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Dieting vs. Exercise for Weight Loss - Which is Better?

Dieting vs. Exercise for Weight Loss - Which is Better?
The eternal debate over whether dieting or exercise is better for weight loss still has a lot of people confused. The truth of the matter is that dieting isn't something that you should only do for a few weeks; a fat burning diet like the HCG diet can be a great way to lose weight in the short term and get you back on track to a healthy life, but you need to make permanent changes to your diet to really get results in the long term. But, in terms of exercise, to put it bluntly it is overrated, and there is really no amount of exercise that can compensate for a horrible diet. The fuel that you use for your body has to be of the highest quality or you risk wreaking havoc on your metabolism and you will gain weight in spite of having a great exercise regimen.

Exercise focused regimens don't work

Studies have confirmed time and time again that exercise focused regimens simply don't work; it's much better to focus on a healthy diet. You simply don't burn enough calories when exercising to make it that effective in terms of losing weight. For example it can take 30 to 45 minutes or more to burn just 200 calories. It's much easier to eliminate sugar or simple carbs from your diet, which can end up reducing your calorie intake by several hundred calories per week. Dietary changes have the biggest impact on your waistline, not exercise. Any weight loss program that focuses primarily on exercise is often slow and ineffective. And for those who happen to get through the program, they often bounce right back and gain all the weight they lost back after their activity level slows down.

The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in

The best and most effective way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. You naturally will burn anywhere from 1,800 to 2,300 or more calories per day just through the metabolic processes that your body needs. By restricting your calorie intake, your body will still need the normal amount of calories for its metabolism, but it will get those calories from your fat stores. Some level of calorie restriction is recommended for truly effective weight loss diets, even for people with a smaller amount of weight to lose. The HCG diet is a primary example of this type of calorie restrictive diet that is proven to work for all types of people, and the diet does not require any exercise at all.

You just can't burn enough calories working out

Considering that the vast majority of calories that you burn per day come from your natural metabolic processes, it pays the most to focus on your diet. When you think about it, the most calories that you are going to burn even in an hour of intensive exercise is around 300 to 400. For a lot of people that equates to about a half a meal's worth of calories. It's simply not enough calories to make a major difference. Unless you plan on working out all day, which can actually be dangerous for your health and your joints, you are not going to lose much weight from exercise alone. You really have to make drastic changes in your diet to lose weight. By forcing your body to rely on its fat stores for energy, you will lose your excess weight. The HCG diet takes this idea and makes it even better with the HCG hormone which improves your natural fat metabolism and makes a low calorie diet easier.

Exercise shouldn't be overlooked

Although you can certainly lose a lot of weight with dieting alone, you can't neglect the importance of exercise. If your diet doesn't require exercise, you should consider starting regular exercise after your diet is finished. Exercise can do a lot of good to help you maintain a healthy weight, and that is one of its best benefits. Exercising with some diets can help to preserve your lean muscle mass with adequate protein intake. Exercise lowers your blood pressure, improves your insulin response and sensitivity, helps burn dangerous visceral fat, strengthens your cardiovascular system, and strengthens your bones and muscles. Resistance training increases your lean muscle mass which further helps to improve your metabolism and burn calories while resting. In general it's very important to exercise but you never want to rely on it for weight loss by itself.

Exercise has other benefits other than weight loss

You should definitely exercise for its other benefits. Aside from the benefits mentioned above, regular exercise can keep your mind sharp and reduce your risk of heart disease. Several studies have found that men and women who are physically fit were the least likely to die of heart disease later on in life. Being fit is more important than your body mass index or any other measure. Exercise lowers cholesterol and stress levels and improves blood flow throughout the body. Physical activity as improves mental acuity and decreases the chance of cognitive decline as you age. People who are less fit have a greater chance of cognitive decline. Both strength training and cardiovascular fitness are important for brain health. So if not for the weight loss benefits, be sure to exercise for the many other health benefits, especially for aging adults.

First make the necessary changes in your diet

When you are deciding whether to start with dieting or exercise, the first thing to do is to make the changes you need to with your diet. If that means getting rid of grains, sugar, or other junk food then do it. Just getting rid of junk food can result in a great deal of weight loss as your body starts to normalize. You might not get a ton of weight loss from this until you start restricting calories, but you definitely don't want to try to lose weight with nothing more than exercise. It's easy to get rid of a few bad foods and see how your body responds, and in the majority of cases it will respond and you'll starting losing weight. Take small steps toward a healthy diet and you'll see better long term results, and stick to the changes that you make with your diet.

If you want to lose weight without exercise try the HCG diet

The HCG diet is one of the few proven diets that can actually help you lose weight, and it never requires exercise. It's proven to work based on the science mentioned in this article. The calorie restriction is the most effective way to lose weight in a short period of time. You should definitely exercise for the health benefits after the diet is finished, and you can start working out again once you hit Phase 3 (after the very low calorie diet). The HCG diet will change your metabolism and reset your body after it has been damaged by a poor diet. Once the diet is over you will notice that you won't even crave the same foods, and it is a great first step toward a permanently healthy lifestyle. Always start with dieting when you are trying to lose weight, and don't neglect exercise in the long term but don't focus most of your effort on it either.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

6 min read