Exercise! - Diet is for weight loss, exercise is for fitness?




Katbot24
06-04-2012, 12:11 AM
I've seen this mantra on several posts. But here's my question: if I burn an additional 500 calories at the gym Nd don't eat any more to compensate, won't I have a larger calorie deficit? Won't that cause more rapid weight loss?

So, let's say I went to the gym twice per day, once in the morning and once at night, and create a 1000 calorie deficit. Then, wouldn't that help with weight loss?


MrsH2132012
06-04-2012, 01:01 AM
Ooh I am following this post since I'm going BMR, cal def and weight loss crazy trying to read too much different info is exausting!

Per your 1000 cal def example & using 1200 cal diet this means your only feeding your body 200 cal, which if we tried to eat only 200 a day we couldn't...thus my confusion lol

I know if I burn 600 cal on cardio days I am not as hungry as when I burn 300 on weight lifting days (I upped my cal intake by 200 these days) but of course hungrier than off days ugh so lost on all this!! I know everyone has opinions on calorie intake/diet so I guess we have to tweak what we do as we go to see what works best!

I'll be bk to read helpful comments 

lin43
06-04-2012, 07:46 AM
Theoretically, exercise will aid in weight loss if done as you described it in your post. The thing is that you almost have to calorie count if you are depending on this method because studies have shown that often people inadvertently eat back their exercise calories if they're not tracking (hence, the notion that exercise has minimal to no effect on weight loss). Another problem is that people overestimate how much they burn. Cardio machines and even estimates you can find on the internet for how much a particular activity burns are notoriously inaccurate ----sometimes as much as 20% according to some. When I exercise, I always deduct 20% off the total number I'm given just to be on the safe side.


seagirl
06-04-2012, 08:00 AM
I find that to be true for myself. If I don't change my eating habits but I increase my exercise by a lot, I don't lose weight. If I cut and count my calories, I lose weight. There doesn't seem to be any connection to the amount of exercise I do in a week to the amount of weight I lose. Except that if I do a lot of exercise and stress my muscles (rock climbing, weights, running) I'll probably see a gain on the scale.


I keep my calories burned separated from my calories that I eat, neither "rewarding" myself with more if I exercise, or "punishing" myself with less if I don't.

For me exercise is to build stamina, strength and awesome muscles that will show up as the padding around them shrinks from my diet.

sontaikle
06-04-2012, 08:24 AM
I was someone who exercised all the time but maintained a high weight for YEARS because I didn't watch how much I was eating. Your diet is where 80% (or more) of your success will come from.

Exercise will make fit, not skinny.

Exhale15
06-04-2012, 08:58 AM
The way I see it, my diet fuels my day. My exercise keeps my metabolism in good condition, keeps my heart and lungs healthy, and builds bone and muscle. I don't really look at the calorie count on the cardio equipment, I look more at 'mileage'.

At the end of the day I ask myself (1) did I eat clean and (2) did I move my body.

Domlacha
06-04-2012, 09:43 AM
Its also important to realize that you have to fuel your body. If you body does not have enough energy to repair itself after workouts or daily life for that matter the extra exercise will only make you tired and want to eat everything. Be sure to eat enough calories to maintain your normal body functions, weight loss should be about a life change, which takes time and energy, not about a race. Switch up doing cardio and weight training and be sure to get enough protein in your diet.

kaplods
06-04-2012, 12:15 PM
You CAN lose weight with exercise alone, it's just very unreliable, because if you're not counting your calories, you're likely to be hungrier and eat more.

The "mantra," like most expressions is a gross oversimplification ( As in "absence makes the heart grow fonder" - it's just as true as "out of sight, out of mind."

It doesn't mean the mantra isn't true and useful, it's just an overgeneralization not a "law of nature."

Exercise helps, it's just very difficult to "exercise off" weight if you're not watching/limiting what you're eating.

My hubby is a perfect example of the mantra in action, at over 400 lbs (and me not far behind) we were going to the gym 3 times a week, and hubby was doing very strenuous workouts for 3 blippin' hours (I had to bring a book so I'd have something to do while I waited for him to finish his workouts). On top of that, he had a very strenuous job.

Hubby was not changing his diet much at all (and while he was eating healthier, he was also eating more), after several months of this, he had lost about 5 lbs (all in the first month), and that was it.

I was losing steadily.

Now I am also an example of how the mantra isn't the whole truth.

My calorie intake hasn't changed from the early part of my journey, but I'm losing much faster (though still slow) than when I started, and the only change is activity level. As I'm able to do more, I lose more (but only because I'm also still counting and limiting my calories).

However, I'm also an example of how the mantra IS true, because my first two years trying to lose weight "this time" resulted in absolutely no loss (I was eating better and moving more - but I wasn't "counting" or limiting portions). I didn't lose any weight (but didn't gain any) and my health situation and symptoms improved dramatically.

