Weight Loss: You can't outrun that fork.

When it comes to health there are two pillars that hold you up. Your diet and your physical activity. Both are important to take into consideration and changes in either will make big changes to your overall well being. However, if your main goal is to lose weight you will want to pay much more attention to your diet than any sort of exercise routine. I believe this is especially true at the beginning of your journey.

When it comes to losing weight, the big deciding factor comes down to thermodynamics. Now, that sounds a bit intimidating but it’s actually really simple. You just need to burn more energy (calories) than you take in. The nice thing is that your body does the majority of your calorie burning for you just by being alive. Take a moment right now to google “TDEE Calculator”, choose sedentary lifestyle, and input your age/height/weight into one and see what your body burns on a day to day basis. That number you were just given is your starting point. When it comes to losing weight you need to eat less calories than that number on average.

Now the reason I say that diet is much more important than working out for weight loss is that you will get far better results from calorie restriction in your diet than working in a gym. The numbers change based on your gender, weight, height, and other factors but if you were to run at 6mph on a treadmill for 20 minutes you would burn around 230 calories. If you were to instead just cut one thing out from your diet you could have skipped one small Vanilla Latte, a bowl of cereal, candy bar, ect. And the beauty of watching your diet does not mean you have to cut out foods in their entirety, but you can edit them to make big changes over the day. Skip the cheese on your sandwich, opt in for skim milk in your drink, ask for a lettuce wrap instead of a bun! As the classic saying goes, "You can't outrun the fork."

As you are starting your weight loss journey, I would encourage you to find a strong footing in your diet before worrying too much about your exercise plan and a gym membership. Build your habits with your diet first, and learn what foods work for you. When I started working out, post-workout I often was famished and tempted to eat anything and everything. Without my diet habits locked down giving me the strength to hold back, I could have easily seen myself eating back any of the calories I burned.

Don’t get me wrong though, exercise is important and you should find a way to work it into your goals to become healthy. While exercise might not contribute largely to a weight loss goal at least at first, it will carry you through towards better health. Simply increasing how many steps you take in your day is a great place to start, and get your body used to moving more. Once you lock down your diet it’s important to think about your muscle tone as well to see how much you want to try and retain as you go through your weight loss. Simple strength training and cardio will be important for this. And finally, as you near your goal and you find yourself at a lower weight (or you start at a weight closer to “recommended” for your age) working out can help you keep dropping those pounds by giving you a bit of a cushion as well in your calorie expenditure.


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