Exercise! - Weighing in: Diet vs. exercise for losing pounds

01-08-2007, 10:48 AM

"In women, even substantial increases in exercise were not enough to produce weight loss if they did not decrease fat consumption. Men, however, were able to lose weight through increased exercise alone."


01-09-2007, 10:29 AM
I have heard that before. The bottom line is that weight loss occurs when you are in a calorie deficit. This means a total deficit in all the macronutrients, including fat consumption.

The only reasons to exercise are-
- to help create a deficit. It's easier to cut back on calories by 250 and expend calories by 250, rather than cut back by 500

- to ease the weight loss journey; you can manipulate calories in and exercise intensity to create a variety of situations; further the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when at rest

- the many benefits, other than weight loss, that exercise gives to you; energy, strength, cardio vascular improvements, body shaping, flexibility, and on and on

Personally, I can't lose weight by diet alone, unless I go down to 1300-1400 calories a day. Then I lose all my joy in eating. By combining exercise, I can up the calories and still continue the weight loss journey.

01-09-2007, 11:52 AM
I can only speak for myself and for me, diet/food has always been the way I've lost weight. I went from 185 to 135 with almost no exercise. It took me a really long time and I'm in no way recommending it for anyone, but that's what happened to me. In the past I've tried to use exercise to lose weight and it just didn't happen.

Of course, don't take this to mean that I suggest no exercise. I think it's essential for overall health and can absolutely assist with weight loss by burning calories and increasing your metabolism. I'm only saying that for me, what I eat has more effect on my weight (not health) than exercise.

Sweater Girl
01-09-2007, 01:31 PM
I can exercise 4-5X a week (running workouts) and gain weight if I am not watching my food intake! For me weight loss happens when my food is good, but exercise certainly helps it as well!



01-09-2007, 02:19 PM
This, in my opinion, is the most important fact of the story:

Many studies have compared weight loss resulting from changing diet versus increasing activity. Most often, weight loss during programs focused on dietary change produced two to three times greater weight loss than programs focused on exercise.

However, it’s long-term results that matter for our health. One analysis of many such studies showed that by one year after the end of these programs, there was no significant difference in the weight status of participants.

With this being the 'moral' of the story:

For women, although exercise alone was not a successful weight loss strategy, at each level of dietary fat reduction those who increased exercise − moderately or substantially − lost more weight than those who changed activity less.

01-09-2007, 02:39 PM
I would agree with the article that you can lose weight by diet alone but I think it is harder to maintain that weight loss by diet alone. Really we do care about the long term effects rather than the short term losses.

01-09-2007, 03:14 PM
exercise is necessary for me to LIVE

diet is necessary for me to lose weight.

I trained for a marathon and barely lost weight, but without running I am a miserable wreck with no energy, high cholesterol and a very high resting heart rate.

01-09-2007, 04:12 PM
For me, having both components has been important for my success. While diet is the most important factor in determining my overall rate of weight loss (just mathematically, this has to be true unless you have the time and fitness strength to work out more than an hour or so a day), I find that exercise is so important.

First, it keeps me focused on continuing to make healthy choices for my body. Second, weight is not the be-all and end-all measure - I still have a lot of flab on top, but when that goes, I want toned muscles to show through. Third, exercise just makes me feel so much better about myself - I can't begin to express how much becoming a runner has meant to me emotionally. I've never been athletic (can't play any game that involves hitting a ball with a stick) so discovering that this is something I can do and that I enjoy doing has been such a reward for me. I was practically in tears (of happiness) the day I ran 10k for the first time.

01-09-2007, 07:51 PM
...weight is not the be-all and end-all measure ...

You are SO right.

Diet will never increase a person's muscle mass, or increase cardiovasular endurance.

I hate idiotic studies like the one posted*. There's no reason in this day and age to waste money or time on 'which is better for weight loss: Diet or exercise'.

The research is clear: For sustained healthy weight maintainence people should engage in diet AND exercise.

*I'm commenting on the study authors, not the op :)

01-13-2007, 11:24 PM
You got it WindyCityChick...diet alone may work for some but for people with an excessive amount of weight to lose, we get the joy of having the excess skin (flab)..so if we don't exercise..well..let's just say..I don't want to picture it. I have enough issues with the excess skin thing now..and I've exercised right through my weight loss..true enough its disappearing..but it sure takes it sweet time I tell you! ..There's my two cents..