Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Weight Loss: Diet vs Exercise

With more than 60% of US adults either overweight or obese, there is obviously a problem with weight in this country. Fortunately, many people are trying to lose weight. The problem becomes deciding what method is best to lose weight and ultimately maintain weight. Is it diet? Is it exercising? Is it both? When dealing with weight loss, you do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. Just keep one simple idea in mind, "move more, eat less". Consume less calories than you burn and you are well on your way. Pure and simple. It is the best way to lose weight and improve your health.

Most people opt for the easier way, which in their minds is dieting, however most diets do not work. According to the American Council on Exercise, only 5% of dieters are actually successful in keeping the weight off. Usually, 1/3 of weight lost is regained within 9-12 months. Most diets are restrictive and do not teach a person about making healthy choices when it comes to food and lifestyle changes. On the other hand, exercise is great, but if you do not fuel your body enough to support the activity you are doing, you will not have the energy needed to support the weight loss and will fall back into weight gain. So again, the questions remains, diet or exercise or both?

According to the National Weight Control Registry, 89% of people who have lost weight and successfully kept it off used a combination of diet and exercise. Think about it, while dieting alone can help you lose weight, it is exercise that improves your fitness. Exercise improves your strength, endurance, flexibility and your overall capability to perform daily activities with ease. All of these things allow you to be more active, which in turn helps you burn calories, but your body need good, healthy food to stay active.

Starting an exercise program can be easy enough, however staying with it is another story. That's why you should start out slowly and set short, specific, attainable goals. Reach those first then focus on setting higher goals so you can progress and ultimately succeed. Try and exercise 15-20 minutes 3 times a week, and work your way up to longer durations and add in more activity and more sessions.

Your diet should consist of low-fat food choices and ultimately result in a reduction of the total number of calories consumed. Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, add in protein and eat complex carbohydrates. Keep it simple. Keep it basic. Stay away from processed foods.

Whether you are just starting on an exercise and diet program or have been working with a program for a while, the key is maintaining these lifestyle changes and that can be hard. You need to stay motivated and focused, even when times are really tough. Don't get discouraged, weight loss is a slow process, it takes time. But when done patiently and consistently it can be rewarding, successful and permanent.

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