Diet vs. Exercise – Which is the More Important For Losing Weight and Why?

When it comes to losing weight, a lot of people are overly focusing on their exercise, or even using it as an excuse – “I don’t have time to go to the gym right now, I’ll start my diet in the summer/winter/etc.” In reality, exercise keeps you healthy, increases your energy levels and can prevent a lot of serious health issues later in life, such as cardiovascular disease. However, when it comes to losing weight, burning off the calories you eat through exercise is not a very effective strategy.
Although an hour or more of exercise can burn 500-1000 calories, not a lot of people have the energy to exercise this much, especially people who have a lot of unwanted body fat. If your diet is heavy on the carbohydrate and sugar side, such long exercise would plummet your blood sugar levels and create a lot of hunger pangs an hour or two later.

Exercise is not very effective for getting rid of visceral (‘belly’) fat.

risto_pekkala_Pregnant_bellyA big issue many overweight people have is their visceral fat, which is very different from subcutaneous fat – the fat you have under your skin. Although your body starts using the fat under your skin for energy about 20 minutes in the exercise, the visceral fat is rarely resorted to. This type of fat is largely caused by ingesting unnatural substances, like the preservatives and artificial sweeteners found in many unhealthy foods. It is also a result of insulin resistance, which is largely caused by fructose, fast food and of course lack of physical activity.

Your body does not burn fat for the first ~20 minutes of exercising

rihard_Clock_Calendar_1Sure, burning off the calories creates a calorie deficit, which would ultimately lead to loss of body fat. However, this is only true if you can sustain a negative-caloric intake for a very long time. Not a lot of people can do this and deal with the hunger pangs, headaches and the general feeling of not feeling well. Most people tend to undo the caloric expenditure created by exercise soon after by eating a meal rich in carbohydrates. At least one study has been found that most people underestimate the amount of calories they eat and vastly overestimate the amount of healthy food they eat, such as vegetables. It is very easy to fool yourself.
That said, even 10 minutes of moderate exercise has a ton of benefits for your health, cardiovascular system and metabolism. So, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise at all if you don’t have 20 minutes – just don’t do it solely for losing weight.

Should You Exercise?

Of course. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. However, too many people neglect their diet and focus on exercise. They see it as a chore, but as something that would ultimately help them lose weight, so they do it. After a few weeks (usually less), when they realize they haven’t lost any weight they usually stop exercising. Exercise, but don’t assume it will magically melt of body fat. Instead, focus on your diet. Let’s talk a bit about this.

What About Diet?

no-food-drinkWhen it comes to your diet, should you try to limit your calories? What should you eat? Do limit your calories, but not by that much. Make sure you are not in a caloric surplus. For most people, the ~2,000 calories per day is a good guideline. Here’s the most important thing – make sure your protein intake is adequate and that most of it comes with your morning meal. Aim for 30g of protein with your breakfast, as difficult as that is to achieve with the most commonly consumed breakfast foods. Aim for 60g of protein daily. Then, make sure you have some greens in your diet for fiber and magnesium. Spinach is probably best, but opt for whatever you want. If you exercise, time it so that you don’t consume any food 2 hours before and 2 hours after the exercise.
Also in general, try not to eat fancy foods that your body is not used to. Humans evolved eating meat, vegetables, nuts and fruits and this is what your body is adapted to. Grains and legumes are still fine, but don’t go overboard with them. As a general rule, if a food contains any ingredient a 4-year old child doesn’t recognize, you probably shouldn’t be putting it in your body.
Don’t drink calories – when you drink something because you are thirsty, make it water or tea. Even orange juice will slow down your progress, as healthy as many people think it is.
That’s about it – stick to this for a month or two and see how it goes!

Which Diet Works Best for Quickly Getting Rid of Unwanted Fat?

You can find the best diet strategy for quickly melting unwanted fat here. The main problem is that there is so much conflicting information out there and people trying to sell you ‘magic pills’ that people are more confused than ever. Unfortunately, most of the weight loss information out there is false, not based on proven principles and in general – ineffective. Too many people start following an ineffective diet strategy only to be disappointed. As a result, they are even less likely to give a 100% effort on their next diet, because they don’t believe they will achieve results regardless. This is a dangerous downwards spiral to get stuck into, so make sure that if you are following any diet program it is proven and actually does work.
Posted by Angelina on March 12th, 2014