Weight Loss: Exercise vs. A Healthy Diet

Are you trying to lose weight with just exercise alone? Do you have a soda addiction but figure it’s not as bad as smoking or other vices since you can just exercise the ‘bad’ calories away? Unfortunately new research looking at the weight management approach of calories in versus calories out tells us that this is really not the case — you really can’t outrun a bad diet.

Diet Trumps Exercise for Weight Loss

The 2015 study published in the journal Current Biology suggests that too little physical activity can make you unhealthy but too much of it drives your body to make big adjustments to adapt, leading to weight loss plateaus. The authors  of the study point to the need to focus on diet, especially when it comes to weight loss and weight management.

Below is a great video that pretty much sums up exactly what the research says:

How to Make a Healthy Diet Fit Your Life

I’m all about eating yummy desserts and not restraining myself when it comes to birthday parties or get togethers — so what do I do when I want to indulge and still maintain my healthy weight? That’s easy, I create myself a meal plan that includes all the food groups, I stick to whole, plant based nutrition as the base, and allot 20% of what I eat to other foods (mostly homemade) that curb my cravings.

In fact I do this for my clients as well. I create meal plans that fit with clients’ tastes, allergies or intolerances and daily life. I just ask that clients exercise 2-3 days a week as a bare minimum, and that they take the time to prepare the majority of their meals at home (I’m not a fan of processed, pre-packaged foods.)

Nutrition Matters: Macros

I also work with my clients to start understanding their macronutrient intake. By macronutrient I mean the fats, carbs and proteins they eat on a day to day basis. Counting calories doesn’t tell you much, as this March 2015 study published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition tells us, instead, knowing exactly how each food helps to fuel your metabolism and your day is what you need to know.

For example, a calorie’s worth of salmon (mostly protein) versus a calorie’s worth of olive oil (pure fat) do not have the same effect on your body’s energy system or the way your body decides to store the calories from either of those foods. By eating according to your body’s needs for the 3 different macronutrients, you can maximize on burning just the right type of energy (after all, that’s all a calorie is, energy) for your daily activities, including when you are at rest (even when you are not exercising, your body burns energy to run your organs, pump blood, break down food, etc.)

Eating a healthy, macronutrient based diet has been proven to work for weight loss as evidenced by a 2016 study published in the journal PLoS One, where the use of a structured eating system that allowed for flexibility but limited choices assisted in weight change. What’s great is that their study also pointed to the fact that a low fat eating pattern is not the only way to lose weight, because god knows I love me some healthy high fat foods (hello avocado!).

If you are interested in learning more about eating for your specific macronutrient needs, drop me a line, I’d love to show you how exercise can be combined with a healthy diet to achieve your weight loss goals.

To eating positively well,


6 thoughts on “Weight Loss: Exercise vs. A Healthy Diet

  1. Great post! I’ve often heard that the struggle comes down to 80% diet and 20% exercise. Once upon a time, I exercised for 30 minutes a day during my lunch break and followed it right up with a bacon cheeseburger and fries. (Of course, that was after having a piece of coffee cake and a latte for breakfast……and I won’t even get into my usual dinner and snacks!) After I went to a healthy plant-based diet, it all changed for the better!

    Liked by 1 person

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