As the warmer months
approach, many Americans start to look for ways to lose those extra 10 pounds.
Yet, many individuals do not know where to start when it comes to losing
weight. An age old question regarding weight loss is which is more effective
for weight loss, diet or exercise?
As a dietitian who has
studied weight loss extensively, I have learned that diet is hands down more
effective at shedding those unwanted pounds when compared to exercise. That is
because it is much easier to pass on calories than to burn both those calories
off through exercise. For example, the difference between a fast food small
French fry and a large French fry is about 350 calories. In terms of exercise,
one would have to run a 5K (a 3.12 mile race) in order to burn those calories
off. For the vast majority of Americans, it is easier to sensibly reduce
portions than it is to burn the calorie equivalency off through exercise.
So when it comes to
weight loss, what really matters is calories, calories, calories! And when
dieters trade in their unhealthy food choices for more fruits and vegetables,
overall calorie intake is reduced. A pound of weight is equivalent to 3,500
calories. So in order to lose one pound of weight, there needs to be a 3,500
calorie deficit. This can easily be accomplished by reducing your daily diet by
500 calories. For example, consuming 1500 calories per day instead of 2000 per
day equals a 500 deficit. This should provide a 1 pound weight loss per week.
Including a more balanced plan that focuses on fruits and veggies, lean
proteins and whole grain carbs over a cleanse or low carb diet is much smarter,
more effective, and easier to sustain.
Exercise is also
important when it comes to weight loss, just not as important as diet. This
should be great news for those who are currently unable to exercise or those
unwilling to go to a gym at a certain weight. Losing a certain amount of weight
often acts as a motivator to get started with physical activity, and also makes
exercise much easier as excess weight can make some exercises dangerous, and
put undue stress on knees and joints. Studies show that people who are able to
lose weight and keep it off include physical activity in their daily routine. Getting
regular exercise also can help prevent excess weight gain in the first place.
And besides weight management, exercise has a slew of other health benefits
that shouldn’t be ignored. Regular exercise helps to improve overall mood,
control chronic health conditions like diabetes, boost energy, and promotes