Losing weight is tough. We all want to be healthy, and for many of us, that means shedding some pounds first and foremost. There are a ton of dieting and exercise regimes online that claim they hold the answer for a slimmer body. While it is undeniable that both eating healthily and exercising are good for us, the question is which one is better for losing weight?
What Causes Weight?
The fundamental truth behind every diet plan and every exercise regime is that weight is linked to calories. Every person has a number of calories that are required to maintain their current weight. It varies from person to person depending on their age, height, current weight, and activity levels. However, for the vast majority of women consuming from 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day will keep us at our current weight.
So eating significantly more than 2,000 calories a day causes us to gain weight, and eating less than 1,800 calories a day causes us to lose weight. It really is that simple. The reason that people talk about exercise is because working out consumes calories. So theoretically, eating 2,200 calories a day and burning 600 calories worth in exercise still causes weight loss. This gives rise to the commonly held idea that people can eat whatever they want so long as they do enough exercise afterward to compensate.
The Myth of Exercising
While the idea of eating anything and simply exercising to compensate later is an attractive one, it is a myth. Previously, we mentioned the idea of eating 2,200 calories a day and then exercising to burn 600 for net weight loss. This works in theory, but in reality, it is simply impractical.
Burning 600 calories every single day through exercise is hard, really hard. Most of us simply do not have time. Athletes, weight-lifters and other people who are far more active than the rest of us can manage this, but for the average person, this is unobtainable. Speaking of athletes, even they cannot rely on exercise alone to maintain their shape. Any active professionals strictly regulate their diet while exercising a lot as it is the only way they can maintain a competitive edge.
Diet is the Only Real Answer
If exercising is impractical, this means the only practical solution for losing weight is diet. As previously stated, everyone has a number of calories they need to consume in order to maintain their current weight. There are plenty of calculators available online that can provide this information, and even some digital scales can figure this out with a little extra data.
Dieting to lose weight means figuring out a daily calorie limit and sticking to it. The number varies from person to person and relies on a few factors. First of all, it needs to be somewhere below the minimum required to maintain that person’s current weight. Second, each person needs to know how much weight they want to lose and how quickly. Fewer calories mean losing weight faster, but going too low leads to other health problems and is not sustainable. Finally, any diet needs to take nutritional and dietary requirements into account. We all need certain vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, and so any diet needs to provide these.
If a healthy diet and regular exercise still doesn’t help you reach your weight loss goals then your doctor may recommend certain medications that have been shown to aid in weight loss.
What Should We Eat?
The truth is that so long as we are getting all the nutrition we need and we stay below our calorie limits, we can eat anything we want while losing weight. However, some things make weight loss easier than others. First of all, anything containing sugar will have a lot of calories in it and will not leave you feeling particularly full. This is especially true when it comes to drinks. The best practice is to double-check everything and keep a food diary so that you can say for sure that you are hitting your calorie goals, and then you are guaranteed to lose weight.