Beginning a journey of losing weight and getting fit is one of the most intimidating lifestyle choices to make. With so many different voices giving so much conflicting information, even the planning stages can be enough to dissuade us completely.

Whatever your approach, however, it is necessary to understand that diet and exercise are two sides of the same coin. One without the other is only a half-measure. Individually they certainly have an effect, but ignoring one partially or completely is doing your short- and long-term health a major disservice.

Diet by Ben Taylor55, on Flickr

Diet” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Taylor55

Fuel and Fitness

One of the biggest benefits of exercise is how it burns calories. However, if these are empty calories, then you’re starting from a position of undernutrition. You can’t run a car off of water, and you can’t expect to be able to run on a diet of fried foods and soda.

Slowly working healthier foods in your diet not only makes exercise easier, but it also adds a great deal in terms of recovery.

Diet without exercise can lack in a different way. Eating better can be more effective at controlling weight than relying on exercise, but it does little to address underlying structural problems. Exercise massively helps with a wide range of typical underlying issues, genetic or otherwise. Performed regularly, it can help with stroke, blood pressure, depression, and metabolic syndrome, among many other issues.

Aside from these obvious health advantages, being in better shape can also open up a wide array of entertainment opportunities. These can include sports, travel, or just spending more adventurous time with your family and loved ones.

Family Fun Fitness Festival May 5 2012 by Presidio of Monterey: DLIFLC & USAG, on Flickr

Family Fun Fitness Festival May 5 2012” (Public Domain) by Presidio of Monterey: DLIFLC & USAG

Turn Rewards Into a Game

One of the most successful methods many health-conscious people follow come from adopting personalized bonus systems. While this can revolve around treat foods, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

For example, we’ve had friends stick to methods where half an hour of walking gives them half an hour of playing at a casino online. Walk a couple of miles, play a couple of spins on some slots, get some bonuses, and walk back for some more. These types of rewards can help shape your unconscious mind and desire to exercise over time, as they trick can your brain into thinking exercise is more fun than it actually is.

Stick to It

Saying the hardest part of diet and exercise is the beginning is not a platitude, it’s the truth. As we begin our bodies need to adjust to being active and working off healthier food. A good way to approach this is to understand that no matter how hard one day of exercise and diet is, the next will be easier.

Our personal experience running a 5K originally ended at the 3K mark at the absolute maximum. After a few months, our ultimate goal was not only reached, but it became just another stepping stone in the journey.

Record your journey, and remember that success is cumulative. You may fail, you may fall, but as long as you get back up again, you’ll be making progress.

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