Weight Loss Support - What's more challenging, food or exercise?

02-23-2008, 02:24 AM
Hi all. I'm curious as to what has been more challenging for everyone. Has changing your eating habits or being more active been more challenging? Personally food has been the biggest challenge. I like to putter and can usually work some sort of exercise into my day. So what about the rest of you? What's a bigger challenge and why?

02-23-2008, 02:33 AM
Food for sure. I enjoy my regular exercise, a lot actually. I also like the food I eat, but there are things I miss periodically that are a challenge to work into my plan.

02-23-2008, 02:34 AM
It's been an equal part of both for me.

I didn't grow up in an athletic family - my mom was naturally slim and my dad was a high-school and college athlete, but came from a generation/culture where athletics was something *boys* did. My brother was encouraged to run track, play football, etc. I was not. As a result, the idea of getting regular exercise is something that I never really learned or considered as a part of my lifestyle until I became an adult. By that time it was too much effort to get up and move ... and here we are! :)

OTOH, as a child we traveled a lot and my mom (who as I've mentioned before was very slim but loooooved to eat good food) and dad both enjoyed eating food from different cultures, cooking, sharing food ... etc. Plus my dad's family is from the South and if you know anything about the South, you know that food, and especially heavy fried foods and foods smothered in gravy, are a way of life here. :)

So ... I get the double whammy.

I love food and learning to cut down on portions and make my favorites healthier (and to realize that there's simply no way to make mac n cheese a reasonable meal!) has been really hard for me. After more than a year of it I have drastically reduced my portion sizes to the point that I'm now eating what I consider to be "normal" amounts of food and anything more makes me uncomfortable.

But I guess learning to be athletic and incorporate exercise into my life has been harder overall. I had to get over the "girls don't workout" mindset and past the feeling that I was awkward and "not athletically inclined" as I've felt all my life. Now I love working out and I love being strong and knowing I can climb flights of stairs w/out getting winded or run across the airport when I need to and not need resuscitation when I get to the gate! :)

It's still a struggle sometimes to want to GO to the gym, but when I get there I feel so much better and such a glow of accomplishment ... so it's all worth it.


02-23-2008, 02:36 AM
I am also trying to lose this 50 lbs and go from 180 to 130!!! :D
I think working out is fun, it is just getting motivated and finding the time, I am really trying to make a habit out of 3x per week, but sometimes it turns out to be nothing or 1 x a week, which is why I am making little prgress.

Food is much harder for me though, I hate it. I don't cook due to time, don't grocery shop, and hey- it's not just time, it's just that I hate it too! LOL!

02-23-2008, 02:50 AM
Food is definitely the hardest part for me. I discovered I actually like exercising, but constantly worrying about fat grams and calories and weighing food and what foods I should avoid is sometimes rather troublesome. Exercising is easy -- lace your shoes go out/to the gym, run/lift. Whatever. Meals are... difficult. And when you start worrying about the calories in broccoli, you know there is a problem.

02-23-2008, 03:17 AM
Great question!

Like Photochick, I've experienced both but I think, overall, it's the exercise that has been harder. I'm a calorie counter--more like a calorie watcher, actually--so, even though there have been foods that I've eliminated, I've either reduced others or found better substitutes that I really like. There have been some days (today happened to be one of them) where I felt a little more ravenous and tempted than usual but I can honestly say I don't binge. Have I ever eaten more than I probably should since I started this? Sometimes, but not so's I've gone way overboard with it. I'm not an emotional eater so between that, the calorie watching and trying of new things, the food and I are doing alright together.

The exercise, on the other hand, has been up and down. As out of shape as I was, I did have to build up from a few 10 minute spurts a day to longer. And I discovered I actually liked doing it and found ways to have fun with it. But sometimes between being tired after work, focused on something, etc., I slack off or ignore it. When I exercise, I still enjoy it, I just haven't been exercising as often. Plus, ever since I started exercising about a year ago, I developed a clicking in my left knee (most audible when bending going up and down stairs) and it does feel a little tender sometimes even when I've not done any exercising. I'm not sure if exercising is making it worse (wear and tear) or if it might improve (taking some more weight off). I'm a little more inclined to think it's the former, so sometimes that puts me off exercise a little. But I've noticed during my slacking period that I've plateaued. I'm proud that I'm not gaining and I'm proud of having come this far but I don't want to stop here. It just happens some nights I lose my groove. :p

02-23-2008, 04:50 AM
Food... totally the food! I LOVE eating healthy, but I live with my boyfriend who is 21...so you can guess what's more readily available in my fridge... :P (not to knock all the 20-something boys... but, this one's vegiphobic)
I love to cook, but cooking for one healthy person, and one "pizza and mashed potatoes" person.. *sigh* Well--my accommodations have led me to my start weight! And, unfortunately, are stabilizing me at my current weight. (gr...)