Although technically, since I did "diet" (changed my diet for health reasons) it also makes the mantra untrue. My diet changes didn't result in weight loss, because the diet changes weren't calorie-restriction.

So diet and exercise are really both for health, fitness, and weight loss, but these two tools are better suited for different jobs.

krampus
06-04-2012, 01:39 PM
If you don't eat back your exercise calories, extra deficit = extra burn = faster loss, yes. Still not a good habit IMO to get hung up on calorie burn counts from exercise, since most methods of measuring this are inaccurate and I don't think being physically active should = penitence for eating or being overweight.

novangel
06-04-2012, 02:05 PM
For me diet alone does zero, I have to do cardio/strength to get anywhere this century.

But yes, diet is for weightloss, exercise is to be FIT. I have been a "fluffy thin" before and I want to be thin AND toned. There's a difference.

I stick to a 1,200-1,500 cal a day diet with some restrictions but everything in moderation except green veggies. 20-40 minutes a day of exercise. So far so good. :)

guacamole
06-04-2012, 06:25 PM
About 2 1/2-3 years ago I was 212 lbs. I joined a gym and 5 days per week I did 1 hour of water aerobics and 30 minutes on a cardio machine (treadmill/elliptical/rowing - switched off day to day) and 30 minutes on their weight circuit machines. I didn't change my diet at all. I think coca-cola ran through my veins instead of blood! I lost about 10 lbs and that was it. The scale never moved down, although I kept up this routine for about 6 months. I got discouraged and stopped going to the gym. Strangely, I maintained that weight loss.

In 2010 I went on a raw food diet and lost about 10 pounds in 1 1/2 months. I couldn't stick with this extreme diet and went back to cooked foods, although I made more of an effort to eat more whole foods and less packaged foods. I maintained that weight loss, but still wasn't happy with myself in the 190s. In 2011, I started calorie counting, and finally started to lose more serious weight. I do very moderate exercise and not consistently. I haven't joined a gym again. I walk, jog, or bike outside. I love being outdoors and have some excellent paved trails around the forest preserves near my home. Occasionally I use my elliptical, but I find it boring unless I am watching TV.

I measure some of my foods (like oils/fat free mayo/raw sugar/vinegar/lemon juice/mustard/spices - mainly homemade salad dressing ingredients), but everything else I eyeball. I can keep track easily of a pint of blueberries, an orange, a banana, a cucumber, a pouch of albacor white tuna, or a greek yogurt, etc. However, I don't eat many packaged foods, so I have to eyeball/estimate many of my foods (e.g. proteins, leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli). I also have at least one cheat day per week - or 2 or 3 cheat meals per week - whichever I need to do depending on my social calendar. :) I do try to work those meals in with my overall calorie goals for the week. Sometimes I stay within the framework, other times not. I have a food scale that I might bust out soon - I've been too lazy.

I am the laziest dieter around, but I have still lost weight by calorie counting. Of course, I have lost weight more slowly than I would have with measuring everything, consistent exercise, and staying 100% on plan with no cheats. However, I know myself, and I would have never stuck with my weight loss goals if I had done things 100% all the time. I would have felt deprived and worn out. I wish I could have done it that way - for sure I would be at my goal weight by now. However, I am thrilled, yes thrilled (!), at the progress I have been able to make. I'm not complaining.

To sum up, for me, weight loss is all about the food - I was never successful with exercise alone, and exercise has played a very small role in my weight loss so far.

EagleRiverDee
06-05-2012, 01:06 PM
I used to disagree with the adage, "diet is for weight loss, exercise is for fitness" even though the first time I heard that it was my doctor that said it and I should have realized he knew what he was talking about. I've since learned that it's true, and I think the reason why is because many people actually eat more when they exercise either because exercise stimulates their appetite or because they feel they deserve a reward. The most effective thing for weight loss is a combination of diet AND exercise but you have to make sure that you don't outeat your exercise which is easy to do. I literally cannot lose weight even when doing a rigorous program like P90X unless I also focus on my diet at the same time.

tea2
06-05-2012, 01:17 PM
For me, exercise was about maintenance. When I was down to 160, I pretty much had to exercise to stay there. It started going south when I got busy at work and couldn't get as much in. Not saying it wasn't the eating as well, but it was very slow and insidious at first.

