Diet or Exercise?

Often people tell us the reason they did lose weight the way they wanted to was because they could not get out and exercise. We all know that we should exercise to keep our weight in check. The problem is research shows that when people devote time to one healthy habit, they spend less time with the other. So what's more important if you're worried about your waistline: your workout or your diet?

Studies show the people who think diet is the most important factor in weight loss tend to weigh less than those who believe exercise is the key.

In a study of more than 1200 people in the US, Canada, China, to France and South Korea, researchers asked the participants what was the main factor that makes people overweight. People who said it's more important to stay active to prevent obesity tended to weigh more and than people who say eating is the key to weight loss. Sadly their theories about weight control impacted their food choices. When researchers offered people unlimited chocolate, the people who said they think staying active is the key to maintaining healthy weight ate more.

Our beliefs guide our actions, and sadly, most of the information we know about how to lose weight comes from marketing.

Think about it: if you believe exercise is the key to losing weight, may think you can out exercise diet and focus less on what you eat. While exercise can definitely support weight loss and make you feel great, people tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn while working out and compensate for the extra activity by eating more. On the flip side, if you believe eating healthy is the best way to maintain your weight, you may worry less about exercise but closely watch what you eat. And that's important because most people grossly underestimate the number of calories they burn. Tons of scientific evidence shows the fact that changing your diet is more effective than trying to exercise the weight away. If you eat a 2000 cal lunch, almost no one has a free 4-5 hours to work it off.


That said though don't give up your gym membership or stop walking. It's tough to lose weight with exercise alone but it helps and it's absolutely crucial for your health. Exercise is the only thing proven to extend your life and supports heart health strengthens your bones, helps you sleep, decreases stress, and boost mental health.

Andre Brooks - Program Director

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