Does diet or exercise help you lose more weight?
You may have wondered at some point in your weight loss journey, “Does diet or exercise help you lose more weight?” It’s a common question that comes up when you’re looking to drop excess pounds. Are you better off following a strict diet or is it more useful to exercise regularly? Read on for an unexpected explanation, a recommendation, and four essential tips to help you achieve your weight loss goal.
In a perfect world
In a perfect world, you’d exercise regularly and eat a sensible and nutritious diet. As a result, you’d reach your ideal weight. But not everyone is living that perfect life. So the question arises, if you had to choose one over the other, would dieting or exercising be the most efficient and healthy way to lose weight? Does diet or exercise help you lose more weight?
The short answer is… there is no true short answer. To see your weight go down, you really should do both — exercise on a regular basis AND eat properly. However, when starting out as a newbie trying to get fit, we sometimes focus more on either exercise or diet and not both at the same time.
An unexpected discovery
The Ohio State University’s College of Public Health conducted a study with evidence that showed if you spend more time on one action or habit, it often leads to less time for another activity. So when considering does diet or exercise help you lose more weight, if you focus all your time and energy on exercise, your diet suffers. If you devote your time primarily to diet, your exercise suffers.
A very interesting discovery was uncovered in several studies published in the journal Psychological Science, a source for the latest findings on topics from cognitive, social, developmental, and health psychology to behavioural neuroscience and biopsychology. In these studies, over a thousand participants in countries including China, Canada, and the United States were asked what they believed to be the primary factor that kept people overweight.
The studies showed that the participants who believed dieting was better at helping you lose more weight generally had a lower body mass index (BMI). And shockingly, the participants who felt fitness and exercise was a more important factor for weight loss than proper diet and nutrition actually had higher BMI numbers. And, what’s more, those people had more body fat!
Your mentality impacts your weight loss
Can you guess why? It comes down to the fact that your weight loss mentality has a significant impact on your food choices. If you believe exercise is more important than diet for losing weight, you may not pay as much attention to what you’re eating and how much you’re eating.
But if you believe that proper diet and nutrition help you drop the weight more than fitness and exercise, you’re more prone to pay attention to what you put into your body. In fact, in one of the above-referenced studies, the volunteers were offered unlimited amounts of chocolate. What they found was that on a consistent basis, the participants who believed staying active was the key to losing weight, actually ate more chocolate, while their diet-minded counterparts did not.
What does this mean for you?
So what does this mean for you?
How can you use the results of this research to your advantage?
Does diet or exercise help you lose more weight?
The answer to these questions and a recommendation to follow is:
In order to achieve effective weight loss in the most efficient and healthy way possible, you have to realize you need BOTH regular exercise AND the right diet.
Four tips for successful weight loss
Here are a few useful tips to help you achieve your weight loss goal.
For exercise, perform some form of physical activity for 30 minutes every day, whether it’s going for a brisk walk or performing HIIT workouts.
TIP #1: Find an activity you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with exercises you like. So if you enjoy going on hikes or riding a bike, then find ways to build it into your exercise routine.
As for diet, eat a clean diet and cut back on processed food and foods with little or no nutritional value.
TIP #2: At each meal, you should have a combination of lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Fish and chicken are excellent sources of lean protein. Avocado and nuts are ideal healthy fats. And sweet potatoes or leafy green vegetables are great carbs to choose.
In addition, get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough sleep each night can lead to lower energy levels the following day, which in turn has an adverse effect on how well you exercise. Plus it can cause hunger pangs, which can lead to bad snacking or overeating.
TIP #3: The National Sleep Foundation recommends healthy sleep duration of between seven to nine hours of sleep for adults.
Also, aim to drink plenty of water. Doing so keeps you hydrated for your workouts and helps you feel full and less hungry throughout the day.
TIP #4: On a daily basis, drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.
In summary, if you believe a combination of both proper diet and regular exercises will lead to more weight loss, you’re more likely to dedicate your efforts to both, and you’ll see your body weight go down.
After reading this review of diet vs. exercise, I’m curious to hear what your thoughts are? Does diet or exercise help you lose more weight? Which do you focus on more — diet, exercise, or both? Leave your responses in the comments.
This is a guest post by Lynn Neville
Lynn Neville is the creator of Emma and Rose, a resource for women who want to live healthier, be stronger and feel more confident in their own skin.
In her off time, she can usually be found coaching classes, breaking a sweat working out or enjoying family time with her husband and two children. Get some free insight from Lynn and grab her free 30-Day Summer Body Challenge