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Do you run so you can eat that cookie or lift weights so you can splurge on dinner? This habit will only work for a short time. As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. Working out 5 days a week but not seeing results? Examine your diet and see if there is anything you are eating that could make your body hold onto weight.
Shawn M. Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist and former director of the University of Utah Nutrition Clinic said “An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart.” Most studies that you find will show that diet will have more of an effect on weight loss than exercise alone. Changing your diet is less time consuming than exercise as well and is easily achieved by those with a busy schedule. Timothy Church, M.D., Ph.D., director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University says “It’s much easier to cut 500 calories than to spend an hour in the gym burning 500 calories every day.”
So what should you be eating? You need a balanced diet with plenty of veggies, some fruit, lean proteins and healthy carbs. Avoid sugar and empty calories (calories with no nutritional benefit). Talbott said, “I recommend striving for a more balanced plan that focuses on fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grain carbs. And never cut calories too low (this causes your metabolism to slow, and you can start losing muscle mass). For a healthy daily calorie count, allow 10 calories per pound of body weight -- so a 150-pound woman should shoot for a 1,500-calorie target.”
Exercise has hundreds of health benefits and should be incorporated into everyone’s schedule, however; the food we eat has a direct effect on our risk of different diseases, energy levels, blood sugar, and overall health. Those who have a healthy well balanced diet full of real food, vitamins and minerals have a lower risk of heart disease, lower risk of cancer, lower risk of hundreds of diseases, relatively lower weight, higher energy and fewer health problems.
In a perfect world we would all have enough time in the day to go to work, spend time with the people we love, be involved in our community, plan healthy meals and exercise daily. Exercise and healthy eating should be priorities and both are needed in our lives. Don’t focus on one and let the other fall to the curb.