We’ve done it many times before. All we have to do is sit up. Yet we lie there, trying to muster the courage for one more sit-up.
Sometimes it seems a losing battle. Sometimes it seems to be working. Sometimes our brain decides to stop cooperating with our body altogether. At this point, we know our exercise time has come to an end.
Just a few days ago, I felt the same. My overcrowded mind and fatigued body decided it was time to give up on the days’ unfinished exercise routine. I left the gym, head down, feeling defeated.
Somehow, against all odds, this one tiny plant with a bright yellow flower had pushed its way up through the concrete sidewalk.
I looked closer to see if there was a crack. Or maybe a seed had just landed on the top and started to grow. However, to my amazement, it seemed to have forced itself up through the concrete all on its own.
How on earth did it ever make its way up through the concrete. Why of all plants was this one so determined, and not say a purple, pink or red flowering plant.
Somehow, this lone flower desired to grow so badly that even a four-inch layer of concrete couldn’t stop it. As I stood there looking down, the word FOCUS began to blaze in my mind. I could almost hear the plant crying out – FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS – even as it made its way out of darkness and into the light.
It really was a determined and focused little flower.
Weight Loss requires us to: Focus, Focus, Focus.
I have found that finding focus is one of the greatest challenges in every worth-while thing we do. I even use it while teaching my university students.
Every time my willing and able students start to lose focus, I repeat the words three-times really fast. For some reason saying – “Come on students, focus – focus – focus” – works magically every time. Now they settle down even before I say the third focus.
I even have to repeat it to myself. When I find myself fading or losing focus. So next time you start to lose it, try saying out loud: Come on Self – Focus, Focus, Focus!
So why are diet and exercise so crucial in weight loss?
We all love food and drink (some more than others).
Humans were designed to move around.
We get fat when we eat too much or move too little.
Now I realize this is pretty basic, but most of us are pretty basic. We all wake-up, eat, do stuff, eat some more, do more stuff and then sleep.
In reality, our lives are pretty simple and we go through this process every day. However, if you’re still reading this, you probably need some encouragement to lose some extra pounds. So here is my point.
If eating too much and moving too little makes us fat, the opposite must be true. If we eat less and move more, we will probably lose weight and get in better shape. All at the same time. That’s it. Not that hard was it?
Weight Loss: Diet and Exercise, Do we have to?
Now is it possible to lose weight by diet alone? Yes!
Our bodies will burn fat for fuel when it doesn’t get enough fuel from the calories we eat or drink. This is why diets work. Our body needs energy to operate. When our body doesn’t get enough food energy, it starts using the fat in our bodies.
We could even lose weight sitting around all day, if we stop eating altogether. But I say why? When diet and exercise are better for us, and way more fun!
One of the things diet and exercise have in common is they both take time. It takes time for our body to get used to a lower calorie intake. It takes time for the physical movement of our heart, muscles, lungs and other body parts to burn off fat and build muscle.
So, to answer the question do we have to exercise to lose weight? The simple answer is No.
However, to lose weight and keep it off, diet and exercise both go hand in hand. Especially in the long run.
Let’s be honest there are two parts to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle:
- Eating & Drinking
As stated before, our diet (the consumption of food/drink) is key in our ability to burn calories, lose weight and keep it off over time. Some articles and studies have shown that for some overweight people exercise may or may not help them lose weight. Here are a few:
- Exercise vs. Diet in Weight Loss
- Exercise alone won’t cause weight loss, study shows.
- We’re So Confused: The Problems With Food and Exercise Studies
- Physical Movement (aka exercise)
However, exercise, now referred to as Physical Movement (PM), is instrumental to building muscle, toning our frame and strengthening our cardio/vascular system. Here are a few more articles:
- Exercise and Cardiovascular Health
- How Do Muscles Grow? The Science of Muscle Growth
- Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth.
- Losing fat while gaining muscle: Scientists close in on ‘holy grail’ of diet and exercise
- Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research.
- Prevention of cardiovascular diseases: Role of exercise, dietary interventions, obesity and smoking cessation
- The best way to train for size
The above are just a few of many, but they do cover the topic thoroughly and show the importance to both diet and exercise together.
So why are diet and exercise so crucial in weight loss?
Having a lower calorie diet may be the key to losing weight. However, physical movement is key to maintaining our physical fitness. The two just go hand in hand.
One reason is food and drink are so abundant and plentiful. The temptation to eat is everywhere. Our friends and family pressure us when we go out. We have celebrations at work and after work. We have lunch meetings, dinner engagements, coffee breaks, office parties, cafés, street vendors, and restaurants galore.
Every time we turn around, all our favorite fattening foods are calling out to us. It’s hard to stay on, let alone maintain a diet. Especially during our free time, late at night and when we are socializing. One way to counter-act all this temptation is to design a regular workout or exercise plan.
The key is finding things you actually like to do and enjoy. It could be walking, swimming, playing some sport, riding a bike, going to the gym, cardio at home, yoga, stretching, martial arts or anything else that gets your heart pumping and your muscle working. So set some goals and get to it.
Diet and Exercise, Do we have to? Yes, if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
Here are a few reasons why
- Exercise can counteract all those times we decide to eat too much.
- Eating a good diet helps our bodies rebuild muscles and maintain our physique.
- If we become sluggish or feel poor due to a bad diet, exercise can get our blood flowing and endorphins running.
- Prolonged physical exercise out can help us curb runaway appetites.
- Suffering loves company, so why not diet and exercise at the same time.
- We can relieve the guilt from eating too many junky foods by hitting the gym or exercising at the park.
- Working out and then eating a great meal is a great way to relieve stress.
- Exercising with friends and loved ones can be good for relationships.
- Increasing our level of discipline by diet and exercise can help us stay focused over the long run.