So..maybe it's not ~the food~ that's hard, it's the person who affects my food that's hard! lol... (let's get to the root of the problem, Kat..)

But--since I teach dance, I've got no problem with the exercise thing :) I'm naturally lazy (very lazy) so I choose jobs where I'm standing or dancing the whole time.

Thanks for asking this question! It's really made me think, and given me a new drive for my upcoming menus!

02-23-2008, 06:05 AM
Food, most definitely.

I walk my dogs about 2-3 miles a day. I live in a rural area, so it's all cross-country up and down hills. If it weren't for the dogs, I'd probably have topped the scales at over 300lbs. (Thank you doggies). I really enjoy my walks.

But the food... ahhh the food. My trigger foods are: pastries, cheeses, breads. I am such a glutton. At the height of my gluttony I remember buying a box of six large freshly baked croissants, going home, slathering them in butter and eating the lot. Honestly, is it any wonder I weigh what I do?!

02-23-2008, 06:38 AM
I, too, had the problem of being inactive most of my life & having a love of food.

In the beginning, I'd say exercise was the bigger challenge. However, now that I've found a few things I enjoy & have an exercise routine, I find it to be easier than food. Extra food will always be around to tempt me. ^^

02-23-2008, 09:54 AM
Exercise is much harder for me. As a calorie counter, I know that I can have whatever I want in moderation, if I plan for it. I have always eaten healthy foods, just too much of them.

I have never liked any sports, and exercise truly was a 4 letter word in my vocabulary. I am getting much better about tolerating (and some days really enjoying) it, but doing it consistently is definitely a challenge.

02-23-2008, 11:42 AM
Like a lot of others here, I've found I really enjoy exercise. I love the energy it gives me, and I really love noticing the changes in my body as a result of getting stronger! I never dread exercise, perhaps because I don't have it set out as a "chore" in my mind, but rather a pleasant way to spend my evenings.

Food, on the other hand, can be quite challenging, if only because so much of life tends to be centered around food (particularly socializing). I do my best to fit everything into my plan and I'm pretty successful most of the time, but there are other times when that chocolate cake just gets the best of me. :p

02-23-2008, 12:03 PM
Exercise far harder than food for me. The food aspect is interesting. I can read cook books, research diet and nutrition on the net and from the library, read and participate on the 3FC web-site, and COOK! - I like all that stuff. I really get a kick out of finding things to eat that taste wonderful and are good for me.

I perceive myself as being inferior at any kind of athletic activity. Part of that is because I really am uncoordinated:lol:, part of it is probably because I am left handed and all my life family and teachers have made a huge deal out of how difficult it is to teach a left handed person to do anything! Turns out that I do use both hands, just like anyone else does, but I didn't learn that soon enough.

Exercise is boring, takes too long to see results, and doesn't help me loose weight. In fact, while I was doing a little exercise, I actually gained weight. I don't care if it is muscles - I don't want anything to do with activities that cause weight gain!

Also, I am always looking to "finish" something. I found I could pretty easily walk three miles around the desert here, so I felt I had proved I could do it and wasn't interested anymore.

I obviously have some serious issues with exercise. I keep thinking I will find something that I can tolerate. My favorite is my little stair-stepper because I can do all kinds of other things while I use it. Problem is that my knees are hurting me, so I can't do it.

02-23-2008, 12:14 PM
Definitely exercise! I love to cook so am able to make really good food and still stick with the plan I'm on. Exercise is a challenge though. It's hard to commit the amount of time I should and with knee issues and 2 herniated discs there are days my body just aches and it's hard to convince myself to move. I do love how my body responds now - I have more stamina and can easily do things that used to wind me. That being said I don't think I'll ever be a person who loves exercise. I guess as long as I love the results though I'll keep motivated.

02-23-2008, 12:15 PM
Depends on the day. :lol:

What I do find is that, on the days I am struggling with both, if I can discipline myself on one, the other follows very well.

02-23-2008, 12:58 PM
Like most of you, I've had my moments with each part of the 'eat less; move more' equation . . . but, overall, I find the exercise a great deal more difficult.

02-23-2008, 01:09 PM
Exercise is way harder because of the TIME component.

When I eat, I can make the decision to eat healthy or not. There is no difference in time. I have been used to cooking and such before dieting so that's not really any different.

