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6 Reasons Why Diet Is More Important Than Exercising For Weight Loss

6 Reasons Why Diet Is More Important Than Exercising For Weight Loss

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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