There are genuine limitations on how much time or effort someone can spend on food and exercise. Strength is the only thing that will ever scale, because you will never have more time in your life than today. As someone becomes stronger, she can spend less time on both with improved benefit.
Consider the 90 minute workout of someone who walks the lake versus the 35 minute workout of someone who deadlifts 400lbs for 10 reps, sprints, overhead presses 200lbs, etc. The strong person can accomplish more with less.
Consider the 2 hour workout of someone who curls 5lb dumbbells versus the 20 minute leg circuit for someone who squats hundreds of pounds dozens of times for multiple sets. The strong person isn’t a slave to schedule.
Consider 8 hours of yard work versus 15 minutes of max effort sprinting repeats.
However you want to compare and contrast, you are always going to find that strength gets more calories burned, preferentially signals the metabolism, is more efficient and sustainable, and obtains more rest time.
People will defeat themselves with weigh-ins. But the only important question is, “did you work steps to get stronger?” Heck, if you did, that might result in a scale uptick, WHICH WOULD BE A GOOD THING.
The way most people interact with fitness is an overt effort to get weaker. They eat to get weaker. They train to get weaker. Everything is an emphasis on depletion. So even when the scale is down, they’re actually in a far worse position.
Meanwhile, people who can show me they deadlift substantially more than 18 months ago are always leaner. Always. Even the strong man competitors or the super heavyweight powerlifters who purposely carry extra body fat don’t have an average of MORE than they did when they lifted lighter weights.
Strength is primary to good living. If you skip it, I can predict 100% where your fitness will be in 6-12 months.