Dear Tara Marie,
I hate exercise. Can’t I just diet and get the same effect?
Oh honey, absolutely not! Dieting slows the metabolism, and this is the last thing that you want to do when you are trying to transform your body. The only way to maintain lasting weight loss is to cut your caloric intake in addition to adding movement to your life. You ask if dieting alone will give you the same effect…just what effect are you going for? I am assuming that you want to be toned, healthy and vibrant. Excessive dieting will not yield these results. Rather, you will end up flabby, unhealthy, and have low energy.
Dieting alone will not only slow your metabolic rate, but you will lose the beautiful muscle that you currently have, resulting in an even lower metabolic rate. You will also systematically degrade your shape, considering all the muscle you will be losing.
Conversely, exercise revs the metabolic rate, and high intensity exercise keeps the metabolic rate higher for a longer period of time than lower intensity exercise. You see, there is a period following a bout of exercise during which the metabolic rate remains elevated, and the degree to which it remains elevated and the length of time that it remains elevated are both determined by exercise intensity.
The more you move, the better; the more intensely you move the better. As you build muscle from moving, your metabolic rate becomes higher, as muscle is metabolically active tissue and fat is not. Metabolically active tissue requires calories to sustain itself, even at rest. A 130-pound woman who is very active and muscular has a higher energy expenditure (even at rest) than a less muscular woman of the same body weight.
It is better to eat 500 fewer calories and burn 500 additional calories with exercise than it is to just eat 1,000 fewer calories. Again, when the body believes that it is being starved, it slows down its metabolic rate to preserve energy.
If you absolutely hate to exercise, you must work hard to find some form of movement that you can tolerate. Try everything: tennis, racquetball, martial arts, dance class, spin class, conditioning classes, etc.
If you search and find that you still are not jazzed about your workout, consider recruiting a friend or two to join you. Sometimes a perceived unpleasant activity is more palatable when it is a shared experience with friends.
Stay focused on the results that you are working to achieve and focus less on how you feel about what you have to do to accomplish your goals. Keep your eyes on the prize and decide that you are going to do whatever you must to get what you want. Good luck!
~ Tara Marie!