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TOPIC: Interesting article! Diet vs. Exercise

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March 22, 2011 10:26 AM
Found myself trolling the health websites this morning, and came across an interesting article I had to share. With the exception of the section on calorie counting (I personally think its a crucial part of weight loss/health evolution) there were some good points made.

http://www.bodyrock.tv/2009/09/10/what-is-more-important-diet-or-exercise/

or :

DIET VS. EXERCISE — WHAT SHOULD WE FOCUS ON THE MOST?

Here’s an interesting story: a recent study found that it’s far better to be fit and overweight than to be simply thin.

The study found that women who didn’t do any exercise — including the slim ones — were far more at risk for heart attacks, while women with some extra pounds but a generally fit body (thanks to exercise) were less at risk.

Sounds pretty straightforward, then: exercise is important. We know that!

But wait, hold on — ‘cause here comes another study. It turns out those same women who exercise — but are still overweight or obese — are up to nine times as likely to develop diabetes as women of normal weight.

So just a second here — how can anyone possibly win? Think about that equation again:

If you’re overweight but ‘fit’ = you’re at higher risk for diabetes, no matter how much you exercise.

If you’re slim but not ‘fit’ = you’re at risk for a heart attack, no matter how much you diet.

Both of these studies make sense, when you think that diabetes is more closely linked to diet, and exercise is a crucial factor in cardiovascular health. And in the end, they don’t really tell us much we don’t already know, deep down: there are serious consequences to being inactive and/or overweight, so a solution that only targets one of those areas is — by definition — incomplete.

WHY DIET & EXERICSE CAN’T BE ‘ONE OR THE OTHER’.

Let’s think about this in another way.

Small amounts of calorie cutting here and there (let’s say 400 calories of excessive junk food per day) can make a big difference — while a commitment to burn 400 calories a day can be much harder to pull off.

But this is missing the larger point, which is that there is no clear equivalency between ‘cutting 400 calories out of my diet’ and ‘burning 400 calories through exercise’.

While studies have shown that cutting out fatty foods will help you lose some weight — while plain old exercise sometimes won’t, especially for women who ignore their diet entirely — it’s still a mistake to see the two areas as mutually exclusive.

Never forget that burning 400 calories through good, balanced exercise — like a great mix of lifting weights and intensive cardio — contains benefits that go far beyond just those 400 calories burned.

GETTING RID OF THE ‘CALORIE COUNTER’ IDEA.

The ‘calorie’ counter on modern treadmills and elliptical machines is actually a pretty deceptive thing: it creates too clear a connection between exercise and calorie loss, and that leads to faulty conclusions when it comes to food, too. If a proper counter were (hypothetically) available, it would display all the other things happening to your body when you exercise.

Think about it: you would strap a magic device to your arm, and then go do some interval training one day, and some weights the next. Then, the magic device would tell you all about your increased lung capacity, your conversion of fat into lean muscle, your burning of calories even after you stopped exercising — everything but a simple ‘calorie’ count (I’m sure they’re working on it).

And the same thing applies for our diets, too. Counting calories (or fat, or protein, or carbs) is always going to be important, but slavishly counting just those categories ignores the crucial fact that some calories (or fat/protein/carbs) are far better than others.

Instead of just eliminating excess calories, try replacing them with clean, whole foods. Rather than counting everything you’re eating and measuring exactly how much is going in, use that mental energy on healthy recipes, more effort while shopping, or preparing great, filling lunches to take to work.

Just as exercise does countless things for our body that a ‘calorie count’ won’t reveal, eating healthy does too. It gets impossible to track all the great things you’re putting in your body by eating lots of spinach, using high-quality fats (like extra-virgin olive oil), and replacing white rice with quinoa.

FORGET EITHER/OR: A HOLISTIC, BALANCED APPROACH IS BEST.

But the point is — it all works. It’s all part of the same approach: treating your body as a holistic system that needs good, healthy attention from all angles — not just crash diets or burn-out marathons, but gradual, sustained, and long-term attention to eating well and being active, at the same time.

There is no magic ratio between diet and exercise, and study after study continue to prove that you can’t reap the benefits of one without suffering the negatives of another. So don’t! Keep a cool head, and realize that changing your body is something you need to do responsibly. There is no ‘choice’ between diet or exercise, despite what some people tell you.

