For years now, exercise and physical exertion has been championed as the most effective vehicle for driving pronounced weight loss. While a viable exercise regime is certainly important and also capable of boosting productivity and easing stress, it is actually your diet that drives sustained weight loss.
If you are not convinced, here are the main reasons why diet is more important than exercise, along with some steps you can take to benefit from this.
1. Exercise alone cannot drive significant weight loss
Studies have proven that exercise alone cannot drive significant weight loss, primarily because the majority of us unknowingly compensate for the calories that we burn by being more physically active. Whether this is in the form of excess snacking or grab-and-go food choices, our subconscious eating habits can easily counteract the benefits of even the most strenuous daily exercise regime.
To negate this, commit to keeping a food diary that lists every single calorie that you consume (along with the intake of sugar and saturated fat). This will make your food choices abundantly clear and highlight any areas for immediate improvement.
2. Exercise increases your appetite
We have already touched on how regular exercise can trigger subconscious eating habits, and this is based on research which suggests that physical exertion actively increases your appetite and metabolism. Such studies have confirmed that those who adhere to rigid exercise regimes also tend to increase their calorie intake simultaneously, gradually negating the impact of their workouts over time.
To avoid this, restrict your diet at the start of your weight loss drive in a bid to optimize the impact of your exercise. Remember that feeling hungry is an inevitable side effect of losing weight and changing your dietary habits, so keep this in mind at all times. Then, you should only consider increasing your calorie intake as you increase the frequency or intensity of your workouts, while also regulating your snacks and meals throughout the course of an average day.
3. An increase in physical activity has not countered rising obesity levels
Between 2001 and 2009 in the US, the percentage of people who engaged in physical activity increased noticeably. This did not prevent the rise of obesity among US adults during the same period, however, which confirms that exercise is not enough to prevent weight gain or the onset of chronic dietary conditions.
This is a difficult challenge to circumvent, but it can be achieved by reviewing the nutritional values of every meal and snack that you consume. This will help you to regulate the amount of saturated fat and sugar that you eat on a regular basis, improving your overall health and optimizing the impact of any exercise that you undertake.
4. Food is the fuel source that drives exercise
Many people misunderstand the relationship that exists between food and exercise, but the fact remains that the former is an underlying fuel source that drives the latter. Without the right caloric intake, energy, and nutrients in your body, it is impossible to exercise effectively and achieve the weight loss that you desire.
You can benefit from these dynamics by ensuring that you fuel your body with the right foods to optimize your energy levels. Bananas and lean white meats are both excellent sources of natural energy, for example, and their consumption can help you to achieve your fitness goals and lose weight consistently.
5. Short-term weight loss is also driven by diet
We have focused on long-term results so far, but we live in an age where technological advancements and the pace of modern life have made us increasingly impatient. This drives the need for short-term results too, but even then diet is the most influential factor in driving rapid weight loss.
Experts estimate that weight loss generally consists of 75% diet and 25% exercise, while the former also holds the key to your efforts. Analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies underlined this, revealing that the majority of people saw the most obvious short-term results through eating smart and dieting. Keep this in mind when losing weight, as you initially focus on shedding excess calories before you consider undertaking cardiovascular exercise and toning regimes.
6. The mechanics of weight loss restrict the effectiveness of exercise
On a similar note, it is also important to note that the mechanics of weight loss restrict the effectiveness of exercise as a standalone endeavor. The American Dietetic Association confirms this, highlighting that it is almost impossible for overweight people to produce the required energy deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day without managing and reducing what they eat.
This is a fundamental rule of weight loss, so knowing this will save you time and help you to achieve your goals quicker. It should help to guide you when it comes to setting these goals in the first place, as you look to reduce your calorie intake responsibly and in a way that will reduce your weight both quickly and over time.
Featured photo credit: Anna Verdina / Flickr via flickr.com
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