Exercise and Diet

Lately I have been focusing on my diet. Partially because of my vanity, but also due to the fact that no matter of how much I exercise I still have a few annoying extra pounds. One solution to rid myself of this extra weight would be to significantly increase my level of exercise, but then I wouldn’t have a life.

I’d been hearing a lot about the Zone and Atkin’s Diet, and was intrigue. Went out and bought the books. And although there is controversy related to both of these diet plans, I found the overall logic appealing. The concept behind these popular low carbohydrate diets is to eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates and sugar.

With a low carb diet a person reduces their carbohydrate consumption, the body’s blood-sugar levels decrease and cause the pancreas to produce less insulin. With less insulin to draw on, the body is forced to burn fat reserves for energy, resulting in rapid weight loss, according to gurus such as Dr. Atkins. Eating more fat — a food category that formerly was taboo for many dieters — makes the body feel full, leading to fewer carbohydrate cravings. For detailed information on these diets read “Enter the Zone” and “Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution.”

Diet and Exercise

An essential element to both of these diets is exercise. So many diet plans are primarily based on starvation, while neglecting the importance of fitness to your overall health. Both Dr. Sears (Zone Diet) and Dr. Atkins emphasize the importance of exercise with their diet plans.

According to Dr. Sears, “There’s no doubt that exercise should be a vital part of any personal total health program, not only because of its well-known ‘sweat benefits’ – improved weight control, improved cardiovascular fitness, and improved strength – but also because of the sense of well being that comes from even mild exertion.” He talks about the hormonal changes the various types of exercise induce. He suggests that food is the “primary pathway” to losing weight, but that exercise can widen the path and make it easier to keep weight off on a long-term basis.

Dr Atkins calls exercise “non-negotiable.” You must make a commitment to physical activity combined with changing the way you eat. According to Atkins “Doing one without the other is like riding a bike with flat tires. It’s a lot more difficult. Regular physical activity has been proven to contribute significantly to each of the Atkins principles: weight loss, weight maintenance, good health and disease prevention.”

Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance

It is a basic law of the universe, if you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight. But an added value to exercise is that you increase your metabolic rate. That means even when you are inactive you are still burning calories at a higher rate.

Good Health

Atkins states that regular exercise results in a number of health benefits including:

  • Better endurance, flexibility and muscle strength
  • Increased longevity
  • Decreased insulin production
  • Elevated mood and reduced depression and anxiety

Disease Prevention

Atkins sees physical activity having a positive effect on virtually of all the bodies systems. These effects result in a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, colon cancer and Type II diabetes. He refers to a report from the Global Burden of Disease Project which states that, “physical inactivity is among the most important risk factors threatening global health.”

If you are like so many individuals who are engaged in the battle of bulge, think like a military strategist and make a two prong attack. This should consist of a diet that works for you, combined with regular exercise. One without the other is a losing battle.

Have a healthy and prosperous life.