Is Exercise or Diet More Effective for Weight Loss?

By | October 19, 2012

People who are new to losing weight frequently wonder what the secret to success is. Most people are told their whole lives that diet and exercise are critical for a healthy lifestyle. But if you could only pick one, which one is more effective when it comes to losing weight?

Many experts would say the only way to achieve successful weight loss is to have a calorie deficit. Your body has a base metabolic rate where many of the calories you eat are expelled doing the normal things you do every day, such as walking around. This base rate will vary based on how overweight you are, but most people have a base metabolic rate somewhere above the 2,500 calorie range.

The function of dieting or exercising is to meet this calorie deficit, either by decreasing the calories taken in or increasing calories burned. Dieting is simple enough; all you have to do is pay attention to the foods you eat and maintain a deficit. Eating 1,000 calories below your base metabolic rate will yield weight loss of around 2 pounds per week. An example of this is the Medifast diet where you can use a great Medifast coupon code. This might sound like you’ll be eating very little, but most people are surprised at how much they can still eat. The key is to cut out fast food and junk food and make sure that the calories you’re eating are worth it in terms of keeping you full and providing energy.

Exercise functions similar to eating better by burning more calories. A person could eat at their base metabolic rate and still lose weight if they exercised every day. While this sounds ideal at first, there are a couple of drawbacks to it. Establishing a calorie deficit by changing what you eat is much easier than burning calories through exercise. A 40-minute elliptical workout will burn around 500 calories for most people. That same amount of calories could be saved by skipping on soda or bread at dinner. Most people also lack the available time to exercise every day.

Overall, one isn’t more effective than the other. Both diet and exercise can yield positive results. However, dieting does make more of a difference when it comes to losing weight, if only because it’s so much easier to establish a calorie deficit through it. For the best results, you’ll want to combine dieting and exercise in your weight loss goals.

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