Diet VS Exercise: Which Matters Most?

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Diet VS exercise: which side are you on? Have you ever worked out really hard just so you could eat what you want? Perhaps you’ve even reduced your calories significantly just to avoid working out. When you’re trying to keep your weight in check, you’re likely trying to figure out the route that works best for you. Some women stick with eating less, others stick with working out more.

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And it’s not even always about weight loss. Sometimes you just want to make sure you’re living your healthiest self, which sometimes means doing things that don’t come naturally to you.

So what’s better? Diet VS exercise is a hot topic in the weight loss industry, and we’re here to weigh in.

In the ideal situation, we would all just love to jump out of bed every morning after a solid eight hours of sleep, hit the gym without thought, and eat wholesome, healthy foods with portion control all day long. But that’s just not how life goes does it?

Sometimes even the workout junkies can’t get out of bed. Sometimes even the veggie lover craves a heaping mound of buttery potatoes. We harp on balance in life because it’s often a fleeting thing, or at least, something you have to work at every single day, even if things don’t go your way.

When it comes to your lifestyle needs, however, is there a part of the diet VS exercise equation that can be tampered with?

For your overall health, be it your well-being or your waistline, both diet and exercise are important. We know that. Science knows that. You’re supposed to get regular amounts of both aerobic activity and resistance training and eat whole foods, with your plates comprised of half fruits and vegetables, while ensuring you eat lean sources of protein for energy and satiety.

However, if there is a specific goal you have in mind, be it to lose weight or keep diseases at bay, the diet VS exercise equation isn’t set in stone.

For weight loss: Diet wins

If your goal is to drop a dress size or two, keep your focus on diet. It’s far easier to cut back on 500 calories, which is the amount generally needed to lose a pound per week, than it is to burn it off through exercise. In fact, according to Harvard Health, 30 minutes on a stationary bike will burn only 260 calories for a 155-pound woman.

To reduce your risk of heart disease: Diet wins

Have a history of heart disease in your family? Your doctor might be harping on proper diet, and that’s because there are some sure-fire foods that can either work for or against heart disease.

While you should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and legumes, skinless poultry and fish, the main heart-healthy booster is omega-3 fatty acids.

Want to protect your heart and decrease your waistline? Check out these 5 Fatty Foods That Boost Weight Loss.

Meanwhile, foods to avoid include fried fast food and processed foods containing vegetable shortening.

To prevent diabetes: Exercise wins

Considering more than 13 million women have diabetes, or about one in 10 women ages 20 and older, keeping diabetes prevention in your mind is a big deal. And while a healthy diet can help you keep your weight in check, which can, in turn, lower your chances of diabetes, it’s exercise that has a leg up.

“Exercise has so many benefits, but the biggest one is that it makes it easier to control your blood glucose (blood sugar) level,” explains Lisa M. Leontis RN, ANP-C. “People with type 2 diabetes have too much glucose in their blood, either because their body doesn’t produce enough insulin to process it, or because their body doesn’t use insulin properly (insulin resistant).”

While any aerobic activity can help cells to soak up sugar, interval training can provide you the best results in the least amount of time. In fact, you can practice alternating high-intensity bursts with low to moderate-intensity recover at least once a week for 30 minutes to get the payoff.

If you don’t know much about interval training, check out  The Complete Guide to Interval Training, which provides you an in-depth look at everything you need to know about the effective exercise plan.

If you’re well-versed and are looking to shake things up a bit, check out this Fat-Scorching Tabata Interval Training. For just four minutes of exercise, you can expect to burn fat for up to 36 hours.

To improve concentration: Exercise wins

7-Day Morning Workout Challenge

You know how they say that eating a proper diet is your fuel for proper energy and concentration? So it may be, but if one has to win in the diet VS exercise debate, to keep your mind sharp, you should focus on exercise.

In fact, one study found that regular exercise releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration, and mental sharpness.

Make yourself a morning person with this 7-Day Morning Workout Challenge that will help you sharpen your brain before you step foot in the office.

When it comes to diet VS exercise, as you can see, it’s all debatable. Find your goal, be it weight loss or disease prevention, and hone in on what matters most.

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