Diet or exercise-which is more effective? Find out the approach that is best for you and why

Recently, there has been a lot of advice, controversy, research and opinions about the effectiveness of diet and exercise.

I believe that eating healthy and exercising should be used together for a weight loss that is sustainable.

The medical-dictionary defines exercise as a

Physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body.

According to Medical news today

Healthy eating means consuming the right quantities of foods from all food groups in order to lead a healthy life.

Diet is simply what you would normally eat. However, the fitness world have made the word diet to imply a restricted meal plan that you follow in order to lose weight or for medical reasons.

When it comes to weight loss, most people believe that dieting is easier and more effective. According to this group, you can decide to not eat breakfast and dinner for a day or couple of days and lose weight. They believe that this is easier to do because it does not really require physical effort on your part. All you have to do is deny yourself some calories for a couple of days and this may lead to a weight loss of more than 4kg a week. Simple right?

This is one of the reasons that make fad diet fast and attractive. Most people prefer to starve their bodies to lose weight rather than to exercise and eat right. Another thing that makes it effective is that it is always restrictive. If you are not asked to banish carbs completely from your diet, you are asked to eat protein alone. If you are not asked to eat fruits alone you are told to go on smoothie cleanse or soup diet. You are practically asked to starve yourself of vital nutrients and lose weight.

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The question is, of all the people who have followed this route, how many of them have been able to keep the weight off or sustain the pace of weight loss week after week? The result is always there for all to see when you chose to diet without exercise. What I have observed over the years is that when you diet without exercising:

  • You will lose weight but you will have a flabby skin
  • Your stomach may be flatter but flabby with loose skin.
  • You may lose weight fast but you will gain them back with a little extra

According to mayo clinic:

“If you lose weight by crash dieting or by drastically restricting yourself to 400 to 800

calories a day, you’re more likely to regain weight quickly, often within six months after

you stop dieting”.

Mayo clinic went on to say that:

“Getting regular exercise also can help prevent excess weight gain in the first place”

I do not believe diet is more important than exercise. I believe they should walk hand in hand.

The main thing is that you must like what you are doing. If you do not have control of your kitchen or you go on a restrictive diet, eventually you will give up. But, if you are able to find the exercise you love, the foods you like and learn how to make them healthier by adding or removing certain things, you will be pleasantly surprised at the success you will have in your weight loss goal.

Our bodies are different, what works for Cindy might not work for Fiona. There must be something that works for you. You owe it to your body to diligently search and experiment with food and exercise routine till you find what works for you

As a fitness trainer and nutrition coach, I have discovered that when clients are left to their own device, without watching what they eat, their weight loss is negligible. But, when I combine exercise, especially HIIT with healthy and portion controlled eating, we see amazing weight loss result in little time.

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If you keep cutting calories from food alone, eventually your weight loss will plateau and you will stop losing weight. What do you do then? Cut more calories and slowly starve yourself? Choosing dieting over exercise is lose – lose situation. You may get the benefit of one and lose out on the benefit of the other. Or you may face the nightmare that the one you chose no longer performs the magic it did at first.

Another research also suggested that dieting alone is more effective because exercise makes you hungry. Really? Without exercise you will still get hungry.  What matters is what you eat when you are hungry and not what makes you hungry in the first place. Personally, working out makes me hungry but I do not sit down and eat junk.  I eat something that is healthy, i do not diet. Another thing exercise has done for me and others are that it makes our stomach not to allow us to eat as if food was going out of fashion. Maybe all the plank and pelvic tilts has made our abs smaller.

Some of my clients find that they are not hungry after working out. I have to practically sit them down and tell them what their body will do if they do not eat to persuade them to eat. Yet, others tell me that they are no longer able to eat the quantity of food they would normally eat. When they try to eat as before, their stomach fills up quickly and they feel bloated. Find out what works for you. It is not given that the moment you work out you will feel like eating everything that is not nailed down.

In my 10 years as a fitness trainer, I am yet to see someone who eats right alone and ends up having a toned body and six-pack abs.

I am also yet to see someone with a toned body that depends only on exercise. What I have seen is that eating right and regular exercise helps in sustained weight loss and in preventing all manner of disease.

Nutritionists also agree that if you want to lose weight, that what you eat and drink must play an equal role to your exercise routine.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that exercising can help to improve outcomes related to heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and that regardless of body weight and BMI, physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of death.

Exercise plays a major role in helping you stay focused, keeping your body flexible and physically fit.

I have observed that it is easier for people who are exercising to eat healthier food. Once most people stop working out, they may keep eating right for a few weeks or months but eventually they revert to their old eating habit. When they put on weight, they find a fad diet or weight loss pill and take and lose weight again. After sometime they put on weight, diet, stop, add and go through the same routine until their body stops responding to any fad diet, only then will they find their way to the nearest gym.

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For you to lose weight what you should bear in mind and constantly tell yourself is to eat healthy and not diet. You do not have to give up your favorite food because you want to lose weight. It will only make you resentful and give you a reason to go back to it when you get discouraged. There is always a way to make your unhealthy favorite food, healthy again.

Be creative. Be open to learn new ways of cooking. There must be something you can add or remove in any unhealthy meal to make them healthy. Experiment with it.

You must also bear in mind that all exercise are not created equal. Some exercises are more effective than others. Weight loss is incredibly faster when you combine healthy and right portion size meals with HIIT.

Your weight loss goals will be better achieved when you seek professional help from personal fitness trainers and nutrition experts. They can help you to develop a fitness and nutrition program that is just right for you. What is right for you is simply what you are willing to commit to. Commitment makes it possible for you to stick to your weight loss program even when you feel like giving up.

My conclusion?

Short term diet = short-term weight loss

Healthy and portion controlled meal + Exercise = Long term weight loss and sustained weight loss. And the bonus of good health and staying fit.

Both exercise and kitchens are required if you want to lose weight and improve health.

If you are looking to get fit and tone your body, register in Bellisima gym today and get a personalized fitness and nutrition plan made just for you to get result.

 

 

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Author: Nkeoma DND Agu

Nkeoma DND Agu is a certified personal, group, and corporate fitness trainer. She is also a certified fitness and nutrition coach. She has been in the fitness industry for more than 10 years. She holds certification with one of the highest certifying bodies in fitness and wellness in USA, National Exercise and Strength Training Association (NESTA) She is the Director of Bellisima Fitness And Health Studio Ltd. She helps individuals and corporate bodies in Nigeria and all over the world to achieve personal and company fitness and health goals.

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