Diet or Exercise – Which One Is Needed for Weight Loss?

Diet or Exercise – Which One Is Needed for Weight Loss?

When you read or hear about weight loss, you probably hear a long lecture on the importance of exercise. Majority of the people will tell you that you will be losing those extra annoying pounds in no time as soon as you grab a gym membership.

Whether you are reading some fitness magazine or asking your friends, you are going to hear a lot about including some kind of physical activity in your routine no matter what your weight loss and fitness goal is.

So, is exercise all you need for losing weight?

Although exercise brings a lot of benefits ranging from improving your strength and protecting you from a great number of health conditions including many types of cancer, weight loss is not the main advantage of working out.

Exercising regularly is no doubt healthy and recommended to every single person as it can give you better health generally and help you in maintaining your weight. However, when it comes to losing extra pounds on your body, your diet might play a bigger role than exercise.

One of the main problems of the views on weight loss today is they forget to add the significance of changing the diet in order to boost health and lose weight along with the mention of the effects of exercising.

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Diet or Exercise - Which One Is Needed for Weight Loss?

Does this mean you should stop exercising?

No, certainly not. When it comes to losing the extra weight, you should give your diet as much importance as you think about giving to your daily workout routine if you are aiming for a long-term weight loss.

Where you should work out for all of its advantages, you should also have a healthy diet to go along with it. There are some mistakes that are done by people commonly especially when they are not seeing the results they desire.

The first problem when it comes to weight loss is that majority of the people think exercise alone is the determinant of weight. According to one study conducted on children, food choices were a bigger reason for obesity rather than physical activity.

The current theory states that around 30% of the caloric intake is burnt by the body through exercise while the remaining 70% is burnt in accordance with the basal metabolic rate which is the energy required or used by the body for survival.

Read about the different kinds of diets for weight loss and their effectiveness here. 

Another problem that is similar to the one described above is that people who work out on a regular basis tend to overestimate the number of calories they burn.

You might have known a family member or a friend who gets pizza or ice-cream right after exercising because of working out more than the usual time. Every other person thinks that they deserve a treat after working so hard at the gym.

Does this trick actually work?

It is no surprise that it does not. People tend to overestimate the number of calories that are burnt during exercise which are certainly not as much as there is a bowl of ice-cream or in an extra-large pizza slice.

A study conducted by Department of Pediatrics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center looked at the diets of females and males who worked out regularly and concluded that nearly all of them ate more than they burnt while believing they were doing the opposite.

Another study conducted by the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa and published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness looked at the same matter and asked people to eat the calories they burnt after a workout session.

The participants were taken on a buffet after a treadmill workout. All of the participants had around 2 to 3 times more food and calories than they burnt while thinking they are having the equivalent amount of calories.


Diet or Exercise - Which One Is Needed for Weight Loss?

What should you do then?

If you are struggling with weight loss, make sure that both your exercise and diet are healthy and fit for shedding off extra pounds. Do not just eat junk food while working out and expect to lose weight in no time.

You should always have a clean and healthy diet not only for losing weight but for better overall health along with exercise that can help you reach your goals faster along with keeping you active.


With an academic background in Food Sciences, Klaire is interested to read about the latest news on nutrition, therapeutic benefits of foods and health. She is a practicing dietician with a focus on improving women’s health. Before joining the team, she has worked as a researcher and freelance writer.

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