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Old 01-20-2010, 09:39 PM   #1  
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Default I am confused re: diet and exercise combined versus diet alone

Hi all,

I just wanted to get your feedback on my issue.

I have found that the most weight I have lost is through diet only. As soon as I start incorporating exercise, my weight loss slows right now to nil.

I have a coworker who is a personal trainer. She is encouraging me to incorporate a weight training program into my routine.

The thing is, I have DONE the whole thing with diet and tons of exercise. I went to a personal trainer, got a routine, did the routine and ended up getting bigger man arms because of it. It was like, the muscle grew on my arms ON TOP of all my fat. It was horrible.

Then I went through a period where I was running 5x weekly. Lost barely anything.

Then I went through a period where I was doing cardio AND lighter weights. Lost barely anything.

THEN I went through a period where I was super stressed, lost weight with no exercise for a few months, and just as i was beginning to exercise again got into car accident so didn't exercise for months and lost weight yet again.

My point is, I seem to lose weight when I don't exercise and just eat a low-calorie diet.

However, I know that theoretically weight training will help with weight loss as your muscles burn fat all day, etc., exercise is good for you, blah blah blah.

I know the theoretics of why I should be exercising and incorporating weights into my routine. But why when I do this do I end up not losing any weight?

Thoughts? Suggestions?
THANK YOU!!!
~CGH~
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:48 PM   #2  
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If you don't exercise while losing weight, you lose muscle as well as fat which is very undesireable since you heart is a muscle and it takes fewer calories to support a pound of fat than a pound of muscle. To be healthy you have to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise should include both strength training and aerobics. Women do not build big muscles like men but they will become more toned.

It sounds like you haven't found the right combination. Did you eat more calories when you exercised? If you don't eat enough, you will stall which sounds like what happened to you.

Good luck.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:56 PM   #3  
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Did you eat more calories when you exercised? If you don't eat enough, you will stall which sounds like what happened to you.

Good luck.
I actually DID eat more calories when I exercised. And that's what bugged me. I wanted to stay at around 1300-1400 calories while still exercising, but got too hungry because I was exercising!

~CGH~
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:11 PM   #4  
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How compulsively accurate are you about counting calories? If you estimate (which lots of people do very successfully--this isn't a scold), I wonder if you tend to underestimate how many calories you add when you are exercising. It's quite possible to be a good estimator when it's just diet, but add that exercise hunger and you start erring on the side of too many calories.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:16 PM   #5  
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It's quite possible to be a good estimator when it's just diet, but add that exercise hunger and you start erring on the side of too many calories.
That absolutely could be possible! I will definitely not deny that :-)
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:28 PM   #6  
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Hi CGH,

I thought I was the only person that goes through that! I think it may have to do with your body hoarding calories when you work out. I've actually found that increasing my calories when I work out helps. It keeps my body going, metabolically speaking.

Love your username, btw.
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:36 PM   #7  
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I always feel better when I exercise .... and when I feel better I find it easier to eat better .... so I seem to do best when doing both .... although I do try and stick to the mantra 80% diet and 20% exercise ....
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:38 PM   #8  
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I actually DID eat more calories when I exercised. And that's what bugged me. I wanted to stay at around 1300-1400 calories while still exercising, but got too hungry because I was exercising!
If you've upped your calories to 13-1400 when exercising and you're still stalling, I would suggest eating more. I know, it sounds counterproductive, but your body needs fuel. When it doesn't get the amount it needs, it'll hang onto whatever you eat.

I was at 1200 calories a day and doing 12-13 hours of cardio a week (yes, it is a lot, but only 4-5 of it was max heart rate, the rest was about 60-70%) and 2 hours of strength training per week. I totally stalled, completely. Nothing came off until I upped my calories to 1600 a day. I'm comfortably at 1400 a day and losing a pound per week (maybe a little more).

Find your basal metabolic rate (http://walking.about.com/cs/calories/l/blcalcalc.htm) and plug in your details. If you were going to maintain, the amount of calories you will need will be there. If you want to lose a pound per week, take 500 calories off per day.

Example: to maintain my 185 pound frame (I'm 5'5"), I need 2000 calories a day if I was completely sedentary*. If I'm moderately active, I'd need roughly 2400 a day to maintain my weight. To lose a pound per week, I'd need to subtract 500 calories a day from 2400 (1900/day). If I want to lose 1.5 pounds per week, I'd need to subtract 750 calories a day from 2400 (1650/day). Those calories can be a combination of diet and exercise or just diet; exercise alone is not enough. Losing weight is 80% diet, 20% exercise.

Never go below 1200 a day; it's too little to maintain a healthy body, especially if you're exercising.

*Sedentary- little or no exercise, desk job
Lightly active- light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk
Moderately active- moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk
Very active- hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk
Extremely active- hard daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2X day training
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:00 PM   #9  
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CGH, it could be that you are making the exercise part harder than it needs to be. "More exercise" can mean something as simple as taking a brisk half-hour walk every day. The point is just to do more physical activity, use your body!

Weight training can be good, but it doesn't have to be extreme--to the point where you're getting bulked up.

I believe that it's better to exercise than not to exercise. Exercise does help you lose less muscle, and you need muscle not only for overall fitness and health but also to burn fat. Even so, it doesn't have to be some Biggest Loser "last chance workout" bull**** deal.

You may find that a moderate increase in activity won't make you so hungry--not so much as a big tough workout will.

