Ok, the information I'm going to provide you with today is not new. In fact, it is old (at the rate things change these days, you may consider this very old). Nonetheless, it still applies today and you'd be surprised by the number of people still not doing it! So what is it? What is this old news?
You need to combine a healthy diet with exercise in order to achieve optimal weight loss!
Dieting alone just does not work! Can you lose weight while on a diet? Sure. The problem isn't that you can't lose weight. The problem is keeping the weight off after your diet slips back to reality. Dieting alone will not preserve lean mass (muscle). In fact, not only does dieting alone not preserve what you have, it will result in losing lean mass.
Why is this significant? Each pound of muscle you lose while on a diet, you are decreasing your metabolic rate by about 35-50 calories per day. Studies have shown that dieting for 8-16 weeks without exercising can lead to a 1-2.5 pound loss or more in lean mass. This, in turn, will result in burning 35-150 calories fewer each day. While this my not be an eye popping figure, over time it will add up. Combine this with the fact that most dieters end up going back to their pre-diet nutritional habits and you can see why dieting doesn't work to keep the weight off. In fact, not only will you not keep the weight off, you will end up gaining back more weight than you had lost in the first place.
Now let's see what can happen with the inclusion of exercise, specifically weight training. Studies have shown that weight training alone, without dieting, can result in fat loss. Studies have also shown that weight training combined with dieting results in significantly more weight loss. However, the weight lost from the combined effects of dieting with weight training came only from the loss of fat. No muscle tissue was lost.
It gets better. Not only do studies report no muscle loss, there is usually an increase in lean tissue of 0.5 pounds or more. So, unlike dieting that will result in muscle loss and a decreased metabolism, combined weight training and dieting can actually increase your metabolic rate. Considering that resting metabolic rate accounts for 60-70% of all calories burned each day, this can have a profound effect over time.
Even though this should go without saying, dieting alone will only lead to short term benefits and long term disaster. If you're going to embark on a weight loss program, exercise (weight training) needs to play an integral part in your efforts. Though it may be hard work and certainly not a lot of fun, the long term rewards are well worth it.