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Diet vs. Exercise: The Great Debate

Rachel Parsons

Diet and exercise. Everyone knows that these are the two keys to weight loss and health, but is one more important than the other? Can 30 more minutes at the gym make up for that burger and fries? 

The truth is this: while diet and exercise are both important, exercise can never be a replacement for a bad diet.

There’s only one way to lose weight: you have to burn more calories than you eat. However, it’s almost impossible to do this without changing your eating habits.

Imagine a delicious set of burger & fries. They can have 1,200 calories or more. Think about how easy it is to eat them. Now, think of a marathon and how much effort it takes to run one. On average, running a marathon burns 2,600 calories. In order to counteract the calories consumed, you would have to run a half marathon to burn off that fast food meal you ate so quickly. Isn’t it just easier to eat right to begin with?

Abs Are Made in the Kitchen

It’s clear that putting in more time at the gym, without making any diet changes, won’t be enough to help you achieve your health and aesthetic goals. So, what diet changes do you need to make and how do you make them?

1. Learn to Read Nutrition Labels

Reading food labels is a great place to start. Build a habit of looking at the recommended serving sizes for different foods. You might be surprised to find that a serving of your favorite chips is not half of a bag, but actually 10 chips.

Get used to looking at nutritional information like calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Spend enough time doing this and you might be shocked. A craft beer for example, can have more 500 calories! To put that into context, it would take more than an hour of biking to burn these calories.

2. Build a Sense of Awareness

Do you know how much food you put into your body on a regular basis? We often think that we know how much we’re eating, but anecdotally we aren’t that great at estimating portion sizes. It’s just so much easier to sit back, watch TV, and mindlessly eat without knowing how much food we’re putting into our body.

So, how can you learn to build this awareness? Try using a tracking tool to start measuring your food intake on a daily basis. Yes, it’s a pain in the a**, but if you just spend 2 weeks tracking I can virtually guarantee that you’ll learn more about your food intake than ever before. That’s all it takes.

Tools like FitDay, my personal favorite, and MyFitnessPal make this process incredibly easy. Download the app and use the scanning tool to automatically track your food intake.

Apps like fitday make calorie tracking far easier to manage.

Apps like fitday make calorie tracking far easier to manage.

Once you start tracking and becoming more aware of nutritional information, you might decide to look into foods that give you more bang for your nutritional buck. This is an excellent reason to incorporate more healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables. These foods are filling and tend to be low in calories, but high in nutrition.

Meal Prepping to the Rescue

Of course we’re biased, but we think Meal Prepping is the ultimate tool in your arsenal to help you develop healthy, clean eating habits. We’ve seen it in our customers and we’ve seen it with our own employees!

The reason it works so well is this – the simple act of meal prepping forces you to read nutrition labels and build a sense of awareness of what you decide to eat. It reinforces all of the eating habits that you’ll need to achieve your weight loss goals.

(Photocredit:  Running Wild Blog )

(Photocredit: Running Wild Blog)

While it certainly takes some effort to start, over time portion control and healthy eating habits become second nature, resulting in a huge, rewarding lifestyle change. Swap those TV dinners with your pre-packaged, delicious meals and watch that weight drop!

And remember this – abs are always made in the kitchen. Haven't picked up a set of containers to get started on your meal prepping journey yet? Well then, head on over to our store if you're ready to see what we have to offer!