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General Diet Plans and Questions General diet questions, support for various diet plans other than those listed below.

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Old 02-17-2014, 06:14 AM   #1
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Default Diet vs exercise

Hey guys,

I'm sure a lot of you have heard people say that weight loss is, give or take, 75% diet and 25% exercise. I understand that weight loss is almost impossible if you keep eating bad stuff, but I would love to hear people's take on this. What worked best for you?
Reason for me to ask this, is that I am eating quite healthily and working out about 3-4 times a week (cardio and weight), but the weight doesn't seem to get off.. So I don't know whether I should increase the amount/intensity of my exercises or whether I should eat less/better.

Thanks in advance
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:33 AM   #2
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If you're working out, I would go by how you feel and how your clothes fit instead of the scale. Exercise is much, much more effective if you gain muscle weight. Muscle burns a lot more calories than fat does. Muscle continues to burn calories even after you're done working out. The more muscle you have, the more it weighs, but the quicker you'll burn fat and calories.

That said, the exercise that works best is the one you enjoy most. I HATE working out, but I could swim all day long. So, swimming an water aqua-training is my thing.

Good luck!
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:49 AM   #3
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I've heard the saying, "Diet to lose weight; Exercise to keep it off." I think there is wisdom in that. Also, if you've been on a diet for a long time, part of the effort is keeping off what you have already lost.

But it is entirely possible for some people to eat a very healthy diet, exercise, and gain weight. If you truly want to drop more pounds, you probably want to look at how many calories you are eating and come up with a strategy to make sure that you are eating in an energy deficit. If you just increase your exercise without a strategy, you may end up eating more and offset the exercise (from a weight loss perspective).

Exercise is key for health. Exercise is also very important if you want to *look* good, not just reach a number on the scale. People can look better at a much higher weight with a tone body.

Good luck on your weight loss and fitness goals!
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Last edited by yoyoma; 02-17-2014 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:14 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for your inputs!
WaterlilliesI definitely agree on finding an exercise that you enjoy doing (and thus can stick to). I am currently in love with Bodycombat and have been doing this for a year now, lost quite some weight when I first started doing it. However, it's so frustrating when you stop losing weight, even though you seem to be doing everything 'right'..

yoyoma Hmm you mentioned some very good points, thanks! I feel like I can't change anything in my diet anymore, but I'm still going to re-evaluate my diet and see whether I can make it even healthier haha
Definitely agree on using exercise to tone the body! I've seen huge physical differences ever since I started exercising more (just not weight-wise)!
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:24 PM   #5
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Congrats on losing 47 pounds! That's awesome! When you say the weight's not coming off, for how long have you been stalled? Are you not losing anything anymore or is it coming off very slowly?

I personally need to exercise to lose weight. I'm very short so don't require many calories. To lose weight w/o exercise, I'd need to eat very few calories (probably only 1000 a day). Since I like to eat more than that, I exercise.

I'm in maintenance now, but back when I was losing I found my magic weight loss spot. If I did a mixture of cardio and strength training for about 30 minutes a day, 6 times a week and ate around 1400 calories, the weight melted off. So maybe experiment with calorie levels?
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:05 PM   #6
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Diet is great when you are obese. You can lose with diet alone, almost effortlessly if, like me - at 281lbs - you have no particular "emotional" attachment to food.

The problem is that you lose muscle mass with no exercise. Which was no problem for me, at least initially.

And then I started working out.

This started off great. At 220lbs, I was working out, losing weight faster, looking great and feeling great.

And then I hit 170lbs at which point I have stalled, lost and gained ever since in almost constant cycles. I can't seem to get below 170lbs any more.

The problem I have yet to solve is that serious exercise necessitates some increase in dietary intake (else you burn out and feel fatigued). Exercise also adds muscle and weight from water during "sore" days. I do weight training for 50 minutes and run 3.5 miles "most days".

So for the past 5 months or so I have essentially been flying blind. Eating less sometimes (1500 calories, feeling tired). Eating more sometimes (2000 calories, feeling not tired). Always working out (sore). But the scale just seems to stick around 175lbs. My all time low was 162lbs on Christmas Day. But I do not know how much gain since then has been muscle or water or what.

Bottom line: If you are heavy, focus on diet. Build in exercise but at some point it will mess with the scale. So look to other ways then to gauge success.

Bottom line part 2: You can just lose weight by "wasting away". You can eat little and do no exercise. But you will look gaunt as you lose muscle mass, especially at lower weights. Not for me. Especially as I am a guy.

Bottom line part 3: You should be able to lose weight and look great "all the way down" by eating right and exercising right. But I have yet to find the sweet spot. Let me know if someone finds it. Please. Crispin apparently did!