MarjorieMargarine
06-05-2012, 01:22 PM
I think part of it that hasn't been mentioned is that yes, you probably COULD lose a significant amount of weight if you were exercising 1000 calories away a day and not compensating with extra calories of food, but for most of us, 1000 calories a day of exercise would take a REALLY long time. Especially starting out on this journey. I burn about 200 or 250 in a lot of my exercise sessions, because I'm out of shape and I don't have a lot of stamina, and also because that's what I have time for. I don't have 4 hours a day to workout. 250 calories is nothing- it's half a mocha! Hopefully, with time, I will be able to work out more strenuously in the time I have and burn more calories more efficiently, but still, it's much easier to cut down the calories I consume than increase the calories I expend on a daily basis. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. If all I do is increase my calorie output by 250 cal/ day, it will take me almost two weeks to lose a pound, and that's if I don't increase consumption and if I do it every day. Whereas if I'm increasing output by 250 and decreasing consumption by 250, I can lose a pound a week. And I won't miss that half a mocha nearly as much as I'll feel that jog!

guacamole
06-06-2012, 08:50 AM
MarjorieMargarine - I think you raise a good point about the amount of time and energy it would take to burn about 1,000 calories. I burn a few hundred at the most, and that is counted with a tracking program either on my elliptical or on my iPhone keeping count.

I think many people way overestimate the number of calories they are burning, and therefore, eat a lot of calories because they factor those inflated numbers into their daily food allowance. I've seen people claim to burn over 3,000 calories in their daily workout, eat over 2,000 calories, and still feel great that they actually have a negative deficit of over 1,000 calories for the day. Then they post about how the scale isn't moving. I have to wonder how they are coming up with those numbers? Are they estimating? Because unless I worked on my elliptical for 6-8 hours straight at the moderate level I usually use (4 or 5) there is no way that the machine would tell me I have burned, say, 3,500 calories. My average number of calories burned is about 350 doing 60 minutes at level 4.

collingwood
06-06-2012, 09:46 AM
I've seen this mantra on several posts. But here's my question: if I burn an additional 500 calories at the gym Nd don't eat any more to compensate, won't I have a larger calorie deficit? Won't that cause more rapid weight loss?

So, let's say I went to the gym twice per day, once in the morning and once at night, and create a 1000 calorie deficit. Then, wouldn't that help with weight loss?

There is no doubt working out more will burn more calories, but the question is can you maintain that lifestyle?

The ideal situation we want to get to is a good balance of eating well and some exercise. Those who want to have elite fitness will exercise more, but it's also natural for your body to want more food for fuel too.

If your exercising a lot to lose weight, and not having a balanced diet, once the exercise stops you'll be in danger of putting weight on.

Getting the diet right means you only need little exercise.

Exhale15
06-06-2012, 10:03 AM
... I don't think being physically active should = penitence for eating or being overweight.

krampus! Yes:carrot: Being physically active is a privilege and pleasure, not punishment...

Dottington
06-06-2012, 12:52 PM
I think in general it is true. Unless you count your calories there is no way you could know and you would probably overeat. For me, exercise is everything though. I stick to 2000 calories per day plus on average 2 hours of exercise per day doing things like swimming laps, rock climbing, weight lifting, and hiking. This is easy for me to maintain, but the important thing is I still count calories.

alaskanlaughter
06-06-2012, 01:54 PM
krampus! Yes:carrot: Being physically active is a privilege and pleasure, not punishment...

i totally agree! i feel blessed to be able to move my body in such a way...i have dealt with back problems and pain since i was a teenager, due to a bad fall then...several years ago i went through alot of chiropractic treatments that ultimately worked but also left me in alot of pain, unable to move very far, difficulty walking and i actually used a cane to help me out for about 6 months...

i am SO grateful to be able to get on a treadmill...or walk or run or bike...and push my body to its limits as much as i want to do so :carrot:

and i'll be dam*ned if i get to be 60 years old and in a wheelchair because i failed to strengthen my body when i was younger and had the opportunities

guacamole
06-06-2012, 02:14 PM
i totally agree! i feel blessed to be able to move my body in such a way...i have dealt with back problems and pain since i was a teenager, due to a bad fall then...several years ago i went through alot of chiropractic treatments that ultimately worked but also left me in alot of pain, unable to move very far, difficulty walking and i actually used a cane to help me out for about 6 months...

i am SO grateful to be able to get on a treadmill...or walk or run or bike...and push my body to its limits as much as i want to do so :carrot:

and i'll be dam*ned if i get to be 60 years old and in a wheelchair because i failed to strengthen my body when i was younger and had the opportunities


I really love this post - and also the quote by Exhale15! I also feel very fortunate to be able to do a brisk walk for 60 minutes without plotzing on the ground, whereas at my high weight, I could only walk for about 5 minutes without my joints screaming at me. We can take control of our own health! It's pretty powerful stuff.

Exhale15
06-06-2012, 02:17 PM
...
and i'll be dam*ned if i get to be 60 years old and in a wheelchair because i failed to strengthen my body when i was younger and had the opportunities

alaskanlaughter, I'm so glad you said that. I know a lot of women who start talking about '...at my age..I can't...', when actually it's not their age but how they've taken care of themselves.

mrslynah
06-06-2012, 03:35 PM
alaskanlaughter, I'm so glad you said that. I know a lot of women who start talking about '...at my age..I can't...', when actually it's not their age but how they've taken care of themselves.

