Stop Exercising and Start Eating Well

by Angie Anew on January 11, 2012

Most people resolve to lose weight and get into shape in the New Year. And most people fail. Why? My guess is that it has a lot to do with exercise. You read that right. Exercise.

(Perhaps it’s worth noting here that I’m not a physician, nutritionist or exercise physiologist. I’m also a person with a reputation for believing the exact opposite of conventional wisdom. And I might be a bit psychic.)

Don’t get me wrong. I know that exercise is good for you. And if you have everything else in your life under control, by all means do it. But if you need to lose a few pounds, my opinion is that your time is better spent changing your eating habits than going to the gym. Here’s why:

  • I believe that eating well is the best way to lose weight and feel great.
  • Eating well takes time.
  • Exercise takes time away from eating well.

Again, if you have lots of time and tremendous willpower (or a personal chef), try doing everything at once. Resolve to eat less, exercise more, save money, write a novel, learn to knit — go to town! But if you can only manage to do one thing, focus on the food.

Then, in a month, when you feel great because you’ve lost 8 pounds and have more energy, start exercising. You’ll probably feel like exercising anyway.

That’s my plan. One habit at a time, with food first.

Other conventional wisdom that I dismiss: low-fat foods, whole grains, fiber supplements and folding underwear. You can call me Crazy Angie.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Asya January 12, 2012 at 4:27 AM

In general I do agree with you. It’s a lot easier to not eat 500 calories than work them off. You can’t out exercise a bad diet but let’s not forget all of the other benefits of regular exercise!

IMHO Food is a great starting point and should be the foundation of any wellness pyramid.

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Angie Anew January 12, 2012 at 4:46 AM

I totally believe that there are benefits to exercise – fitness, better mental health and more energy, to name just a few. But if you’re trying to lose weight and get in better shape, taking on too much at once can be counterproductive. Start with food. Once you have that down, exercise away!

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Amy P. January 12, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Good for you, Angie! I agree, it can be challenging to fit everything in and so sometimes you have to prioritize. As example, for our family, we can only manage to cook from scratch maybe 4 times a week; if we do more, it’s tough to keep the other pieces of our life running smoothly (e.g. house upkeep, etc.). There’s only so much time in the day.

I still think long-term you need to focus on both – food & exercise- but to have the most chance for success, choose one thing, work it until it becomes a habit, then add the next thing.

Looking forward to reading more!

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Angie Anew January 12, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Thanks, Amy! I will definitely be snooping around your site for ideas. I’ve been so focused on feeding myself well this month, that I need to come up with a plan for the whole family. Again . . . one step at a time!

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Kelly January 12, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Makes perfect sense to me. I do a zumba class and think I can get a large blizzard for my efforts. I need to get my healthy eating right.

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Angie Anew January 13, 2012 at 1:15 AM

You bring up some of the other challenges with exercise. It makes you hungrier. AND you feel that you can reward yourself with more (usually junky) food for your efforts!

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