What’s more important? Food choices or exercise?

What’s more important? Food choices or exercise? In losing weight I’ve generally thought that it is 2/3 food choices and 1/3 exercise but there are important ways that exercise contributes lost in the maintenance of weight loss. First, exercise is a great reducer and might reduce stress eating. Additionally if resistance training builds muscle that muscle may well burn more calories 24/7. And now we see new information that exercise changes our gut bacteria in a way that makes us more likely to lose weight. Perhaps you’re not aware, but are good bacteria metabolize the food we eat and secrete chemicals into our bodies that can increase or decrease your appetite, increase or decrease our blood pressure.  We know that standard American fast food increases bad bacteria!

Over the last year I’ve done less interval training on the treadmill after having suffered a minor knee injury. My resistance training has stayed similar. I’ve slowly gained 6-8 lbs. One of the joys of losing weight was being able to find and buy nicely tailored clothing. I’ve now discovered that even at 6ft 2in, going from 201 pounds to 209 pounds makes a difference in how the clothing fits. Perhaps it’s vanity but that’s a big reason for me to be motivated to get back to that 201 pounds.

Notice that when I do interval training, it’s not for that long. Studies that show that you can spend one fifth as much time on the treadmill and get the same results by having maximal episodes of intense exercise.


Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See vascularanesthesia.com for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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