There are plenty of people who think they can eat what they want and exercise away the extra calories. Even more think all they need to do to shed excess weight is cut back on calories. While you’re likely to experience success with either strategy, the advantages of combining diet with exercise are hard to beat, according to a study published in the April 14th edition of Obesity.

Researchers had 439 overweight 50 to 75 year old women exercise for 45 minutes 5 days a week, reduce their daily caloric intake to 2,000 or fewer calories or engage in a program including both diet and exercise. This gender and age group was selected because of high obesity rates. After a year, those who exercised lost 4.4 pounds on average. The dieters managed to lose around 15.8 pounds. But the women who dieted and exercised lost 19.8 pounds, over 10% of their original body weight.

This study illustrates the advantages of watching what you eat and committing to a regular exercise program. Although mood and energy levels weren’t recorded as part of this research, we can imagine that the diet and exercise program produced some feel good moments as subjects started to notice progress in the mirror. There’s still plenty of time to fine-tune your look for summer.

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