Exercise or Diet for Weight loss – what works best?

Should you be hitting the gym for hours a day, or focus more on your diet?  The answer lies somewhere in between the both.


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Every year there are many books published that claim to be the breakthrough in weight loss success. The truth is that there is no one approach that works the best for all people. While certain diets may give short term success, after the six month mark, studies show most diets produce the same results. The problem with diets that cut out whole food groups, such as the low carb approach is that long term they are hard to maintain. Although its very boring and unglamorous, the best dietary advice is to stick to a healthy eating approach, along with portion control.

A diet that includes low GI carbohydrates and protein sources at each meal, as well as being high in fibre can help keep you fuller for longer which is useful when trying to lose weight.  I also believe that including a few of your favourite foods in small portions is key to sticking to and maintaining a weight loss plan.  I find that deprivation more often than not leads to people going overboard on their favourite foods and giving up on their weight loss efforts.


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Because weight loss is all about energy balance, exercise helps to tip the energy balance into negative side, in which weight loss results.  However, exercise alone is generally not enough to create weight loss.  This is because a large amount of exercise is required to burn off the calories needed to produce weight loss. That’s why it’s important to both reduce calorie intake and increase calorie output through exercise.  Include exercise as a part of your weight loss strategy, but don’t make it the only part.

As an aside, even if you’re not losing weight, exercise has a large number of benefits independant of weight loss, so make it a part of your daily routine.

Strategies of the Successful

So what strategies do those who are most successful in losing weight and keep it it off use? According to The Conversation, those who are most successful adpot at least one of the following strategies, all which I’m sure you’ve heard before.   There are no secrets, or quick fixes.

  • Increase fruit and vegetables
  • Increase exercise
  • Reduce kilojoules
  • Reduce fat intake
  • Reduce sweets and junk food
  • Reduce portion sizes
  • Reduce overall quantity of food

Aside from exercise and diet, successful weight loss also means looking at the reasons why you’re making the wrong choices, or eating too much.  If you’re eating because of emotional issues, it’s important to find other solution based strategies to get to the bottom of the issues.

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