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There is so much to consider when it comes to determining the absolute most critical weight loss factor. Any lifestyle change to manage weight should include them all. That said, the two most influential factors are diet and exercise. Between them, the most important is (drum roll please) what you eat.
Yes, exercise has a huge number of benefits and if you want to lose weight as efficiently and healthfully as possible, it is an absolute requirement. However, if you eat too many calories, even exercising all day long will not be enough to control your weight. Excessive calorie intake outweighs workouts every time, making a healthy diet the most crucial weight loss factor.
Similarly, while exercising too much could risk injury that could set you back, eating too few calories can be even more destructive to your ability to control your weight. The reason is that crash dieting slows down the metabolism in a way that can require quite a bit of time to recover. Therefore, once you return to normal eating – even if it’s well within a healthy calorie limit – your slower metabolism can cause your weight to rebound and bring several pounds with it.
There have been a wealth of studies conducted on the impact of diet and exercise on a person’s ability to lose weight and they consistently show that it is what you eat that has the largest impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of a weight loss strategy. Individual studies as well as meta-analyses (studies that look at the results of large numbers of studies) have shown that careful eating strategies have the largest impact among all forms of weight loss strategy, including exercise.
Therefore, regardless of anything else you plan to do in order to lose weight, it is very important to focus on getting your eating under control. Speak with your doctor to understand this weight loss factor and exactly how much you should be eating every day. You will likely receive guidance in the form of a minimum and maximum calorie range as well as a recommendation for eating a healthy balance of macronutrients and micronutrients. This daily calorie intake calculator can help you estimate your caloric requirement.
From there, you can add exercise to accelerate your calorie burning and to build lean muscle which increases your body’s natural fat burning rate. Exercise therefore becomes a highly effective way to support the efforts you’re already making in terms of what you’re eating.
Beyond eating and exercising properly, don’t forget that there are many other ways for you to improve your lifestyle for better weight management, such as by making a priority of getting enough sleep at night to help get your strategy off on the right foot.