This is a question we are asked over and over again.

Yes, yes, WE KNOW that they BOTH matter but for arguments sake let’s break it down, and I will share my thoughts about which one is MORE important!

Here’s a fact:

The ONLY way to actually lose weight is to create a calorie deficit, make no mistake about that. It’s the universal law of entropy and this CANNOT be broken.

If we CONSUME less calories than we BURN, our body will have to use some of its existing mass (good mass or bad mass) to fuel the output requirements.

So, if we want to create a calorie deficit and lose weight it is far easier to ‘not eat’ 500 calories than it is to burn 500 calories through exercise.

So, the binary (and actual) answer is diet…

….but despite knowing this, if I were to choose one to generate LASTING results I would opt for EXERCISE.

You see, calorie counting works perfectly in theory but crashes into a brick wall in practice…

The science can’t be argued with, but people are not robots, we are emotional creatures.

A binary system of calories in versus calories out assumes that people are capable of actually following the plan…

…but we have over 50 years of data showing us that people REALLY struggle to follow the plan…

Calorie counting doesn’t fail so frequently because it is not true (I can assure you that it is) it fails because we STRUGGLE to stick with it, and this is down to the way we feel.

Being in a calorie deficit, we often feel tired, lethargic and lacking in will power. Controlling our food intake feels PUNISHING and that will never last.

A true lifestyle change can never be fully achieved in this way. Until you break away from punish and into NOURISH you will always fall back to old ways!

We must commit to living a different way. A healthy way, with a focus on GIVING our body the best, not TAKING things away…and that MUST start with exercise.

Why? Because exercise drives good decisions, it drives our desire to nourish our bodies and provide it with the best.

WHENEVER I have had an injury and can’t exercise – my life unravels!

I stop eating healthy foods, I lose my motivation, I struggle to sleep well, I stop CARING about my body in the same way, because I know longer need it and/or understand it in the same way. I’ve tuned out of its importance.

I still KNOW I should eat vegetables, yet somehow it doesn’t seem as important any more. Logic is defeated by emotion every time and without exercise my emotions just don’t cut it any more!

Exercise is the MASTER that drives good decisions through the rest of my life! I know from having trained 1000’s of people that it is the same for others too!
If we do not have exercise in our regime we don’t benefit from the feel good endorphins that regular movement releases.

I am no endocrinologist, but I know that NOTHING else (that is not pharmaceutical) impacts our hormones in the same positive way that exercise does.

A person who commits to regular movement makes a fundamental change to the way they live life, the way they see their body and the way they care about this invaluable machine that is our body. Suddenly we tune in to its value, its worth, and we understand that we should look after it. We WANT to look after it.

When a car is regularly driven, the owner understands its importance, so cleans and polishes, services and looks after it because the car is bringing value to our lives, we understand what it is doing for us.

If the car was in the garage and never driven, would the owner still spend the time to ensure it worked well? What’s the point? It isn’t getting used…

Your body is FAR more valuable and can bring WAY more to your life than any car, but you have to USE IT to remember this.

USE your body and tune in to its value and you WILL spend the time to look after it.

Now, I could also argue that…

Exercise builds a stronger metabolism (true)
Exercise encourages our body to retain and build muscle (true again)
Exercise prompts our bodies to become more efficient at using fat for fuel, thus improving our body composition even when the scales don’t budge (another truth)….

…but I won’t, because I think all of that is secondary…
For me, exercise (movement) is MORE IMPORTANT than diet because it drives good decisions through every part of our lives.

We already know what those good dietary decisions are. (Natural fruit, plenty of vegetables, whole grains, healthy proteins, good fats!)

Just, HOW important do I think regular movement is?

I don’t just think it is more important than diet when it comes to weight loss….

…I think it is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing we can do for ourselves, WHATEVER our goals and/or challenges in life are.

Want to get moving, but don’t know where to start safely and effectively?

I’ve heard Body Project might be able to help out 😉

SHARE this message of movement. Lets get the world MOVING!

  1. This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Short but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing
    this one. A must read post!

  2. Alex 8 years ago

    Thanks for the article. Very useful.

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