Over the years, there has been plenty of debate over whether diet or exercise is more important for weight loss results. We spoke with two experts, registered dietician and fitness instructor Shayna Komar, and Gym of Buckhead personal trainer Darryl Stafford, to learn more.
“Exercise is really important when you’re trying to lose weight,” explains Komar. “You can [lose weight] by cutting food calories, but the other key component is exercise.”
Exercise is also helpful in burning off calories from occasional food indulgences.
“You can exercise a little extra because you know you had your birthday cake or you went out with your friends and had a couple drinks,” she says. “That does not mean you need to spend three hours in the gym. It means that in your day, you need to somehow burn those calories.”
Komar recommends taking a quick walk after lunch, a few pushups or sit-ups in the morning or even a family walk in the evening.
“All of these [activities] will add up when [it comes to] burning calories,” she says.
Exercise leads to healthier overall choices
Stafford also explains the importance of building strong muscles to help your body burn calories and fat.
“Physical activity involves your muscles, and your muscles are definitely important when it comes to helping you burn calories and burn fat,” he explains.
Regular exercise can also encourage you to make additional healthy lifestyle choices, like eating healthier foods, getting more sleep or drinking more water.
Limiting your sugar intake
Komar emphasizes that eating right is just as important as exercise when it comes to weight loss. She says exercise will not counter the effects of sugar on the body, such as inflammation.
“It’s okay to occasionally have a treat when you’re trying to follow a weight loss plan, ” she adds, “but you have to remember that sugar has a lot of extra, empty calories.”
The bottom line? If you are on a weight loss plan, remember that eating healthy foods is just as important as burning calories through exercise. Together, these tactics can help you meet your weight loss goals.