Sunday, May 25, 2008

Diet Vs Exercise For Weight Loss

We're big proponents of exercise for a myriad of health reasons. But when it comes strictly to losing weight, what you eat is far more important than how many miles you log on the road. Just think: It takes about 6 miles or 90 minutes of brisk walking for a 150-pound person to burn 500 calories. Compare that to a seemingly harmless few handfuls (about a cup) of granola--also 500 calories. Yikes! You can see how easy it is to eat back all that hard work (and then some).

Don't throw in the exercise towel just yet!

Although subscribing to a healthy eating plan that emphasizes fruit and veggies, whole grains, and lean meat and dairy will help you needle down the scale faster than even our toughest outdoor fitness workout, studies show exercise is absolutely critical for another important reason: maintaining that weight loss and preventing weight regain. So at some point, you're gonna have to do both, and the sooner you do the better. After all, you don't just melt away the fat when you drop pounds with diet-only programs; you lose quite a bit of muscle weight, too. If you eat less and exercise, particularly if you strength train, you'll be more likely to retain muscle and lose mostly fat weight so you'll look leaner.

Bottom line: Healthy eating and regular exercise are lifelong habits necessary for weight management. Get on board and start reaping the rewards now. It's as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Primarily focus on eating well.
  2. Exercise to keep off the weight.
  3. Subscribe to a lifetime of doing both.

Sarah Robertson, founder of Outside In Fitness, is an ACE certified personal trainer, ACSM certified wellness coach, and a former fitness and weight loss editor with Prevention magazine. Outside In Fitness offers innovative group and personal outdoor fitness training and wellness coaching for weight management in the D.C./ northern Virginia areas. For more information, please visit

Plus, read more fitness and wellness tips for everything from recognizing health scams and blasting past weight loss plateaus to circumventing weather woes and championing exercise excuses.


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