Maintaining Your Weight: Exercise versus Diet

Some say maintaining your weight is 80-percent exercise, 20-percent diet. Others say the opposite. What’s the truth of the matter?

It depends. People respond uniquely to exercise and diet, but there are some general guidelines to follow.

Dieting means deprivation, which leads to binging and overindulging. Don’t remove the foods you love entirely. Even if you are able to do so for a time, you will likely rebel in the end and any weight you lose by deprivation will swiftly return. Instead, try moderate portions of your high-calorie favorites.

Don’t necessarily count calories either. Eat a balanced diet including plenty of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, good protein and the like. However, if you are someone who eats mindlessly or for emotional reasons, tracking your calories with a free Smartphone app (SparkPeople is just one such app) might reveal problem areas. It’s easy to think you eat fewer calories than you actually do, but that handful of trail mix likely contains way more calories than you imagine.

By eating right and maintaining a regular exercise regime (which may be as easy for beginners as a half hour’s vigorous vacuuming, catching up on a TV show while on the treadmill or walking), you should be able to reach your healthy weight.

If exercise is hard to fit in, enlist a workout buddy, or sign up for a class to motivate you to go to class even on chilly evenings, and are challenged to try new things. Trying a variety of exercises helps you find something you enjoy and employs different muscle groups.

Reaching and maintaining your ideal weight comes down, ultimately, to a series of small changes to find the best combination of eating and exercise for your body.

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About Drema Drudge

Drema Drudge received her MFA in Creative Writing at Spalding University and has had her fiction most recently published in The Louisville Review, Mused, ATG, Mother Earth News, and Penumbra. She is a frequent contributor to the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Drema is married to musician Barry Drudge. They have two grown children, Mia and Zack. Feel free to visit Drema's website where she explores her passion for writing about art at

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