There are those who exercise and those who diet. Yet the minority who combine the two reap the majority of the benefits. It’s not surprising that some people choose dieting over exercise and vice versa. We all like our routines, and some routines adapt better to a lifting regimen versus a nutritional overhaul.

No matter the case, it’s important not to overlook the power created by combining these two approaches to fitness and weight loss. As Karen Frazier explains, “Medical experts recommend combining diet and fitness as the best possible path to good health. Choosing nutritious foods and exercising regularly helps you maintain a healthy weight, promotes weight loss, and provides the basis for cardiovascular fitness.

Weight loss by definition is a combination of the two.

As described by Nutrition.gov, in short, “Weight loss can be achieved either by eating fewer calories or by burning more calories with physical activity, preferably both.” So while both factors can stimulate change, it’s the joint impact that leads to significant results. I am a firm believer in the power of personal nutrition, as I previously mentioned, but you can’t expect diet to do it all just the same as you can’t assume that exercise will meet all of your goals.

Define your routine.

To create a balance between the two, you need to understand your routine. Don’t overpromise. If you know that between carpools and laundry you won’t factor in a run every Tuesday then don’t build your calorie account around it.

You also want to think about the foods that support your efforts versus hinder them. What energizes you? In identifying these super-foods, you can set yourself up for success early on.

Create accountability.

You also need to consider the amount of calories you need to sustain your typical physical activity. There are so many apps on the market today (many of which are free) that make it simple to hold yourself accountable and create a log of your progress.

Focus on Long-Term Results

In creating this balance, it’s only natural to face a few hiccups. Be prepared to skip exercising altogether one day and still eat more calories than you would if you ran twice. People make mistakes. We’re all only human. That being said, when we fail to maintain our routine and keep ourselves accountable, it’s important not to throw in the towel altogether.

In the end, it should be more about creating habits, rather than a quick fix. You see more long-term results that way anyways. As Professor Gary Wittert found, “When people followed healthy habits for enjoyment and well-being rather than weight loss, they were more likely to stick to the lifestyle changes, staving off weight gain later.