There’s been an ongoing debate surrounding the greater effectiveness of exercise versus diet. Many times, we’ve placed these two components in a boxing ring, betting in favor of one over the other. We want to place our bets on the victor who will say, “it’s a knockout!” to our body fat.

A lot of us also choose according to our personal preferences and in which area we are willing to sacrifice. Perhaps we don’t have the time to exercise, so we cherry-pick to alter our diets. Or we aren’t willing to say goodbye to our love of certain foods, so we will settle for breaking a sweat while exercising.

In this article, we are going to take a look at the pros and cons of exercising and dieting and really find out which effectively assists us in our journey to achieving our weight loss goals.

We will also consider another important factor – which one will keep those extra pounds at bay and help us maintain a long-lasting healthy body? After all, there is little point in a solution that helps us lose weight for that specific time, but once we stop or revert to old habits, will come back with more heavyweight champions. 

You Weigh What You Eat

While both diet and exercise are significant for weight loss, it’s generally easier to control your calorie intake by modifying your diet. Most dieticians recommend this rule in your weight loss journey – weight loss is generally 75% diet and 25% exercise. Remember – it is that it is much easier to consume fewer calories than it is to burn them off, especially with regards to effort and time. 

Changing the way you eat can also offer numerous health benefits, along with that confidence boost as you shred off the unwanted pounds healthily, and more importantly, safely. 

Studies of over 700 exercise versus diet research investigations over the years have noticed more immediate and short-term results when people eat smart. One particular study also saw that, on average, people who eat healthy for 15 weeks and skimp lost 23 pounds by dieting alone.

Meanwhile, those who worked out on lost about six pounds over a prolonged 21 weeks. This proves that is it easier to cut out calories than it is to burn them off. 

To put this into better perspective, let’s say a standard-sized steak would pack 500 calories. If you choose the diet approach, you could choose to consume a smaller portion of steak that will unload fewer calories in your body. If you choose the exercise approach, you would most undoubtedly have to run about five miles to undo it.

Some additional benefits to your health with the diet approach (over and above losing weight, of course) is it may help with longevity, and keep your skin, teeth, and eyes sparkling.

It supports healthy muscles, strengthens bones, and boosts immunity. Healthy diets also lower the risk of noncommunicable diseases such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. It helps the digestive system function more productively and easily.

Do Lower Calories Mean Lower Numbers on the Scale?

The key to remember here is a healthy diet change. Complete exclusions of certain food groups or unrealistic calorie consumption can both prove detrimental to your health and have the opposite effect. 

For example, cutting calories appears to promote weight loss more effectively than increasing exercise. However, in the realistic scheme of things, it is a difficult lifestyle to maintain so long term. You may end up adding on more pounds if you don’t stick to the diet religiously. 

If you lose weight by following trendy crash diets or by drastically restricting yourself to 400 – 800 calories a day, you’re more expected to regain weight quickly – often within six months after you stop dieting. We are often told that carbs are bad, and while low-carb diets are all the rage for their fast results, it is a difficult diet to stick to. So, while they help you accomplish your goal short-term, long term they may be difficult to continue.

There is also a fine line between decreasing your calorie intake and depleting your calories intake. Consuming too few calories can slow down your metabolic rate. As a defense, your body slows down the degree to which you burn off your fat cells as it desperately tries to reserve its fuel supplies.  

Over rationing, your calorie intake can lead to nutritional disorders and mineral deficits, hindering your body from functioning at its best. You can even start losing muscle mass as your body looks for an alternate energy source to carry out basic functions.

Even on the grand scale of things if the numbers do drop on the scale, it could be that you losing muscle (which is heavier) but not body fat. Body fat can be traced by doing inch measurements around your body parts.

It becomes evident that while correct eating comes with it loads of benefits, incorrectly altering your diet brings with it its fair share of glitches too. And there is but a slim firmament between the two (and it isn’t always going to be your waist), especially when striving for long-term results.

So then, is it possible that in the spectrum of exercising versus dieting, exercising could prove to be more effective? Let’s see… 

I Like to Move it, Move it

Exercising offers many great benefits. It is also one of the first inclusions you add to your regular routine when you want to lose weight. Everyone is already aware that exercising helps you lose weight. 

What is important is that it helps you lose weight by targeting and burning fat cells and replacing it with muscle. Without exercise, only a percentage of your weight loss is actually fat loss.

You are also decreasing your lean muscle mass and stripping away your bone density if you crash diet. Working out, on the other hand, promotes the growth of those metabolic tissues, so you will see the inches melt away.  

We know that muscles are tight, and take up less space than fat, so you will feel a tangible difference in your clothes.  And because regular exercise overall increase’s your metabolic rate, you burn fat faster and all throughout the day.

One of the greatest benefits of exercising is that it stands the test of time. It can help you maintain your weight loss goals. Research shows that people who lose weight and keep it off over the long term get regular workouts.

Studies also prove that to qualify for regular exercising person and reap the health benefits, it is not imperative that you spend hours at the local gym. If you are pressed for time, short bouts (about 10 minutes each three times a day) of moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking can also give you the same health benefits associated with exercise of longer duration at gym.

Adding variations to your daily exercise routine not only keeps boredom away but it also will produce results of weight loss because you are more likely to stick to an easier routine and exercise that you like.

Insights from research lead us to believe that exercise not only helps with sustained weight loss, but there are other diverse benefits of exercise too. It has been shown to provide protection again chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

Regular exercise has been linked with improved self-esteem, more powerful sex drive, weight control and improved perception of body image and better-quality sleep. Improved memory and learning and better brain health are also results of regular exercise. It also offers other benefits – it’s a great cure for insomnia and reduces both cholesterol and cortisol (that’s the stress hormone).

You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet” 

Truer words have never been spoken, and by physical educators and exercise scientists, no less. All the exercise in the world will see you attaining very little results if you do not couple it with good nutrition and consume fewer, healthier calories.

This is simply true because we naturally consume more than we need, so if we were to really work out to burn all those calories, we will never leave the gym. It may take only minutes to consume hundreds of calories that take hours to burn off.

The reality is that sometimes time just gets away from you and you can’t exercise as you would like to. Sometimes your struggle may even be gathering the strength to get to the gym after a long day, let alone getting on that elliptical bike.

Even if your alternate plan is to convince friends to join you in this mission to motivate one another when exhaustion or pure laziness acts as your kryptonite, sometimes, at the end of a long day, the only exercise you can do is pull yourself into bed. And you regret it as you wake up to yet another role hugging your waist…

We Now Pronounce You Exercise and Diet

Exercise versus diet- both have benefits individually, but are restricted in helping you accomplish your weight loss goals. You won’t see the full potential of either in the long run.

Instead, consider the two components of the new power couple to your weight loss journey. Exercising and dieting correctly are vital for long-lasting, sustained results.

If you incorporate both— burning calories through exercise and cutting calories through diet—you can double the rewards, while the disadvantages cancel each other out. This can give you the weight-loss edge you’ve been looking for to tip the scale (and inches) in your favor.

Exercise and diet are both the winning champions in this case. They are both important and need to be understood for you to see long-term weight results. Find ways to include daily exercise and a healthier, nutrient-rich diet in your life. 

For the best success, be realistic with the alterations. And then be consistent with them. You are more likely to stick to squeezing in a 10-minute walk and include an apple with lunch in the first two weeks than an hour at the gym with green salads only. Gradually incorporate the changes. Remember, its till death do you part. 


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