I'm a really busy person and finding an hour or two to go to the gym is very challenging. I'm up early in the morning but at 6am I have the choice to either work on my research(which pays bills and MUST get done)... or go to the gym. I feel great going to the gym but going to bed at 1-2am and waking up at 6am get tiring. I frequently fall of the gym wagon because overall health & sleep often take over.

02-23-2008, 01:13 PM
Food is my greatest obstacle for sure! I really enjoy working out. My whole life i have always been involved in athletics and sports. I just stopped when i reached adulthood and started packing on pounds.

I am a picky eater and really love my carbs. I dont care for many fruits and vegetables so making healthy choices is really difficult at times. I have to eat the same things every day and it gets boring.

I also am an emotional eating so overcoming that has definitely been a challenge!

Hat Trick
02-23-2008, 01:15 PM

02-23-2008, 01:31 PM
Exercise definitely - I am lazy, I hate working out and I constantly make up excuses not to do it. I have never once felt "great" during or after exercising. There is no exercise I enjoy.

Food - no problem!

Rocker Chick
02-23-2008, 02:01 PM
100% Without a doubt---F-O-O-D!!!!!! Exercise I can control, how long I do it, how fast/hard, when. But food---it has total control over me. I can have the best intentions, work out really hard, and then ---- wham!!! I'm eating everything in site. Unlike food, the treadmill doesn't call to me at all hours of the day and night!

02-23-2008, 02:18 PM
Food is my weakness, no question. Even though my food preferences are 99% healthy, I struggle with limiting my daily calories. Overall I feel better when I stick to my plan and I'm very creative in putting together high volume, high flavor, low calorie meals. Nevertheless, the day in and day out commitment sometimes makes me weary and/or resentful.

Exercise, on the other hand - love it! I feel stiff and restless when I go two days without a workout. My gym has great classes, from sculpt to cardio salsa to pilates, and I never get bored. Plus, I'm done in an hour or two, and that's that.

When I've faltered on my food plan, being consistent with exercise has allowed me to at least maintain my weight.

02-23-2008, 02:18 PM
At first it was food, but this eating clean thing is getting more automatic for me. So now I think it's exercise. I'm not an organized person, I've tried to schedule my time better making exercise a priority.

02-23-2008, 02:28 PM
This is an interesting thread!

For me, when my journey first started it was the food I struggled with. I was absolutely and utterly addicted to food. I was a binge-eater. Food was my way of coping with stuff when life got hard.
Exercise was OK then. I hated it, but not as much as I hated being addicted food.

However, now I have conquered my food addiction, the food side of things is so easy for me. I ate loads of the same stuff then as I do now, it was all pretty healthy usually but I just ate way too much. So it's easy-I don't see food as my coping mechanism for when life gets tough, I see it as fuel for keeping me alive!
Exercise is now the hard bit because I still don't like it and I struggle to get out of bed to do it. I only do it because I have to!! I really admire you ladies who have discovered that you love it.

02-23-2008, 02:29 PM
Food by far!

02-23-2008, 04:35 PM
Definitely food!

Exercise is easy, even enjoyable. And it's over in a hour or so, and you're done until tomrrow.

Eating lasts all day. Food drives all social events. Bad food is plentiful, good food scarce.

Stupid delicious food! :D

Also, food is a really weird word... I just noticed that after typing it like 6 times lol.

02-23-2008, 05:54 PM
OMG EXERCISE. I am the laziest person on the face of the planet. I would rather do ANYTHING than exercise, pretty much. If I hadn't discovered yoga four or five years ago, I may never have gotten off the couch at all. What kept me going with yoga was the reward -- you get a nice nap at the end! *G*

Slowly but surely, I've discovered other exercise (Turbo Jam is my current love), but still more days than not I have to kick myself in to get my workout in.

Not saying that food's not tough, however. I loves me some fatty, salty, greasy, fried food. But as someone mentioned upthread, changing the way I eat/cook/shop isn't really doing anything extra, it's just doing something I already do in a different way. Exercise requires extra time, effort and energy.

02-23-2008, 05:58 PM
Exercise--love it! Food--love it! And that's my problem--I love to eat. So food is my biggest challenge.

02-23-2008, 06:47 PM
Food for sure.. when I was thin growing up I averaged about 20 hours of activity such as dancing, basketball or baseball or gymnastics per week. I ate whatever I wanted and also had a lot of southern cooking as well with absolutely no fruit or vegetables. About the only healthy thing I did was be limited on soft drinks and we didn't eat fast food. I still am struggling with the eating vegetables and fruits bit.

