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Exercise! Love it or hate it, let's motivate each other to just DO IT!

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Old 09-19-2011, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default Anyone exercise but not diet?

I'm having a heck of a time sticking to any eating plan. I love to exercise and have the opportunity with new gym to get in at least two hours/classes a day.

I'm really failing at dieting/monitoring my eating to the point it makes me almost anxious and depressed.

I don't eat that bad but i'm not low carb, under a certain amount of calories, or sugar free.

I was thinking that maybe after I get to a certain fitness level the diet will follow.

Today I started to calorie count and felt good about it but felt a little hungry and knew I blew it and ended up on a binge.
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:48 PM   #2
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I definitely need to be on a food plan or else I binge, but I know someone who's the exact opposite. She eats great as long as she doesn't think about it. I think you should eat as you have been and add exercise to the equation and see how you feel. Then, if you're still not losing or it slows down to a level you're not satisfied with, then you could maybe find a food plan that you can stick to. It may be as simple as just drinking more water at first. Then, you could just cut out refined sugar or white breads. It can be very small changes and those changes may actually make you feel a lot better. I wish you much success!
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:40 PM   #3
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Most people can't lose weight from exercise alone, because increasing exercise tends to also increase hunger. Without conscious effort, most people end up adding enough extra calories to compensate for the extra exercise.

That doesn't mean you can't do it, just that it's not likely.

My husband was very opposed to dieting for weight loss. When we were first married, he thought he could exercise his weight off. We joined the gym, and he was doing 3 hour workouts (and he had a very strenuous job).

He got fitter, but no weight came off. He was extremely discouraged, but once he started counting calories, he started realizing why the exercise alone wasn't working. Some of his favorite healthy, after-exercise snacks (like sunflower seeds) were the calorie equivalent of a huge meal.

When I started this particular journey (that has since netted me about 94 lbs lost), I didn't have a food plan. My plan was to make better food choices, and add in activity (I was so disabled, calling it exercise would be misleading).

I did make some important health strides, but I didn't lose weight. In fact, two years of healthy changes and I didn't lose a single pound during that time. Now weight loss wasn't my only or even primary goal. In fact, I decided that I was going to make changes that I was willing to commit to and continue with even if no weight loss resulted. And for two years, no weight loss resulted (I did get stronger and fitter, but I did not get thinner).

To lose weight, I had to have a food plan. Even so, I didn't look at it as a written-in-stone, do or binge diet (we're taught to diet this way, so when we follow the ineffective pattern it's not because we're stupid, it's because it's how we've seen it done - often the only way we've seen it done).

To lose weight, we need to break the traditional pattern, we have to find a new way.

That doesn't mean you have to have a formal diet plan, but you also don't have to decide that followng a plan less than perfectly is justification or trigger for a binge.

It's a hard habit to break, because it's practically diet-law. It's how dieting is done in our culture - perfection or dismal failure. If you're going to make a mistake, make it a big blaze-of-glory disaster.

As I've said many times, if dieting were mountain climbing, we wouldn't survive it, because the "appropriate response" to a stumble would be throwing ourselves off the nearest cliff so we could "start fresh tomorrow."

Many of us are killing ourselves because of our need to turn small mistakes into blazing-glory disasters.

I've dieted for 40 years, since kindergarten, and most of my life, I would have a very difficult time sticking to a food plan without all of the feelings you - getting discouraged and frustrated and ending up bingeing.

But it wasn't because I was stupid, it's how we're taught to diet. We're just doing what we see being done (we all know that "do as I say, not as I do" doesn't work. People learn to do what they see being done - even if everyone's lips are saying "don't do it this way.")

We have to find a different way to act and usually think (and that's not so easy).

I learned that the problem wasn't with my food plan, it was my reaction to it, and that mistakes didn't have to be become flaming disasters.

When I realized there was no blowing it. That being imperfect didn't mean that I should really screw it up as badly as I possibly could in order to "start fresh."

I still make huge mistakes with my food plan, I just don't stress about it. I'm much more ok with "good enough." I don't have to be perfect, I just have to do better. I remind there is no starting over, there's only moving on.

