Why nutrition is more important than exercise when you want to lose weight

Many people try to lose weight, and initially do well and then either stop or lose weight and then over months or years later put that weight back on.

In an article in 2005, Rena Wing and Suzanne Phelan talked about many factors that help the decision to lose weight initially and then the rate of relapse and why this might happen.

At the time of writing the statistics from the USA were that approximately 20% of patients were successful at long-term weight loss, that was defined as losing more than 10% of your bodyweight and keeping this weight off for more than 1 year.  Factors in maintaining this weight loss were: engaging in high amounts of physical activity (1 hour per day), eating a low-calorie, low fat diet, eating breakfast regularly, self-monitoring weight and maintaining a consistent pattern of eating across week days and weekends.

So, some of the factors that trigger weight gain and relapse are: stopping or decreasing physical activity, increased percentage of calories from fat, and decreases in their dietary restraint.  There were also some discussions around higher levels of depression leading to weight gaining.

So, it would seem that people work very hard to initially lose weight, however when we reach a goal, we cannot stop there. We have to then adjust our behaviours and really commit to a lifetime of healthy behaviours.

Ask this question of yourself:

1. What will make you make the decision to change your behaviour to help you lose body fat?

When you find this answer, then you will know when you will be ready to commit to long-term change in health behaviour.

2. If you are ready right now to lose weight, and to change your behaviour, what are you most worried about?

This starts to get into the barriers and concerns that you have to changing your health behaviour.  These barriers are very real, and you need help to plan to get around them.

3. Who do I need on my “journey” to help me.  Who is going to be my support crew and what do I need from them along the way?

Like any team, athlete or successful individual, if you are planning for success with weight loss, you need a team of people to help you.  Doing it on your own is a hard slog and so there are people around that will support you.

4. Write down your goals – and read them out to someone you trust.

Can you look at someone you know and trust and can you fully commit to these goals and the timeframes that you have set beside them?  If you cannot, then get back to the drawing board and write down what you CAN commit to.

Ok, well, it sounds like that if you are up to step 4, then you are nearly ready to go and smash this!  Good luck with your journey!


Vector Health are offering a special program for men and women separately to help with weight loss.

Our women’s program can be found HERE and our Mens Program can be found HERE.

We are really looking forward to helping 40 people from Central Queensland with a landmark program to provide sustainable weight loss for you.  We are using our knowledge of behaviour, health and exercise science, psychology and coaching to help 40 people change your life 1 week at a time.

If you have between 10 and 30 kg of weight to lose, then this program is for you right now.  We are starting our next intake on this program for 19th October 2015, so please sign up as interested here!


1. Wing, R. & Phelan, S. 2005. Long Term weight loss maintenance. American Society for Clinical Nutrition: 82:1(2225-2255).

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