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Which is Most Important for Weight Loss; Diet or Exercise?
A recent survey of those trying to lose or maintain weight found in the vast majority of people that monitoring food and beverage consumption, and physical activity, were considered to be of key importance. However, most people believed that exercise was more important than diet, highlighting one of the most common misconceptions about obesity.
The confusion about the leverage of exercise on Weight Loss
Unfortunately, the energy balance equation “calories in have to equal calories out” suggests that energy intake and energy expenditure occupy equivalent roles in determining energy balance and therefore body weight. However, the factors governing energy intake influence the energy balance far more powerfully than the factors determining resting energy expenditures; with what we put in our mouths influencing body weight much more than exercise. For example, to walk off the calories found in a single pad of butter you’d have to add an extra seven hundred yards to your stroll that evening, a quarter mile jog for each sardine we put in our mouth and that’s just the edible part, and those who choose to eat two chicken legs better get out on their own two legs and run an extra three miles that day to outrun weight gain (and that’s for steamed chicken skin removed)!
So why exercise?
Whilst our calorie intake influences our body weight to a greater degree than exercising, increased physical activity is undoubtedly of key importance to our overall physical and emotional health. Therefore, as usual, it’s all about a balanced holistic approach and we should reprogram ourselves to strive towards “feeling healthier and being healthier”, rather than merely losing weight and “looking slimmer or more buff”.
So where to begin for a beginner?
It will come as no surprise that I recommend both a healthy diet and increasing physical exercise where this is medically safe to do so (check with your physician). However, given how hard it is to work off food, let’s make our calories count by choosing the most nutrient dense foods and give ourselves a fighting chance at living a healthier lifestyle.
You can calculate Your Health at the following link (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/calculate-your-healthy-eating-score/), which may be a good place to start.
My own experience
I have personally found that altering my eating habits has led to rapid weight management results and has spurred me on to increase my level of physical activity. There is sound psychologic reason for this; eating and not being hungry is one of our most basic evolutionary urges. I have found that being able to successfully control my eating behaviours has therefore been very empowering and has demonstrate to myself that “I do have will power and I can do this”! And so can you 😉
If you have a question for Dr. Greger, the author of the included video, leave a message in the comment section at http://nutritionfacts.org/video/diet-or-exercise-whats-more-important-for-weight-loss/ and he’ll try to answer it ASAP.
For more information of healthy eating and increasing physical activity for weight loss, see the links below:
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