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Diet vs. Exercise: How to Crush Your Health Goals

Millennial Magazine - health goals

A full-length mirror can feel like your best friend or worst enemy.

There’s nowhere to hide when you face your reflection, but that’s a good thing. It’s a great place to take stock of your body—to find what you love and ponder what you want to change. And if you’re looking to fit into that favorite outfit again, you should consider the benefit of dieting combined with exercise so you can achieve your health goals.

Healthy weight loss starts with making smart choices both in the kitchen and at the gym. So your goal should be finding balance with your food choices and exercise. Your metabolism craves consistency, and how you fuel and use your body can determine how you look in the mirror.

Metabolism: Food into Power

A slow metabolism is a common culprit of weight gain or inability to lose those unwanted kilos. And while it’s convenient to blame one’s metabolism for putting on weight, it’s not necessarily fair. Your metabolism is a series of chemical processes that power your body. Everything your body does continuously—breathing, digestion, cellular repair—is the result of your metabolism, which is scored by a process called basal metabolic rate (BMR).

BMR is the minimum number of calories your body burns as it performs daily life-sustaining functions. Essentially, it tells you what your body would burn if you were to stay in bed all day. Lots of factors determine your BMR: age, sex, muscle mass, and body fat. And because maintaining muscle requires more calories, men tend to have higher BMR than women.

Contrary to popular expression, larger people actually have higher metabolisms too, because they require more calories to maintain their size. Leaner folks need fewer calories, and so they have a lower BMR.

The key for weight loss is to eat fewer calories than you burn. And if you’re looking to increase BMR and improve your metabolism, you’ll want to build that calorie-burning muscle and be conscious of what you eat.

Hit the Gym

Independent of weight loss, working out is great for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s a healthy activity to anchor your day, good for cardiovascular health, and does wonders for your mental state. Challenging yourself and pushing your body can also help you maintain flexibility, reduce feelings of fatigue, and protect against many chronic diseases.

And best of all, hitting the gym can be fun.

For every stage of life, there is a fun workout to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. And no matter your age or life situation, it’s never too late—the best way to begin an exercise routine is to just start! It can be as easy as a light, 30-minute walk around the block or joining a fitness club. Look for activities you enjoy and commit to get out and get moving three times a week.

And don’t forget to warm up before each workout. Take time to stretch and listen to your body. If you feel like it’s too much, slow down or stop—nothing can derail a new workout plan like getting hurt.

Lastly, be consistent. A morning workout class can be a great way to kickstart the day, or an afternoon class could be a midday reward to shake off stress from the office. Find what works for you and your schedule and keep at it. Consistency can help improve breathing, strengthen your heart and muscles, and burn calories to aid weight loss.

Eat Smart

You’ve probably heard the old adage: abs are made in the kitchen. That’s sort of true. Your diet can definitely play a role in your appearance. We all have abs, but you need to reduce your body fat before you can see them.

To lose one kilo of fat, you need to burn 7,700 extra calories. The good news is you don’t have to do it all in one day. Committing to a rigorous diet is only going to lead to failure, so avoid fad plans or diet trends that ask too much, too soon.

Instead, make small, sustainable changes. Start by eliminating soft drinks or cut back on crisps. Add salads to your lunch and dinner menu. Read labels. Focus on whole foods with ingredients you can identify. The fewer chemicals, the better. And make sure to drink enough water—staying hydrated is good for weight loss and maintaining muscle mass.

For most of us, the goal isn’t washboard abs, but the good health that comes from eating right and exercising. And to lose a little extra fat, a great diet can go a long way.

A Healthy Journey

Find balance in your healthy journey through a healthy diet, exercise you enjoy, and a little extra help with a metabolism support supplement*—and start loving what you see in the mirror.

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Contains soybeans products.

What do you think?

Written by Heather Redding

Heather Redding is a tech enthusiast and freelance writer. She is a coffee-addict who enjoys swimming and reading. Street photography is her newly discovered artistic outlet and she likes to capture life's little moments with her camera.

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