Is Diet More Important Than Exercise for Weight Loss?

If you’ve ever been on a weight loss journey, it’s likely that you’ve been in an excruciating exercise class. The one where you’re not totally enjoying yourself, but you’re doing it in hopes of torching major calories. 

Did you lose weight? Possibly! But how long did it take before the weight started creeping back, even while you were wearing yourself out with exercise? How long did it take before you stopped going to classes because you weren’t enjoying it anymore? 

Working out more and more while combatting slowing metabolism as we age and other daily stressors just isn’t sustainable, and it certainly isn’t enjoyable. Something else has to give and be adjusted, rather than solely relying on exercise alone to address weight loss. 

Prioritizing a healthy diet over calorie-crushing workouts is much more effective when it comes to losing fat. Hooray for whole foods! 

Let’s take a closer look at how to reach your weight loss goals the effective, easy, sustainable, and healthy way. 

Why your diet is so important

Diet is 80% of the weight-loss equation. What you eat matters most, especially when it comes to fat loss.

While exercise and stress management are both important for your health, the primary key to fat loss is diet. Your physical transformation won’t come by upping your excruciating workouts. It’ll happen when you change what you’re putting into your body.


1. It’s easier to create a calorie deficit with diet

It takes a ton of time and energy to burn 500-700 calories with a workout. It only takes a simple “no” to turn down that 500-calorie bag of chips. Often, we can more easily make diet adjustments than committing to 90 minutes of running every day. 

2. You need healthy food to have the energy to workout

Crappy food will leave you feeling groggy, tired, hungry, and sluggish. Who’s hitting the gym when they feel like that? Healthy, healing food, on the other hand, will be the fuel you’ll need to feel energized, motivated, and positive—the mindset you’ll need to stick with your health goals for the long haul.

3. Calories are just part of the story

Calories in and calories out is a failed and outdated weight loss strategy. It’s like saying, as long as I put $10 of fuel into my gas tank, it doesn’t matter whether it’s regular, premium, or vegetable oil. 

Calories don’t reflect the nutritional value of the food we’re eating, and our bodies respond very differently to different foods—even if they have exactly the same amount of calories. 

The nutritional value of food is what affects our blood sugar levels, insulin spikes, hormonal balances, digestion, even mental health. These factors have huge effects on our weight and whether that food is quickly stored as fat or not. Hitting the elliptical to “cancel out” the Mountain Dew we drank is misunderstanding food outside of its caloric value.

4. More exercise didn’t shift our obesity rates

Need further proof that more exercise doesn’t equate to more weight loss? Between 2001 and 2009 in the US, the percentage of people who worked out increased significantly. However, during this same period, obesity among US adults also rose. While exercise can bring many health benefits, it’s clearly not the primary player when it comes to weight and fat loss. 

Weight loss is a journey that needs to be addressed holistically with diet and exercise hand-in-hand. Not doing so can quickly make your journey frustrating with a lot of setbacks. 

So what does this mean for your health goals?

Shifting your mind to prioritize healthy eating over rigorous exercise is the first step to seeing a change in your body. If you know that you only have time to prep healthy meals for the day or hit the gym for half an hour, focus on your meals. 

During periods of your life where exercise is limited, your nutrition matters even more. The good news is that, with a healthy diet, you can still maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight when you’re:

  • Recovering from an injury
  • Managing a hectic schedule with very little free time
  • Traveling and can’t access a gym frequently
  • Pregnant and want to gain a healthy amount of weight for you and your baby, but heavy exercise is painful or exhausting

Make it your goal to put clean, healing, and healthy fuel into your body first and foremost. Prioritize what you’re putting into your body over what you’re putting your body through

You Can’t Outrun Your Fork

No amount of exercise can undo the damage of a bad diet. While exercise and stress management are very important pieces to the health puzzle, nutrition is the biggest part of the picture. 

Not sure how to eat right for fat loss and a health boost? 

At LEAN, our main focus is nutrition for fat loss. You’ll learn how to enjoy the foods you love and eat regularly, and then slowly work towards making the best food choices that fit your macro needs. 

Ready for a diet and fitness plan that actually works? Break those treadmill chains and join LEAN today. You’ll see that weight loss can really be simple, easy, and (yes, I’m saying it) even enjoyable!

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