When it comes to eating right and losing weight, there is a lot information out there and it can get quite confusing trying to sift through it all.
Now though, experts say there is one clear winner over the other when it comes to food versus exercise.
Professor of exercise science at the University of Texas Philip Stanforth says when it comes down to it, it’s more important to cut down on calories than it is to increase the amount you exercise.
“Studies tend to show that in terms of weight loss, diet plays a much bigger role than exercise,” said Stanforth.
He says that while exercise is important to help maintain a healthy lifestyle and body, it is less important when it comes to losing weight in the short term.
“You’d have to walk 35 miles (56 kilometres) to burn 3,500 calories. That’s a lot of walking. But if you look at eating, a Snickers bar might have, say, 500 calories. It’s going to be a lot easier to cut the Snickers bar than to do 5 miles (8 kilometres) of walking every day,” he says.
Studies have found that people who cut down on calories and maintained high-protein diets had better results when it came to losing weight than those who just increased the amount they exercised.
This does’t mean there’s no point exercising though.
After you’ve lost the weight, experts say exercise plays an important role in keeping it off in the long term.
Cut the calories
In regards to cutting calories and choosing a healthy diet, doctors say your best option is to stick to a high-protein mediterranean-style diet.
The mediterranean diet has been hailed as the healthiest in the world for years, with people who adopt the diet having a lower risk of heart disease – the world’s biggest killer.
The diet consists of healthy fats and ‘clean’ proteins like fish and other seafood, as well as lots of fruit and vegetables, nuts, herbs and olive oil.
Increase your exercise
While exercise isn’t as important when it comes to getting rid of any extra weight in the first place, it is important when it comes to keeping it off in the long term.
Doctors say you should be exercising for at least 30 minutes a day to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
While going for a 30 minute walk everyday is helpful, it’s important to work up a bit of a sweat at the same time.
Try walking with small hand-weights (1kg to 2kg will be fine) and pick up the pace until you reach a brisk stride.
Participating in group classes like yoga and pilates are also a great way to strengthen and tone your body and keep off any unwanted weight.
It’s all about balance
In the end, life is all about balance and the same goes for your diet and exercise regime.
You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of chocolate and chips, just avoid eating them every day.
Likewise for exercise. Working out every day doesn’t have to be a painful chore; mix up your activities by switching between walking, attending group classes, swimming, or even playing a game of tennis with a friend.
And don’t forget to give yourself a day off once a week to relax and take it easy, too.