Lose Weight Faster What Works Nutrition vs Exercise

According to the CDC, about 93.3 million people in the US are obese.

A good number of these people are women.

Because of the health risk associated with obesity, many of them are working hard to burn as much fat as possible.

One of the challenges women face, as they journey towards their fitness goal, is figuring out how to lose weight faster.

While some have the notion that eating less and following a strict diet is the best way to lose weight, others strongly believe that working out endlessly at the gym is a more effective weight loss strategy.

In this article, we are going to take a close look at exercise and nutrition to help you determine the one that is more effective for weight loss.

Nutrition vs Exercise - What Works for Women to Lose Weight Faster

Exercise does more than help you lose weight

The benefit of exercising goes beyond weight loss.

Following a diet or eating fewer calories is great and can help you achieve your fitness goals.

That said, you need to keep in mind that following a good diet won’t alone make you 100 percent healthy.

Studies have shown that exercise can help reduce the risk of diseases like cancer and improve your general health (1) (2).

Other studies like this show that exercise can prevent health issues that can affect our cognitive functions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

According to some newer studies, exercise can slow down the aging process, promote the growth of new brain cells, and prevent depression (3) (4) (5).

Talking about weight loss, exercising regularly can boost your metabolism and help your body burn more calories.

As previously mentioned, you can achieve your fitness goal without stepping your foot in the gym, but it may come at a heavy price as your general health may suffer.

Take away: Studies have shown that exercise offers a lot of benefits. To lose weight and improve your general health, you have to combine regular exercise with a good diet.

How hard should you work out to lose weight?

See, you don’t have to spend hours at the gym or at home working out to achieve your fitness goal. 

Spending as little as 20-30 minutes doing aerobic exercise thrice a week is all you need to shed a few pounds without pushing yourself too hard.

If you want to get quick results, you may have to change your workout strategy.

Instead of doing aerobics or cardio exercise, lift weight or do HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training).

You can burn between 200 to 500 calories by doing any of them.

If you don’t want to lose your muscles, then you should add a few weight lifting sessions to your workout routine each week.

According to some studies, lifting weights can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories (6) (7).

If for some reason, you can’t lift weights, then you should dosome low impact fat burning activities like jogging, swimming, and walking.

Take away: You don’t have to spend your whole day at the gym to achieve your fitness goal. Depending on your health condition, engaging in low impact or high impact exercise can help you lose those excess pounds and improve your health.

How intense is your workout?

To get the result of your hard work, you have to pay attention to a very important thing when working out- your heart rate.

You see, if your heart rate is high, your metabolism will increase and you will burn more calories.

So, your goal should be to get your heart rate up.

There are two ways you can check your heart rate.

The first is by using this formula. The second is by using a heart rate monitor.   

Do well to talk to a health care professional or personal trainer to determine the right intensity for your workout.

If you are suffering from health conditions like diabetes or heart issues, consult your doctor before starting any fitness program.

And remember that if an exercise doesn’t challenge you or make your feel slightly uncomfortable, it may not help you achieve your fitness goal.

Take away: To reap the health and weight loss benefits associated with working out, you have to increase the intensity of your workout. Wearing a heart rate monitor while working out will help you know how intense you are working.

Best weight loss exercises for women

To lose weight, you have to work out consistently.

Engaging in an exercise you don’t enjoy, especially when you are just starting out, isn’t really a good idea, as you will become less and less motivated to do it.

Below are 3 effective weight loss exercises for women


Regardless of the nature of your workout program, you should consider adding some form of cardio or aerobic exercise to it.

The reason for this is that, it can increase your heart rate and boost your metabolism.

Below are some aerobic exercises you should consider engaging in:

  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Jogging
  • Dancing

Weight lifting

Lifting heavy can help you burn fat and build muscles.

During your weight lifting session, try to target all the major muscle groups in your body.

Below are some key areas you should target

  • Chest
  • Abs
  • Quads
  • Forearms
  • Back
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

Bear in mind that you don’t have to lift the heaviest weight in the gym to lose weight faster. Start with something you can comfortably carry and work your way up.

You can burn up to 266 calories after a 30-minute weight training session.


Granted, yoga isn’t as intense as weight lifting and cardio, but it can help you achieve your fitness goal.

Research suggests that yoga can improve your self-control and make you more mindful of what you eat. And if you are mindful of what you eat, you are less likely to dine on unhealthy food or overeat (8).

Taking about weight loss, you can burn up 178 calories after a 30-minute yoga session.

Below are some fat burning activities and the number of calories you will burn if you do them for one hour.

Dancing and biking- 370 calories

Running -700 calories

Gardening – 200 calories

Take away: Yoga, aerobics, and weight training are effective weight loss exercises for women. Be sure to consider your health condition before choosing any of them.

