When it comes to weight loss, it can be difficult to know what to focus on to get results.

Exercise and a healthy diet have always been attributed to successful weight loss, but there’s a lot of debate over which has more impact.

So which is it? How much does exercise play into losing and maintaining weight, and is diet really more important than how much you work out? Let’s break it down.

How weight loss works

There are a lot of factors that go into weight loss. Hormones such as insulin, your metabolic health, how sedentary your lifestyle is and a whole array of external and internal details can all have huge effects on your ability to either store or burn fat.

While it’s still important to consider all of these elements, one of the biggest causes of weight loss is calories.

When your body doesn’t get enough calories from food, it has to turn to body fat for energy. This means that when you create a caloric deficit by eating less food or exercising more, your body will burn excess body fat and you’ll lose weight.

It sounds pretty straightforward— simply eat less or exercise more to lose weight! Except that it’s not quite that simple.

Eating less versus exercising more

A calorie burned is a calorie burned, whether that comes from eating less food or using that energy during a workout. The difference is how much time and effort is required to achieve this.

For example, let’s say you want to create a deficit of 250 calories in your day. You could run on the treadmill for 20 or 30 minutes. Or you could choose to not eat that muffin with your afternoon tea. Which do you think is more achievable?

This is why people say the best exercise for weight loss is “fork put-downs”. It takes much less time, energy and effort to choose to cut something calorie-dense from your diet than try to burn off those calories through exercise.

Not to mention exercising purely to burn calories can make you view exercise as something you have to do rather than want to do. You might find yourself resenting exercise, which makes it less likely you’ll continue to work out on a regular basis.

The body is also great at adapting to certain kinds of exercise, especially cardio. You might find that you burn fewer calories every time you run, meaning you have to go on longer runs to burn the same amount of calories. Does that sound like a good weight loss strategy to you?

The importance of movement and exercise for weight loss

You may be tempted to cancel your gym membership right now, but that would be taking a step in the wrong direction.

If you’re trying to lose weight, then you should view exercise as a way to support your diet

No matter how healthy your weight range, a sedentary lifestyle is not doing your health any favours. Not only will working out provide you with a plethora of health benefits, but it might actually help you stick to your diet.

Sticking to a regular workout schedule will help motivate you to eat in a way that supports your workouts. You’ll likely want to continue to feel as amazing as you do after a great workout, and that requires the right nutrition.

By the way, did you know that the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns while doing absolutely nothing? All the more reason to pick up those weights in the gym and start building some muscle!

Help keep yourself motivated to eat right and move your body with the right workout gear. Why not celebrate that new weight loss milestone the right way with a new pair of boxing gloves or some resistance bands? You’ve earned it!