You can bin your gym membership! Sport is a waste of time. It's time to celebrate reluctant gym goers.
Further to recent poll I conducted on my Facebook, many of you (my beloved readers) claimed that the most effective component for weight-loss is diet and, not necessarily, exercising. I can now (very) happily say that all 75% of you are correct! Dr Timothy Church put hundreds of overweight women on different weekly exercise regimes for 6 months (there were mild, moderate and intense exercise groups along with a baseline group) and at the end of the study, found no significant difference in weight loss between those who had exercised than those who hadn't.
Some of the women even gained weight, maybe because they thought they deserved a treat after their big day at the gym. I'm suddenly remembering the tasty scone, cream and jam that I tucked into after my last beach walk... I deserved it, didn't I?
Even if you stay off the sugary treats, it's a lot of effort to burn off calories. "It's simple maths" says Professor Paul Gately, of the Carnegie Weight Management institution in Leeds. "If you want to lose a pound of body fat, then that requires you to run from Leeds to Nottingham, but if you want to do it through diet, you just have to skip a meal for seven days."
So the next time you're rushing off to the gym, why not just drop yourself on the couch, put your feet up, and have a nice cuppa? (with low fat milk, of course).
Back to Reality
Sadly, as many of us know, losing weight isn't quite that simple. If you lose weight by crash dieting or drastically restricting yourself to 400 to 800 calories a day, you're more likely to regain weight rapidly, often within 6 months after you stop dieting.
However, regular exercise can help prevent this from happening. Donald Hensrud, M.D. explains that exercise is important as it can help you maintain your weight loss. Studies show that people who lose weight and successfully maintain their weight loss in the long term are those who exercise regularly. (I'm beginning to think it might be best if we keep hold of our gym memberships now!).
There are many benefits of exercise, although it's tough to slim down with exercise alone, staying active does help with weight control - and it's absolutely crucial for your health, says Keri Glassman, RD. Not only does exercise produce endorphins that increase your metabolic rate and motivate you to eat better - it also supports heart health, strengthens your bones, helps you sleep, decreases stress and boosts mental health. Win, win, win!
What to do?
I guess it's clear for me to say that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand; they're both equally important in aiding the weight-loss process. Now you're probably asking yourself, what do I do now? Where do I start? Fear not! Sian is on the case.
Take things a step at a time - Why not start by walking to the shops instead of waiting for the bus? Try cycling to work instead of taking the tube, it's all the small things that build up to make a big difference! The current UK (calorie intake) daily guideline amounts for women are 2,000 and 2,500 calories for men. With our bodies ultimately reflecting what we feed them, why not begin by giving this deliciously healthy Sian's Plan meal plan a go?
Breakfast: Muesli with Banana and Low Fat Milk
A great healthy way to kick start your day, instead of going for a high sugar cereal, muesli with sliced banana is much better for you and will keep you fuller for longer.
Lunch: Egg and Pesto Salad
A nice low calorie lunch which can be put together in a matter of minutes, and with an average enriched egg containing 220 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids, this will give you just over 40% of the recommended daily intake of omega 3.
Dinner:Easy Chicken Chow Mein
Who said eating healthy has to be boring? End your day with a tasty, quick and easy dish.
Snacks: Fruit Cocktail, Hummus and Celery, Krisproll with Cream Cheese
A variety of snacks to help keep you energised throughout the day! If exercise is the vehicle then dieting is the fuel that powers the vehicle to its destination.