Exercise vs. Diet: Fight Fat with Food and Fitness
When you’re starting down the road to a healthy lifestyle, there are so many opinions and theories out there that it can be confusing to sort out fact from fiction. If you want to lose weight, a common question is whether you should focus on changing your diet or start working out first. We’ll take an in-depth look at the role of both diet and exercise in weight lose and help you figure out what to work on for your unique weight loss journey.
Weight Loss By Focusing on Exercise
1. How Do You Lose Weight With Exercise?
The theory behind weight loss in general is fairly simple, and it consists of the premise that you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. One pound of weight is the equivalent of 3500 calories, so to lose a pound of weight, you need to burn an extra 3500 calories. Ways to expend extra calories are plentiful, and typically, experts recommend different forms of exercise to achieve this goal.
2. The Best Exercises For Weight Loss
There are many great exercises that will help you to lose weight and reach your fitness goals, and cardio is a great way to burn calories. Cardio activities are preferred over strength training, which are activities like lifting weights or calisthenics, for weight loss because of the ability to burn more calories in the same amount of time. Cardio activities include exercises that use large muscle groups and make you sweat, which means walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, and rowing. With cardio exercise, you can burn large amounts of calories to create that caloric deficit that leads to weight loss.
High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a great option for weight loss. HIIT is designed to wake up muscles with bursts of intense exercise broken up by recovery periods, which conditions the muscles to grow faster, stronger, and burn more fat. The Journal of Obesity published a study in 2011 noting that people who did HIIT workouts had greater loss of belly fat than those who did aerobic activity at the same level.
Cycling is an ideal exercise for weight loss. You can perform both HIIT work outs and steady-state sweat sessions easily on a bike. Biking can also be done outside on the bike of your choice, which enables you to enjoy the changing scenery and fresh air while torching calories. Additionally, there’s a stationary exercise bike for every type of exerciser, so you never have to miss a work out due to the weather or traffic if you work out in the comfort of your own home.
Weight Loss By Focusing on Dietary Changes
1. Can You Lose Weight By Fasting?
One current diet trend to lose weight is to practice incremental fasting. With this method, you pick certain days of the week or several hours in a day to go without food, which may help to cleanse the body and make you aware of your own hunger and satiety signals. There is some concern in the medical community that this can make your body go into starvation mode. In this situation, the body wants to hang onto anything that you eat because it thinks that you’re starving, and it can actually make it even harder to release extra pounds. It may be better to cut back on how much you eat to create a calorie deficit to lose weight than to fast.
2. The Best Healthy Foods For Promoting Weight Loss
High-quality, lean protein should be one of the pillars that make up your nutritional powerhouse for weight loss. Protein is the building block for creating strong muscles, and it’s important to feed your muscles after a strenuous work out. Lean protein will also help you to feel full for longer amounts of time than most other foods. Good sources of protein are chicken breasts, low fat dairy foods like yogurt and cottage cheese, beans, eggs, and lean cuts of red meat.
Plenty of fruits and vegetables are the other two foundation foods for achieving a healthy weight. These foods are low in calories and have a high water content, so they will help to quench your thirst and fill you up without filling you out. When changing your diet, you may find that you were used to large portion sizes. Vegetables can fill up your plate and round out your meal, and you can still eat plenty of food without the fear of gaining additional weight.
Complex carbohydrates should be used occasionally in your diet. Complex carbohydrates do not spike blood sugar levels like simple carbs do, and there is concern that foods that spike blood sugar levels quickly lead to a sudden insulin response that leads to weight gain. Therefore, complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa are better for weight loss.
Healthy fats are an important part of your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for brain health and for the prevention of several diseases, so adding salmon or a fish oil supplement is helpful to your health. Healthy fats like coconut oil can actually increase your thermogenic burn, or the calories that you burn when you’re resting, to supercharge weight loss.
Is Exercise Or Diet the Best Way to Lose Weight?
The very best way to lose unwanted weight and keep it off is to combine both a healthy diet and exercise. This study published in 2011 followed postmenopausal women who tried dietary changes, exercise, or both to see their success with weight loss through lifestyle changes. The results showed that women lost more weight with a healthy diet than with exercise, but overall, they lost the most weight with a combination of good food and frequent physical activity.
There are some additional benefits of exercise that should be noted. This study from 2000 found that while diet and exercise together had the greatest impact on weight loss, there are other health improvements from exercise that you can’t get from diet alone. These benefits include a reduced risk of heart disease, an improvement in high blood pressure, and better blood sugar levels.
Exercise is especially crucial for weight loss maintenance. After you’ve put in all that hard work of changing your diet and making a regular habit of exercise, you want to make your health gains and smaller size a permanent part of your life. According to this 2001 study from the American Journal of Nutrition, people who lost weight were better able to keep it off if they exercised often.
Wrapping It Up
Both a healthy diet and routine, intense workouts are important for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. A healthy diet may help you to lose more weight than just exercising, but combined, you will be unstoppable. Including HIIT exercise sessions, such as a biking on hills, can super-charge your fat loss. Exercise is also a determining factor in keeping the weight off once it’s gone.