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Last edited by IanG; 02-17-2014 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:33 PM   #7
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If you aren't showing weight loss for a prolonged period then you don't have a calorie deficit. That is, you aren't burning more calories than you are taking in. You can create a calorie deficit in two ways. Eat less calories so you take in fewer calories. Or you can burn more calories by upping exercise and/or your overall activity.

For most people, the best approach is often a combination of both. As to what you should do, it depends. For example, if you are eating the minimum calories that you can eat so that you get good nutrition then cutting calories may not be a great choice. On the other hand, if you are eating lots of extra calories and already really activity then attacking food intake may be a better way to go. Or, again, a combination might work.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:50 PM   #8
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As long as I follow a low sugar/carb eating plan (no calorie counting, but sugar/carb gram limits), do interval training and strength training three times a week (in three workouts), I can lose weight.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:36 AM   #9
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For me they have been intimately linked. I do agree no amount of exercise can overcome a fundamentally flawed diet, unless Michael Phelps.

But for weight loss regular exercise really gets my appetite in a much better place. So it isn't just calories burned but the whole synergy happening.

And of course it makes me strong, vital, healthy, fairly glowing. Something a number on a scale in and of itself can NEVER do.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:51 AM   #10
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I haven't read all the other posts yet and i sure i agree with some of them but probably not all.

My take is, that yes muscle weighs more than fat so as you gain muscle you may still be losing fat if you are worrying, there's probably a problem with the ratio of calories in to calories out. I say that because whenever i've been on a diet and done lots of exercise, i've never had a problem knowing i was losing weight. Often i didn't need scales to tell me so either. Often i had no scales to get on.

I've done lots of diets with exercise and it does work. But currently i'm dieting without exercise because i find formal exercise unsustainable for me. Sooner or later, i stop and then all the weight comes back on.

Exercise is great. Its great to be fit and you feel amazing the fitter you are. I love it. But i can't sustain it.

I do hope to train later this year for a 10km run. IN the past i've done triathlon which was brought to a sudden halt by a knee injury. I've also done long cycle tours where i would ride 100 or more kilometres a day. On most of those i would easily lose tons of weight but this last one because i was in France, i only lost 5kg in two months. The food was yummy and i was not going to deny myself under any circumstances. That said, i wasn't a pig either. t even rode or pushed my loaded bike over several mountain passes.

so yes, you need to eat less. You can keep on doing your gym work but currently you are probably eating too many calories for the amount of exercise you are doing.

I maintain its pointless to try to count the calories you are burning. At best its a rough estimate and it could easily be very wrong. Your optimism may make you overstate the case. And then if you are trying to compensate for those calories because you are hungry, you are sabotaging your weightloss.

So you need to work out how much you can eat without getting too hungry. Eat low calorie foods so you can eat enough to fill you up and satisfy you.

But i don't know what you are eating so its hard to say any more that could be useful.

Finally as you are already doing exercise a few times a week, don't get into the bind of having to constantly increase your exercise to lose weight. That's the path or failure or deep distress. Are you keeping a food log. If not start one now and then you can easily keep tabs on what you need to adjust.

For my exercise, i plan on sustainable activity and for me in my life that is gardening because i have a very big garden. So i can build muscle by working in it. I can also keep a basic degree of cardiac fitness. But to be really fit, i would need to do more. INstead of doing more exercise, you can also consider others ways of being more active in your life because that may be more sustainable. But your first course of adjustment should probably be to reduce calorie intake.

Last edited by Pattience; 02-28-2014 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 03-01-2014, 03:38 PM   #11
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I agree with what some of the others have said about keeping track of your calorie intake. I don't care how healthy you are eating, if you're eating more calories than your body needs---in veggies, fruits, or Ho Hos---you won't lose weight. (That's not to say that eating junk is the same as eating good foods. You'll feel fuller with the latter, so I'm not recommending junk). This is particularly true once you get down to the last 10-20 lbs.

Unless you really love exercise and/or can find an activity that doesn't seem like a chore, you should probably look at your diet before you decide to add more exercise.
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Last edited by lin43; 03-01-2014 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 03-01-2014, 06:07 PM   #12
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I think that it would be extremely beneficial if you checked out Funeral For My Fat's blog, and go to her BMR page. She has a lot of information there about eating enough calories and exercising. She has always created a video about eating enough food to lose weight, which is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4fKr...feature=relmfu

Trust me, you will learn a lot by reading through her blog and listening to her videos. Especially about calculating how many calories your body needs.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:19 PM   #13
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From my own personal experience food matters the most. I lost 42lbs in 2011 eating healthily with no cheat meals or days. The only exercise I did was walking the dog for 20 minutes each day. x
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:41 PM   #14
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I lost 50 lbs in 8 months through diet only.

Exercise just makes me hungry, and doesn't have much impact.
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