Diet vs. Exercise: Which Is Best For Results?

Friday, April 20, 2007 - 3:37pm

By Michele Silence, MA

It's just a bit much. Watch everything that goes into your mouth AND exercise regularly too. Are both really necessary for weight loss? What if you are great at controlling diet but lousy at structuring a workout? Or vice versa? Here's what you should know about diet and exercise, especially if you're serious about getting fit and seeing results.

Weight loss through diet alone

Cutting excess calories and eliminating extra fat from the diet can definitely help get you on a weight-loss roll. Any time you eliminate calories without changing anything else you are going to lose weight. And, weight loss will continue for a considerable amount of time until you hit a plateau. When you get to a place where you just can't seem to lose any more pounds you need more-more exercise, that is. Cutting even more calories won't help at that point and you could end up cutting too many. That means you will just end up slowing your metabolism down and undermine weight loss even more.

Exercise alone in achieving weight loss

Eat what you want and lose weight. That's what happens initially when embarking on a regular exercise routine. Anytime you burn more calories than you eat, you'll lose weight. So, if you add exercise and eat exactly the same way, you will lose weight. And, the weight loss will continue just like with diet alone, until a certain point at which it will be extremely difficult to budge from. When this happens more exercise may not be possible (or desirable). And, too much exercise can lead to stress fractures, diminished motivation, and fatigue.

Diet with exercise is the best method of losing weight

Even if dieting is very successful for you, think about what your body is going to look like. Sagging skin and no muscle tone is not as attractive as sculpted muscles and a contoured look. You can take years off your appearance just by keeping your body toned and tight.

Exercise is work. Why work hard at burning fat just to put it back on again at your next meal? You can workout extremely hard but if it's followed by an "eat whatever I want" attitude it will take considerably longer to reach fitness goals. And, they may never be achieved.

For optimal results, put diet and exercise together. They work hand in hand. One boosts calorie burning by adding more calorie burning muscle in your body. The other limits the amount of calories taken in. Put them both together for a great body that will stay that way for years to come.

*This article is intended for general information purposes only, is not individual-specific, nor is it intended to replace the advice of your healthcare team.