Which is more important for fitness, a healthy diet or a program of regular exercise? While I always tell my clients at my Louisville facility that weight loss starts with a healthy diet, to maximize that weight loss, a program of regular exercise is also important. You won’t be at peak performance if you don’t have both. Adding adequate sleep, good hydration and avoiding abusive alcohol, tobacco and drug use is also important. No matter how much you exercise or do the other important things to constitute healthy living, if you aren’t eating healthy, you won’t get the healthy results you want.
A healthy diet includes whole foods and eliminates processed foods.
While not all processed foods are equally as bad for you, they pale by comparison when you see all the benefits of whole foods. Whole foods are foods that are closest to their natural form. They don’t come in boxes or bars, but are foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, grain fed beef, free range eggs and butter from grass fed cows. They go back to how food was meant to be consumed, fresh from the field or garden, without toxic chemicals and with all the nutrients they contain fresh off the vine.
It’s easier to skip the soft drink or fries than it is to exercise off the calories.
If you drink two to three soft drinks a day or eat a large order of fries, you’ve consumed all the calories you’d normally burn at a workout. So what do you do? Exercise longer? Exercise with more intensity? Skip the fries and soft drink? The last answer is correct. If just one order of fries can wipe out all the extra benefits from one exercise session, it means the key to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle is diet, with exercise supplementing it. To match the calories from a large order of fries, you’d have to eat 240 string beans, 120 asparagus spears, 72 medium stalks of celery or 12 large tomatoes to get the same number of calories from these vegetables. That not only is far more filling, it also provides far more nutrition.
Your diet should supply your body with all the nutrition necessary.
In order to be your healthiest, you need the proper nutrition. That only comes from a well rounded plate with healthy fat, carbohydrates and proteins. It should contain a rainbow of colors when it comes to fruit and vegetables. Each color of vegetables and fruit contains different nutrients and phytonutrients. For instance, blueberries and all deep red fruits and veggies, including red cabbage, contain anthocyanins. They can help prevent cancer, improve your mind, lower your cholesterol and improve vision. Yellow and orange fruits and veggies provide carotenoids that convert to vitamin A.
- If you don’t have adequate nutrition, especially adequate protein, you won’t have the material to build muscle mass or the energy to workout.
- A healthy diet drives weight loss and good health. Exercise helps boost the effects and maintain weight loss. You need both for good health, but a healthy diet should always come first.
- Ultimately the goal is to build strong muscles, improve flexibility and endurance, while leaving you feeling your fittest. You won’t get that healthy feeling if you only exercise and ignore a healthy diet.
- Not only will a healthy diet boost your weight loss, it also can improve your skin, hair and overall appearance.