Is diet and exercise enough to lose your excess pounds for good?

Womans feet on the scales tied with measuring tape

Let’s face it, we all want to look good, and we will often go to great lengths to do so. It’s just human nature. There have been many trainers, programs, authors, nutritionists, doctors and plenty of others who have chimed in on the best way to go about losing your excess pounds for good, but the truth of the matter is that we are all unique individuals and each of us will likely need to follow a regimen that is specifically tailored to that uniqueness. But the question still remains, is diet and exercise enough?

When we diet, it feels more like a temporary thing, something with a start date and an end date, rather than a lifestyle or a new, healthier and more permanent way of being. And exercising doesn’t typically yield visible results very quickly. That’s why so many people opt to pair a popular body contouring treatment like CoolSculpting with their current regimen to get the look that they’re looking for. Even so, exercising is a piece to the weight loss and healthy lifestyle that you just can’t afford to ignore.

The Skinny on Exercise

Our bodies are designed for physical activity. Joints and muscles deteriorate when we fail to move them regularly, that is why people who have spent prolonged periods of time in the hospital are often recommended for physical therapy. It helps to restore their range of motion, flexibility, strength and overall ambulation. But our everyday modern lives seem to go against this at almost every possible turn, desk jobs, tight schedules and fast food. This is why regular physical activity is an essential part of living a healthier and higher quality life.

Did you know that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day or about 150 minutes per week is all you need to improve your cardiovascular system, joint health and other body systems? Regular exercise is also a great way to reduce the amount of stress you feel, improve your sleep, decrease your blood pressure, increase your libido, your strength and your endurance, as well as improving your mood and your ability to lose weight. With so many benefits to exercise, it is amazing that more people leave this part of a healthy lifestyle out of their healthy living routine.

My grandmother used to say, “When you get old, you can’t have both your body and your mind. One is going to fail you.” But the good news about exercise is that, regular exercise can help to stave off some of the unpleasantries of aging. Stronger muscles and bones are a great help as we age, it supports our vitality.

But you may still be wondering about the connection between exercise and weight loss. When trying to lose weight, it helps to remember that muscle is heavier than fat. Because all exercises that build muscle do not efficiently burn fat, it helps to have a personal trainer on your team to help you achieve your weight loss goals with exercise. Exercise should be a daily part of your life if you are interested in shedding those excess pounds. But exercise alone is not going to keep those extra pounds at bay for good. You will need a little oomph to push that goal into reality.

The Dip on Diet

Diet, not dieting, is a mainstay in living a healthier life. Going on a diet implies that you will go back to your typical eating habits, which were not giving you results that you were happy with (which was the whole reason for going on a diet in the first place). Changing your diet implies that you are making permanent changes to the way you eat. This may also include your relationship with food and how you think about it. Good nutrition gives us the energy to go about our daily lives optimally.

A healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals is an absolute must when it comes to properly fueling our bodies. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, grains, nuts and seeds can all be part of a healthy and balanced diet. There are great benefits to all of these edibles, but even overindulging in healthy foods can have adverse effects, causing more damage than good. Because everyone has a unique genetic makeup it helps to create a diet that is tailored to your specific needs. Whole wheat or brown rice is fine for some, for others it may cause inflammation and bloating. It is of the utmost importance that we listen to what our bodies are telling us about the foods that we eat, not just our taste buds.

Seeking the help of an experienced and licensed nutritionist can prove to be very valuable in your quest for losing your excess pounds. Having a tailor made nutritional plan can make a big and much more visible difference in how you look and feel. Processed foods tend to make it more difficult to ditch unwanted weight. But there are so many choices when it comes to foods and methods of preparing them. Although it is more work and takes more time to prepare certain things from scratch, the health benefits in doing so are palpable. Try making your own ketchup, mayonnaise, hummus, nut or seed milk and other favorites. The best thing about making your own is knowing exactly what is in your food and having the ability to control the density of the nutrition.

Not only does a well balanced diet give you more energy, vitality and a stronger immune system, it can also help to alleviate many unpleasant conditions. A poor diet is associated with many serious and chronic health risks that are capable of causing a premature death. Some of this chronic health issues include hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and cancer. But the good news is that eating a balanced healthy diet can slow or even reverse some of these illnesses.

A Dual Approach

When we couple diet and exercise together, we are far more likely to be successful in banishing those extra pounds for good. But if you are not seeing results and you seem to have hit a wall when it comes to those last five to ten pounds, you may want to reconsider your weight loss goals. Calculating pounds can be very misleading at times. Sometimes we get so hung up on a number, only to learn that it may not be healthy for us. It may be better for you to focus on other health statistics, measurements or appearance rather than the numbers.

Did you know that your gut (intestines) is the cornerstone of your immune system, as well as your second brain? This is just one more reason to pair exercise and diet, because you can gain better control over your health and your state of mind. The brain-gut connection has a lot more to do with our moods and our state of mind than we might think. And with exercise being so good at improving mood and boosting the immune system, the dual approach is a no brainer.

Tips for the Last Few Pounds

The last few pounds don’t have to be as difficult to melt if you change your thinking and reassess your needs. It really helps to keep a weight loss journal to document your exercise routines and your food intake. Seeing just how much you are eating and at what times of the day can help you determine whether or not those last pounds are really worth stressing about. Here are a few tricks you can try.

Change your exercise routine

If you always do the same routine, it may help to change it up. Try some cardio, kickboxing, strength training or barre instead. Doing a different exercise may be just the thing to help you target different muscle groups and get you the results you’re after.

Eat fewer calories

As your body mass changes, your caloric needs also change. It may also be a good idea to increase your exercise as well. If possible you may want to up the weights or increase the length of time that you exercise.

Reduce your salt and sugar intake

Salt and sugar play a definite role in our weight gain and weight loss. Look for hidden sodium and sugar in your diet and eliminate them as much as possible. Juices, tea, coffee and processed foods (anything you didn’t make yourself from start to finish) are the number one suspects for hidden sugar and salt.

Undoubtedly, achieving a specific weight goal gives us a sense of completion and success, but you may need to reassess your goal and your reason for losing weight in the first place. Once you have done that, you may find out that you are right where you need to be. If find that you are not in an optimal spot, it can be to your advantage to consult with your weight loss team, your medical care provider, personal trainer and nutritionist. Taking a more integrated approach may be just what you need.