It’s a new year, and many of us are welcoming 2022 with plans for a new and healthier eating plan. That’s a good thing!
Watching what you eat and making healthier choices is a sure way to boost your overall health and carry you into better habits.
But it’s not necessarily enough to get the results you want.
Listen: more vegetables, fewer empty calories, more water… these are all great changes to make, and you should absolutely incorporate them into your new year.
But if you want to get the most out of the hard work you’re doing in the kitchen, you’re going to have to put in some work at the gym, too.
Let’s take a look at why dieting alone isn’t enough, and why exercise is so important to weight loss...or more accurately, fat loss.
Dieting Causes Fat and Muscle Loss
Ideally, when you lose weight, you’re looking to lose fat. Excess body fat can lead to a whole host of problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and unnecessary strain on your joints.
Eating healthier will help you lose fat, but if you are not also exercising, your body will begin to shed muscle as well as fat, and that’s when things begin to go off the rails.
When you diet for weight loss, what you’re ultimately looking to do is change your overall body composition.
You want your muscle to fat ratio to move in the right direction (i.e. more muscle, less fat).
If you’re losing muscle and fat at the same time, you might be maintaining that ratio, even as the scale moves down.
This can be a problem, because the less muscle mass you have, the harder it becomes to continue losing weight.
At a certain point, your body will want to hold on to its remaining muscle mass, and your weight loss will stall.
If you want to avoid this, just make sure you are involved in a strength training routine while you are dieting, and you will not have to worry about losing muscle!
You Are Less Likely to Yo-Yo with More Muscle
When your body is shedding both fat and muscle, at a certain point, your brain will tell your body that it needs to begin eating again to save the remaining muscle mass.
Now, there are simple cravings, and then there are the kind of cravings which hit when your body thinks there’s something seriously wrong.
We’re not talking about an especially challenging lunch time. We’re talking intense cravings which will be much more constant and harder to ignore.
You will likely stay hungrier longer, and fighting those cravings nonstop becomes exhausting after a while.
So you give in, you overeat, and you feel terrible.
Then you restrict calories even more, your body panics again, and the weight just keeps jumping up and down.
Sound familiar? This is the natural yo-yo effect that comes with ineffective dieting, and it can be very unhealthy for you.
Increased muscle mass makes your body a more efficient calorie-burning machine, and it can help keep your appetite on a much more even keel.
Plus, when you do indulge in occasional treats, it’s not nearly as likely to send you spiraling out of control, because your body can put those calories to better use.
Dieting Alone Can Make You Moody
If you begin losing muscle mass along with fat, that can cause some pretty significant feelings of weakness and exhaustion.
You already know how difficult it can be to face the day after a restless night’s sleep -- now imagine having that feeling every day!
It won’t take long before an oppressive moodiness creeps in, making you feel terrible.
Exercise does more than build muscle mass. It also releases some much-needed endorphins; those feel-good chemicals which flood your brain during and after a good workout.
Endorphins are part of your mental health, and people who feel good have a much easier time making healthier choices.
When you’re feeling angry, lonely, exhausted, sad, etc. you’re more likely to upset your diet plans.
In an attempt to quickly address your low mood, you might reach for unhealthy foods or alcohol that you’d otherwise like to avoid.
Combining diet with healthy and appropriate exercise can help attack these bad feelings before they have a chance to set in.
You’ve probably heard some version of the saying “weight loss happens in the kitchen,” and while that’s true, it’s important to know that not all weight loss is good weight loss.
What you’re really looking for is fat loss, and that balance can be found in both the kitchen and the gym.
How Do You Get started?
One of the biggest challenges people face when trying to start a new exercise routine is knowing what exactly they should do. Which exercises should you do? How do you perform them safely? How many sets/reps?
If this sounds familiar, then I would encourage you to consider getting a coach to help you get started. There are a lot of things to consider when starting exercise, and working with a fitness professional can help you feel confident that you are doing the right things in the right way.
If that makes sense to you, I invite you to check out our 28-Day Kickstart Program where you will get a customized exercise program while having a coach to show you how to do them correctly, and keep you accountable to your plan.
In this program you will get:
- Full fitness and goals assessment
- Personalized fitness coaching to teach you the exact exercises you need to safely and effectively move better and build stamina
- A simple meal plan to help you decrease inflammation
- 1-on-1 success coaching to help guide you as you work to change your diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits
The truth is that you can make exercise a part of your life, you just need a program that can show you what is right for you.
Click here to learn more and take back control of your health and fitness today!
Mint Condition Fitness empowers people to take control of their fitness and fully enjoy the life they have built.