All body types are beautiful — there is no denying this fact. However, the need to shed a few extra kilos may be a yearning for many. Diet versus exercise is a common topic of debate among weight watchers as it causes much confusion. In this article, let’s discover fact from fiction as working towards a weight-loss plan with no direction may not produce great results.
Which Is More Important For Weight Loss Exercise Or Diet?
Whether one should invest more time in exercise or adopt a healthy diet has been a point of debate for a while. Though both the practices have their undeniable virtues — the right approach to adopt one may vary for different body types.
As much as the treadmill appears tempting, various “diet versus exercise” studies established that the benefits of a healthy balanced diet are more pronounced when compared to exercises like strength training or brisk walking for weight loss.
What Do Studies Say About Diet And Exercise?
According to weight loss experts, counting calories or dieting has always fast-tracked the weight loss process. It is worth noting that physical activities cause hunger pangs and stimulate us to compensate for the calorie loss to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Although we have the best intentions at heart when we lift weights, the fatigue caused may make us binge and consume more calories, nullifying all the effort to shed weight.
However, can dieting alone help in weight loss? The answer is, “No.” Though dieting is crucial, we cannot deny the physical activity benefits. Nutrition is essential, so is exercise.
The secret to an effective weight loss program lies in following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Dieting Vs Exercise For Weight Loss:
In your weight-loss program, diet and exercise hold importance in two distinct ways. While a healthy diet helps you lower your calorie intake, regular exercise will positively impact your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular strength and build lean mass.
To lose weight faster, you must ensure that your daily energy intake is lower than the energy burned through exercises. To lose weight, you should lower your energy intake or increase physical activities so that the total energy expenditure (TTE) exceeds the energy intake.
According to Carneiro and Colleagues, the TTE of a person comprises the combined energy expenditure while resting, performing all physical activities and exercises, and processing food.
Further, by analysing a series of 28 weight-loss studies conducted by Duhurandhar and colleagues, it has been established that those who adopted exercise-based weight-loss technique had a significant drop in their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) than those who opted for dietary restrictions.
This analysis explains why exercise-based trainers must strive more to burn off calories. On the other hand, those who chose a healthy and balanced diet instead of rigorous physical exercise lose the same amount of weight quickly by cutting down on consuming simple carbohydrates and sugary snacks.
Besides, owing to the busy lifestyle we are wired into, it is wise to opt for the diet-based weight-loss plan. You can include eggs, fish, grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables in your daily meal plan. Eat just enough for you and avoid overeating.
To achieve a healthy balance of diet and exercise, you may want to engage in some form of exercise or physical activities two to three days a week. Plus, this will yield positive results for managing your stress levels.
Also Read: Can Weight Loss Cause Hair Loss?
Top 6 Benefits Of Consuming A Healthy Diet:
Let us find out the top advantages of following a nutrient-rich yet low-calorie diet:
- The first and foremost benefit of indulging in a healthy and balanced diet is that it leaves almost no room for calorie-heavy sugary snacks or processed foods that add to weight gain. Eating nutrient-dense food items like grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean protein keeps you fuller for a longer time. It will prevent you from reaching out for unhealthy fast foods too.
- A balanced diet strengthens the immune system and improves the vascular system. Adding fruits and vegetables rich in vital vitamins and minerals to your meal boosts the production of white blood cells — which, in turn, helps your body fight infections. A diet rich in antioxidants helps eliminate free radicals that cause cellular degeneration, which can be one reason for many diseases.
- Unlike sugary food or those made up of simple carbohydrates, a healthy and balanced diet takes time to get digested. It boosts your metabolism and helps your body sustain your energy levels. It prevents a spike in blood glucose levels.
- Also, a wholesome meal not only keeps your body healthy but increases your brainpower as well. Walnuts, avocado, salmon and kiwi contain fatty acids that build memory and cognitive learning capabilities. Including Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and depression and support your mental health.
- A diet rich in fibre boosts your bowel movement and improves digestion. Unhealthy food often leads to digestive problems, triggers acidity, and impacts sleep quality.
- After having a productive day with all that energy, what the body needs more than anything else is a good night’s sleep. And yes, it is a balanced diet that helps you sleep well. Try to eat a healthy meal at least two hours before bedtime to enjoy a sound sleep.
Now that you know the fundamental reasons to follow a balanced diet learn why working out is essential to achieve your weight loss goals.
Also Read: 15 Biggest Fat Loss Myths Busted!
Top 6 Benefits Of Performing Physical Activity:
Here are the top reasons why fitness experts recommend exercising:
- Honestly, physical activity contributes to healthy weight maintenance, and dieting without exercising may not be a sustainable or holistic approach.
- Regular physical activity has multifaceted benefits that don’t only include weight loss but also promote improved flexibility, stamina, breathing, blood circulation, alertness and sleep.
- It keeps lifestyle diseases in check, primarily type 2 Diabetes.
- Physical activity also prevents high blood pressure, stroke, heart ailment, and various cancers.
- With regular physical training, you can also reduce arthritis pain and minimise osteoporosis risk.
- It helps enhance mental well-being by reducing anxiety and symptoms of depression.
Diet And Exercise For Long-Term Health Benefit:
We may never settle the debate around diet vs exercise and what matters most. It is safe to infer that both are essential aspects of a healthy weight loss journey. However, a balanced diet will help you see the scale drop like magic — an effect that would not transpire that quickly through exercise alone. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, people have lost two pounds a week just by cutting down on calories.
How To Strike A Balance Between Diet And Exercise?
Include fruits in breakfast, lean protein and vegetables in lunch, and opt for a light dinner, like chicken soup. Try to take your meal by 7 PM, if not sooner. Try to get up by 6 AM and start your day with a glass of warm water. A 15-minute morning walk is an excellent way to start the day. You may want to join the little ones in their outdoor activities if making time for the gym is challenging. Also, try to use the staircase instead of the elevator whenever possible.
Exercise and diet are almost equally important for long-term weight loss — with the balanced diet winning an extra brownie point. Make healthy food choices and include running, sports, or dance in your everyday routine. A walk to the train station with an apple on the go for breakfast can be a healthy start to your morning.