If the ultimate goal of your fitness programme is weight loss, you’ll be in good company, as it’s one of the most popular reasons for taking up an exercise programme, and certainly a powerful motivator for sticking to it. Exercise is key to weight loss, as it enables you consistently to burn more calories than you eat – the magic formula for shedding the pounds.
Although healthy eating is a vital component of any weight loss programme, exercise is arguably more effective than dieting, when it comes to making permanent changes to your body’s shape and metabolism. Even though severely restricting your food intake might have a dramatic short term effect, there are a number of reasons why dieting can be counterproductive in the longer term:
A restrictive diet is hard to stick to for more than a few weeks, which means it can only be a short-term solution.
Because your diet goes into starvation mode when denied food, when you come off a highly restrictive diet, your body will store more food as fat than it did before you began the diet, meaning that you’ll soon be as heavy as you were before you started the diet, if not heavier.
When you drastically reduce the number of calories you eat, your body reacts by slowing down your metabolism, so that you’ll burn calories more slowly, and conserve your energy resources.
However, when you combine a moderately restrictive diet with a daily exercise programme, the results can be far more impressive. The key is in gradual rather than sudden lifestyle changes. As long as you achieve the magic balance of burning more calories than you eat, you’ll continue to shed the pounds.