Why Exercise and Healthy Eating Go Hand-in-Hand
For healthy weight management, it’s crucial to focus on the big picture. You may find that pounds can quickly drop off in the first few weeks with a drastic calorie reduction, but later that loss will undoubtedly stall or even reverse. Similarly, if you get active but never change how you eat, your success will be limited.
Researchers at Stanford University found in a 2013 study that the ideal approach is to simultaneously focus on diet and physical activity. The idea is that the long-haul approach is the one we all need to take, and much advice on exercise and diet has taken a limited snapshot of results with misleading conclusions.
Dieting Over Time
When people begin a diet and avoid exercise, they may have initial success and shed pounds. They may think, “See? All I have to do is eat fewer calories and I’m good!” But then their body metabolism adjusts to their new diet and the calories aren’t burning off the same anymore. It then can be harder to follow a strict limit on foods when the scales don’t motivate you.
Working Out but Eating Unhealthy
Getting physical activity into your routine is a healthy choice that yields many positive results. Unfortunately, it doesn’t guarantee that one of those positives will be weight loss. It’s not a simple mathematical equation of “I ate 300 calories at lunch and did an hour of cardio so that activity canceled out lunch.” It’s far more complex than we’d like it to be.
Combining Healthy Diet and Exercise
According to the National Weight Control Registry, those who maintain weight loss over many years have worked with both approaches, with 98% changing their eating and 95% getting and staying active. The exercise of choice overwhelmingly is walking.
Sustainable Weight Loss for Health
When you are ready to get healthy and fit, you can’t focus singularly on diet or simply exercise; you have to keep the big picture in focus and see how everything works together for a healthier life and body. That means eating a diet that isn’t harsh or unlivable long-term, while keeping yourself moving and active. Combined with good sleep and stress management, you will achieve your goal of being the healthiest version of yourself. And remember, losing even 6% of your body weight will have a major impact on your risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.