Which is better for weight loss, diet or exercise?
Let’s explore five weight loss tips to add to your diet and exercise plan for weight loss and learn how to make them work best for you.
5 Weight Loss Tips to Help You Burn Fat
The combination of cardio and strength training makes it more likely you'll burn fat instead of muscle as you lose weight. Exercise is beneficial for numerous reasons, yet surprisingly, many studies show that it’s not the best weight loss plan. For one thing, activity consumes far fewer calories than many people think. According to Aaron E. Carroll, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine,1 to lose weight, eating less is far more important than exercising.
"I think the role of exercise in weight loss is highly overrated," says Marc Reitman, chief of the diabetes, endocrinology and obesity branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, [NIDDK].2He explains that exercise is excellent for being healthy, but overeating is what causes overweight.
Scientific studies based on computer simulations from “The Biggest Loser” television program,3 showed that diet alone was calculated to be responsible for more weight loss than exercise.
Simply Put, Without Dieting to Lose Weight, You Cannot Exercise Your Way Out of Overeating.
1. Reconsider Quantity
Some may succeed in their diet to lose weight with precision food scales and rigorous calorie counting while some count only carbs. Others win by merely cutting down their usual food intake by about one-quarter. Tricks of the trade can include eating from smaller sized plates to encourage smaller sized portions. Check out some other impressive dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,4 the nation’s go-to source for nutrition advice.
2. Redefine Quality
Are you eating the right foods when you diet to lose weight? Of course, portion size matters, but consider the consequences of a 1500 calorie diet made up of only potato chips and candy bars. You might lose weight, but not support your health – or even your sense of satisfaction.
Generally, avoid the apparent health blockers such as foods that include any combination of refined flour, fat and sugar (white bread, cakes, pies, pastries), candy and all things deep-fried.
Best foods are always whole foods, minimally processed such as fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, unprocessed grains, lean protein and other foods high in water and fiber. Opting for these foods will fill you up without eating too many calories. However, it is still possible to overeat so pay attention to the body’s signals and eat only when you're hungry.
Better to treat your diet as a welcomed upgrade to healthier habits and an improved lifestyle. Should you approach your food choices as a temporary measure only to reach your weight goal, odds are your old eating habits will soon return – along with all the lost weight.
3. A Modified Approach
The 80/20 is not a diet, but rather a useful tool to begin your transition toward better eating standards. As a strategy, it can free you from calorie counting, cutting out entire food groups and it doesn’t force you to ignore your cravings.
The 80/20 guideline means 80% of your diet should come from healthy, nutritious foods, while you set aside 20% of your food intake to indulge in your favored treats. Important note: this rule doesn't apply every day; this is for one day a week only.5
4. Sleep for Weight Loss
Remarkably, sleep loss may also be a contributing factor to obesity. "What most people do not realize is that better sleep habits may be instrumental to the success of any weight management plan."6
John Winkelman, MD, Ph.D., medical director of the Sleep Health Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
Our bodies all require long periods of sleep to restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle, repair tissue, and synthesize hormones. Rest makes us feel better, but its value goes way beyond a refreshing mood boost. Sufficient sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle as it benefits your weight, heart, mind and inner peace.
Michael Thorpy, MD, Director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at The Montefiore Medical Center in New York adds, "Anyone making a resolution to lose weight ... should probably consider a parallel commitment for getting more sleep.”7
To sum it up, sleep is an integral part of any weight loss plan, and you should set aside time in your day to wind down, chill out and get your recommended eight hours of sleep.
5. Always Have a Backup Plan for Eating and Exercise
Sudden demands sometimes spring up and take us away from our usual diet and workout routines. Even the most organized are juggling their time among family, work, social activities, rest and more. Keep a clearly defined backup plan for unexpected occasions.
When you can’t get to your morning Zumba class, don’t give up altogether. Skipping even once begins a bad habit. Instead, do a 15-minute video at home or even just a few sets for your glutes and abs. Can you fit in 10 minutes for a walk during your lunch hour?
What do you do when you need a quick fix meal? Call delivery for a pizza or make a fast food run? Plan so that your best eating choices are possible. Keep a healthy meal in your freezer and fresh fruits on hand for dessert. Stow away a few smart snacks in your pantry, such as high-fiber energy bars and some nuts or seeds.
Don’t just skip your chow time altogether because that works against weight loss. An optimal choice to keep on track with your weight loss is a healthy meal replacement plan. Almased is a super quick and healthy meal solution and is one of the best grab-and-go eating choices out there. According to Jamie Luu, RDN, LD/N, Registered Dietitian at Almased, USA, Inc., “Drinking a nutritious protein-rich shake on-the-go is better than foregoing a meal. Strong evidential research shows that meal replacement diets along with healthy snacks are an effective tool for weight management.”