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Diet or Exercise? 03/01/11

Is diet or exercise more important when it comes to losing body fat. By Vanessa de Asecencao.

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Why are some people overweight despite working out at the gym week after week, month after month?
I love being active, being outdoors, building up a good sweat, so obviously I am a big believer in exercise. But to be honest, you can get pretty dramatic results from diet alone. In fact, I would say that 90% of your results in terms of weight loss, health and even energy comes down to what you’re eating. You can never out-exercise a bad diet!

Here is my take on both:
Everyone knows that exercise along with a good diet is a great approach to losing weight. The challenge with exercising is actually getting up and doing it, and of course, life is busy. There isn’t always time to exercise – but you always have time for a proper diet. My suggestion is to keep your diet in check at all times and exercise when time allows. Remember, you don’t need to do endless hours on a treadmill or go to a busy gym. You can go for a walk, play with your kids, take a yoga class, take a dance class, climb a mountain, anything you enjoy! This is where you’ll derive the benefits of exercise. You should combine diet and exercise

You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.
A big muffin has 400 calories. Do you realize how much exercising it takes to burn those calories? About an hour on the step machine at a moderate pace should do it. So, after an hour of boring cardio, you are back to square one. You probably won’t lose weight at all, especially if you added a full milk latte to the mix. And this is just breakfast… it’s easier to create a large calorie deficit through dieting

The most proven way to lose weight (really the only way) is to create a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is basically when your body burns more calories than you eat each day. To lose 1kg of fat per week, you need to create a daily calorie deficit of 1,000 calories (2 pounds of fat is 7,000 calories). Would you rather exercise for two hours or just not eat those calories in the first place? To create a 1,000 calorie deficit through exercise you have to hit moderate cardio for close to two hours.  My suggestion – don’t eat those extra 1,000 calories in the first place.

Diet is more important than many people realize
If you are eating an excessive amount of calories, a large part of your time spent in the gym is wasted. Diet is key to getting in great shape. I am a HUGE believer in regular exercise – but diet is the most important element in terms of weight loss.

Want your cardio to be many times more effective? Then eat well.
The mistake people often make in gyms is that they copy the workout routine of a person who is in great shape. The real reason that person is in great shape is probably also to do with their diet. True weight loss happens in the kitchen.

The foundation of a great body is in a healthy solid diet.

Vanessa Ascencao, MSHN (Masters of Science In Nutrition) is a dynamic, inspirational and highly qualified nutritional consultant. She brings a fresh and revolutionary approach to health and wellness having spent 10 years working with some of the greatest minds in metaphysics, nutrition, health and fashion. Visit www.ecodiet.co.za for more.

*Please note that this information is offered as a guide only, if you intend on making dramatic diet or lifestyle changes, be sure to check with your medical practitioner first.

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4 Responses to this article

JL March 1, 2011 Reply

I’m with you, it’s about diet. For years I’ve been running marathons, half-marathons and triathlons. But I was never a “skinny” runner. I know it’s because of how I ate. Now I’m much more focused on what I eat, because, frankly, I have had the North American winter blues, which has kept me from working out! My weight has been stable because I’m eating well.

But I know moving my body is important, too. I need to shake the winter blahs and get moving!

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editor March 1, 2011 Reply

It’s amazing that something as simple as eating good, healthy food – and not overdoing it can keep one in shape. And yet, it is something most people struggle with. I also think that people are often unaware of all the empty calories they consume – like fruit juice, cola and so on. (Not to mention wine and other alcohol!)

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Roline March 10, 2011 Reply

Hi Vanessa,

I’m starting to train for the Knysna Half Marathon which takes place in July, and I’d like to know if I should change my diet in anyway, or whether there is a specific diet a newbie-runner should consider when training for such an event? I am a pescetarian and most days I eat healthily, with a balanced diet of protein, greens and fruit. I occasionally drink wine on the weekend. Any help?

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vanessa March 15, 2011 Reply

Hi all:)
Thank you for the great feedback! it is great to connect with people that are so aware and knowledgable…

@ Roline: what a great challenge:) I hear its pretty tough and extremely beautiful.
With regards to diet,i woud stick to what you currenlty eating but with the inclusion of some whole grains, like quinoa and rolled oats and things like sweet potato, butternut,beetroot, pumpkin, and beans. Lots of fruit and veggies and lean protein, fish is perfect, but so are beans, they contain a power house of nutrients.You will also need the good fats so include some seeds and nuts and a good Omega 3 supplement, I am a strong believer in Spirulina, it is an excellent source of nutrition. I would say its like a cutting edge multi vitamin with all the extras, makes the body alkaline which is NB, but its great for energy,performance and immunity. All integral and critical aspects for athletes!
so many athletes tend to eat sugar laden goodies that actually drain their energy due to causing blood sugar imbalances. No need to eat anything sugary or anything processed. Keep it simple, nature already provides perfect nutrition naturally.
I wish you the greatest success, enjoy the journey!
Keep us posted:)

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