There are two primary strategies for successful weight loss; eat less and burn more calories. Certainly a healthy, well-balanced diet is critical to good health and is especially important when trying to lose weight. 3,500 calories consumed and not burned will add one pound of body weight. Said another way, if you overeat by just 125 calories every day (which is easy to do), you will gain one pound every month! Though it’s human nature to want to eat, controlling calories is necessary since eating more than you burn will cause you to gain weight. At least three times a day you typically find yourself making significant food choices. This makes consistently controlling calories very challenging for most people.
The burning of calories through physical activity, combined with reducing the number of calories you consume, creates a “calorie deficit” that results in weight loss. But, studies have shown that people who lose weight with diet along often re-gain the weight. Many re-gain even more weight than they lost because they have lost valuable lean body mass (muscle tissue) by reducing calories too much. Therefore, regular exercise actually helps weight loss in two distinct ways. First, it helps to burn more calories. Second, it helps to maintain lean body mass during weight loss, which keeps the body burning more calories at rest. Muscle is the only component of the human body that burns calories even while the body is resting.
Perhaps most importantly, evidence shows that those who engage in regular physical exercise and activity are more likely to maintain their weight loss than those who succeed with diet alone.