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Is Diet or Exercise More Important for Weight Loss?

by Outlook Health
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Most people who are on a weight loss journey often have one tricky question striking their mind- what is more important, diet or exercise? Well, generally it is said that if one’s desire is to have a well-toned, slim physique, both nutrition and exercise plays an essential role. This means, only a workout or months of gymming would not be enough to lose weight, a healthy balanced diet is also necessary. To achieve the best results, one must be proactive and committed to a healthy diet and exercise plan.

Health experts have unanimously acknowledged the importance of the right diet and proper nutrition intake weight. According to various research studies, it has been discovered that when considering shedding pounds, nutrition might have a bit more weight. [1, 2, 3]

The weight loss mantra is that people should put their bodies into a calorie deficit so that the stored fat can be digested/metabolized to get energy for running different bodily functions. A calorie deficit occurs when an individual intake few calories through diet than those calories expended while exercising or through Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T).

N.E.A.T refers to the burning of calories through activities like sleeping or performing basic bodily functions. Now the next question arises, what can efficiently get the body into calorie deficit mode, a diet or exercise? Well, one can get into a calorie deficit, through dieting and maintain that mode through exercise. However, one should note that cutting on calorie intake might seem tempting but extreme calorie restriction can hinder weight loss results as much as over-eating. This means successful weight loss can be achieved by finding the right balance of calorie intake and calories burnt through exercises for the body. [1, 3]

However, still many people believe that a driving force for weight loss is exercise, but it’s said that one can never overtake a poor diet. So, let’s discuss the reasons why diet is more important than exercise for weight loss.

1. Overcompensation for food: After having an intense workout, most people overestimate the number of calories they have burnt while exercising and compensate for the burnt calories with more by increasing their diet.

2. Difficulty Faced by Overweight or Obese Individuals in Getting Into Calorie Deficit Mode: It has been found that without dieting and by only sweating out in a gym, overweight or obese people can find it hard to get into a calorie deficit. By hitting the gym or engaging in any physical activity including brisk walking, bicycling, aerobics, jogging, and weight lifting, people can only burn a few calories that they have got through diet.

3. Ramping up an Appetite after Exercising: After a workout, most people feel very hungry and start gulping any food or drink of choice without looking at the number of calories it contains. Exercise leads to an increase in one’s appetite which can further result in overconsumption of food.

However, those who eat few calories than their body needs can even lower their levels of the satiety hormone, called leptin. Leptin works by inhibiting hunger and regulating energy balance, so when it decreases, the appetite increases.

4. Research Studies Have Shown: Studies reveals that 10% of calories can be burnt by digesting the food that we eat and approximately 10-30% of calories can be burnt through exercise.

5. Monitoring Calorie Intake is Much Easier Than Burning Fat by Gymming: For successful weight loss, a person needs to be mindful of portion sizes and calorie intake. By limiting or not eating processed or pre-packaged foods, refined carbohydrates, sugars, etc., people can easily get into a calorie deficit (lose muscle as well as fat) more than they would by sweating out after exercise. Strength training can aid in a fat loss rather than weight loss. [1, 3]

Don’t Miss Out on a Workout

After knowing why diet is more important for weight loss, an individual must not undermine the importance of exercise. That’s because regularly exercising have lot many benefits including:

  • A drive or boost for weight loss helps maintain the weight loss results
  • Helps burn calories consumed
  • Helps build muscles
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Supports good general health by keeping health issues like depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol away. [3]

Best Exercises for Losing Weight

  • Walking- It’s the easiest and most convenient way for beginners. It provides low impact on the body joints and muscles. To get started, one can go for a half an hour walk 3-4 times a week and when fit, the frequency and duration of walks can be increased.
  • Running and Jogging- These can help in burning visceral fat. They are easy to perform and incorporate into daily routines. To start with, one can go for a 20-30 minutes jog 3-4 times a week.
  • Cycling- It is a great exercise for people of any fitness level which does not put much stress on joints.
  • Weight Lifting- It can help in building muscles and strength, which can raise the rate of calories burnt at rest-the resting metabolic rate. Studies have shown that after such training, one can continue to burn calories for hours as compared to calories burnt during aerobic exercises.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)- Refers to short bursts of intense workouts with resting/recovery periods in between. Typically, it lasts for 10-30 minutes and can help burn more calories.
  • Swimming- It is a low-impact exercise, a fun way to lose weight and achieve the great shape.
  • Yoga- It is a popular convenient way to burn a few calories, improve mindfulness, and relieve any kind of stress.
  • Pilates- It is the best beginner-friendly exercise that can aid in weight loss as well as other areas of physical fitness.

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References:

  1. https://blog.yeshealth.com/consumer/is-diet-or-exercise-more-important-for-weight-loss
  2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/weight-loss/diet-or-exercise-what-is-more-important-for-weight-loss/articleshow/68185776.cms
  3. https://makeupandbeauty.com/reasons-why-diet-is-more-important-than-exercise-for-weight-loss/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/best-exercise-for-weight-loss

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