Many people have long held the belief that exercise has to be a part of any weight loss program and that it forms a more important part of losing weight than anything else, including diet. However, recent studies have shown that for the long-term, exercise on its own is not sufficient to lose weight consistently. So dieting or exercise? Why not both?
For me personally, I’ve always felt that exercise is essential to any weight loss program that is going to show success over time. No matter how many calories you drop, if you cannot burn them during the course of your regular day, then your body will find a way to store those chemicals as fat and add to the poundage. However, recent studies have shown that dieting seems to provide better results.
The theory is that control of calories is much more of a realistic and achievable target than an exercise program that involves trips to the gym, along with strenuous and sometimes difficult work-out sessions in uncomfortable environments. Human nature being what it is suggests that we are more likely to throw in the towel on the gym membership before we start eating the chocolate cookies again. A lot of this, to me is common sense, but I guess in order to scientifically prove the theory, researchers had to travel to deepest Africa and subject an ancient tribe to all kinds of weird experiments with “tagged hydrogen and oxygen molecules”, GPS sensors and strict diets to track how fast they burnt calories and also how far they traveled on their hunting expeditions. All too much for me.
Basically, I maintain that a stringent weight loss plan has to have BOTH a dieting and exercise component and that the successful people that lose the significant weight are typically those who manage to find time, and the willingness, to do both. I always found that dieting came relatively easily but that the exercise, unless a ball was involved, had to be structured. The old exercise bike in the garage along with the headphones just wasn’t enough to float my boat for long enough to lose any noticeable pounds.
Weight loss is a state of mind and not just some schedule that’s written on a calendar or an entry in a personal trainer’s daily log. It is a commitment that needs to be made not just to achieve the goal of losing your target number of pounds, but extends into your activity habits for the rest of your life. I’d rather all of this hard work and sacrifice actually led to a healthier, and happier life. The intention is not to go grab a double cheeseburger once I break the tape of my weight loss target. It is to continue on beyond to maintain a constant healthy weight, and with that in mind, at least for me, both dieting and exercise need to form a solid partnership in my weight control schedule.