***Disclaimer: Before I divulge into this topic, I realize that this view will not be shared by everyone reading, especially if your name is Jillian Michaels ! This post is part of my Weight Loss Series, and is purely based on my own opinion and what works for me.***
The million dollar question: Which is more effective for weight loss: diet or exercise?
What you’ve heard countless times in the past: A plan which incorporates a mix of diet and regular exercise.
My response: “Abs are built in the kitchen, not the gym”
This is coming from someone who has repeatedly confessed her love for running, who would rather give up an hour of sleep to fit in a workout, and who chooses to exercise on holiday:
If I want to lose weight, I am more inclined to make changes to my diet than to my exercise routine. Ideally a combination of both diet and exercise will produce optimal health & weight management, but if it’s a case of either/or, I am going to lean towards diet. Whereas weight loss can (as least initially) be achieved only through diet, the same cannot be said about exercise: dietary improvements are crucial! Unless you’re an athlete who can commit to hours of training daily, you cannot out-train a bad diet.
Weight loss comes down to feeding your body some sort of calorie deficit, or in other words, burning more calories than the amount you put into your body through food.
Weight Loss = Calories Consumed < Calories Burned
Personally I think it is relatively easy to reduce calories by a given amount through dietary improvements than to increase my energy expenditure by the same amount. In theory it’s possible that you can burn more calories than you eat but the caloric value of exercise is modest and requires far more exercise than most people realize. Put it this way, to cut out 200 calories a day (enough to lose 2 lbs a month)
- You would merely have to skip your daily chocolate bar or packet of crisps
- Run/walk at least 2 miles
What worked for me: I exercised during my weight loss but rarely viewed it as a means to lose weight. My reasons for working out were (and still are) more for the health benefits and endorphin high; the calorie burn was just an added bonus. Although it’s not something I would ever advise to others or myself, it is possible to lose weight by sitting on your ass. However it’s important to get into the habit of exercising regularly: ultimately staying active is what’s going to help you to keep the weight off!
Agree or disagree? I would love to hear your views…