No magic pill: Studies prove once again diet and exercise achieve greater weight loss

Dieting alone may not always lead to significant weight loss, as was clearly demonstrated in a testimonial by Georgie Thomas of Adelaide in Australia. The 26-year-old Australian was 82 kilos at her heaviest and wore a size 14. Thomas admitted that she had always been petrified of the idea of going to the gym, and so naturally turned to various diet plans in order to achieve her target weight. Thomas eventually started counting her calories and limiting her intake in an effort to lose weight. However, she learned early on that dieting was too tall an order for her.

“When I first tried lose weight in my first year of uni[versity] I tried Body Trim, Lite and Easy and then as I finished Human Movement and went into Exercise Physiology I tried to do things by the book and do full clean eating and exercise more to reach my goals. I couldn’t keep at it for long…and it got to the point where I never thought I would reach my goals,” Thomas reported in a Daily Mail article.

Thomas said that she remained overweight despite following various diet plans. However, she noted that following a dietary scheme that involved whole foods and superfoods as well as engaging in more strenuous workout resulted in significant changes in her body weight. Thomas discussed that eating wholefoods with up to 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day and lifting heavy weights in the gym helped her trim down to a size eight at 58 kilos. (Related: Weights over cardio for longevity: New study finds pumping iron at least twice a week reduces cancer risk — doing both increases life expectancy by 30%.)

“Three-and-a-half years later and I have been following the same program and I can tweak it when I need to. After so many years I’m still following it which goes to show it’s a real lifestyle change. I don’t have to stress anymore, I don’t need to look for the next best thing, I’m eating more than I ever have and I feel freaking good,” Thomas added.

Study confirms that exercise alone may not result in significant weight loss

Thomas’ testimony is reflective of a 2011 study demonstrating that diet plus exercise is still the perfect combination in achieving significant weight loss. The study, carried out by a team of researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, focused on the beneficial effects of diet plus exercise compared with either diet or exercise alone.

As part of the study, the researchers enrolled 439 overweight and obese postmenopausal women ages 50 to 75 years old. The sedentary participants were then divided into four groups: exercise-only, diet-only, diet plus exercise, and non-intervention groups. The findings showed that participants in the diet plus exercise group attained an average weight loss of 19.8 pounds, compared to only 15.8 pounds in the diet-only group and 4.4 pounds in the exercise-only group.

The research team likewise found that regular exercise may help boost balance, strength, and fitness, which in turn may greatly benefit older women. The experts also noted that keeping a food journal, eating out less often, and preparing meals at home appear to have contributed to effective weight loss.

“This study shows that you get the biggest bang for your buck by combining a healthy weight-loss diet — which in this case meant reducing calories by cutting fat intake and boosting the consumption of low-calorie foods — with regular, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. You don’t need to be an athlete; walking, biking or gym cardio machines all work well. Start slowly and gradually increase to 45 minutes of activity a day, more if you are able,” lead researcher Dr. Anne McTiernan told Science Daily online.

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