Diet vs. Exercise: The Smackdown

Hey, ya’ll! Sorry for being a little lax in my blogging the last couple days but I was busy stay-cationing with Scott this weekend, so hopefully you don’t mind. πŸ˜‰ There were frozen cocktails on the deck (thanks Heather for the low-cal version of theΒ  straweberry/pineapple daiquiri’s I thoroughly enjoyed this weekend!), awesome steel-drum and carribbean-inspired tunes on our iTunes playlist, lots of yummy treats, and best of all – lots of time with the hubs, which I’m thoroughly enjoying while he’s gainfully unemployed. πŸ˜‰

That’s my weekend in a nutshell – and now that I’m sunned-out from some awesome sunshine blazing down on our deck the last two days, I’m sitting on the couch with the Red Sox playing in the background and was inspired to blog based on an article I just read in Woman’s Health. The article was about diet vs. exercise. Basically, the premise behind the story was that yes, a healthy diet AND exercise is the ideal scenario, but not everyone can do both depending on the goals they’re trying to achieve. And, while I applaud the writers at Woman’s Health for acknowledging that sometimes its hard to strike a balance and achieve both, I didn’t necessarily agree with the article in its entirety.

Here’s the thing. I am ALL for balance – um hello, I just spent the weekend eating and drinking things i normally don’t eat/drink all that often – and enjoyed every bit of it. But, I’m also not for taking the “easy way out” in life (I managed to also run a 4 miler, a 7 milers and another 4-miler this weekend too, thankyouverymuch) and that’s sort of the vibe I got from the article. The story was set up to identify a series of goals and then offered a recommendation for the better option for reaching those goals – diet or exercise. For instance, their view is that if you’re trying to lose weight – choose a lower-cal diet because “it’s easier to cut 500 calories from your diet than it is to burn 500 calories at the gym.” While that may be true, c’mon – don’t take the easy way out! How about a compromise? Burn 250 calories at the gym AND cut 250 calories from your diet. Doesn’t that sound even more “doable” than one vs. the other? And I can almost guarantee that once you get started with a more balanced diet and a bit of an exercise routine (notice I said “a bit of an exercise routine” and not a “hardcore” exercise or diet routine?), you’re more apt to stick with it. Seriously, once a habit is in place, it’s MUCH harder to quit that habit (coffee drinkers, nail-biters, hair twirlers, etc. – you know exactly what I mean by habit).

While some of their points were good (i,e. if you’re trying to prevent cancer – diet and exercise is important), I sort of got the feeling that they were more apt to recommend a calorie-cut vs. suggesting exercise as the best bet. And, while there is clearly a case for cutting calories in certain cases, I can’t say that you can really make broad brush-stroke recommendations in this day and age. And maybe I’m just overly critical of the story because it felt generic (and honestly, they do have to write for a FAIRLY generic audience of readers), it just struck me as not really jiving with the balance mantra I try to live by.

Anyway, I’d love your thoughts on this concept in general. Are you more apt to focus on slashing calories vs. adding an extra workout to your schedule during the week? Do you think one is more beneficial than the other? Or is a mix of both the best bet? You know where I stand on the debate, I’d love to know where you stand. πŸ™‚