Cutting Calories or Exercising More – Which is Better for Weight Loss?

Cutting calories is probably the first step that most of us take when we decide we want, or need, to lose weight. For most people this is the logical place to start when looking for ways to shed the pounds. We all know that getting some exercise could help too, but reducing calories seems to be the first choice for most, particularly when just starting a diet.

Cutting Calories or Exercising More

Studies have shown that a combination of cutting calories and exercising more is the best option for weight loss.

Cutting calories certainly does have it’s downsides though. Moodiness, hunger pangs, and a lack of energy are just a few of the bothersome symptoms of a reduced-calorie diet that all of us have to get through, and many of us don’t. So is it possible that exercising more instead of cutting calories is better for weight loss, at least at the beginning? This is the big question you will need to answer when planning your own weight loss strategy.

The Argument for Cutting Calories

The process of weight loss can be seen as a math equation. When you take in fewer calories than you burn off, you will lose weight. Each pound of body fat adds up to 3500 calories. Thus, to lose a pound of fat, you need to remove 3500 calories from your diet. For this reason, many dieters try to reduce their daily calorie consumption by 500 calories in order to lose one pound a week. But is this successful?

Cutting your calories can help you not only learn how to manage your appetite, but also to eat better. Since you only have so many calories to eat each day, you need to make them count if you want to have energy and health. Many new dieters find that beginning with this simple change to their diets helps them discover what eating habits they need to work on in order to sustain long-term weight loss.

This being said, cutting calories and changing your eating habits can be a big task. Not only will you have to pay much closer attention to everything you put in your mouth (adding up calories can be tedious work – but well worth it), but a reduced-calorie diet will make you have less energy and struggle with mood fluctuations and hunger.

The Argument for Exercising More

While cutting calories can be one way to begin whittling away at those 3500 calories, it can also result in eating too few calories each day, nagging hunger, low energy levels and mood swings. For this reason, some successful dieters believe that exercise is the key to weight loss and to weight maintenance.

Like reducing the amount of calories you eat, exercise will help to reduce the number of calories in one’s day. By exercising and burning off 500 calories a day, a person can begin to lose weight at the rate of one pound per week. While they are exercising, the person will also be building muscle, which then increases their metabolism. The more muscle a person has, the easier it will be for them to sustain their weight loss.

Interval training is a form of exercise that helps to burn calories for hours. This type of exercising is one of the best ways to burn calories in the least amount of time. To learn more about this form of exercising, I recommend that you read the article “Interval Training and Weight Loss”.

As you can see, exercising more can be great for weight loss, but it does have its drawbacks too. For example, if you rely on exercise alone to burn off the calories you eat plus additional body fat then you better be prepared to get in at least four or five good workouts a week. This kind of time commitment is something that many people may find difficult to work into their busy lives, so it may be rather unrealistic for most.

Finding the Right Combination

In the end, perhaps the question isn’t whether cutting calories is better than exercising more when it comes to weight loss, but rather how to incorporate both into your diet program. By reducing calories in your diet and burning more calories during exercise, you should be able to lose weight in a healthy way that isn’t jeopardized by restrictive dieting or major time commitments for exercise. Studies have shown too that simply dieting or simply exercising just doesn’t add up to long term weight loss. To make sure you can lose the weight and maintain the loss over time, you need to create a lifestyle that includes both.

Other Related Posts and Articles you May Find Interesting: “Exercise Routine that Maximizes Weight Loss”, “Best Calorie-Burning Exercises”, “Exercise + Healthy Diet = Weight Loss”, and “Eating After Exercise”.

4 comments to Cutting Calories or Exercising More – Which is Better for Weight Loss?

  • Its simple if you want to lose weight, you need to two things: eat less and exercise more. Weight gain happens when you create a calorie surplus (eat more than you burn). Your body takes the excess calories and converts them to fat which get stored around your stomach, arms and thighs. The longer you remain in a calorie surplus, the more weight you’ll gain. To lose that weight, you need to do the opposite. You need to create a calorie deficit (start eating less than you burn).

  • I like how you close this article. Indeed, combining both diet and exercise is better than doing either of the two alone. Exercise has a great advantage over dieting. It increases your metabolism, especially if it is muscle-building exercise. However, even the most strenuous exercise cannot create as big of a calorie deficit as cutting your food consumption in half. So, dieting plays a big role too.

  • Sonia Tello

    I could not agree on a better solution to losing excess weight. Of course cutting calories will help a person loose weight, but at a very slow and strenuous rate. People will notice a minimal amount of weight loss after much sacrifice and tedious work of counting calories. Often people will grow tired and resort back to old eating habits. Although exercise scares many people into thinking that they are incapable of running or lifting weights, it is just something that must be incorporated into ones’ life if they are determind to lose extra fat.As an incentive for myself, I do not eat any fried foods, with the exception of occasional weekends, other than that I choose healthy food choices for all of my snacks and meals, no junk food at all. Following those guidlines I eat whatever I want in moderation, meaning small portions, never eating until my stomach hurts. Then I try to run for 40 minutes 3 days a week. I feel great about myself because on days when I cannot work out I do not feel bad about my body because I know that atleast I have been eating healthy. I have been on this routine for about 5 months now, and I have already lost 2 1/2 pant sizes.

  • disco_sue

    You will absolutely loose weight if you just cut the calories and don’t exercise. How do I know? I have done it! When I did Weight Watchers a number of years ago, I did not do a stitch of exercise except for daily house chorse and I lost an average of 2 lbs per week. Would I have lost more if I exercised as well? Of course! But, even in the begining of Weight Watchers they said to not do any exercise in the first 2-3 weeks because you are now eating a lot less you might feel weak and dizzy if you exercise to early before your body is accustomed to the new diet. So as the program went on, I just opted to keep on with the no exercise because, well I am lazy and the diet alone was working! Also, if you do exercise while you are dieting, be very careful because when you exercise you often get very hungry after and then because “you exercised” you feel you can eat a bit more, well this is where people get into trouble- you really can’t eat more, maybe only a couple hundred calories and that is very easy to overdo and then it just nulls and voids all the good excersie you just did. It’s a balancing act for sure.

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