Exercise & Physical ActivityLifestyleNutritionWellness

The Healthiest Mistake

When making the decision to improve health or lose weight, many people look to exercise programs or gyms as their first step.  This is a huge mistake!  Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely great to include these in your regular routine, and exercise has many amazing health benefits.  So, why is this a huge mistake?  Well in simple terms, you can’t out exercise a bad diet!

Whatever your goals, before you hit the gym or sign up to that fancy new fitness program, you should be looking at your nutrition.  Exercise can and most certainly should be part of your program to improve your health or manage your weight, but physical activity alone is not a magic pill.  If you don’t give the proper attention to your nutrition, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Let’s look at the main reasons you should sort out your diet first.

What you eat plays a very large part in weight loss and physical health.  It’s difficult to quantify in numbers as it varies person to person, but generally we consider that around 80% of weight loss comes down to your diet, not your physical activity.  But why is that?  Well for most people (i.e. those without metabolic adaptation or dysfunction disorders) losing weight is a numbers game of kilojoules in versus kilojoules out.  If you consume more kilojoules in a day than your body uses to function, the excess is stored for another day.  If you consume less kilojoules in a day than your body needs to function, your body converts stored energy to make up the shortfall.  If you consume the same kilojoules per day as your body needs to function, you’re not storing excess or using stored energy and are in what we call energy balance, maintaining current weight.

Exercise can help your body use more kilojoules but if you’re still consuming more than you’re using, you’re not going to be losing weight, you’re going to be gaining!  On the flip side, if you’re trying to build muscle, but you’re not eating adequate kilojoules and protein at appropriate times to support muscle growth, you’re not going to see the results you’re hoping for. 

You could also be in energy balance or deficit but missing vital vitamins and minerals from your diet, or not drinking enough fluids, which will impact important bodily processes, many of which support physical activities.  Deficiencies and dehydration can leave you feeling sluggish and foggy, cause cramps or impact energy production and delivery. If you’re not eating the right foods at the right times to fuel your body for exercise, you might struggle not only to get through your training sessions, but to recover afterwards.  If you’re not recovering well, your body isn’t going to adapt to the physical activity and progress will stall.  What can happen when you don’t see results?  You start to enter a negative thought pattern cycle and lose the motivation to keep up your training program.

Without the right nutrition to support your physical activity, you’re definitely not going to get the best results from your training.  Before you start any new exercise or physical activity program, whatever your goal, it’s best to seek specialist nutritional advice and support.  A Nutritionist can help you to determine your nutritional needs, including your total daily kilojoule requirement, daily fluid requirements, your breakdown of macros (carbs, fats and proteins), and recommend appropriate pre and post exercise meals or snacks to help you get the most from your workout.  They can also help you set realistic expectations for weight loss if this is your goal.

Does all this mean you don’t need to exercise to improve your health or lose weight?  Yes – although regular physical activity is still recommended.  It’s possible to both see massive improvements in your health and lose weight simply through improving your diet, and a Nutritionist can definitely show you how to achieve these results.  Exercise or regular physical activity still has a myriad of health benefits though, and for those trying to lose weight exercise can be used to help create a calorie deficit.  Building muscle also helps to increase the kilojoules your body uses throughout the day even when you’re not physically active.  You don’t need to put your body through the stress of gruelling training sessions to burn off that fat, as some programs claim.  So don’t lose all hope of improving your health if exercise isn’t an option for you right now!  Exercise or not, a Nutritionist can guide you to achieve the results you’ve been dreaming of!

Everything Me conducts a full Client Assessment and Nutritional Needs Summary as standard during Initial Consultations and provides you with a detailed report during your consultation.  This assessment and summary is repeated as necessary in follow up consultations.  Contact us for more information or book in now for your assessment and personalised summary.

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