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Old 02-23-2008, 01:24 AM   #1
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Default What's more challenging, food or exercise?

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?
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:33 AM   #2
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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.
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:34 AM   #3
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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.

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Old 02-23-2008, 01:36 AM   #4
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I am also trying to lose this 50 lbs and go from 180 to 130!!!
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!
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:50 AM   #5
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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.
The last clear definite function of men muscles aching to work, minds aching to create beyond the single need this is man.
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Old 02-23-2008, 02:17 AM   #6
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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.

Last edited by trekkiegirl; 02-23-2008 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 02-23-2008, 03:50 AM   #7
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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!

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Old 02-23-2008, 05:05 AM   #8
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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?!
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:38 AM   #9
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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. ^^
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Old 02-23-2008, 08:54 AM   #10
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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.

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Old 02-23-2008, 10:42 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:03 AM   #12
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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, 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 lose 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.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:14 AM   #13
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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.
Maintaining 57 lb loss since 2008, working off regain to a sensible maintenance level.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:15 AM   #14
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Depends on the day.

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.
"And that's how Beowulf rolls"~ my DD

Last edited by midwife; 02-23-2008 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:58 AM   #15
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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.
And here we go for 2009 . . . Onward and Downward . . .

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