself or herself doing at least a few things they can't explain. And almost every dieter has participated in one of the silliest exercise-related debates: diet vs. exercise.

Of course, the fact that this debate exists should come as no surprise. Dedicated foodies will frequently do anything to avoid giving up their favorite meals, and sugar, caffeine, and salt addicts are constantly seeking a way to escape sacrifice. Likewise, some people despise exercising and get anxious just thinking about the gym; these dieters are willing to do anything to avoid getting active. Although it's possible to lose weight with diet or exercise alone, the best strategy uses both.

Diet vs. Exercise: Which Will Help Me Lose Weight?

If you want a quick fix for achieving your weight-loss goals, dieting may be that fix. Some research suggests that people lose weight more quickly when they cut calories from their diet rather than burning them through exercise. This is a challenging strategy, though. To lose a pound a week through dieting alone, you'd need to cut 500 calories from your diet each day – the equivalent of one full meal. For most people, this strategy isn't sustainable, and the research backs this up. Only 5% of people who use dieting alone are able to sustain their weight loss.

Why You Need Both

Diet and exercise act like insurance plans for one another. If you exercise, you can occasionally afford to eat that doughnut you're craving. And if you adopt a healthy diet, missing a day of exercise isn't a crisis for your weight-loss plans. Weight loss isn't easy. You'll have to burn 3,500 calories for every pound you want to lose; blending diet and exercise makes this goal an attainable one, and saves you the misery of endless exercise and highly restrictive diets.

Even more importantly, though, both diet and exercise are key for long-term health. You might be trying to lose weight for vanity's sake, but you'll lose weight more quickly if your body is healthy. Moreover, your long-term health hangs in the balance. Exercise can help prevent cancer, reduce muscle and bone pain, prevent chronic illnesses, fight depression, and even help you live a longer life. There's no excuse for neglecting this easy way to improve your long and short-term health. Moreover, a healthy diet offers many of the same benefits. The right diet can even boost skin and hair health, in addition to protecting you from certain cancers, improving your mental health, and even making you smarter.

It can be tempting to take the short route to fitness, but the truth is that no such route exists. If you really want to lose weight, you're going to have to exercise and diet.

CATEGORIES: Diet, Fitness, Exercises