Calories In vs. Calories Out – This is still the bottom line on weight loss, gain or maintenance, so in a simple world, you might think that you can accomplish this simple math any way you like, cut calories extremely low while doing no exercise or burn 1000 calories a day on the treadmill and not worry about what you’re eating. Unfortunately, neither of those options will really work out the way you would hope.
I’m often asked what works better for weight loss, diet or exercise. Most often the pre-conceived notion is that diet is more important than exercise for weight loss and people are quite certain of this. Technically this is true. Studies have shown that participants who follow a specific nutrition plan will lose more weight than individuals who exercise but do not change their nutrition habits, however the number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.
Weight lost by diet alone will not be all from fat. In fact, a large percentage of the weight lost will be lean muscle mass. This is not ideal. Muscle requires calories to survive. Fat doesn’t. If the person loses muscle, his or her metabolism will slow down, resulting in a downward spiral, where it becomes necessary to further cut calories to maintain the weight loss or lose more weight. This can be extremely frustrating, often ending up abandoning the weight loss efforts and then gaining back the weight and usually more.