Skip to main content

« Back

Diet or Exercise: What's More Important For Losing Weight?

Jan 22, 2014

Diet versus exercise is like the chicken or the egg debate in the fitness world. While eating right and exercising are both important components of hatching a fit and active lifestyle, a proper diet is the king of the coop when the ultimate goal is to lose weight. Our experiential rule of thumb numerically is weight loss is 70% nutrition, 25% movement and 5% genetics. Exercise will increase your energy, and give you an overall feeling of well-being helping you get stronger and fitter, but without adding proper nutrition, you won’t visibly see any difference in how you look. When you add in proper eating, that’s when you’ll start seeing changes in the mirror and how your clothes fit.

Changing Your Attitude About Food

One of the biggest challenges to losing weight is managing the emotions and attitudes attached to the foods we eat. Whether you turn to food when you’re stressed out or you use your favorite treat as a reward to accomplishing a goal, what you put in your mouth can weigh you down both mentally and physically.

Most people know how to eat healthy, but oftentimes will use food as a way to make themselves feel better. Food can be a drug to face down depression, anxiety or overworking yourself, turning to food for the “feel good” ingredient some foods give us. I also see a lot of people working out so they can eat whatever they want. Sure, you’ll get stronger and you’ll feel better. But you won’t visibly see a difference.

A healthier way to change outlooks and approaches, toward connecting emotions with what we eat is instead of opening the refrigerator door when you’re stressed out; open the gym door so you can redirect your emotions into working out when you aren’t feeling well. You get the mental boost AND the physical/biological response, without the useless calories that ultimately hurt you in the long run.

Getting a Grasp on Counting Calories

When you set out on the journey of losing weight, figuring out the proper number and type of calories to consume daily is paramount. To keep the calorie equation simple, Beyer suggests calculating proper calorie guidelines based on your activity level, the number of calories you burn at rest and your ultimate weight loss goals.

The key is to keep your calorie intake below the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis during rest and exercise. But, it’s also important to make sure you are consuming enough good calories – high in protein, low in fat, sugar and sodium – to fuel your daily activities and workouts. Everyone’s calorie range is different, so it’s important to consult a fitness and nutritional professional before starting your weight loss plan so you can hit the ground running shedding pounds and increasing your fitness level.

If your objective is weight loss, you should expect to lose one to two pounds consistently on average per week by staying within a certain calorie range and eating a diet based around good calories. The best approach is to slowly take it off so it stays off. Crash weight loss is usually associated with expansive gains beyond the original weight loss start point. Slow, steady and consistent wins the race. Be patient, be resolved to it and be committed.

Integrating Fitness to Fit Your Goals

The final part of the weight loss equation includes setting up a fitness routine that will help you accomplish your goals. When your sole goal is to lose weight, doing a moderation of everything – cardio, resistance training and eating properly is the key to the lock. If your weight loss goals include losing 50 to 100 pounds, it’s important to start off doing a lot of cardio by using ropes, boxing, bicycling, speed walking, hiking, jogging and the like, to start the process of burning the weight off. Once you lose a reasonable amount of weight, then begin moving into a mix of resistance training with cardio to begin building lean muscle mass.

If you are looking to shed the 10-20 pounds mixing a full-body resistance program with an alternating interval-based cardio program will move the needle in the right direction.

Focus here on high intensity in a minimal amount of time for the average overweight person doing 20-25 minutes of alternating sprints with jogging two to three times per week and then add in resistance training on opposite days for 40-45 minutes two times per week. This helps to gradually take weight off and develop lean muscle.

Where Do You Start?

If you are like many people you might think that you do not have time to focus on both proper diet and nutrition all at once. Break it down and simply start with getting into an efficient and effective fitness routine first, and then adding in proper nutrition shortly after you establish a consistent fitness regimen. Because of the emotional ties often associated with food, it can be more difficult to start out with eating healthy first.

At the end of the day, the best approach to increasing your fitness level and decreasing your waistline is by tag teaming your efforts with a healthy diet and exercise program. But, make sure to own your diet and be aware of the amount and types calories that you put into your body. You are what you eat and what you put into your mouth will make a big difference on the success of your weight loss efforts.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call 619-794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp and San Diego City Search.


Schedule a complimentary fit evaluation so we can get to know you and your goals and build you a customized training program to reach them.