If you scan the magazine racks these days, you’ll see the word DIET a lot more than you’ll see the word EXERCISE, and that’s not because we’re consonant-rationing. Our society is currently in a diet restriction mentality, rather than a physical challenge mentality, something a number of sociologists have tied to cultures experiencing simultaneous affluence and insecurity.
A healthy diet is important to overall well-being, but calorie restriction and focusing on food exclusively isn’t the answer to health. All other factors being equal, exercise has more beneficial effects than diet, including weight control.
If you’re going to be incorporating one change at a time into your life (a healthy way to ensure consistent progress) and prioritizing which should come first, I’d urge you to think about the following quote, which I read in a long-lost magazine article probably twenty years ago.
Would you rather be a person who pushes yourself or one who deprives yourself?