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Diet Vs Exercise Which Has The Biggest Weight Loss Benefit?

Hey there Guys,

Today I came across a brilliant web post that helps to address the age old argument: Which is better for weight loss, diet or exercise?

I think we have all been though the standard yo-yo weight loss programs. At my heaviest I was about 113kg and my lightest 83kg. I’d restrict my food, go for crazy/strict/illogical combination rules, there was even a point where I was starting to wonder whether  gastric banding would be an option. After a while I was starting to think what was the point?

Weight loss is frustrating, confusing, and it seems that there are a whole lot of people making a stack of cash by exploiting this phenomenon. Just have a look at my bookshelf filled with multiple “fad” diets, many contradicting each other.

So what diet works?

A study from the New England Journal Of Medicine looked at 4 different diets that mimicked the current diet trends…low fat, low carb, high protein and in between. The findings of the study were interesting as it seems that protein, fat and carb ratios really don’t make much of a difference.

Over the two year period of the study all people lost weight in the first six months but after twelve months the weight slowly started to creep back up.

The main factors that helped weight loss was reduced energy intake and having some sort of support system in place that helped people keep their weight loss goals.

Does exercise help weight loss?

Exercise has been shown to help with weight loss, however the key really has to be consistency. While it’s very easy to get revved up and excited about starting an exercise routine, over time many people find they are exercising less and less.

One of the keys to success with exercise is to find something you enjoy and stick with it. Having someone to help you stick with your goals can be very helpful as social supports make missing a walking session just that little bit harder if you are not feeling up to it on the day.

One factor that appears to sabotage the potential weight loss that occurs with exercise is that post exercise hunger can go high, and people end out “treating themselves” with high calorie snacks that equal the amount of calories burnt during the exercise. As discussed at The Conversation Australia “A 100g chocolate bar could easily be eaten in under one minute”. The calories in this single chocolate bar would require a “7km run or 90 minutes walk to burn off the energy”.

Which is easier? A 7km run or not eating a chocolate bar?

As a good mate of mine says “muscle is built at the gym, but weight loss is created in the kitchen”.

So what factors do help weight loss?

Guys it’s not all gloom and doom. The key to successful weight loss is to find something and stick to it over the long term.

As mentioned by the team at The Conversation:

Long-term successful “weight losers” make a conscious effort to adopt at least one weight-loss strategy from the list following:

  • increase fruit and vegetables
  • increase exercise
  • reduce kilojoules
  • reduce fat
  • reduce sweets and junk food
  • reduce portion sizes
  • reduce overall quantity of food

Looking for one simple way to reduce energy intake? Stop drinking soft drinks.

Want to reduce your portion sizes? Buy smaller plates.

Find it hard to get motivation to get out for a walk? Start a regular walk group with your friends.

Believe it or not the process of weight loss is fairly straight forward…move more and eat less. The key to success is slow, steady and regular action. Small changes over a long period of time can make for massive difference.

Yours in good health.

Dr George

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