Exercise vs. Diet: Which is more important for weight loss and good health? | Senior Focus | Max Greenberg | Palo Alto Online |


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By Max Greenberg

Exercise vs. Diet: Which is more important for weight loss and good health?

Uploaded: Nov 19, 2013

You can see it every day at the YMCA: folks earnestly "working out", sweating to the oldies, all suited up in tight, occasionally sexy workout attire. Working that treadmill, those weights, that Zumba class. Trying to lose weight, get in shape. I admire their desire to make a change in their lives for the better. Especially just after New Year's. Ah, the New Year's resolution. Gym memberships have a big bump up in sales at that time. And the wait to get on some of the fitness machines can be lengthy (except at the JCC gym where there are miles of equipment with no sign up boards.) But the one thing that many folks don't seem to understand is that unless you change your relationship with food, all the exercise in the world won't make much of a dent. Now, that's not 100% true. I guess you could spend hours exercising each day and that would make some kind of a dent. (Actually, if you understand how the body and exercising works you can cut a typical 45 minutes of exercising down to about 20 minutes and see greater results – but let's leave that for a future discussion.)

There really is little benefit in doing crunches and abs when you've got 40 lbs of excess weight around your gut. People think that if they exercise they don't really have to change their food consumption, that it can take the place of making any serious changes to what they put inside their bodies. I propose that instead of exercising, you spend the next two months understanding and changing the way you use food in your life and follow a food plan that eliminates all the substances that masquerade as food (highly processed foods for example, high fructose corn syrup and related sweeteners – including sugar.) You would be well on your way to losing your weight and getting your body into a state where it could benefit from sensible and effective exercising. I am not advocating you not do any exercising during that period: walking, stretching, some pushups would be fine. But the focus first needs to be on food intake and understanding why you feel you need to eat so much, and why you feel you need to eat those foods that cause obesity, diabetes, cancer. BTW – I feel that while going for a walk (as I see many folks doing around town, especially after dinner) is a fine way to spend some time with a mate or a friend, in terms of exercise, there are numerous other ways to exercise that take far less time and produce far greater results.