It’s a new year, and many of us are welcoming 2019 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 scale to move in the direction 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.
NOTE: If you want to make sure your diet IS dialed in, check our full nutrition recommendations by downloading our Ultimate Fat Loss Diet & Recipe Guide today!
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 and counting calories will help you lose fat.
The problem is that when you are not combining diet with exercise, your body will begin shedding muscle tissue 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.
You’ll have those aggravating mornings on the scale where the number doesn’t budge, or even moves backwards.
By building your muscle mass back up, your body will get the message that it’s okay to burn fat while still building muscle.
Your Weight Loss is 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.
We always recommend spending some time with a fitness coach. Our Los Gatos personal trainers can help formulate an exercise plan for you which will not only help boost your weight loss, but help you maintain it too.
You’re already putting in some hard work in the kitchen, why not take it to the next level?
Now, it DOES matter what you are eating, so while you are getting your workouts in check out our Ultimate Fat Loss Diet & Recipe Guide today and learn about:
- Our 7-Step Anti-Inflammatory Diet
- How much protein you really need
- The best foods to eat (and avoid) to lose fat
- Specific meal plans and recipes for optimal results
Have a question? Please post your questions on our Facebook Page.
Mint Condition Fitness is the leading personal training studio in Los Gatos for successful men and women to become the best versions of themselves.