Should you diet or exercise for weight loss? Do you know which one is more effective? I see people get this wrong all the time and I realized this is an important topic to cover. If you’ve ever been frustrated with your dedication to exercise that doesn’t seem to pay off in fat loss, I understand. I was in the same boat for years.
It’s tricky because you’d think that by getting up and working out, you’re on your way to seeing some serious changes in the mirror. Unfortunately, exercise is far less effective for weight loss than eating an appropriate diet is. In fact, there’s a popular rule that says weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. From my own experience, that’s absolutely correct.
Luckily, it’s much easier to maintain a healthy diet than it is to stick to an intense workout routine. Plus, if you’re not fueling your body properly with the right foods, your workouts will be brutal and almost completely ineffective. All you need to do is follow a simple eating plan if you want to lose weight.
This requires a mind shift where the focus moves to nutrition That’s not to say exercise is unimportant, and that’ll be discussed in this article too. But if you have to choose between diet or exercise for weight loss – the answer is simple. Focus on your diet. This article will explain exactly why.
The Key To Weight Loss Is Cutting Calories
I’ve written about it countless times. I lost 15 pounds, dropped 3% body fat, and I attribute the majority of that to my diet. Now, I don’t follow any particular diet, like Keto or low carb or anything like that. In fact, I’m not a fan of diets at all.
I just focus on calorie intake. There’s no need to restrict foods from your diet if you understand this concept. The method I follow when I want to cut fat from my body is eating at a 400 calorie deficit. This method is so precise, you’ll actually notice weight loss of approximately 4 – 5 pounds per month.
The reason this is so important is that weight loss is all about calories in vs calories out. I was told that so many times by different professionals, and I didn’t listen. What this means is that you need to eat fewer calories than you burn in order to successfully lose weight. This is much easier to do by eating correctly than it is to do with exercise.
This is why I strongly suggest you visit this page here to calculate your own calorie deficit for weight loss. Once you have that calculation, you are set to lose 4 to 5 pounds per month. That may not seem like a ton of weight to lose each month. It’s not crazy like diets you see advertised that promise you’ll lose 20 pounds per month.
If the deficit is any more than 400 calories, I feel that dieting becomes a chore. That’s when you’ve gravitated to the territory of hating your daily eating routine but forcing yourself to do it anyway because you’re so set on losing weight. The problem with this is that most people can endure it for a period of time, but eventually give up and gain the weight back at some point. That kind of lifestyle isn’t sustainable or enjoyable.
So, the next section takes this 400 calorie deficit to another level of enjoyment. I truly feel it’s been the biggest game-changer of my life when it comes to eating.
How Intermittent Fasting Makes Dieting Fun
When I learned about intermittent fasting, it changed the way I eat. I don’t see myself ever going back to another way of eating, because this is far too enjoyable. Intermittent fasting is NOT a diet. It’s simply a matter of changing up the hours in the day that you eat. I don’t eat when I sleep, and I wait 4 – 6 hours after waking up before my first meal. That’s it. Learn 5 amazing benefits of intermittent fasting here. One of those benefits includes fat burning.
Most people don’t like the word “diet”. Intermittent fasting turns dieting on its head and actually makes it fun. You feel like you’re eating the way you want to eat, even at a calorie deficit. To me, it eliminates the mental noise the word “diet” creates. It gives me the go-ahead to eat the foods I love, while at the same knowing I’m burning fat.
I used to eat 5 – 6 times per day, which felt restrictive and annoying cause I had to always think about what tiny little meals I was going to prepare. So, even if you’re eating at a 400 calorie deficit per day as suggested in the section above, intermittent fasting allows you to eat more food in fewer meals.
Think of it this way. If you eat at a 400 calorie daily deficit, you’ll lose approximately 4 to 5 pounds per month. At the same time, you get to eat a huge dinner every night, and more meals to go along with it. So, intermittent fasting creates a winning situation all around.
It’s not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I technically follow the 16/8 method. It’s easy because I’m never hungry when I wake up anyway. So I get way more work done throughout my day, and when it’s time to eat, I’m excited and ready.
Check out what one full week of intermittent fasting looks like in my life here. Yes, it includes pizza, chips, french fries, tacos, burgers, ice cream, cake, cookies, and a lot of other foods you’d think you couldn’t eat.
I’m trying to let you know that eating properly for weight loss can be incredibly fun, especially when you incorporate intermittent fasting into your life.
Where Does Exercise Fit Into All Of This?
Exercise is important and incredibly effective in helping you shape your body. In fact, the lean muscle I built over the course of a few months is mostly due to the bodyweight training program I follow. It shocked me how much my body changed so quickly.
But I never would have seen significant changes in the mirror without eating properly. If you just go out and buy an ab roller or treadmill without figuring out a daily nutrition plan, you’re going to be disappointed with your lack of results.
If you’ve dialed in your diet, and know your daily calorie and protein intake, you’ve already started a fat loss fire. Incorporating a workout routine into your life will simply add fuel to the fire you’ve already started and take it to the next level.
When you diet alone, a percentage of your weight loss will not just be from fat, but also in the form of bone density and muscle mass. So, when you add exercise to your weekly routine, you’re ensuring that most of the weight you lose is actually fat.
Now, let’s discuss the most powerful and laid-back cardio you’ll ever do. You may be shocked. This is the lazy man’s workout, but watch it burn fat off your body like magic.
The Easiest Fat Burning Exercise On Earth
I haven’t done a single cardio workout since I learned the power of walking. In a way, I feel guilty about it. I used to jog regularly. I’ve followed a variety of cardio programs online that I could do from home. I used to go to Kickboxing classes weekly, and always believed you had to do intense cardio workouts to lose body fat. Boy, was I wrong.
All I do now is walk 10,000 steps every day. It’s the laziest exercise I’ve ever done, and I’ve even found ways to do it while I’m working on my blog, so I kill two birds with one stone. This exercise alone has helped accelerate my own fat loss in ways I never would have thought possible. No other cardio has done this for me. It’s so laid back, it doesn’t really feel like exercise.
See, when you walk 10,000 steps, you burn about 400 – 500 calories. Every step counts, whether you walk down the street to the grocery store, or outside to the mailbox. Walking within your own home counts too, to the kitchen for a glass of water and back to the couch. Every single step you take throughout your day counts.
I find that I get about 1,000 – 2,000 steps in a day without even trying. I have a really cool app installed on my phone that actually pays you to walk. You can learn about it here. I figure since I walk every single day anyway, I may as well earn at the same time.
I never thought of walking as a cardio exercise. I never would have thought in my wildest dreams that just walking alone could have such powerful fat-burning benefits. But it does and it’s one of the most powerful forms of cardio you can do.
Focus On Diet For Weight Loss
In the battle of diet vs exercise for weight loss, the clear winner is diet. I know this article focused on exercise as well, but please understand that without the proper diet, you’re going to have a very difficult time losing weight. I often think about it like putting gas in a vehicle. You can’t fuel a car with Kool-Aid and expect it to get you anywhere.
Well, it’s very similar to our bodies. We cannot eat like crap and expect to lose weight just by working out. I’ve seen people buy ab rollers, treadmills, stationary bikes, yoga mats, workout programs, and so much more, only to be completely discouraged by their lack of fat loss results.
Exercise is important. But if your ultimate goal is fat loss, then nutrition needs to be the focus. Eat at a calorie deficit and watch the weight come off. Once you have that in place, take your fat loss progress to the next level and add a workout plan into it. The combination of the two will do wonders for your body.
I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions at all about anything discussed, please let me know and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you so much for reading.