Exercise and Diet, the Dynamic Weight-Loss Duo

Excerpted from

Escape Your Shape : How to Work Out Smarter, Not Harder (2 Fitness Favorites from Exercise Guru)

By

Weight loss can be achieved only by creating a caloric deficit. This caloric deficit can be done in a number of ways: with proper and consistent exercise, with a reduction of your caloric intake, or with a combination of the 2. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to do a combination. There is no other healthy way to lose weight permanently. In fact, in my 20 years in the fitness business, I have never met anyone who has reached their weight, aesthetic and fitness goals through diet alone-not one! I have seen people struggle for years with all kinds of diets. Some lose weight and drop a size but often they actually look fatter than the scale indicates because their ratio of lean muscle to body fat is so poor. Thus, they don't look much different at all.

Take, for example, Melissa, a Spoon, who is 5'4" and weighs 140 pounds. She decides to "go on a diet" and loses 10 pounds. When she weighs 130 pounds, she doesn't look that different. In fact, her problem areas-her hips, thighs and buttocks-look the same. Here's why: when you lose weight by dieting alone, your body's ability to burn fat slows down considerably because your Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) decreases. And many-especially those who do not have a healthy body ratio to begin with-can actually lose weight while simultaneously increasing their body-fat percentage. Melissa may have lost weight, but was that really her goal? Didn't she also expect to drop a dress size or look better proportioned? Focusing on scale weight can actually hinder your efforts to tone and trim your body.

I have seen countless clients follow my escape-your-shape routine without changing their diet at all and lose from 12 to 20 inches off their bodies! That's right, their scales showed no weight loss, but what a difference in their appearance! Remember, this can be achieved only through consistent exercise based on your body type. More than 20,000 clients have shown me that proper exercise can work wonders, but you cannot dramatically improve your body and escape your shape by dieting alone.

Similar to exercising, eating properly requires commitment. Sometimes it takes years before good eating habits become an ingrained part of our behavior. It's not easy. I have met with hundreds of individuals who want to lose weight and decide to "diet'' first. They think they'll lose the weight before engaging in a fitness program. Guess what? Chances are, they'll never get to the exercise part of the plan. The reason is that when they go on a low-calorie diet, they have less fuel and as a result don't have the energy to exercise at all. Sure, they can walk or slow jog for a 1/2 hour or so, but that won't burn many calories. They may well lose weight, but will lack good muscle tone.

On the other hand, I have seen clients so energized by a new fitness program and the positive changes it produces that they're eager to see what additional benefits they can reap from better eating habits. The result is a person who exercises, eats well, loses weight and improves the overall look and feel of their body.

There is synergy there. The two can work dramatic changes together. Eating and exercising properly is the goal, but rarely can people master both from the outset. That's why I always say a great exercise program can make up for a poor diet, but a great diet can never make up for lack of exercise!

What You Need To Know About Your Diet

My belief is that no one should be totally restrictive when it comes to eating. I myself strive for balance, and it is this balance we teach our clients as well. Nine times out of ten deprivation leads to failure, and let's face it, that isn't much fun, either. Life involves eating. I would be lying to you if I said that I don't enjoy a beer or a glass of wine with my dinner a few nights a week, or that I do not indulge in an occasional sweet. I also do not endorse any fad diets such as low-carb, high-protein or no-fat or no-carb diet plans. The only reason any of these diets are popular is that we as a nation (and I know we're not alone) do not have enough self-control when it comes to portion size. As children we ate pasta and meatballs, salad and a sensible dessert and somehow never gained weight. Why? I'll tell you. First we were given controlled amounts of food. We also ate balanced meals and didn't lounge around after eating; we played hide-and-seek or cowboys and Indians. In other words, we moved ... a lot more than most of us do now. We did not go on fad diets. We did not eliminate entire food groups.

While fad diets work for some people initially, the human body was simply not designed to eat steak 7 days a week. Our bodies still require a balance of carbs, protein and fats in order to function our best both mentally and physically.

Your lifestyle dictates where and when you eat just as it determines where and when you exercise. It does not, however, dictate the amount you choose to eat or the type of food you eat, either. We must learn how to eat properly when we're on the road or at a restaurant.

I live by one rule of thumb when it comes to eating and maintaining my ideal weight: On the days I exercise, I know I can afford to eat a little more. On the days that I do not work out, I try to lower my caloric intake. And if I fail to limit my calorie intake on the days that I am not exercising (it happens to all of us sometimes), I make sure that the next day I work out a little longer to make up for the extra calories consumed the day before. It's all about balance. I rarely overindulge and then sit around for days without exercising because I would certainly start to gain weight. You cannot allow more than a day or two to go by without exercising and expect to gain no weight if you are taking in more calories than you are expending. Those who are trying to lose a few pounds or maintain their weight can get away with it occasionally. But for most of you who are trying to lose weight, what you eat and how much you exercise should be bonded inseparably in your mind.

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Tags: Exercise and Fitness


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