Diet vs. Exercise

So I found a very interesting article in Women’s Health that I thought many of you would be interested in! Here it is the age-old debate between Diet and Exercise. Check out which one is best for your healthy lifestyle scenario:

Weight Loss – DIET! As research makes clear, trimming calories from your diet is the most direct route to a smaller dress size. “It’s much easier to cut 500 calories than to spend an hour in the gym burning 500 calories every day,” says Timothy Church, M.D., Ph.D. However, both diet and exercise are essential for keeping that weight off.

Energy Boost – EXERCISE! Exercise causes the brain to pour out invigorating neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, says Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., an exercise psychologist at the University of Georgia. People who train consistently report surges in energy, according to some 70 studies.

Heart Disease – DIET!Β “If you had to focus on one nutrient that would lower your heart disease risk, it would be omega-3 fatty acids,” says William Harris, Ph.D., director of the cardiovascular health research center at the University of South Dakota. In studies, omega-3s from oily fish lower heart disease risk by up to 64 percent. That said, working out does strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Diabetes Prevention – EXERCISE! Nearly 10 million American women have diabetes. Achieving a healthy weight through diet and exercise is the strongest defense against the disease, but physical activity has a slight edge. Active muscles gobble up glucose from the blood for fuel, which helps keep blood-sugar levels stable.

Cancer Prevention – BOTH! Eating a mostly plant-based diet and exercising regularly remain the gold standard for warding off cancer. Keep in mind: Studies have found the more consistently you work out, the greater the protection.

Improve Mood – EXERCISE! A 20-minute sweat session can be enough to perk up your mood for a whopping 12 hours, reports a University of Vermont study. It may also be as effective as medication for treating depression in some people. And exercise can lead to changes in the brain that strengthen your resolve against stress.Β 

Obviously both exercise AND diet are important in any healthy lifestyle. Do you consider yourself to be a better eater or a better exerciser?

48 Responses

  1. LOL – probably better at exercising, but I try very heard to maintain a healthy diet as well.

  2. I’m definitely a better exerciser! I read that article too. Interesting stuff!

  3. I am definitely a better eater since I started blogging a year ago. I’ve always exercised but didn’t always eat right. Now, those actions caught up as I got older. Gotta eat and exercise to maintain.

  4. both!!! I LOVE both!!! and exercise is like MY DRUG

  5. I would say better exerciser, althought that could be more varied too. I have heard some people say that if you wish to get good results from work out then 80% is about how you eat and 20% how you exercise, what do you think about that? And which are you better in?? πŸ™‚

    • I think I am good at both! Sorry for the cop out answer! But I exercise a lot of eat really well. I guess if I had to chose I would say I am a better eater just because I tend to only run and I don’t vary my exercise up enough!

      Also I TOTALLY agree about the 80% diet/20% exercise rule. I think exercise is SO important but in the end I think that diet trumps all. But that is soley my opinion.

  6. I think it totally has to do with both too to be healthy!

    I used to be great with both but now, it’s more exercise. I can’t get my food intake down right about now. UGH! I’m getting there though. In the gym though, I can be a mad woman πŸ™‚

  7. i am a better exerciser for sure. i love working out & sweating, but i have a hard time resisting tempting not-so-good-for-you foods.

  8. I think I’m a much better exerciser… With food I always go back and forth. I do try my best (and think I’m doing pretty well), but there’s room for a bit more balance when it comes to correct portion sizes…

  9. Energy Boost – EXERCISE! Most definitely. I have been only running for the last month and a half and not going to the gym at all. I’ve been SO sluggish… so much so I don’t even want to step inside my gym.

    BUT, tonight is the night: 1 hour til Boot Camp class and I better get my energy back!!!

  10. Can we be both? Cause I’m great eater and a great exerciser. πŸ˜€

  11. I’m a better exerciser—but everyday I’m working towards to be a better eater!

  12. I am hit or miss with both. Sometimes I will exercise so I can have ice cream and sometimes I will just eat super healthy. However everything lately seems to be a struggle for me.


  13. mmmmm, that’s a good question actually! i would say i’m getting better at eating and have been consistent with exercise for a long time! it’s easier for me to do well with things that other people see me do (exercise) but eating can be a bit more difficult!

  14. Ahhh!! I totally read that article and totally blogged about it as soon as I read it, too! I sort of took fault with the article – finding the either/or scenario to cater a little bit too much to the “laziness” in American culture. Working out is still super-important as is a healthy, balanced “diet” and by “diet” I don’t mean “dieting” either. It’s all about the healthful balance people!! I don’t think it can truly be one OR the other…

  15. I actually saw this article in the mag. Anyway I consider myself to be good on both. high Raw GF Vegan and yoga teacher/fitness competitior, I do think I am good on both. But I actually think a good diet is more imp than working out. they say that 80% of your body/physique is diet, not exercise and i would tend to agree!

  16. Yea, I would agree with those statements, BUT like you said it is best to combine both in a balanced way.

  17. I strongly believe in order to lose weight and KEEP it off is to have a healthy lifestyle with both exercise and good eating. NOT dieting. Diet only won’t work.

