When you want to lose weight, there are two options; you can start dieting or start exercising.
Ideally, you should do both. But which of the two helps you lose weight faster?
What science says
It has been confirmed that for weight gain or loss, what you eat is more important than your physical activity. There is no association between physical activity and fat mass in children.
The basic science of weight loss is pretty simple: If you consume fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight.
Why exercise doesn’t work in the long term
Nutritional biochemist Shawn H Talbott says weight loss is 75 per cent diet and 25 per cent exercise. He believes it’s much easier to cut calories than burn them. “You can’t outexercise a bad diet,” he says.
Our bodies adapt to higher activity levels. Even if you exercise more, you don’t necessarily burn more fat — a fitness band will help lose weight, but it’s not a long-term solution without dieting.
Which diet is best?
Now that you know diet is the way to go, you need to decide which diet works best. Here’s the secret: they’re all just as effective.
Any low-carbohydrate or low-fat diet leads to significant weight loss. The best diet is the one that you will adhere to.
So, don’t mock famous diets. While one isn’t superior to another, they are all good for weight loss. Where they help the most is in defining parameters for you.
Once you know what you can eat and what you can’t eat, you can create a personalised meal plan accordingly. It might be best to learn nutrition principles and then make your own diet.
Do a bit of both
While it is clear that diet offers faster weight loss, it would be foolish to only diet and not exercise. The benefits of diets cannot compare to the health benefits of exercise.
And remember: “Losing weight” is not the same as “being healthy.” Several long-term studies have shown that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is by doing both diet and exercise. “Energy Balance” is the key.
Start both together: The Stanford University’s Medical Center found that you have higher chances of sticking with your new healthy routine if you change diet and exercise habits at the same time.
Changing one first and then the other reduced the number of people who followed up on their new habits.