Diet Versus Exercise - What's the best way
to lose weight?
rages on. Whats most important, a
healthy, well-balanced diet or an active
lifestyle that incorporates some type of
exercise? Lets take a close look at
what each can do for us, and at what cost.
Eat less, weigh less. Simple right?
But from Atkins to the Zone, theres
no shortage of nutritional approaches to
weight management. Too bad the multi-billion
diet industry seems to create more confusion
than solutions a major drawback for
those stuck on dieting, spending lots of
money, and going nowhere.
Dieting, or temporarily changing ones
eating habits in order to shed body fat
is at best, a band-aid approach to weight
loss. A more sensible method involves taking
the time to learn how to eat, what foods
are good for you, and what you need to avoid
or moderate in your daily diet.
Instead of blindly following the latest
fad diet, educate yourself through reading,
seeking out a nutritionist, or even consulting
your doctor on whats best for you.
Eating right can involve a bit of leg-work,
but eventually youll learn that fad
and gimmick diets are just a waste of time.
Sticking to a sensible eating program can
also involve some discipline and sacrifice.
Running into the nearest McDonalds
whenever time is short and hunger hits is
no longer a viable option. But the hundreds
of unwanted fat calories youll avoid,
that would have otherwise found their way
directly to your hips, will be well worth
Most experts agree that the best way to
reduce body fat is to never let the unwanted
calories cross you lips in the first place.
The simplicity of this statement is lost
on many of us, but youll be amazed
at how much less you need to exercise when
you stop eating too much of the wrong foods.
At the same time, nutritional requirements
of protein, carbohydrate and yes, even fat,
must be met. You also need minimum daily
requirements of vitamins and minerals, as
well as plenty of water and fiber. This
is where the self-education really kicks
in, --out and out starvation just wont
work, and can lead to serious eating disorders,
such as anorexia and bulimia.
But dont forget about the fringe
benefits of eating sensibly. The resulting
lowered cholesterol and tryglyceride levels
reduces your risk of heart disease, while
stable blood sugar minimizes your risk of
diabetes and its associate problems. Your
risk of developing certain types of cancer
is also significantly lessened.
To date exercise is the closest weve
come to finding the fountain of youth. Exercise
can change the way you look, feel, and perform,
as well as have a tremendously positive
impact on your health and almost every aspect
of your life. But it isnt all good
For an exercise program to get results,
you need to set aside a certain amount of
time and energy! Running yourself into the
ground, working long hours, and not sleeping
right hardly makes for the ideal scenario.
Here too the solution involves a bit of
self-education, discipline, and prioritizing.
Youll need to take a realistic look
at how much time you can devote to an exercise
program, and restructure your daily schedule
accordingly. The key to success is formulating
a plan that doesnt waste your time
and effort doing the wrong thing.
Another hazard to avoid when taking to
the gym is exercising too much, or over
training. This can sabotage the most well
intentioned novice or seasoned athlete.
Over training can also make you sick, or
set you up for an overuse injury. A comprehensive
plan based on sound knowledge will help
steer you clear of this all too common problem.
The cost of gym equipment and a health
club membership represent another drawback
to the active approach to weight loss. Fortunately,
its not the cost of the equipment
that gets results. Experts have found that
exercises done with simple dumbbells can
be just as, or even more effective than
exercises done with sophisticated machines,
like those youll find at any health
Setting up a simple, economical home gym
will also help overcome some of the time
limitations by cutting out travel to and
from the gym. With a small initial investment
and a few square feet of floor space, you
can add convenience to the list of why an
exercise program can be so effective.
A well balanced diet will fuel your workouts
and supply your growing muscles with much
needed nutrients, while at the same time
requiring you to workout less. Exercise
will burn excess calories, rev up your metabolism
and allow you to eat more without gaining
weight. Its a win-win situation.
For the best of both worlds, dont
choose between diet and exercise, take the
comprehensive approach and allow the two
to support one another.
Michael Stefano is a 20-year veteran of
the FDNY, as well as author of The Firefighter's
Workout Book, Not Just For Firefighters,
and the creator of thousands of web-based,
custom workout programs for men and women.
To learn more about Michael's workouts,
or sign up for his FREE health and fitness
newsletter, go to FireFightersWorkout.com