Diet and exercise are equally important, but for different reasons. Although reducing your calorie intake plays a greater role in initial weight loss, exercise plays a greater role in keeping the pounds off in the long term and has other health benefits.
One reason diet might play such a large role in weight loss is because it’s much easier to take in calories than it is to burn them through exercise. For example, you may be able to eat a 250-calorie candy bar in just a couple of minutes, but it may take you an hour of brisk walking to burn that same number of calories. This is perhaps why exercising on its own isn’t a very effective weight-loss tool–it’s hard to keep up with the amount needed if that’s your only strategy, and you can easily cancel out the calories burned in a significant amount of exercise with just minor changes in your diet.
If you had hoped that your intense workout routine meant that you didn’t have to monitor your diet—or you thought that calorie restriction alone is the best way to lose weight–you’ll have to think again.
Diet and exercise play a complementary and essential roles in achieving and maintaining your healthy weight.
Source: Supplement to Mayo Clinic Health Letter November 2015