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What's More Important: Exercise or Dieting? The Reality About Weight Loss

There's no doubt that both are vital to good health, but do they carry equal weight when it comes to weight loss?

What's More Important: Exercise or Dieting? The Reality About Weight Loss

One morning I met Shaun T, personal trainer and founder of INSANITY workout (infomercial fame), by way of The Dr. Oz Show. His curriculum fascinated me but the way he harped about nutrition was what really held my focus. Most exercise programs, just by going through the motions, promise extreme results. But he was insistent that great results can only be achieved by revamping your eating habits, too. As I had barely made a dent in my dimples, running like a maniac, I wanted to give his way a shot. Sayonara: Food fried and cooked. I had a nutritional overhaul in there.

Rumor: Equally important in trying to lose weight are nutrition and exercise

Diet and work-out. Such phrases are either disgusting or holy, depending on who you refer to. There's no doubt that both are vital to good health, but do they carry equal weight when it comes to weight loss?

The Verdict: All of the world's exercise won't help you lose weight if your diet is out of whack


You know when you spend money here and a couple of dollars or don't seem like a big deal? Then you get your credit card statement and it's painfully clear the sum total of your big-spender ways? That's how it is with calories, fat, sodium, and other nutritional information, but it's much harder to itemize and track this stuff than dollars and cents. The end result is we eat too much more than we need to ... Also at diet.

"They [dieters] underestimate portions seriously, particularly for meat and grains," says Eat Your Way to Happiness author Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D. "They consume disproportionately high in calories, fat, salt, sugar and poor in carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, processed food. We eat very few new fruits and vegetables and prefer the worst ones, including carrots, iceberg lettuce, apple juice, etc., when we eat them.

Science backs up this assertion repeatedly. A recent research conducted by Plos One tracked the members of a Northern Tanzanian hunter-gatherer tribe. Researchers obtained data on physical activity, metabolism, and nutrition and compared it to the average Jack and Jill in the common Western diet. What they found was that members of the tribe are in every way comparable, except for their nutritional habits. They eat only whole, natural foods, rather than the fat and calorie-laden diets we typically enjoy. The findings of the study are basic and general. Basically, you can keep running 5Ks or Sweatin 'to the Oldies, but there's a high chance that results will be disappointing unless you change what you're eating and how much. The trend needs to continue to get safe and stay that way — not just for a week or a month, but for the long run.

Task on nutrition: Not so unlikely

"There are a million explanations why dietarians struggle, and the explanations differ from person to person," Somer says. "People lie about what they eat, underestimating their calorie consumption by around 700 to 800 calories a day." A lot of dieters even underestimate the workout. "They think/say even more they exercise than they actually do," Somer says.

The good news is that with a little effort all of these miscalculations are manageable. Firstly, be true to yourself. Would you ever work out as hard as you think you are? If not, then step it up. Subsequently, experts recommend digging the refined junk for real, whole foods. Somer suggests committing at least 75% of your diet to a menu rich in fresh fruits and veggies, 100% whole grains, legumes, nuts, non-fat dairy, and seafood products. "Place colorful plants on at least three-fourths of each board," Somer suggests."Bring food with you, so you won't be fooled by drive-throughs and vending machines."

There's no one-size-fits-all diet program. "You have to design a diet that you can live with for life, not a quick-fix gimmick that will always bring the weight back," says Somer. "Love and love to eat only foods that power your body and nurture it, not foods that harm your health." So ask around, do some research and find a healthy, doctor-backed plan that appeals to you. Will it get tough? Yea, at the start. Any big shift in lifestyle is typically so. Was it worth the effort? Do the job, and tap your old, skinny jeans. You will then get your answer.

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YourFitnessRink - Fitness and Health Matters: What's More Important: Exercise or Dieting? The Reality About Weight Loss
What's More Important: Exercise or Dieting? The Reality About Weight Loss
There's no doubt that both are vital to good health, but do they carry equal weight when it comes to weight loss?
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