Weight Loss: Is Exercise More Important Than Diet? Expert Reveals

For too long, we’ve been told that exercise is the key component to losing weight. The “calories in, calories out” approach constantly propagates that we have to keep burning what we eat and the more we burn and sweat, the more weight we lose. This message is criticized by the cohort of apps, fitness gurus, celebrities, and Instagram influencers who have popularized countless workout routines that have gained even more popularity during the pandemic-induced lockdown. However, the science on this is clearer than ever and we now know that we cannot continue to enjoy food and think that we can miraculously burn ourselves on the treadmill the next day. The reality is that exercise alone is nearly useless for weight loss.

Why exercise is not the key to losing weight

Research from several leading obesity experts, nutritionists, and scientists says that while we get 100 percent of our energy from food, we can only realistically burn 10 to 30 percent through physical exercise. Additionally, studies back up the fact that exercise actually only accounts for a small portion of daily calories burned. In reality, there are many more components to our body’s energy expenditure and most people don’t take into account the calories that are used through other daily activities. Our bodies use calories even while we work, clean, or read; respiration, blood flow, regulation of body temperature, digestion: all these processes consume energy. Therefore, we must understand that vigorous workouts only represent a small portion of our total energy expenditure. What does this mean? This means that more workouts does not equal more weight loss, and unfortunately spending hours in the gym might not produce better results.

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Along with the workouts, it is also important to maintain a healthy diet.

Weight gain and loss are complex processes that involve a number of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, environmental markers, dietary components, etc. and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. This is why the internet is full of forums where people talk about their weight loss slowing down or even reversing after a few initial months of success. This is because it is not yet clear what effects weight loss programs have on different people.

Exercising a lot can have different effects on different people, for example, some people may indulge in what are known as compensatory behaviors. This happens when people who have done a lot of exercise feel hungrier and eat more to satisfy their hunger, this means a higher calorie intake that cancels out any benefits of a workout. Some people overestimate the calories they have burned and indulge in food as a reward. mechanism. These are all natural ways for our body to subconsciously compensate for the calories it has burned.

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Eating healthy foods is essential to losing weight.

Therefore, diet is the most important component in all of the above scenarios. And what we eat and how much we eat has a greater influence on weight loss than we can imagine. Unfortunately, countries like the US and even India, which is known for its high-carbohydrate foods, diet and where obesity rates continue to grow at a terrifying rate, they are losing their way when it comes to messaging. Exercise apps, gym instructors, and fitness centers continue to grow and spread pseudoscience that says we can exercise to lose weight. In reality, we are eating more than ever, and unless we correct this, we will continue to fall into the cycle of eating more and exercising more, without ever really being healthy.

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Should exercise then be ruled out altogether?

No, physical activity is good for your mind and body, helps maintain good heart health, and also helps maintain a healthy life. weight. However, when it comes to weight loss, we have to see it for what it is: a very small part of a larger process where the main role is played by dietary changes. Exercising has a host of benefits, but weight loss isn’t really among them.

So, for those looking to lose weight and create that all-important calorie deficit, there’s better luck making sensible diet modifications, such as reducing refined carbohydrates, cutting back on sugars, and increasing your intake of carbohydrates. fruit and vegetables. Changing what we eat and how much we eat is therefore the only way to shed those extra pounds and embark on a journey to health.

About the author: Rohit Shelatkar is a fitness and nutrition expert and Vice President of Vitabiotics Ltd.

Disclaimer: This content, including tips, provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV is not responsible for this information.


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