"It's not surprising at all," Larson-Meyer added. "They definitely work together."
Working with a professional to decide on calorie restriction and workout routine is best, she noted, especially for obese people with orthopedic problems.
The results make sense to Dr. Walt Thompson, a professor of kinesiology at Georgia State University who has studied exercise adherence for years. "I think it finally proves what we have been saying for a long time," he said. "Effective weight-loss programs have to include diet and exercise."
While it's not difficult for people to start an exercise program -- many people do so every January 1st, he noted -- sticking with it is hard for most. "By January 15, 50 percent are going to drop out," he predicted.
His tips for getting people to stay faithful? Identify what is important to you -- long-term goals. That might be weight loss. Then come up with short-term exercise goals to help you get to the long-term goal.
Hiring a wellness coach might help, too, he noted. They are experts in helping people change their behaviors.
Overcoming obstacles is important, Thompson said, and lack of time is a big one. When he hears that excuse, he asks people how much TV they watch. Two hours a day is the typical answer.
His suggestion: Record the programs to watch later, skip the commercials, and you've found your exercise time.
He tells potential exercisers to find something that motivates them. "Two things motivate me," said Thompson. "My dad had a heart attack at 52, and I was bound and determined not to."
His other motivation? About 32 years ago, before he married his wife, she said to him: "If you get fat, I will divorce you."
He's pretty sure she wasn't kidding. And now, it matters little. He remembers her saying it as if it were yesterday, and it still motivates him.
To learn more about how
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