Diet Vs. Exercise: Which is Better?

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Have you ever heard of the saying, “You can’t outrun a bad diet”? If you did, you must wonder whether exercise or a good diet can help you lose weight more efficiently. The saying itself has some merit because if you did your research on the internet, most of the experts say that a good diet is a much more effective way to lose weight than exercising.

At first glance, dieting seems to be the most optimal choice for weight loss. We gain weight when we take in more calories than our body needs, so cutting off those extra calories would be the solution to your weight gain problem.

However, there are some situations where this is not sustainable, especially when you’re easily tempted to go back to your old eating habits. On the other hand, exercise can be a much more lengthy process, and it can’t stand on its own when it comes to weight loss. So which is better, exercise or dieting?


Both dieting and exercising are key to weight loss because it’s generally easier to modify the diet that you eat to adjust the right number of calories than burning them through intense workout routines. This is why the 80/20 rule became popular. What is the 80/20 rule, you ask? It states that weight loss comes with 80% dieting and 20% exercise.

For example, let’s say you want to cut off 500 calories. Using the 80/20 rule, you could do this by consuming 400 fewer calories by eating lower-calorie dishes and fewer snacks. The rest of the 100 calories will be burned through exercise.

Following this rule will be much easier for most people than burning all 500 calories during your workout routines. Burning this amount of calories can be very hard as it requires a lot of movement. Not to mention that you will be spending a lot of time in the gym for this.

To illustrate this, a person weighing 154 pounds would need to cycle on an exercise bike for at least an hour to cut off 525 calories. Meanwhile, by skipping a venti Green Frap from Starbucks, you’re also skipping out 520 calories. An easy way to manage your calorie intake is to have a diet of minimally processed foods high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein. You can do this by focusing more on what you eat.


According to many experts, there are many ways that exercising can support weight loss. For example, strength training can help you preserve your muscle mass, increasing your metabolic rate over time. You can burn through your calories quicker with a high metabolic rate, even at rest. A single strength training session itself can help your metabolic rate increase for up to 72 hours.

Another exercise that can help you lose weight is aerobic exercises like cycling, jogging, or walking. With a low to moderate session for at least 30 minutes, you can burn a significant amount of calories in just a single session and can even promote a calorie deficit.

Regular exercise, in general, can help you manage your hunger if you’re having a problem with your eating habits. This is done by regulating your hunger hormones. This can help you avoid snacking and overeating. However, if you over-exercise, your appetite will be increased, not to mention that it can injure you if you’re not careful.

Overall, through regular exercise, you can burn a lot of calories and increase your metabolic rate, which can also burn more calories. Not to mention that through exercising, you can regulate your hunger hormones, which can help you avoid snacking too much or overeating in general. In short, regular exercise can help you have more flexibility in your diet because of the reduced hunger hormones and increased metabolic rate.

So which is better?

Most experts would say that dieting is better, but in all honesty, balancing them both is a much more efficient way to lose weight. It is not balanced because you have to follow the 80/20 rule. However, one of the biggest problems that people have when dieting is that they eat more than what they intend most of the time.

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re expecting your bank statement to be just fine, but then you find out that you’re a big spender? It’s much like that but with calories. When dieting, it’s easier to be tempted to go back to your bad eating habits, resulting in you going back to zero or much worse than before.

Dieters tend to underestimate portions, especially when it comes to meat and grain. One mistake they keep repeating is not looking at the label on foods. Not to mention that many people intake many processed foods that are high in calories, salt, fat, sugar and low in vitamins and minerals. Also, the lack of fruits and veggies can be a factor in their failing diet. And with a failing diet, no matter how hard you exercise, it won’t amount to much because, as mentioned earlier, you can’t outrun a bad diet.

The good news here is that it doesn’t have to be this way with a little bit of adjustment. First, ask yourself if you’re exercising enough. If not, then you should step it up. Next, pay attention to your diet. Ditch the processed and junk foods and change them for whole foods, fruits, and veggies.

Experts suggest that your diet should be around 70-80% whole foods to be efficient in weight loss. Also, try to eat more whole grains, nuts, legumes, and non-fat dairy. Your plate should be ¾ plants and veggies, and the remaining is protein from meats and fish.

Final Words

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss. The key to weight loss is a combination of two things, which are diet and exercise. Exercise in and of itself won’t help you much with your weight loss journey if you don’t have a balanced diet.

Dieting alone can help you with weight loss, although it can be hard because it can make you prone to going back to your old eating habits. So which is better, dieting or exercise? None of them is because you need two of them to start losing weight. But if both of these things help you, there are a lot of health centers like Perth Obesity Solutions through other effective means.




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