You’ve heard it before: When I decided to lose weight back in 2007, I only knew that I needed to eat less and exercise more. And when I wanted to eat something yummy, I exercised harder, longer or more often. Sometimes 2-3 times a day. This did not help. Nutrition and exercise are both super important for health BUT one is significantly more important for fat loss!
What You Need To Know
You may have heard that abs are made in the kitchen.
Or you may have eaten an extra piece of dessert because you exercised that day, so you feel like you “earned” it, dammit!
But how often have you been told that, when it comes to nutrition and exercise, you have to follow an 80/20 rule? In other words, to see results, 80% of your success is driven by nutrition and only 20% are powered by exercise.
Yet, how many of us actually follow that ratio when it comes to nutrition and exercise? Or how many of us believe it? Because we’re taught that weight loss is ALL about calories in versus calories out. It makes sense that eating less food overall, no matter what the food, and exercising more often would make us lose weight.
But, that’s not the case.
If Fat Loss is Your Goal
If you want to lose weight or slim down, you have to follow that 80/20 nutrition and exercise ratio.
Exercise has tremendous health benefits, but nutrition plays the larger role. And, this means you must choose the RIGHT foods for fat loss. Foods that balance the hormones that keep you plateaued, frustrated and angry.
There is another 80/20 rule when it comes to nutrition, too. This rule is that you should eat 80% of your diet as healthy, whole foods free from preservatives, colors, sugar, junk and other non-ingredients. Leaving 20% to come from indulgences.
The problem with that rule, though, for fat loss is that it neglects the fact that you can completely undo all your hard work by eating the WRONG foods for that 20%.
Now, let’s look at nutrition and exercise again.
Most people eat at least 21 times in a week. And if we’re regularly exercising, that means we’re working out between 3-6 times a week. (Look at me with the math!)
Just looking at those numbers alone, it’s obvious that WHAT we eat is going to have a bigger impact on our waistline.
Keep exercising. But get really serious about HOW and WHAT you’re fueling your body with!
If you’re eating fast food or candy because you think you’ve “earned it” after a tough workout, think again. This will only backfire.
You Just Want to Optimize Health and Longevity
What if weight loss isn’t your main goal?
Well, when it comes to nutrition and exercise, it’s obvious both are very important for overall health. The food we eat will always impact our overall health and longevity. And the exercises we do will keep our bones strong, our muscles supple, and our minds clear.
Exercise has been proven to boost mental health, reduce risk of chronic diseases, strengthen your bones and muscles and help you live longer (to name a few!).
One study in particular found that a combination of exercise and nutrition provided the best results for achieving long term fat loss.
Nutrition and Exercise in a Nutshell
A healthy, whole foods-based diet the majority of the time is so much more effective than exercise on the whole.
Your cells need the right fuel – micronutrients, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients – to remain youthful and healthy. The human body was designed to eat – that is the only way to nourish it. But it was designed to eat real foods. Not processed junk.
And when we try to fuel ourselves with garbage, the body retaliates with poor energy, anxiety, poor stress management, weight gain, cravings and so much more.
So, we should just stop exercising and focus all of our energy on our daily diet?
No, of course not…
What’s most important is that you’re moving your body and eating nutrient dense food on a regular basis. This strategy will always do you good.
Remember, if your goals change, you may need to tweak how and what you eat to match the outcome you want.
The good news is that, if you do fuel your body with good, real food at least 80% of the time, you can still enjoy delicious favorites. Without guilt or regret.
Because real, whole foods balance your body, when you do indulge a little, the body just bounces back. The liver has the resources it needs to cleanse the blood. The digestive tract is healthy and strong and thinks nothing of that huge pizza you just ate.
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Physical Activity & Health – The Benefits of Physical Activity
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: Diet or Exercise Interventions vs Combined Behavioural Weight Management Programs
Women’s Health Mag: 7 Things No One Ever Tells You About Running a Half-Marathon