If you look at many different weight loss experts, they all seem to fall within one of two camps. The first claims that it is possible to achieve weight loss through diet alone. The other camp claims just the opposite- that training alone is enough to achieve weight loss. For someone who is trying to decide what route they want to take it can be difficult to figure out which claims are true in order to achieve the weight loss results they are looking for.
There is a third camp that states that diet and training are both necessary, not only for weight loss but also to maintain a lifestyle that is much healthier than either extreme by itself would be. Unfortunately, many people do not understand how diet and exercise go hand in hand in order to maximize good health. Here is what they need to know.
How We Gain And Lose Weight
Our bodies are made to store excess energy in the form of fat. We take in food energy, in the form of calories, with the foods that we eat. Everything we do, from walking to breathing to typing on a computer, uses up energy. If we take in more energy than we burn off during the day we will end up gaining weight. If that trend is reversed, and we begin to take in fewer calories than we use in a day, our weight will drop.
We can reduce our caloric intake by:
Choosing foods that have fewer calories
Reducing portion size
Eating a larger number of small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep up our metabolic rate
Choosing foods that have less fat in them. Fat is a prime source of calories and can also cause a range of other health problems depending on the amount and type of fat that is being consumed
We can increase the amount of exercise we get by:
Choosing to walk rather than drive a car
Taking stairs instead of an elevator or escalator
Finding ways to take part in activities that are not sedentary
The rate at which our bodies use the energy we take in is called the metabolic rate. When we are active, our metabolic rate increases so that we are able to burn energy more quickly. It continues to be elevated for some time after the activity is finished. As well, when we eat, for a short time after we take in food, our metabolic rate is also elevated. By eating several small meals and working periods of exercise into our daily routine we will be able to have a higher overall metabolic rate. This means that we will burn more calories and this, ultimately, can help us lose weight.
What Studies Have Shown About Diet vs. Training
The question of diet vs. training is a popular one for many researchers. There are a number of reasons for this. One is that the details of the studies being done are easy to set up. It is possible to simply have one test group undergo training but maintain their regular diet. The second group can simply limit the calories or other dietary components and monitor how much weight is lost without performing any additional exercise.
These studies are also popular because they attract a lot of attention. People are always looking for a way to maximize their weight loss with as little effort as possible. Here are the results of several of these studies:
A University of Manitoba study concluded that dietary changes did indeed produce better results than a change in the amount or type of exercise being performed. Specifically, the study showed that a sharp reduction in the amount of dietary fat being consumed led to more substantial weight loss. It also showed that without dietary changes it may be impossible for a woman to achieve significant weight loss through exercise alone
In an article published in 2000, researchers R. Ross, J.A. Freeman and I. Janssen stated that the findings of the American College of Sports Medicine were incorrect. These findings stated that without caloric reduction and dietary changes, exercise alone was not enough to cause significant fat loss. However, the article that was published by these researchers stated that there were randomly controlled styles that supported findings opposite to those of the ACSM. The feeling was that the factors had not been made equal and if this did occur, that exercise would be just as effective as dietary changes for losing weight
The Cochrane Collaboration which was made up of approximately 12,000 scientific researchers and experts found that exercise without dietary changes did not result in massive weight loss. However, it did have a beneficial impact on other areas of health such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels. This suggested that it would have an excellent impact on health in general
How To Improve Your Health Most Effectively
Although many of the studies have shown that exercise alone is not enough to burn fat and lose weight, they have also shown that to maximize weight loss there needs to be a combination of exercise and a balanced diet. By reducing calories and choosing foods that are high in nutrients and low in fat and calories we can improve our health.
By choosing foods that are high in fat and calories we can do a lot more damage to our bodies than an expanding waistline may let on. A diet that is high in fat and calories can cause the following issues:
High amounts of bad cholesterol and low amounts of good cholesterol
Cardiovascular issues such as clogged arteries and high blood pressure that can lead to a heart attack or stroke
Any one of these conditions can ultimately be fatal. Even if they are not, they can lead to other problems that may cause you to become handicapped or shorten your life by a substantial amount.
Some suggestions on ways to improve your diet include:
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors. This is because they will vary in their nutritional content and variety will allow you to get the full benefit of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
Choose to cook foods in ways that limit the use of fat. This includes steaming, sauteing, roasting and boiling instead of frying
Reducing the amount of red meat that is eaten. Choosing leaner cuts for the red meat that you do still eat
Alternating protein from animal sources with protein from plant sources such as beans, tofu and tempeh
Choosing protein sources such as chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of pork, lamb and veal
Using olive oil rather than butter or other sources of saturated fats. Olive oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids and other beneficial compounds that can help improve cardiovascular health
By choosing to increase the amount of training that you are doing you will find that you will be able to lose weight as quickly and safely as possible. In the end, a combination of both approaches will help you lose weight much more rapidly than either one would by themselves.