Choosing the correct exercise program is a priority for most people looking to lose weight, and unfortunately they tend to get fixated on their routine while neglecting to help themselves lose weight by changing other habits.
When it comes to your diet and exercise program, you inevitably ask yourself the question of which is more important: your exercise routine or your diet? The answer really is simple, your diet is by far and away more important to your weight loss goals then exercise is.
Stop Getting Fixated on Calories Burned at the Gym
One of the major reasons why diet is more important is because you simply do not burn that many calories through exercise on average. Unless you are a long distance runner or some other athlete that trains for hours a day, chances are that you are eating too many calories.
People tend to over eat after workouts as well, again which ties back to their over estimation in the amount of calories that they’re actually burning through exercise, versus what they think they are burning.
The vast majority of calories we consume during the day is during inactivity, where our body just needs calories to function alone. For most people this accounts for 75% of the calories they burn daily, and the other 25% is burned through activity.
Another problem people make is that they think calories in and calories out are equivalent, when this is simply not true. For example, some people will look at a 300 calorie cookie and think that they need to burn off 300 calories to burn it off, which makes sense logically.
What they aren’t accounting for however is how eating this cookie loaded with sugar is going to affect their blood sugar levels, spikes of insulin and additional fat they are going to add on as a result. It is easy to get caught up in the raw numbers, so don’t get too consumed with calorie counting in a vacuum.
You’re Overestimating Calories Burned and Underestimating Calories Gained
Besides the issue of getting fixated on calories, many people end up counting wrong which defeats the whole purpose anyway. Most people overestimate how many calories they burn off at the gym and as a result over eat afterwards.
It can be really tempting to reward yourself with a calorie rich burger or cheese steak after a hard workout because you’ve earned it, right? The problem is that whatever you are eating more than likely is going to contain more calories than your burned in your entire workout, and will end up ruining your deficit.
There is nothing wrong with refueling your body after a workout, just make sure you aren’t eating excessive calories to do so.
What Habits Can You Change to Improve Weight Loss?
1- Prepare Your Own Meals When Possible
The best way to control your diet is to make as many meals on your own as possible. It is the only way you know for sure what is going in your food, and can best control calories, fat, salts and other nutrients that can affect your weight loss.
If you don’t have a lot of free time, making bulk meals on the weekend or whenever you have free time is a good way to feed yourself without having to cook each and every day.
2- When You Go out to Eat, Make Better Choices
Some people don’t want to eat every single one of their meals at home, and others have to dine out whether it be for business, or socially. You don’t have to avoid restaurants altogether to lose weight, but you do have to know what to look for.
Make sure you are avoiding salads with fatty or sugary dressings which can appear healthy but in reality can be the worst item on the menu for your weight loss. Try to avoid sauces when possible also.
3- Tailor Your Routine to Your Needs
Although exercising alone isn’t going to cut it when it comes to losing weight, it can help you get there if done properly. Many people make the mistake of choosing the wrong routine when trying to lose weight.
To put it simply, the more you exert yourself, the more weigh you will lose. This means you want to focus on high intensity exercises, and less on low intensity exercises like walking. High intensity exercises are a better use of your time, and will better help you meet your goals.