Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

Diet v. Exercise: What’s the Most Efficient Way to Drop a Few Pounds?

December 11, 2021

Andrew Siegel MD   12/11/2021

“Doc, I’ve been going to the gym 5 days a week but can’t seem to drop a pound.”

What’s the most efficient means of controlling one’s weight …eating less or exercising more?

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As important as exercise is, calorie restriction is the most efficient means of achieving weight loss. In other words, exercising restraint over eating trumps exercising our bodies in terms of weight loss. This is not to diminish exercise in any way, as getting moving and active is a fundamental part of any weight loss regimen and exercise is vital to our health, fitness and well-being. Exercise is simply not very efficient in terms of weight loss. It takes a great deal of effort to burn a substantial quantity of calories.  For example, I can go for a run for one hour at a good clip and burn 500 or so calories. By the same token, I can consume 500 calories in minutes by eating a few cookies. Burning calories through exercise will leave many of us with a vigorous appetite that can be potentially detrimental to a weight loss program.

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However, there are a host of compelling reasons to exercise, including: increased caloric expenditure; aerobic and cardiovascular fitness; improved strength, physical conditioning and self-image; as well as a productive means of dealing with stress and many of the emotions that drive eating.

Bait and Switch

The essence of eating is for fueling and nutrition purposes, often not considered since we think about eating in terms of squelching hunger and the pleasure and enjoyment derived from consuming delicious foods.  Being enticed into fueling in such a way is nature’s great bait and switch strategy–fueling and nutrition cloaked in the guise of pleasure (just as sex is nature’s bait and switch strategy with reproduction cloaked in the guise of sensual pleasure).  We can capitalize on nature’s bait and switch technique to our advantage by enticing ourselves into being physically active by participating in an athletic endeavor that provides fun and pleasure, e.g., tennis, paddle, basketball, etc. (exercise in the guise of fun and recreation), instead of doing a boring gym workout.

Bottom Line:  Diet and physical activity are the principal levers of one’s health destiny, diet serving the purpose of providing the nutrition and fuel for physical activity. In terms of weight management, the mightiest lever is diet. It is a piece of cake (pun intended) to out-eat considerable amounts of exercise, but extraordinarily challenging to out-exercise even modest amounts of eating. As vital as exercise is, with respect to weight loss, a reduction in caloric intake is of paramount importance and is the most efficient means of achieving this endpoint.

Losing weight makes you look good in clothes; exercise makes you look good naked.

Wishing you the best of health,

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Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro AreaInside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community. He is a urologist at New Jersey Urology, the largest urology practice in the United States.  He is the co-founder of PelvicRx and Private Gym.  His latest book is Prostate Cancer 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families. 

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Video trailer for Prostate Cancer 20/20

Preview of Prostate Cancer 20/20

Andrew Siegel MD Amazon author page

PROSTATE CANCER 20/20 is now available at Audible, iTunes and Amazon as an audiobook read by the author (just over 6 hours). 

Dr. Siegel’s other books:

FINDING YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness and Longevity

PROMISCUOUS EATING— Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual, and Urinary Health