02-23-2008, 07:08 PM
Definitely the food. Partly b/c I love it and the other part b/c of time. Exercise I can either get up earlier or do late at night to fit into my schedule, but I don't really have a ton of time to prepare food. And I'm very moody as to what I want to eat at a given time, so preparing ahead of time and making tomorrow's dinner today, doesn't really work. I am all about the chips, pretzles, etc and trying to cut that out of my diet is much harder.

02-23-2008, 07:21 PM
Lets see, I had no trouble at all getting up and going for a run this morning, but for the last 3 hours all I have thought of is ice cream...I'm going to say I find the food the more difficult of the two (and I am NOT having ice cream today, I'm just not!).

02-23-2008, 09:23 PM
It used to be both, which is sort of how I got so dang big in the first place. :o I have since come to really embrace exercise and love it, as long as my feet behave. However, the struggle with food and consistently making the right choices without the pity party is still a work in progress. I'll get there!! :D

02-23-2008, 09:28 PM
Food is definitely more challenging for me. And always will be I think.

02-23-2008, 10:26 PM
Exercise for me. I have to keep on top of it, not let myself slack, and often remind myself of why I keep doing it. Food, while I love it, and sometimes can go off my game and eat wrong, I don't do it as a routine anymore. I typically eat well now out of habit, and rarely stray on my eating. I've come to enjoy healthier selections, so much so, that at times I've had things I used to love, they don't taste as good as I once thought they did.

02-23-2008, 10:29 PM
I learned early on in life to use food as a tool to comfort and entertain myself and that is a TOUGH cycle to break. I enjoy food very much and have learned to transfer that into other facets, like cooking (the chooping, the colors, the smells- oh my!) and just learning about it in general.

But yeah, most days I go to the gym without much of a fight, but I do fight to not overeat.

02-24-2008, 03:43 AM
Food definitely! I have no car so even if I don't make it to the gym, I have to walk at least 40 mins a day to get home from work.

02-24-2008, 01:01 PM
What a great topic, and it's so interesting to see the answers, different for different people. I love to exercise, it makes me feel great, but the food is a $@#%! If I could I would eat all day long, and I definitely feel deprived at not being able to have what I want. I still have this stupid notion that if I could just exercise like an Olympian every day I could eat 10,000 calories! OK not really, but I'd much prefer to eat whatever I wanted and work out like a fiend, unfortunately at this age that's just not going to happen.

02-24-2008, 02:41 PM
:carrot:I hate exercise so its my problem i say im going to start today.
But today never comes, I tell myself you dont fell good and your legs
are hurting. But lazy thats all food i have a problem late at night
Just cant get things together. sAD ALWAYS

02-24-2008, 04:05 PM
Oh exercise, definitely. I hate to exercise, am completely uncoordinated, and very very lazy on top of that. Growing up I was a skinny uncoordinated child, so I never developed any enjoyment of sports or active activities.

Trying to find 20-30 minutes in my evenings can be nearly impossible. I don't belong to a gym, and the climate outside here is either scalding, freezing, or full of mosquitoes. People tell me I'd feel better if I exercised some, but I think I'm chronically sleep-deprived and I'm just so tired I don't want to start. :halfempty

Food takes the same amount of time whether I am eating healthy preplanned meals or take-out. It doesn't impact my schedule, so it's easier to control.

So, exercise, definitely.

02-24-2008, 05:02 PM
Exercise is much harder for me. As a calorie counter, I know that I can have whatever I want in moderation, if I plan for it. I have always eaten healthy foods, just too much of them.

I have never liked any sports, and exercise truly was a 4 letter word in my vocabulary. I am getting much better about tolerating (and some days really enjoying) it, but doing it consistently is definitely a challenge.I could have written this.

When I do exercise regularly, I do love it but all those people who say it becomes are habit are full of it. LOL I exercised every single day for 6 solid months for 1 to 2 hrs per day and only missed one stinkin day. I got sick and was down for a few days.. never went back to that exercise. I know I sleep better and deal with stress better when I exercise but it's not enough to get me motivated.

I also have PCOS/IR so my weight comes off super slowly, like maybe a pound a month if I'm lucky so losing weight as a benefit of exercise isn't a motivator for me because it doesnt' work in my case. LOL

Diana the Hun
02-25-2008, 04:50 AM
For me, it's juggling both at once, absolutely! I can follow a diet just fine, but never want to work out. Or, I can work out like a fiend, but eat without any regard to what I eat or how much of it. But I've always struggled with dieting and exercising at once. It's quite frustrating!!