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Which Is More Important For Weight Loss? Diet Or Exercise?

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As anyone who has ever tried to lose weight will know there are two main camps “Diet versus exercise”. But which works better for losing weight? And most importantly, which will work better for you. Let’s run through some of the pros and cons of each!

Ease of Change: Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Diet

Diet is definitely the easier of the two to change – it requires much less commitment to counting calories and cutting some out than it does to go to the gym and exercise. And deciding to exercise at home? You actually have to research/invest in equipment! So if you’re aware you’re a bit of a slacker, a diet might be best for you. You can also boost your vitamin intake with supplements if you’re worried that you might accidentally lose out on some vital nutrients.

Long Term Change: Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Exercise

Despite diet being easy to initiate, it’s easier to fall back on too. One bad weekend and a break-up later and you’re two pints of ice cream down and regretting it instantly. The advantage of exercise is that once you’ve built it into a habit (the tricky part) your diet can fluctuate a little and you can make up for it with some extra work. If you know you tend to meander and get lost, try exercising. If you get serious about it, try taking some protein supplements and you’ll find the change you get even more dramatic.

Feeling More Awake? Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Exercise

If you feel sluggish and tired most of the day, and want to feel more energised, exercise is the way forward. It’ll help pump out dopamine into your brain, giving you a huge energy boost. It’s also good for those of you who may have low mood as it’s a far more effective pick-up than a diet (and it’s guilt-free, unlike chocolate). It’s possible that your low energy could be a lack of vitamin D though, so check in with a doctor too.

Lose It Quick! Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Diet

Diet is the way you’ll see a more obvious change, far more quickly. If you want instant results to encourage you, dieting is the way forward. However, don’t diet too much – you can end up bloating, and that’s definitely not the look you’re after! Make sure you actually change your meals, rather than relying on vitamins and supplements and not eating – they should be used as part of a diet, not the diet itself!

Decreased Risk of Disease: Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Diet

Whilst exercise can help with heart disease and diabetes, it’s your diet that makes the most difference here. However, in this case you shouldn’t just follow one you find online – if it’s to prevent/cope with a particular illness, you really should be talking to a doctor about it before you start!

Increased Stamina: Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Exercise

Ever wondered why you get short of breath on the stairs? It’s because you’ve  got low stamina. Whilst dieting can help somewhat, exercise is the way forward here – you want to train your body to deal with various activities, and the only way to do this is through practice!

Least Peer Pressure: Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Exercise

The toughest part of dieting is going out with friends or colleagues and eating meals with them.
You’ll likely get questioned, and if you know you tend to succumb to peer pressure easily, it’s worth going for exercise instead. The only peer pressure you’ll get at the gym is to do more, and that’s the beneficial kind!

Least Embarrassing: Diet Or Exercise

Winner: Diet

Maybe you’re a bit shy or worry about what people think. Exercising to start with may seem a challenge – you might not want to run in public or head to the gym. Whilst home exercise is possible, it may be best to start off by dieting and then, once your confidence has grown, moving onto exercising a bit later.

Depending on what you want, one or the other may seem better. Ideally, you want to do both – it takes a lot of exercise to burn off calories, so reducing your calorific intake is great. However, keeping up that kind of diet can be a challenge, so exercise is worth implementing too.

Depending on your main reasons for dieting, you may find one is more beneficial to focus on than the other. If you’re losing weight for health reasons – you’re concerned about heart disease, etc – than the diet is the most important aspect. If you’re losing it for fitness reasons – such as stamina and shortness of breath – then exercise is the way to go.

And remember, your doctor can help advise you on which vitamins and supplements will aid you on your way. The most common advice is that you can lose weight dieting not exercising, but it’s much harder to out-exercise a bad diet!

Dr. Lori L. Shemek
Star Expert

Dr. Lori Shemek is the best-selling author of “FIRE-UP YOUR FAT BURN! and a leading health and weight loss expert. The Huffington Post has recognized Dr. Shemek twice as one of the 'Top 16 Health and Fitness Experts' alongside such names as Dr. Oz and the Huffington Post also recognized her as one of the 'Top 35 Diet and Nutrition Experts' She is also a health expert for the ABC TV show Good Morning Texas.

Dr. Lori L. Shemek
Star Expert

Dr. Lori Shemek is the best-selling author of “FIRE-UP YOUR FAT BURN! and a leading health and weight loss expert. The Huffington Post has recognized Dr. Shemek twice as one of the 'Top 16 Health and Fitness Experts' alongside such names as Dr. Oz and the Huffington Post also recognized her as one of the 'Top 35 Diet and Nutrition Experts' She is also a health expert for the ABC TV show Good Morning Texas.