I hear statements/questions daily like, “Greg, what exercise can I do to lose weight?” or “I need to ‘tone up'” or “My doctor says I am a ticking time bomb, my cholesterol is high, I’m fat, I’m pre-diabetic…”
So, obviously where lie many problems, lie many answers and this creates a conundrum more commonly referred to as CONFUSION. Note: Don’t fret over my potential misuse of the irregular verb “lie.” If you’re smart enough to get what I meant, you’re gonna benefit from what I share henceforth – perhaps. If not, sorry.
I’m trying (always trying) to keep it simple. So, I’ll try again.
Caloric restriction (eating less), more so than macronutrient composition (% carb vs. % fat vs. %protein) is the key determinant of weight loss. DONE! It’s that simple.
What if you need to lose weight because you’re pre-diabetic and have high blood pressure?
Then, Physical Activity (PA) can help as well. PA alone is of limited benefit in inducing weight loss (more on that in a few) but PA plays a critical role in improving cardiovascular health in both average-weight and overweight/obese individuals.
Benefits of consistent PA: Decrease blood pressure, improve blood lipids (increase HDL, decrease LDL), Decrease visceral fat (belly fat), Increase insulin sensitivity…
PA isn’t the most effective means of losing weight. Why? Because, most people can’t find the time or motivation to engage in the volume of activity (eg. 35 miles of walking a week) to achieve even 1 pound/week. Sad but true. Can’t out-exercise a BAD diet (one where you eat too much every day, all week…).
PA and weight loss maintenance: study after study show (Wadden, 2012 and Jeffrey et al) that PA is a critical component of long-term weight management.
Lastly, although macronutrient composition isn’t a huge determiner in weight loss, choice of diet should be determined by desired management of your areas of illness i.e. diabetes, CVD, impaired glycemic control, gluten sensitivity, etc. as well as personal preference.
The great benefit of weight loss is that it is associated in a linear manner with improvements in CVD risk factors: A1C, blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol.