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™‚

10 thoughts on “Diet vs. Exercise: The Smackdown

  1. I would tend to think the obvious answer is that a combination of exercise and diet is best, but I have friends who go to both extremes. Some only workout, but eat like crap… others eat “perfectly” but never workout… In my book, moderation and balance is the key to a healthy and happy life!! πŸ™‚

    Glad yall have been enjoying the weekend!! Your idea of a staycation sounds just like ours!! πŸ™‚

  2. So glad you guys had a great weekend and enjoyed the fru recipe πŸ˜‰

    I think people like the idea of cutting calories as opposed to having to put forth the effort to exercise. Period. Cutting calories and being thinner does not make one healthier either. Being fit and healthy comes from both being active and eating a healthy, balanced diet. In my mind, most of those articles boil down to one thing: catering to a lazy mind set.

  3. Honestly, I think that nutrition is about 80% of it and exercise is only 20%. My mom does not exercise but she eats so well. She eats completely organic and gluten-free! She definitely indulges from time to time but she lives a very well-balanced life and she has beat what her doctor’s multiple myeloma which is a form of terminal cancer of the bone marrow.

    • You make a good point Kelly – and just to clarify, when I say “diet” I’m not really talking about nutrition necessarily, at least not in the context of this blog post – the article from Woman’s Health was focused on diet-ing which I view as fairly different than eating nutritiously, since so many Americans are more focused on diet=calories vs. diet=nutrition, know what I mean?

      I think you’re story is an amazing one Kelly, your mom is a walking miracle!

  4. I agree that diet and exercise are both important to implement in a healthy lifestyle and to make changes for the better. They don’t need to be anything drastic, just something you can do consistently. That is what will make progress – whether in fitness goals or in simply bettering your life. Great post!

  5. I totally agree it is necessary to have a balance. I used to just cut calories and I didnt exercise at all. I just looked scrawny and I was not at all happy with my body. I have recently increased my food intake and gotten to a healthy weight and on days on exercise I eat more to compensate, but I dont think cutting calories is the answer. Workout and eat a balanced diet and you will feel like the best possible you!! πŸ™‚

  6. I read the same kind of article. It said that middle aged women who didn’t diet needed to do an hour of moderate exercise a day to lose weight. I wondered why would anyone not try to cut calories at all, if weight loss is the goal?

    I prefer exercise to cutting calories myself. It’s more effective for me because I stick with those changes longer usually. I eat wheat instead of white bread, but apparently bread is still bad; I love pasta; there are some veggies and fruits I would put a hit out on before I would eat; all veggies I like except two are “bad” ( broccoli & cauliflower are ok). Therefore I sub where I can, but crank up the workouts and water intake. I’m more balanced than I used to be though πŸ˜€

  7. And this my friend is the reason you need to blog/write for a fitness magazine. πŸ™‚ Love ya! However, to answer your question- I’d take exercise over calorie cutting, but both are hard for me to get into. I love food, all kinds and don’t have much (ok very little) self control. HA!

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