Monday, June 03, 2013


Sustained weight loss can only be achieved through diet and exercise

My exercise friends and I work very hard at our hour-long Jazzercise workouts.  Recently, one of my exercise buddies confided that she was discouraged after reading a story on the internet that said you won’t lose weight from exercising. 

The truth of the matter is that weight loss is only accomplished by balancing food intake and exercise.  Simply put, exercise or diet alone will not result in weight loss. We have all heard the expression “move more, eat less.”  The formula is simple:  Increased exercise + decreased caloric intake = weight loss.    Insufficient exercise + excess calorie intake = weight gain. 

Regular physical activity is important for maintaining your physical and mental health. Exercising can help you reduce your risk for heart diseases and type 2 Diabetes, strengthen your bones, muscles and joints and improve your mood and mental well-being.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, physical activity is important for health and can help you control your weight by burning the excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Physical activity raises your body's metabolic need, and the higher your metabolic need is, the more energy your body is using. The increased energy need forces your body to start burning fat for energy, which is why exercise makes you lose weight. Exercising is a way to lose weight, but it needs to be combined with healthy diet.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to lose weight, you must use up more calories than you take in. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500-1,000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week, the recommended safe weight loss rate. 

No doubt about it; a few weeks of intense exercising and dieting will only result in temporary results.   We can all attest to multiple attempts at this — the key to success is undeniably a lifestyle change.  

Once you've achieved a healthy weight, by relying on healthful eating and physical activity most days of the week (about 45-60 minutes, moderate intensity), you are more likely to be successful at keeping the weight off over the long term. 

Alice Facente is a community education nurse for the Backus Health System. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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