“Diet or exercise, which is more important?” I have been asked, get asked, and will be asked till (I tell myself) I hang up my boots. Sometimes it’s asked out of curiosity, sometimes out of serious doubt, at times to check if I am biased and at other times to look for an escape.
Well, here’s my boring, practised but honest answer—exercise and diet are like two sides of the same coin. To ask me to choose which one of them is more important, effective or result-oriented is like asking a mother to choose between her two children (dramatic, I know) or like choosing between the devil and the deep sea, depending on your perspective.
We really need to make friends with food because eating right, eating often and eating on time (and not starving) is the only way to achieve that dream body. To be able to eat right and on time, we need to re-establish contact with our bodies, specifically our stomach. And only exercise puts us in touch with our stomachs. It improves blood circulation, strengthens the digestive fire and intestines, prevents us from stuffing ourselves, trains our body to consume calories from food instead of storing them as fat, and, most importantly, makes us aware of our hunger signals.
When you are in touch with your hunger signal, you will eat often, eat small and eat right (that’s exactly what the word ‘diet’ means). The benefits of exercise are many, not the least of which is that it teaches you to ‘diet’!
(The author’s latest book is called Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha)