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It’s Time to End the Diet vs. Exercise Debate (Do Both!)

It’s entirely understandable that people trying to lose weight are often confused about how much they should focus on exercise, versus cutting the amount of calories they take in. Weight loss journeys can be extremely frustrating in that we feel like we’re eating a lot less and exercising a lot more, but the weight often seems to come off too slowly, or even not at all.

In these circumstances, it can be tempting to try and focus more on one side of the equation than the other. Indeed, as a very good July 14 article in U.S. News and World Report points out, some (but not all) experts tend to say that diet is, in fact, the more important side of the equation when it comes to weight loss.

The confusion, however, is that while that may well be true on a strictly technical level, exercise is also absolutely crucial to people dealing with weight issues for at least two important reasons.

1.Muscle mass. Dieting without exercise can result in a dramatic weight loss, at least at first. However, without exercise, some of that weight will be muscle, which we absolutely need. This is important because, “weight loss” is arguably something of a misnomer. The term should really be “fat loss.” We want to get read of most of the fat but we also want to gain muscle…and we definitely want to keep as much of the muscle tissue we already have as possible. Importantly, muscle actually weighs more than fat, so it’s important to realize the battle against being overweight or obese is not just a numbers game.

2.Counteracting the effects of excess weight and obesity. Doctors sometimes note that, if the effects of exercise could be packaged as a drug, just about everyone would be taking it. Indeed, the beauty of exercise is that you’ll live longer and, just as important, be a lot happier, even if you don’t lose a single ounce. Exercise has proven effects on such key health matters as blood pressure and blood sugar – and it therefore helps to prevent innumerable serious medical problems associated with being overweight that can be devastating to the length and, more importantly, to the quality of our lives. From strokes and heart attacks, to joint pain/arthritis and depression, exercise is the closest thing there is to a miracle cure. Also, it just plain feels good.

So, the answer is pretty clear. Reduce your calorie intake to lose weight and exercise to reduce fat, gain/preserve muscle, and make sure you’re a healthy and happy as possible.  Even so, particularly for those of us with really persistent weight issues, there are many steps that can be taken with the help of our BHP medical team, including bariatric surgery for severely obese individuals (those with body mass indexes of 40 and over, or 35 and over with accompanying health problems). To find out more, contact us today!

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