Easy ways to incorporate exercises into your lifestyle

You don’t have to go to the gym or buy expensive equipment to lose those excess pounds, as there are simple but effective fat burning activities you can do during the course of your day.

We will be looking at some of them in this section.

Before we dive right into that, there is something you should know- small changes to your routine can deliver jaw-dropping results.

What this means is that something as little as going for a 15 min run in the morning, skipping, or dancing can make a huge difference.

Here are some ways to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle

  • Ditch the elevator and use the stairs.
  • Walk or ride your bike to your workplace.
  • Park your vehicle a couple of blocks away from your destination and walk the remaining distance.
  • Go hiking and explore the outdoors every now and then.
  • Give rock climbing a try.

Take away: You can exercise your body during your day by engaging in low-intensity fat burning exercises like walking. Schedule time to try out other fun calorie-burning activities like rock climbing and dancing.

What to consider before starting a workout program

Below are some things to take into consideration before starting any workout program.

Your health

Starting an exercise program without first consulting your doctor is a recipe for disaster, especially if you have an underlining health condition like arthritis, lung disease, kidney issue, and heart disease.

Doing intense exercise if you have these conditions may harm your health.

Your size and weight

There is still a need to consult a doctor or seek the advice of a health care professional if you are obese or overweight, as some exercises may do more harm than good to you.


Be sure to seek the advice of health care professionals if you just quit smoking or other degrading habits.

Don’t push yourself too hard.

As previously mentioned, you do not need to do an intense or challenging workout to burn more calories.

That said, if you are just starting out, you should pay attention to the signals that your body is giving you.

Pushing yourself too hard may result in injury, shortness of breath, and intense pain.

Take away: Regardless of the nature of your workout program, it is wise that you first consult a doctor before starting. People who are obese or have an underlying health condition may experience shortness of breath, excruciating pain, or even injury if they push too hard.

Why nutrition is important for weight loss

If you have been working out consistently for a long time, but have nothing tangible to show for it, chances are, you aren’t eating right.

Eating foods that are rich in essential nutrients your body needs, will not only help you lose weight but will also improve your efficiency during a workout session.

As you likely know, not all foods are nutritious and can help you burn fat. So you have to be picky and add only food that can improve your exercise performance and general health to your diet.

If you work out and eat whatever you want afterward, you will easily gain all the calories you burned during a workout.

To improve your nutrition, you need to have an idea of the nutrients offered by most food on the market. You can do this by checking their labels.

Following a fad diet is by no means a good idea. Of course, you may lose a couple of pounds within a short period. But you are likely going to get them back in the long run.

Take away: It will be difficult or impossible for you to achieve your fitness goals if you don’t follow a rich and balanced diet. Avoid fad diets that promise overnight results.

Why you should pay more attention to what you eat in the morning

The food you start your day with can affect your weight loss efforts.

According to some studies, eating foods that are rich in protein, like eggs for breakfast can increase metabolism and reduce your appetite for a long time (9) (10).

Starting your day with foods that are rich in carbs isn’t really a good idea, as they will leave you unsatisfied.

Eating foods that are loaded with fiber and protein will not only reduce your appetite but will also give you the energy you need to carry out different activities during your day.  

Skipping breakfast isn’t really a good idea as it may affect your health and increase the risk of you becoming obese. Even more, you will feel light-headed and perform poorly during your day.

Instead of eating cereals in the morning try oatmeal. Add milk, nuts, or yogurt to increase its protein content.

Instead of eating pancakes, opt for whole-grain bread. You can eat it with eggs or peanut butter.

Take way: Be sure to eat foods that are rich in protein, fiber, and other important nutrients in the morning. Studies have shown that a high protein breakfast can increase metabolism and prevent overeating.

Not all carbs are good for you

Regardless of your fitness goal, your weight loss diet should be low in carbs.

According to this study, cutting down carbs can reduce water weight and lower your insulin level (11).

Other studies like this one show that following a low carb diet is better than following a low-fat diet, especially for short term weight loss (12).

Research suggests that following a low carb diet may reduce appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods (13).

The bottom line is that reducing the number of carbs you consume will help you lose weight faster.

Cutting out carbs totally from your diet isn’t really a good idea as they are an important energy source.

In fact, a report from the Mayo Clinic shows that 45 percent of our daily calories should come from carbs.

To get your carb requirement, you have to add complex carbs that are found in food like beans, veggies, and fruits, not simple carbs that are found in processed food.

 Eating them will not only make you feel fuller but will also stabilize your blood sugar level.

Take away: Avoid simple carbs as they are loaded with sugar and can make you fat. Add complex carbs to your diet as they are filling and are rich in important nutrients that your body needs.

Protein can help you lose weight faster

Protein is an important nutrient that can help you achieve your dream weight.

