If you want to lose fat, you have to create a calorie deficit. Research indicates that though energy balance is influenced by both dietary intake and energy expenditure (e.g. exercise), food restriction has the upper hand. Compared to exercise alone, diet changes alone have repeatedly been shown to produce more weight loss†, up to 3x as much.
- You probably don’t burn as much as you think you do
- You probably eat to compensate for the exercise you did
- Your body can be very efficient at how it uses energy
- Your body can be very resistant to energy loss the longer you stay on a weight loss program
- exercising more does not result in a proportionate level of improvement (i.e. doubling your exercise does not double your results).
- Eating less is physically easier than exercising more, making it a more sustainable strategy
This harks back to the old saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet”.
On a related note, taking a short break, even for a week, does not seem to negatively impact muscle or strength but can rather resensitize your body to the effects of exercise.