This Is What You Need to Know About Diet and Exercise If You’re Trying to Lose Weight

No matter who you are or what your fitness goals are, it’s important to fuel your body with nutritious foods in order to function at your best. We don’t believe one diet is better than another (we’ll let you debate it with your friends), but we are firm believers that everything in moderation is OK.

If you’re trying to lose weight, most experts agree that focusing on exercise and nutrition is a great place to start. And according to two experts, what you consume may actually be more important than exercise if you’re trying to lose weight for good.

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“One of the largest fallacies when we look at weight management is that physical activity leads to significant weight loss,” obesity medicine physician and scientist Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview. “On average, most people that engage in exercise – especially if they’re already regularly exercising – will have weight maintenance,” she explained.

“Exercise can certainly help, but for weight loss, it’s not very strong by itself; you also have to change your diet,” Avigdor Arad, PhD, RDN, CDE, director of the Mount Sinai PhysioLab, told POPSUGAR. “People trying to lose weight, they should really dive deep into the diet and what they eat because that is much more effective,” he said. Doing three to four workout sessions a week has many benefits, but “you have to change your diet” as well if your goal is weight loss, Dr. Arad said.

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Don’t go and cancel all the workout classes you booked for the next two weeks. Exercise has a bevy of benefits, like “improving your cardiac function, improving your metabolic rate, improving your muscle mass, improving your immune system, and circulatory system,” Dr. Arad said. “But if you only look at weight loss, what we learn is that in that context, diet is also extremely, extremely important,” he said.

If you’re thinking weight loss is as simple as cutting calories, it’s not. Dr. Stanford explained that the “calories in, calories out” school of thought doesn’t always work. This is because everyone’s body will respond differently to calories, and sometimes it comes down to the specific pathway the brain, specifically the hypothalamus, takes.

If you’re wondering what the best diet and workout are for weight loss, Dr. Stanford said in a previous interview to find a way of eating you’ll want to commit to for years to come. As for the best workout to lose weight, it depends. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as saying do a HIIT workout, cardio, or weightlifting. If you’re the type of person who needs an exact answer, we suggest doing a Fatmax protocol test ($450 at the Mount Sinai PhysioLab) at a specialized clinic to find out the optimal fat-burning exercise for your body.

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