Part 1: Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important?
For the past couple of days I have been posing this question to my friends on Facebook, my followers on Instagram and on Twitter and the responses have been amazing!
So, which one is more important?
I found that choosing one or the other can be very situational.
One blogger commented that,
“They are both important. But it depends on what either of them can and will do for someone. Are either for weight loss, disease prevention, diagnosis corrections, build of stamina, preparation of a marathon, walk increase. One may be more important than the other depending on the situation.”
Determining what your goals are is essential to figuring out where you should start and what you should focus on first. If you are working on weight loss many might say to focus on your diet first and later down the road exercise will come into play. Some would also say to focus on diet MAINLY along with a light fitness regimen.
Another blogger posted that,
“Wellness is achieved through a balance of many elements. Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important factors in determining your health status. As a registered nurse, I educate patients on both topics. In terms of preventative health, lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise are a great defense against chronic illness. There is a direct correlation between diet/exercise and risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many other debilitating illnesses. Diet is more crucial for my patient population because they are paralyzed and do not have the luxury of physical activity.”
Did you catch that?
Her patient population consists of people who are paralyzed. Do you think they have the luxury of exercise? Certainly not, diet is most important to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.
Almost all of the responses I received were in agreement with both of them (diet and exercise) being equally important as a whole, but when it came down to choosing one or the other nutrition took center stage.
What is considered good nutrition?
According to the National Food Service Management Institute, “good nutrition means getting the calories we need for energy and the nutrients we need for proper growth.” They also state that, “Variety, balance, and moderation are keys to good nutrition”. If we look at those three keys to good nutrition how many of us can honestly say that we pick the foods we eat because we need the nutrients it gives us? My guess would be not too many. We pick the foods we eat
because it’s what we like, it’s what we crave, out of habit, or addiction. Good nutrition can be achieved after we have educated ourselves on what foods give our body what it needs.
The link below lists types of foods and lists specific nutrients they offer!
Here are some pointers in achieving variety, balance, and moderation:
- An easy way to obtain variety in your diet is to make sure you’re meals include an array of different colors, much like a rainbow!
- Fruit and vegetables should make up half of your plate shown in picture B. The remaining half should be split between protein choice and starchy/whole grains choice.
- Learn how to calculate the calories you need daily. The link below can help you figure out the total calories you need daily for your size and also show you how to calculate the calories you need to lose weight.
I know you have heard time and time again, “Moderation is key” Well, it is!
- Moderation is the control or the regulation of food intake WITHOUT depriving yourself of the foods you love.
This is key when it comes to good nutrition or dieting.
Utilizing moderation in your diet does NOT mean depriving your body of the foods you crave or enjoy.
For instance, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies but does that mean I am going to sit down and eat the whole container? No. One or two cookies will suffice! This can also be applied to alcohol consumption. Ladies, I know we love our wine but does that mean we have to drink the whole bottle? No. Moderation is key. One or two glasses are all we truly need unless your ultimate goal is to get plastered … (yikes!)
Moderation also means “changing it up”.
Consuming the same foods in excess can cause major health issues. Some nutrients may accumulate to toxic amounts, which can lead to serious disease. For example, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects.
By “changing it up” we can lower toxic levels in our body. Instead of eating a banana every single morning try eating an apple one day, a banana the next, and maybe berries another day. This gives us a variety of different vitamins and minerals and not too much of the same vitamin or mineral.
What can good nutrition do for you?
No one can deny that good nutrition has unlimited health benefits. Good nutrition is essential for our bodies to operate optimally for a lifetime. Medical online states it perfectly,
“…the benefits of good nutrition can be found in physical and mental health because a healthy diet provides energy, promotes good sleep, and gives the body what it needs to stay healthy.”
Here is a list of health benefits good nutrition offers (just a few):
- Healthy heart
- Strong bones
- Higher energy levels
- Better weight control
- Positive brain health
- May reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
- Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
- Help decrease bone loss
Above are some of the most important aspects of good nutrition. We can all agree that these are just a few examples among the thousands of ways to achieve good nutrition. Eating whole foods and drinking lots of water is the best way to maintain a healthy body. Try staying away from any beverages and snacks high in artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners (splenda, equal, sweet ‘n’ low, etc.). Be sure to utilize the three keys to good nutrition: variety, balance, and moderation. Also, try to “eat a rainbow a day”; this simply means to choose colorful foods. These are just a few easy ways that will help you switch from an unhealthy diet to a nutrient dense, healthy diet.
If your ultimate goal is to live a healthy lifestyle nutrition alone won’t give that to you.
You have to be willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the gym!
I know, I know … it’s hard and it hurts. Well, look at it this way, if it was easy every person in the world would be doing it! Nutrition and exercise truly go hand in hand. They’re “two peas in a pod”, “two halves to a whole”, or even your “yin and yang”; you truly cannot have one without the other unless you have a physical impairment hindering you from moving your body. Physical exercise should be as much of a necessity as breathing!
Let me paint a picture for you.
You don’t exercise nor do you like to. You believe that you are a healthy individual because you “never” get sick during flu season. You consider yourself a pretty healthy person even though that long walk from your car to your office or climbing a couple of flights of stairs makes you feel like you just ran a marathon! You’re pretty convinced that you just don’t NEED to exercise because you “never” get sick.
What happens as you age and maintain this sedentary lifestyle?
Your heart grows weak and heavy; it isn’t strong enough to pump the blood your body needs to move effortlessly. Heavy breathing ensues not just when you walk up a flight of stairs but the slightest physical exertion standing up out of a chair can throw you into a breathing frenzy! Your muscles slowly waste away not only as a result of aging but as a result of inactivity making you prone to injury. You also develop osteoporosis in your bones making them very brittle, frail, and very susceptible to fractures or injury.
Before you know it, you’re either bed ridden or ordered to be in a wheel chair for the remainder of your life all because you decided not to designate only 30 minutes a day to exercise.
Here is an amazing fact:
Just 30 minutes of cardio and weight lifting each day can have an amazing effect on your bones when they…
6.9.2015 – Part.2 of Diet or Exercise – Which is more important?