Focusing on either diet or exercise can hinder your results. By combining the two, you’re more likely to see results.
Losing weight is a common goal among so many people, and despite trendy diets and supplements that promise a speedy drop in kilograms, experts report the real remedy tends to boil down to the same two basics: diet and exercise. Here, local experts discuss the importance of both diet and exercise when it comes to reaching weight-loss goals — and why choosing to focus on one instead of both can hinder results.
“While diet and exercise both play an important role in weight loss, what we consume definitely holds the upper hand in terms of making or breaking your success,” said Elise Mische, RD, LD, nutrition and weight-loss specialist at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center.
“You may feel great after a rigorous workout, but even just one heavy meal — or excessive snacking — can quickly outdo that hard work.” In other words, while it may take more than an hour to burn off 500 calories in the gym, it takes mere minutes to consume that many calories or more in a meal. For this reason, keeping a close eye on portion sizes and meal planning can be a key component of reaching your weight-loss goals.
“Exercise can never compete with the rate at which we consume calories,” Mische said. “Therefore, it is essential that we consume a well-balanced diet.” However, pinning down a well-balanced diet is not the sole component to dropping kilograms in a healthy manner. Experts continue to advocate blending exercise into the mix in order to achieve the best weight-loss results.
“While diet plays, arguably, the most important role in weight loss, exercise is also essential for burning calories and building lean body mass,” said Janelle Dorangricchia, BS, CPT, fitness and personal training supervisor at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center. “With significant weight loss comes some loss of lean muscle mass, and this is what people should want to avoid.
“Losing weight is great, but losing strength is not,” she added. “Maintaining a proper exercise routine during the time of weight loss is crucial to one’s health and overall wellness.”
For the most part, the fitness and nutrition experts appear to agree attempting to lose weight through diet or exercise alone is not the proper approach.
“Focusing on diet alone will likely result in loss of lean body mass and a decrease in metabolism as weight is lost,” said Lynice Anderson, RD, CDE, LD, manager of health management services at Renown Health.
“When you only focus on exercise for weight loss, you may overestimate the calories you have burned and actually consume calories above any deficit created by the exercise.” Instead of trying to cut a large amount of calories from your diet or burn a large amount of calories in the gym, Anderson suggests building a well-balanced diet and a reasonable exercise plan to create the caloric deficit necessary for healthy weight loss.
“A 250g to ½ Kilogram a week is a realistic goal for weight loss,” Anderson said. “Slow and steady weight loss is generally more sustainable, as is fat loss versus water or muscle loss.”
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