Diet or exercise? Which is REALLY better for weight loss?


Aah the age old question….Should you focus on your eating habits or just exercise away that brownie?   Some recent pew research gave the following statistics about our exercise and dieting habits:

34% of people neither diet or exercise

17% diet and exercise

8% only diet

40% only exercise

Since I love a good list of pros and cons let’s take a look:

Pros for a  good diet- Note-“diet” means a healthy lifestyle of eating- not a crash diet.

1. Usually easier than exercising the same amount of calories away

2. Healthy fruits, veggies and whole grains up your nutrient intake and fight against heart disease some say even better than exercise.

Pros for exercise:

1. Raises your metabolism and builds muscle which burns more calories at rest (1lb of muscle burns 50  extra calories a day).

2. Gateway to a better mood- the endorphins help your mood (some say even rival the effects of certain anti-depressants) and make you more likely to take care of yourself and in turn eat better.

3. Keeps your  metabolism more stable and makes you better able to deal with calorie ups and downs day after day.

4. According to some research exercise raises the intestinal hormone GLP-1 which aids in regulating appetite.

Cons to “dieting”

1. Only restricting your calories does not increase your metabolism at all. In fact too much of a restriction could cause your metabolism to slow down to a crawl.


2. Some people (including myself) eat 5-6 small meals a day.This is a great way to regulate your appetite and blood sugar, but the danger here is that those meals may not always be small- 200-400 calories with 100-200 calorie snacks.

Cons to exercise

1. Some see being active as a free pass to eat badly. I have often heard “I exercise so I can eat what I want”. If you are trying to maintain your weight you will have some wiggle room to cheat once in awhile, but beware if you are trying to lose weight! This type of thinking can halt your progress.

2. Watch out for the “Greyhound syndrome” . I have certainly felt this. You work out extremely hard and hen you get home you pretty much crash for a lot of the day. An active lifestyle all day is really best for your metabolism. If your workout wiped you out the rest of the day then your pushed a little too far. Exercise should give you energy, not sap you of it completely.

lazy greyhound

3. It can make you ravenous. Right after a workout you will probably have a suppressed appetite followed by a ravenous appetite. Don’t wait more than an hour after exercising to eat at least 100-200 calories. This will keep away the “I am about to eat whatever I want” feeling.

So there you have it . All the info you need to probably come to the same conclusion that I did – You should eat a good balanced diet AND exercise! 

Being healthy and fit IS A LIFESTYLE! Make small permanent changes to your eating habits and exercise program for ultimate success and permanent weight loss.

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