An ongoing debate centers on whether diet or exercise are important for weight loss. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this is debatable? Calories you eat and calories you burn are essential to healthy weight loss. You can lose all the weight you want but if you sit on the couch without exercising it will just come right back. If all you do is exercise, and you continue to overeat, you’ll not lose an ounce. The ideal situation is to balance diet and fitness so that you improve your overall health.
I have said it many times before. There is but one way to lose weight. Consume fewer calories than you burn. Nothing else will affect weight loss. Even diet pills stress eating less and exercising more. So what’s the fuss all about?
Weight loss can only be accomplished in one way: burning more calories than your body needs. Nothing else can make you lose weight. Even medications for weight loss make use of this rule. So, what it comes down to is that you have to either eat fewer calories, burn more off through exercise or a combination of both.
1. Burns calories. The immediate effect of exercise is burning calories. Some burn more than others, but the bottom line is that movement burns calories, PERIOD. The lesson here is to get active, even if it is just walking around the block at first. You don’t have to do it all at once. Build into an exercise routine, but make it a routine.
2. Builds muscle. Some exercises burn calories really well, others build muscle strength quite well. The muscles you especially want to build are the core muscles. By working on your core, you get a secondary benefit, the reduction of low back pain. If you have it exercise helps it get better. If you don’t, building core strength helps prevent it.
3. Improves general health. I get it, when you are overweight, even a little overweight, exercise is hard. You didn’t put on the weight by working to stay fit. But fitness is necessary for a general state of well-being. It helps reduce symptoms of inflammatory disease like arthritis as the muscles around the joints allow less pressure on those joints. Aside from that, as one becomes fit over time, other health issues seem to evaporate as well.
Look, I am not talking about building six-pack abs, or the body of a world champion bodybuilder. That takes an obsession with exercise that is as unhealthy as being obese. What we are talking about is a fitness plan that compliments your weight loss plan. It is not hardcore, rather it is a regular light routine that you can do in less than 45-minutes a day.
It seems appropriate to end with another advertising slogan, one that is recognizable all over our planet. The Nike slogan, JUST DO IT. Once you start and make it a habit, you’ll likely never quit.
Sara Dawson is the managing partner at The Science of Permanent Weight Loss. Her personal journey going from ‘chubby’ and unhealthy to thin and healthy is one that anyone who suffers from being overweight or in poor health, or both should know. Sara encourages you to visit her Weight Loss Blog where she shares her story along with tips and ideas for healthy weight loss.
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