I also have declared dieting a no-guilt zone. I remind myself that short of becoming a cannibal, there's no way that food can make me "bad." Food can make me fatter, but it can't make me useless, worthless, or evil.

Having a food plan isn't bad either (and not being able to stick perfectly to it, isn't bad either). It's like a grocery list or to do list - a tool to make your life easier, not a test of your worth as a human being. And as long as you see and use it as a tool - there is no reason to punish or console yourself if you don't adhere to it perfectly.

I follow an exchange plan, but I don't see it as "written-in-stone" law". It's a guideline, and if I'm hungrier I'll eat a little more and write it down (reminding myself that eating more isn't "failure" it's just reality some times). Some days I eat all my exchanges in the quantities I've set as my goals, sometimes I'll eat less, sometimes I'll eat more. Some times I'll get in all my dairy servings, sometimes I won't.

They're guidelines, and nothing more. I don't have to stress over imperfection - that's something I chose to do. And choosing it was counterproductive. I didn't have to change the food plan, I had to change what the food plan meant to me. I had to change my reaction to it.

I'm not "bad" if I'm not perfectly on plan, but having a plan (even if I'm a little off) works better than having no plan. When I have no plan, I tend to go on food (and calorie) binges. If I have a plan that I feel must be done perfectly (and if it can't be done perfectly, should be done perfectly horribly by going on a binge so extreme it would more truly described as a bender).

I truly believe that guilt in response to perceived imperfection is enemy #1 to weight loss. If you can banish the guilt and the need for perfection, you will have cut your work and stress by 90%.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:36 AM   #4
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It could work but only if you eat the right foods, no junk, no processed stuff... I trully believe that not all calories are created alike... If for example you eat 1200-1500 calories of junk food you will feel sluggish and not feel well overall...Whereas if you eat 1200-1500 calories of fruits, veggies, lean protein, good fats and unprocessed carbs you will feel 1000% better in the long run, and yes you won't have to count calories because this lifestyle will keep you healthy,full and satiated...

Hope this helps...
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:54 AM   #5
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I think maybe you need to rethink your idea of dieting.

I think it's hard to create enough of a calorie deficit to lose weight by exercise alone. It's theoretically possible. If your weight and diet are currently stable and you simply add exercise, you'll lose some weight. But if you're not paying attention to your diet, it's easy to bump up your calorie intake in response to the more exercise.

That said, I think you're onto something. Start your exercise first, if that's where you're most comfortable. You don't need to make all the changes at once. Make exercise a habit. Once you're good there, start making small changes. You don't need to be on any set plan. Sixth months in, I still don't have a plan. I track calories (most of the time). But I don't have a limit. I feel proud of myself when I'm lower, and less proud when it's higher, but there's not a set number I'm going for. I don't eat low carb. I still have butter. I've had cake.

No one, including myself, would point to my diet and say it's ideal, but it's what I'm able to do and keep going. And I'm losing weight on it, albeit slowly.

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Old 09-20-2011, 10:01 AM   #6
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For years (at least two, but maybe even three), my sister worked out hard for at least an hour a day (sometimes she and my mother would do two workouts a day). My sister is no slacker when it comes to working out either---she does the entire gamut (weight lifting, bootcamp-type exercises, etc.). She gained muscle, and she looked better than when she didn't work out, but she was still overweight. That did not change until she started getting her eating in order. When she did that (just this past year) and continued her workouts, she looked awesome (still does).

A couple of years ago, I got into working out by taking fitness classes at my local gym. I wasn't ready to change my diet, though. I could not face the thought of it. I worked out for about an hour, 4-5 days a week (bootcamp classes, spinning, etc.). I did look better--not as flabby. However, I didn't change sizes (I don't weigh myself, so I don't know about losing weight). Fast forward to now, and I'm exercising and I have my eating in order, and I've gone from a 14 to some size 10s.