My mom is about to turn 50, and I am about to turn 30. She lives about 12 hours from me, but we are both training to run our first 5k together to celebrate our birthdays. We decided we can either freak out about the big 5-0 and the big 3-0 or we can celebrate. :)

mrslynah
06-06-2012, 03:50 PM
I want to add a comment about the food and exercise. I understand the concept behind the mantra.
But the science of weight loss is simple. 3500 calories=1pound. If you burn more calories than you eat, you WILL lose weight, pure and simple. The key to making this work in the real world is, as many have said, to count calories.
I have an I-phone app, and I count calories in and calories out. Of course, there are over-estimations, etc. but for the most part, if you carefully count the calories you eat and the calories you burn in cardio, you will lose weight.

My daily calorie budget is 1200. Today I did an intense elliptical workout and burned 350 calories.
I will eat somewhere between 1200 and 1550 calories today. If I stick to 1200, I will lose more. If I stick to 1550, I can still lose weight, because I am in a calorie deficit. At this time in my life, I cannot spend hours exercising. Some days I cannot get a workout in at all. So my diet is where the action is. But two years ago, I was preparing for my wedding, losing 10-15 lbs. I wanted to lose weight, but I also wanted to look hot in my dress. SO I worked out like crazy! I bought a temporary gym pass and used the elliptical 1.5-2 hours a day. I also did calisthenics and hula hooping at home. I was eating maybe 1600-1800 cals a day, but I was busting my tail and sculpting my body. 142lbs (my wedding weight) looks a lot different when it's primarily muscle than when it's mostly fat.

Bottom line to the original poster:
If all of this is making your head spin, eat 1500 calories a day and do 30-40 minutes of cardio a day. Do this for two weeks. Then check your weight. I will bet you have lost several pounds.

Exhale15
06-06-2012, 04:51 PM
My mom is about to turn 50, and I am about to turn 30. She lives about 12 hours from me, but we are both training to run our first 5k together to celebrate our birthdays. We decided we can either freak out about the big 5-0 and the big 3-0 or we can celebrate. :)

That is really beautiful mrslynah.

freelancemomma
06-06-2012, 05:04 PM
But here's my question: if I burn an additional 500 calories at the gym Nd don't eat any more to compensate, won't I have a larger calorie deficit? Won't that cause more rapid weight loss?


Theoretically, yes. But there's intriguing new research showing that people naturally compensate for formal exercise by moving less during the rest of the day. So in your example, when all is said and done, you might only be burning an extra 200 calories per day.

Also, it takes A LOT of exercise to burn two doughnuts' worth of calories. It's a lot easier not to eat the doughnuts than to build in the extra exercise into your day.

F.

crazygurl61
06-06-2012, 05:52 PM
The times when I excercised an hour a day I didn't loose weight. This time I am focusing on calories and not eating much gluten. I am a teacher of the elementary age and I move all the time. I don't spend a lot of time sitting down from August-beg of June. During the summer I will probably need to do some swimming or other excercise, but for right now it's not a priority. I am thinking I will possibly I've shown myself in the past that I can waste a gym membership like no other- and I feel a total guilt when I don't show at the gym...its all I can think about when I am "scheduled" to go. I had a personal trainer for a year and that was the only time I was committed. Now I don't want to spend that much money on personal training and I work too much.

So in short- I believe this is true. Right now instead of gym time I am enjoying my lighter body being able to function better in daily movement and outdoors.

ValRock
06-06-2012, 06:41 PM
Yup.

I lose weight quickly if I eat low cal and don't move. But I look and feel ill.

I train hard, now, and eat only whole nourishing foods. The scale is moving slowly but my body looks a kajillion times better. It's totally worth the trade-off, for me. I'm strong and fit and feel like a kajillion bucks.

There are a hundred better ways to measure 'health' than the number on the scale.

Z0a
06-09-2012, 11:42 PM
I love exercise, and it makes me want to eat better. But I don't necessarily believe the mantra. exercise does so many things to your body positively that i believe that you should make it a priority not above dieting but above other things in your life

memememe76
07-07-2012, 12:21 AM
I tend to think people overestimate the number of calories they burn from exercise. Burning 500 calories via exercise would have me working out for a LONG time.

If reaching your goal weight is still a long road ahead for you, diet *is* much more important. However, the less weight you have to lose, the more important exercise is.

For myself, exercise is the single most important thing for me to maintain my weight. I find that I eat to ensure that I can exercise and exercise well. If I don't exercise, I am much more likely to eat more and eat poorly.