We hear all the time about eating well and getting plenty of exercise, but is it more important to focus on food consumption or calories burned? Both are critical to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it is better to move more or count calories? It is complicated.
Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital was quoted in TIME’s “Eat Less, Exercise More” Isn’t The Answer For Weight Loss by Alexandra Sifferlin saying “Instead of counting calories, we should be focusing on the quality of the food we consume, says Ludwig. “If you just try to eat less and exercise more, most people will lose that battle. Metabolism wins,” says Ludwig. “Simply looking at calories is misguided at best and potentially harmful because it disregards how those calories are affecting our hormones and metabolism—and ultimately our ability to stick to a diet.” Food is such an important part of our lives and to try and cut out or cut back can be discouraging and misleading in trying to get to the goal weight of your dreams.Taking on the mentality to eat well might lead to a better success rate. It is not right to think that you have to cut out all fat to be healthy. Some of the healthiest foods such as avocado, salmon, and almonds contain some of the highest fats. Now is the time to follow the habits of author Michael Pollan when asked what we should eat he says “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Eating healthy over counting calories can be successful and even create life changing results.
In addition to eating well, it is also important to move (more). We have become a sedentary society. We sit more than we walk, we stare at a computer more than we strength train. It terms of moving (more), it is simple, Joseph S. Alpert, M.D., editor in chief of the American Journal of Medicine, says: “You only have to exercise on the days that you eat.” Amby Burfoot writes in Runner’s World, A Weight-Loss Manifesto “Exercise does so much more than burn calories; it also releases a cascade of hormones, enzymes, and proteins that improve your glucose control, blood pressure, heart health, mood, and more. The key to lifelong weight control is finding the right balance between diet and exercise, with plenty of exercise.” That is encouraging. There are countless ways to exercise. The Curves studio, Soul Cycle spin class, taking a walk in the park, completing a yoga practice, the options are endless.
So the bottom line is to eat real food (over counting calories) and find your passion in moving your body. There will always be obstacles and challenges that make it seem like we will never reach our goal. Stripping away the fad diets and quick fix mentality will make our goals closer in reach. Find your focus, eat healthy foods. find fun ways to sweat. This will be the start to a true healthy lifestyle that will allow you to experience what it is like to really live.