So, I agree with the others: It is theoretically possible to lose weight on exercise alone, but it is very rare that it actually happens (I've never personally known anyone to succeed at weight loss with just exercise). Weight loss is mainly about diet.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
Most people can't lose weight from exercise alone, because increasing exercise tends to also increase hunger. Without conscious effort, most people end up adding enough extra calories to compensate for the extra exercise.
I contend that the primary reason is not increased hunger, but because it's really hard to "out-exercise" overconsumption of calories. Exercising burns far fewer calories than one thinks. If someone is intaking 2400 calories a day (not an absurdly large amount of food), his/her TDEE is 1800, and s/he goes to the gym for 1 hour every day and burns 400 calories, s/he will not lose weight.

The food intake feels "fine," it's not out of control. The dedication to exercise is there- 1 hour every single day. And yet the weight continues to creep on, slowly.

I do agree that for some people it increases appetite, leading to eating back one's calories. (Though I am not one of them, it's an appetite suppressant for me.) For others, it's a faulty logic process that leads them astray ("I went to the gym, I have a free pass to indulge during dinner.") But for everyone it ultimately comes down to not using more calories than one burns each day.

It IS possible to lose weight through exercise and not by changing one's diet, but it depends on a lot of variables (how much he/she is eating, etc)... and plus who wants to spend hours and hours at the gym every day?
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:38 AM   #8
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I only exercised for many years and for me, it just wasn't enough. Calories are just too easy to add up! One slice of cake (moderate portion) is 500 calories. That is about one hour of running! I think you are right to calorie count and it's what I have had success with. If you are hungry, it is most likely from eating the wrong foods. Focus on whole foods with lots of lean protein. You won't be hungry. ETA" In most of us, the first few days are the hardest. Then, it gets easier.

"Be who you are, say what you feel. Those who matter, don't mind. Those who mind, don't matter." --Dr. Seuss

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Old 09-20-2011, 10:45 AM   #9
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Most people have to watch what they eat to lose weight.

Exercising for 2 hours per day is probably not going to be sustainable and sounds like a recipe for burnout and injury.

Start by cutting out sugary drinks. Drink only water. Some people consume huge amounts of calories in liquid form.

Good luck!
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:47 AM   #10
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I'm the exact opposite, I've been eating healthy for 18months and not doing enough exercise...I always felt guilty but maybe it's a good thing. All about balance, and I agree, it takes a lot to burn calories, a lot more work than it is to eat them!

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Old 09-20-2011, 12:21 PM   #11
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Sooo much sound advice! What I was able to take and appreciate from it was that my diet doesn't need to fit into one of the forums here but needs to be more of a healthy foundation to help build my healthy lifestyle. I guess I just took an informal survey of which diet/system people were losing the most weight with and figured that would be the best one for me. I had a feeling there was no way around the food issue but I'm definitely less intimidated by it now. Big thanks!
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:26 PM   #12
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I used to get very "fit" running or biking and not attending to food much. Always lost some weight, but never really got lean.

When the bell went off in my head:

Reading about a *very* fit Lance Armstrong coming back from multi-hour rides in the mountains only to weigh his food on a scale and hitting calorie targets. I realized then that exercise makes you fit, but how much you eat, and what you eat, really matters.
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:27 PM   #13
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For me, when I run, I can't stand the idea of wasting it on junk food calories!!! I work too hard to have it taken away for half a snickers bar. LOL
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by indiblue View Post
Exercising burns far fewer calories than one thinks. If someone is intaking 2400 calories a day (not an absurdly large amount of food), his/her TDEE is 1800, and s/he goes to the gym for 1 hour every day and burns 400 calories, s/he will not lose weight.
I agree. Also, I don't think people differentiate between the number of calories burned doing an activity and the number of net calories burned. I never did, but now I do. For example, today I walked on the treadmill at 3.0 for two hours (I have a tread desk and was working at the time). According to my smartphone app, I burned 440 calories. However, that doesn't mean that I can add that 440 calories onto my daily calorie count. I first must subtract what I would have burned if I had just been sitting around those two hours---approx. 135 calories. So, that means, I netted a calorie burn of 305 calories.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:06 PM   #15
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Yep ~ that's how I maintained my weight for a year a few years back. I worked out like crazy (and enjoyed it!), but ate what I wanted. If you want to lose weight, it's all about calories in versus calories out.
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