    I also can tell when I’ve eaten something unhealthy or something my body doesn’t like. I won’t have energy and will feel yucky.

  18. I’m not sure which I’m “better” at, really, but I agree that to be truly healthy you need a strong balance of both. And, I’d add, a good dose of mental/emotional well-being as well.

  19. I think both are important. Just because you workout, doesn’t mean you can’t eat like crap. On the other hand, eating well doesn’t give you an excuse to be lazy. Do you know what I mean?

  20. I love exercise and eating healthy food, but I’m definitely better at exercise. I’m much more likely to indulge in a decadent dinner than skip a workout. I believe the two go hand in hand, though. In order to have effective workouts, you must eat well.

  21. I am definitely a better exerciser. I am working hard on the healthy eating but I have a long way to go. I love to work out so that just comes so easy for me.

  22. I am most definitely a better exerciser. I try and eat healthy most of the time, but I’m not nearly as consistent with good portion sizes and healthy choices like I am with working out.

  23. I would definitely say both! I actually feel good after eating healthy and I feel energized after working out! On the weekends, when I don’t work out, I notice that it is harder for me to get that get up and go feeling!

  24. I am a better eater…but I’m pretty good at exercise, too! Interesting about the diabetes. I would’ve guessed diet and I’m “in the biz” — huh! Thanks for posting this!

  25. I’ve seen that article before too, and it’s interesting to see the different benefits the two have to offer. I’m a better exerciser than dieter. I eat well but sometimes a little too much of a good thing can be not so good! As long as everything is balanced! πŸ™‚

    • Oh I agree….I think even the healthiest behaviors (i.e. eating and exercise) can be bad when taken to extremes. Everything in moderation!

  26. i am better at exercising!

  27. I believe in balance, but think I’m a better exerciser overall… I love working up a sweat!

  28. I know you didn’t write the article, merely reporting on it, but all of these claims are dependent on both diet and exercise. Here are 2 big ones.

    Weight Loss: Calories In versus Calories Out. Cutting calories and burning calories produces the greatest weight loss. And cutting calories alone could lead to some problems with body function. Too much calorie cutting can lead the body into starvation mode where it uses protein as fuel as opposed to fat and carbohydrate.

    Diabetes Prevention: A big cause of diabetes is too many refined carbohydrates. Blood glucose rises and has trouble being picked up and used as fuel. Exercise helps lower blood glucose levels when they are already high, but an overload of carbohydrates is what causes it to begin with.

  29. interesting piece! I have the exercise thing down and for the most part the diet part down too, but those pesky chocolate treats and scoops of ice cream (thank goodness I don’t ever buy ice cream to keep in our freezer) often get in the way! I wish I was better at resisting!

  30. I think most of those correlations are very logical! Although I do think that diet can improve your mood/energy too – whole grains, fruits and veggies are good for that. I find myself much better with exercise. Im still a teen so I do love my junk sometimes πŸ™‚

  31. I think I’m pretty decent at both. If I had to pick, I’d say I was a better exerciser though.

  32. I’m pretty good at both, but better at exercising. There are certainly days where my eating is less than stellar, but my exercise is always consistent!

  33. Great post as usual! I personally have only ever found that I lost weight through exercise, but I know it is not just a tool for weight loss, it is so good for my health even though I don’t get physical evidence of this. The same is true for what I am eating, except for when I eat healthy I feel so much better in addition to looking better.

  34. Those are GREAT tips! Sometimes it can be overwhelming to thing we have to do both all the time, for every goal. Focusing on one more than the other helps!

    I agree that diet trumps exercise for weight control, you just can’t out-train a bad diet!

    Georgie Fear RD

  35. i think i am a better exerciser. sometime my sweet/booze tooth gets the best of me. i’ve been realizing lately that my workout are much better when i’ve been eating well. funny how the two correlate!

  36. Great info!! Hmmm today I was a better eater than exerciser. But, I think it varies from day to day. πŸ™‚

  37. I read the same article! Gotta love the health mags πŸ˜‰

  38. I read that article just this past weekend, catching up on old magazines. I was actually surprised that diet wasn’t the clear winner.

    I don’t think I can pick one over the other. I can’t imagine my life without exercise or a healthy diet. Man that makes me sound lame. πŸ˜‰

  39. Right now I have to say both! I am always anticipating my next workout…..I love the high and I am also enjoying all the healthy eating and feeling AMAZING thanks to the combo of the two!

  40. […] know, two months and just keep running that you feel worn out. Exercise = energy just like Kelly talked about on her blog […]

  41. This is really interesting. I agree that exercise is needed to keep the weight off. I never really lose weight exercising but when I stopped for a while, the weight came on in a big way

  42. I saw that article! Really good. I’m MUCH better at exercising than eating right. I eat a fairly healthy diet, but sometimes I do have a problem with consistency. Ice cream, pizza…all good in moderation, right? Yeah, sometimes I forget that πŸ™‚

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