Exercise or Diet for Weight Loss?
There are so many options out there to choose from when a person decides they need to lose weight. We know for sure that to achieve weight loss, you need to expend more energy than you consume over an extended period of time. Taking up physical activity or changing your nutrition seem to be the main methods people choose to accomplish this. In today’s fast paced world, we want the quickest most efficient method so that we can have more time for the more important things in life. So, which method is more effective for that person who needs fast results? Exercise or Diet?
We know that people who choose exercise only as their tool for weight loss will achieve results.
This is especially true if you are new to training. However, it is unlikely that you will lose substantial amounts of weight by just training, even if it is multiple times a week. Research has shown that weight loss from exercise alone could lead to modest weight loss, but no weight loss is also possible. Everyone is different in terms of how they respond to exercise. Substantial weight loss through exercise alone is only likely if the activity levels are well above the recommended levels of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This can cause people to get discouraged, especially after the newbie results begin to slow or stop. Hence, we see a lot of people give up on their new exercise regime after only a couple of months and begin regaining the weight lost.
The people that choose diet as their only tool for weight loss will probably achieve very fast results if done strictly over a significant period of time.
Diets these days, usually involve cutting out major food groups such as carbs/fats or else making dramatic adjustments downwards in portion sizes. Very often these quick results are short lived. How many people have you seen lose weight through the latest and greatest diet, only to regain it all again? This “Crash Diet” process can look something like this and is usually repeated multiple times a year by the person who subscribes to them:
The above example shows that weight loss through diet only, actually encourages the body to regain weight in the long term. Calorie restriction will have more of an initial effect on weight loss compared to training alone. This is why programs out there that just focus on diet without exercise are so attractive. You will lose weight in a short period of time, but the catch is, you are likely to regain it just as fast.
Exercise and Diet
People who choose to take up exercise and improve their diet, will probably be the most likely to achieve long term results. This method, from our experience, will lead to the most weight loss compared to either diet or exercise alone. A recent study showed that after 6 months, a group that focused on improving their diet were just as successful as a second group that focused on diet and exercise. However, after 12 months the combined program was vastly superior. This study tells that for initial weight loss, diet will do the trick, but for long term results physical activity is required to increase or maintain the weight loss.
We need to think of nutrition and exercise as two different tools. These tools can be effective for both weight loss on their own. However, if you use them in combination, you can achieve far better, longer lasting results. No matter what method is chosen to lose weight, always think of the long-term results rather than quick fixes. Don’t go to extremes as this will not be sustainable, especially when other areas of life such as work or family become stressful.