Studies have shown that a high protein diet can boost metabolism and help you burn up to 80 to 100 calories daily (14) (15) (16).

According to some studies, a high protein diet can reduce cravings and make you feel full (17) (18).

Eating more protein can cut down your recovery time, as it can repair torn muscles. The body can also use it as a fuel source when carbs are in short supply.

According to a report from the Harvard Health blog, an adult female needs to eat 0.36 grams of protein for each pound of their body weight.

Below are some rich protein sources:

Chicken, Turkey, Milk, Yogurt, Eggs, Lentils, Beans, Beef

Ensure that you opt for lean protein that has a low amount of Trans and saturated fats. Stay away or reduce the amount of red meat you consume as it has a high amount of (bad) cholesterol.

Take away: Studies have shown that a high protein diet can encourage weight loss and reduce appetite. An adult woman needs about 0.36 grams of protein for each pound of their body weight.

The role of veggies and fruit in weight loss

Fruit and veggies are loaded with important vitamins and minerals our body needs to carry out its daily functions.

Because they are low in calories, you won’t gain weight or become fat even if you eat a lot of them.

Adding fruits and veggies to your diet can also prevent you from overeating, as they are rich in fiber.

Aim to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables during your day.

Don’t limit yourself to only popular fruits; try out fruits you have never tasted before.

A simple way to ensure that fruits and vegetables are always in your home is by buying a small or large amount of it each time you go to the grocery store.

Here are some vegetables you should consider adding to your diet:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Tomatoes

Take away: Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that can improve your health, help you lose weight, and prevent you from overeating. Aim to eat several servings of veggies and fruits daily.

Not all fats are bad

Just like protein and carbs, fat is an important nutrient that can be used as an energy source for our body.

That being said, most people stay away from it because they think it will increase their waistline and make them prone to a lot of health issues.

While that is somewhat true, you need to keep in mind that not all fat is bad.

Many observational studies have shown that only saturated fat and Trans fat can do serious damage to the body (19) (20) (22) (23) (24).

Newer studies are showing that healthier fat sources like omega-3 and unsaturated fat can encourage weight loss and improve your general health (25) (26) (27).

Below are some healthy fat sources you should consider adding to your diet.

Unsaturated fat:

  • Walnuts
  • Tofu
  • Soymilk
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Fatty fish like sardines, tuna, and mackerel.

Monounsaturated fat:

  • Olives
  • Peanut butter
  • Sesame oils
  • Cashews

Saturated fat-(eat them in moderation as they increase LDS cholesterol):

  • Butter
  • Red beef
  • Ice cream
  • Cheese
  • Lard

Here are some sources of Trans Fat (bad):

  • Commercially prepared- cakes, cookies, muffins, pizza, and doughnuts
  • Fried foods- chicken nuggets and French fries,
  • Packaged snacks – chips and crackers

Take away: Not all fats can affect your health negatively. Studies have shown that healthy fat sources can improve our health and help us lose weight.

Cutting too many calories or starving yourself is a terrible weight loss strategy 

Most women looking to lose weight faster have the notion that starving themselves or reducing the number of calories they consume will help them achieve their fitness goals quicker.

While this may work, you shouldn’t do it because it may leave you feeling exhausted, hungry, fatigued, or even sick.

A report from the NHLBI (National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute) gives a picture of the number of calories women looking to lose weight should consume (1200-1500 calories).

Consuming anything below may affect your workout performance and your general health.

Take away: Women looking to lose weight should eat between 1200 to 1500 calories daily. Eating below that amount may lead to a range of health issues.

Exercise and weight loss- which is better for weight loss? 

Reducing the number of calories you consume and following a good diet can help you lose weight but at the expense of your general health.

You see, if you don’t exercise, you will become prone to certain diseases.

Also, your blood pressure and cholesterol level may go up. This, in turn, will increase the risk of you having a heart attack.

Studies have shown that exercise can help prevent breast and colon cancer, both of which women are prone to.

Following a good diet can only take you as far. Without regular exercise, it will be difficult for you to increase the number of calories you burn each day.

Take away: Following a diet and reducing the number of calories you consume will help you lose weight faster than exercising. That said, you need to keep in mind that exercise offers health benefits that go beyond weight loss.  

The bottom line on whether nutrition or exercise works best to lose weight faster

To achieve your dream weight, you have to eat below your caloric requirement or burn more calories than you consume.

Granted, you have the freedom to choose any path to achieve your weight loss goal. But if you want to speed things up, you should consider combining regular exercise and a good diet.  

Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise, especially if you are overweight or have a preexisting health condition.

If you didn’t lose weight after following a healthy diet and exercise, you should consult a health care professional to see if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Nutrition vs Exercise - What Works for Women to Lose Weight Faster
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