If you had to choose between exercise and diet for the role of Munnabhai and Circuit in the movie Munnabhai MBBS, which one would you choose? Confused between what among exercise or diet works best for weight loss?
Diet Vs Exercise: Is exercise the main part and diet the supporting part for weight loss?
Even I thought so till a few years back. That’s why I started a fitness club in 2009, thinking health and weight loss is all about exercise. And I hired a dietician to support the trainers. That’s how it operated for 3-4 years until I realised that it was the wrong casting. Exercise is not the main hero, it is ‘diet’. That was a major revelation for us, and we decided to give diet its due credit. And the role was reversed between diet and exercise.
For weight loss, the contribution of exercise is only 20-30% and diet contributes to almost 70-80%. So, for losing weight, diet is 2-3 times more effective than exercise.
Research and studies have shown that to lose 1 kg of weight, people have to exercise 77 hours!! That’s a lot of effort for just 1 kg of weight loss. With diet, far better results can be achieved. The science on exercise versus diet it is out! This video by Vox shows us how!
Why is exercise considered to be the best way to lose weight?
Look everywhere! In the exercise vs diet war for weight loss, exercise is the clear winner. And diet is not even sidekick at most places, it is a villain. “Are you mad, you are dieting?”, “Dieting-vieting se kuch nahi hota. Go and exercise.” These are the common taunts you will get to hear when you are on a diet program. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Exercise is glorified as something that makes you look sexy/manly. It’s believed to increase adrenaline and represents the picture-perfect opportunity. Whereas eating broccoli and washing your utensils is definitely not a pleasant sight. I would prefer watching Katrina Kaif sweating out, rather than gulping some salad as a weight loss regime. And I think I would not be alone.
Good diet against the weight loss clout
There is an entire business dynamics behind why exercise is much preferred over diet for weight loss. If the exercise industry wins, nobody loses (apart from pharmaceutical industry). But if the health-food industry wins, a lot of unhealthy food companies lose. And they have big money to fight the battle. They run huge lobbies all over the world and it is almost impossible to fight with such big behemoths. It is in their interest to keep food as the side hero/villain. If you are sick, blame the lack of exercise. If you want to improve your lifestyle, exercise is the solution. “As long as you are exercising, you can eat anything.” Very convenient for all junk food companies.
Growth of fitness clubs is directly related to obesity and lifestyle diseases
Until 1960, the concept of gyms/fitness club did not exist. Apparently, the first fitness club was opened only in the 70s. And then, there were studies showing that lack of exercise leads to decrease in health. And suddenly, thousands of fitness clubs started mushrooming all over the world.
Where did the growth of fitness clubs lead us to, in the decline of obesity or growth of diseases? All of us know the answer. Last 50 years have been the worst years for lifestyle diseases in human history. What went wrong? Was exercise not the saviour that all of us were vouching for?
Unfortunately, exercise was given a lot more importance and people kept on increasing consumption of junk food. Last 50 years have also been the best period for all junk food companies in the world. And that clearly explains why people are falling sick despite exercising more.
Is exercise not important at all?
We are definitely not professing that exercise is not important. Exercise is extremely important for good health, but it is definitely not more important than diet. You can never exercise enough to cover a bad diet. It’s time we give due importance to nutrition.
Some FAQs on Diet Vs Exercise :
Q. Do you have to exercise to lose weight?
A. Well, as mentioned above, when it comes to just losing weight, exercise can’t do much. Having said that, if you are on a healthy diet plan for weight loss, some amount of physical activity is always advised.
Q. Can I just eat healthy and lose weight?
A. Yes. If you start replacing your bad eating habits with super foods and proper diet plans, you will be able to lose weight. However, you can’t have a sedentary lifestyle and think of losing weight. You must have your fair share of physical activities, it is just that your diet will play the major role.
Q. How do I eat to lose weight?
A. First of all, you should know that you have to eat and not starve in order to lose weight. Secondly, you have to choose diet plans that will fit your body requirements. Every individual is different. And therefore, it is advisable to consult a nutritionist before going for a diet plan.
Q. What you eat is more important than exercise?
A. Yes. If you are aiming just to lose weight, what you eat is far more important than how many gym hours you are spending.