To be healthy, you can’t have one without the other. But there’s one big advantage: tackling both at once is completely complimentary — the better you eat, the more you’ll want to work out, and the better you work out, the better you’ll want to eat.


bigsmile
March 22, 2011 10:31 AM
Word. Balance in everything.
  4033053
March 22, 2011 10:32 AM
excellant article...I think a "holistic" approach is best :)
March 22, 2011 10:32 AM
Thank you for sharing! Excellent article!
March 22, 2011 10:34 AM
GREAT article!! It makes me sad that people think health is just a weight number. Exercise AND diet are so important!
March 22, 2011 10:34 AM
Great read! Thanks for sharing!
March 22, 2011 10:34 AM
Oops, double post. Dumb server errors...
Edited by SaraTonin On March 22, 2011 10:34 AM
March 22, 2011 10:35 AM
thanks
March 22, 2011 10:36 AM
Bumping for later
March 22, 2011 10:37 AM
Very nice Mel! So smart. smile
March 22, 2011 10:37 AM
Good article! Gotta do both!
  4259879
March 22, 2011 10:39 AM
Great article! Thanks for sharing!
  4378970
March 22, 2011 10:40 AM
Thank you for posting this!
A lot of key points in there that some people tend to miss.
March 22, 2011 10:41 AM
I agree with the "balance in everything" completely. Of course... Diabetes is manageable, whereas a heart attack is somewhat less manageable... Still, there aren't too many valid excuses for not doing both :)
March 22, 2011 10:44 AM
Fantastic article. I have read pieces of this idea in multiple places, but this is the first time I’ve read it all laid out in one cohesive form. Thank you for sharing it. Now I have a GREAT answer for all the people who wonder if they have to exercise or if what they eat actually matters.
March 22, 2011 10:46 AM
Couldn't agree with the article more... balance is the key to long term health. I guess I come from the school that diet and exercise is the way to go. No crash diets... and eat your spinach!
March 22, 2011 10:47 AM
heart Thx for posting... I love bodyrock.tv, and somehow I missed this! I'm happy to see support of both watching your intake AND exercising--so important!!!

For me, counting my calories allows me to find the better, whole, cleaner foods mentioned so it is win-win! Of course my plan is to eventually not have to track every little morsel and be able to gauge what I am putting in my mouth without all the measuring and double-checking labels... and I think the whole/clean foods will be my way to get there.

Good luck to everyone, and please take some of this to heart and move your booty in addition to watching your food today! happy
  4108106
March 22, 2011 10:47 AM
Liked the article thankssmile
March 22, 2011 10:52 AM
I really liked this article. And the piece about counting calories wasn't placing the act of counting in a negative connotation at all. It was simply stating that you need to ensure that you are paying attention not only to the number of calories, but the healthy levels of foods you are choosing. This was really an insightful read. Thank you. ^_^
March 22, 2011 11:00 AM
Great article and I agree with Emily that logging our food/calories is a vehicle that guides us to better choices for food. That is what helps me about this site is seeing the balance to make healthier choices. my sister said she would never want to count calories dismissing this site but I do not feel like that is what I am doing. I feel like I am journalling my exercise and food intake and that has proven to be effective. I started this journey focusing on more exercise thinking I would burn the colories but it didn't work. Others have probably just focused on diet. It may work for weight loss but not for overall health. I am not on here to look good but to feel good. The other will follow.
  1761677
March 22, 2011 11:02 AM
bump for later! happy
March 22, 2011 11:39 AM
Nice one. Both nutrition and exercise are vital for overall health and healthy weight loss. Gotta agree with you, Melis, re: calorie counting isn't bad. I don't think dismissing counting is appropriate, it's just important to recognize it's all estimates and obsessing over the minutia leads nowhere. But calorie counting is an excellent tool to help you be AWARE of the quality of food and the amount - like the checkbook analogy, no food is off limits (for me, at least), but I'm now aware of what it will cost me and that helps me make better choices.

Balance and moderation in everything!
  3364335
March 22, 2011 11:47 AM
Bump

P.S. i hope they come up with something that'd tell us about not only calories burned but also conversion of fat into muscles and the number of calories we burn after we're done working out etc :P
March 22, 2011 12:40 PM
QUOTE:

Nice one. Both nutrition and exercise are vital for overall health and healthy weight loss. Gotta agree with you, Melis, re: calorie counting isn't bad. I don't think dismissing counting is appropriate, it's just important to recognize it's all estimates and obsessing over the minutia leads nowhere. But calorie counting is an excellent tool to help you be AWARE of the quality of food and the amount - like the checkbook analogy, no food is off limits (for me, at least), but I'm now aware of what it will cost me and that helps me make better choices.

Balance and moderation in everything!


^ This.

I would also like to add this:
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/iplayoutside19/view/i-worked-out-today-i-can-eat-that-63625
March 23, 2011 9:47 AM
thanks for sharing...I am adding a link to this at the bottom of my signature
  4692665

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