Diet Vs. Exercise, a recent article posted in the Well Blog of the New York Times explains how recent studies demonstrate that more exercise does not equal less body fat and that diet plays a bigger role in weight management than most people are willing to believe. Diet and exercise are like pen and paper. You can do a lot with a pen. You can do a lot with paper. But you can’t hand write a book without both. A diet focused on caloric restriction may keep you skinny but adopt a healthy diet and exercise habit and you also increase energy levels, decrease stress levels, and change your body composition by increasing your muscle mass. If you are struggling with weight loss and nutrition you may be, unknowingly, slowing down your weight loss process. You can achieve your ideal weight and body composition by making some simple changes to your diet and exercise routine.
Problem: Fast Food + Sporadic Workouts
At some level we are all victims multi-sensory food addictions. You are walking by McDonalds, smell the fries and next thing you know you are uncontrollably gorging down a box of fries. Worst of all you weren’t even hungry.
Solution: Clean Food + High Intensity Exercise: Next time this happens to you remind yourself to eat clean. Simply buy a bag of potatoes and make some French Fries at home. Eating clean food (no preservatives, additives, hormones, etc.) will help you shed a few pounds without even trying too hard and get you motivated to work harder at the gym. Since sporadic workouts are usually attributed to lack of time, decrease your target workout days to 2 and just work really hard on the days you do make it to the gym.
Problem: Chronic Dieting + Jogging
You are on a 1000 calories per day diet and jogging every single day. You are happy as a bee swimming in honey, finally losing weight and proudly getting skinnier and skinnier by the mile. Then your boss gives you an out of town assignment, you go to a 5-day conference and you regain 10 pounds just by looking at the breakfast bagels. What to do?
Solution: Begin by eliminating snacks and having only 3 nutrient-dense, clean meals per day. Avoid processed carbohydrates and sugar. Instead of jogging for one hour, add 10 minutes of sprinting to your routine at the beginning of your day. Your 10 minutes of sprinting don’t have to be consecutive, you can experiment with work rest intervals, for example, 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of rest. You can also add other bodyweight exercises and try 45 seconds of sprinting combined with 45 seconds of push-ups.
Problem: Intellectual Egoism
You are an intelligent person who chose to hire a health coach to help you regain control of your health. Then, your health coach suggests that your Irritable Bowel Syndrome diagnosis may be related to your 3-5 daily bread servings. You shun her, you eat organic whole grain bread after all. Who does she think she is suggesting you may have a gluten intolerance?! She is not a doctor.
Solution: Your intellectual ego may be playing tricks on you. Offer yourself a compromise by eliminating gluten from your diet in the best way that works for you. Begin with a gluten-free household (eat it at restaurants only), then adopt a gluten-free week and progress from there. Even if your health coach is wrong and you do not have a gluten sensitivity you will be able to free yourself of a possible bread addiction and a few unwanted pounds.
Remember, there may be a million and one ideas regarding what constitutes a healthy diet and exercise routine, but the most effective one is the one that works for you.