Understanding the Relationship between Diet, Exercise and Weight Loss

We all know that one person that praises the cabbage soup diet, the 5:2 diet or just doing a certain type of exercise class as the most effective way to lose weight.

However, just by understanding the relationship between diet, exercise and weight loss you can devise your own weight loss plan that is effective and sustainable for you and your busy lifestyle.

Weight loss is achieved via a calorie deficit, this simply means that you are consuming less calories than you are using (calories in < calories out). A calorie deficit can be easily achieved, simply by eating less and exercising more. However doing so in a healthy and balanced way is crucial to keep you fit and strong in day to day life.


You Cannot Out Train a Bad Diet

A recent study suggests that exercise alone will not help you lose weight and this is because your body gets used to the higher activity levels causing you to eventually plateau. Add a bad diet to this mindset and your results will be even more disappointing.

We’ve all been guilty of saying ‘oh its fine I’ve been to the gym today’ when offered something unhealthy eat. But sadly it doesn’t work like that. Many people overestimate how many calories they burn when exercising, often by twice as much! Think about it this way, typically 30 minutes of jogging can burn around 280 calories, cycling around 290; that’s the equivalent of one McDonalds chicken mayo.

The problem with ‘unhealthy foods’ and ‘junk food’ is that it is very calorie dense, meaning you have a lot of calories in a very small meal. A prime example of this is eating a Big Mac and feeling really full when you first eat it but then an hour later you’re hungry again. So in order to make all of this exercise worth it, you need to have a diet that fuels your body and also keeps you in your calorie deficit whilst keeping you fuller for longer. Eating lots of vegetables are a great way to bulk up your diet without bulking up the calories as they have a high fibre content which helps keep you fuller for longer.

The Importance of Diet and Exercise

People are aware of the relationship between diet and exercise. Yet they tend to just do one or the other and then blame that component when they do not see results; forgetting that both nutrition and exercise are crucial in conjunction for effective weight loss.

People often begin their weight loss journey by paying for a gym membership however if you don’t also invest time and money into cleaning up your dietary habits, the results you are looking for will be harder to achieve.

So, where do you start?

At the end of the day, the most effective diet and exercise plan for weight loss is one that is sustainable and achievable in your lifestyle. Many people feel overwhelmed when they think about weight loss as they don’t know where or how to start. This tends to be why people just start going to the gym as it is a lot easier to think about what you’re going to do in the gym for 45 minutes rather than think about what you’re going to eat all day, every day.

Instead of thinking you have to do a complete diet and lifestyle overhaul you can simply incorporate one or two simple swaps in your daily life. For example, this could be adding in one exercise swap such as walking to the corner shop rather than driving as well as some simple food swaps.

Why not swap some oven chips for homemade chips and veg with your evening meal? Simply making little swaps in your daily life can have a big impact and help you effectively lose weight and keep it off too. Here are some other useful tips for how to make healthy eating achievable:

  • Drink 2-3 litres of water a day.
  • Try basing each meal around a protein with a carb.
  • Fill half your plate full of colourful vegetables.
  • Keep a balanced diet, try not to cut out any major food groups (i.e. carbs).
  • Prioritise sleep and self-care in order to reduce stress.
  • Get a friend or a partner to do it with you, the extra support will give you a boost and increase your likelihood of sticking to the changes and there are a number of additional benefits to group exercise.
  • Think of it as adding to your life rather than taking away e.g. think of all the extra nutrients you are adding to your diet rather than eating heavily processed foods.

If you would like some extra guidance or advice on how to alter your diet and exercise for weight loss, get in touch. All of our personal trainers are fully qualified to offer exercise and nutritional advice to help you make the right changes and build a better ‘you’.