Good luck!
Jay
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:13 PM   #10  
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Originally Posted by Mollz View Post
If you've upped your calories to 13-1400 when exercising and you're still stalling, I would suggest eating more. I know, it sounds counterproductive, but your body needs fuel. When it doesn't get the amount it needs, it'll hang onto whatever you eat.

I was at 1200 calories a day and doing 12-13 hours of cardio a week (yes, it is a lot, but only 4-5 of it was max heart rate, the rest was about 60-70%) and 2 hours of strength training per week. I totally stalled, completely. Nothing came off until I upped my calories to 1600 a day. I'm comfortably at 1400 a day and losing a pound per week (maybe a little more).

Find your basal metabolic rate (http://walking.about.com/cs/calories/l/blcalcalc.htm) and plug in your details. If you were going to maintain, the amount of calories you will need will be there. If you want to lose a pound per week, take 500 calories off per day.

Example: to maintain my 185 pound frame (I'm 5'5"), I need 2000 calories a day if I was completely sedentary*. If I'm moderately active, I'd need roughly 2400 a day to maintain my weight. To lose a pound per week, I'd need to subtract 500 calories a day from 2400 (1900/day). If I want to lose 1.5 pounds per week, I'd need to subtract 750 calories a day from 2400 (1650/day). Those calories can be a combination of diet and exercise or just diet; exercise alone is not enough. Losing weight is 80% diet, 20% exercise.

Never go below 1200 a day; it's too little to maintain a healthy body, especially if you're exercising.

*Sedentary- little or no exercise, desk job
Lightly active- light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk
Moderately active- moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk
Very active- hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk
Extremely active- hard daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2X day training

Hey Mollz

Sorry to butt in, I have a question about the caloric needs.

When I plug in my stats on bmi-calculator (dot) net, it says my BMR is 1866. If I times it by the amount I need for working out 3-4 times a week, it says I need 2892, if I minus 500 from that it equals 2392. My question is: that seems a bit too much? Or is it truly accurate?

Right now I am only eating 1700 per day. Do you believe that is too low? I seem to be losing weight. Should I only worry if I end up stalling?

Thanks!
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:16 PM   #11  
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*Sedentary- little or no exercise, desk job
Lightly active- light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk
Moderately active- moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk
Very active- hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk
Extremely active- hard daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2X day training
Thanks for your link. I love it. But I work as a nurse aide. I am pushing, pulling and tugging a lot. I get about 12000 steps on my pedometer (that's without exercise which I just started to do). So would that mean I'm extremely active (cause that's a LOT of calories)? And do I still eat that amount of calories the days I'm off?
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:22 PM   #12  
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Originally Posted by Daimere View Post
Thanks for your link. I love it. But I work as a nurse aide. I am pushing, pulling and tugging a lot. I get about 12000 steps on my pedometer (that's without exercise which I just started to do). So would that mean I'm extremely active (cause that's a LOT of calories)? And do I still eat that amount of calories the days I'm off?
Daimere, you sound as confused and as intrigued as I am. Hopefully Mollz will check this thread again and be able to give us some insight.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:38 PM   #13  
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Originally Posted by Mollz View Post
If you've upped your calories to 13-1400 when exercising and you're still stalling, I would suggest eating more. I know, it sounds counterproductive, but your body needs fuel. When it doesn't get the amount it needs, it'll hang onto whatever you eat.

*Sedentary- little or no exercise, desk job
Lightly active- light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk
Moderately active- moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk
Very active- hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk
Extremely active- hard daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2X day training
But I definitely DID eat more than 1300-1400 calories when exercising as I was very hungry. I would never go below 1200 - I can't even DO that! I get too hungry and too low-blood-sugary.

Yeah, bulk up. MAJOR bulk up. Man arms. Ugh. I'm a little traumatized from that experience to be honest.

Oh, and I never really understood the descriptions above. Technically I am "sedentary" because I have a desk job. However, I exercise 3-4x weekly. So am I sedentary or moderately active?

Thanks everyone for your feedback - it's important to me, and I'm listening!

~CGH~
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Old 01-21-2010, 12:49 AM   #14  
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Hey Mollz

Sorry to butt in, I have a question about the caloric needs.

When I plug in my stats on bmi-calculator (dot) net, it says my BMR is 1866. If I times it by the amount I need for working out 3-4 times a week, it says I need 2892, if I minus 500 from that it equals 2392. My question is: that seems a bit too much? Or is it truly accurate?

Right now I am only eating 1700 per day. Do you believe that is too low? I seem to be losing weight. Should I only worry if I end up stalling?

Thanks!
Schubunny: If 1700 is good for you and you're losing weight, then stay with it! If you end up stalling, you've either dropped your calories too low (in which case, eat more) or you've gone into maintenance mode (in which case, I would up my exercise intensity and maybe add a few more calories). The BMR calculators are pretty much spot-on, but if you think 2400 is too much, then stick with 1700. 1700 isn't low at all; I find most people who are tracking calories are around 1500-1700 with very few going below 1300.

Daimere: Are you routinely taking 12000 steps a day? Good on ya! I would lean more towards using a moderately or very active rather than extremely active (I would imagine an extremely active job would be a soldier, builder, firefighter, landscaper performing heavy manual work all day-- but this is just a guess; maybe you do fall into this category!). On your days off, depending on how many calories you're eating, eat less. If you're exercising on your days off, eat a little more (probably about 200-250). Are you tracking your calorie intake at all?

CGH: I get low sugar if I'm below 1300 a day and it normally strikes around 2am. I hate having to forcefeed myself a jam sandwich at 2am.

With my exercise, I'm doing a lot of hard out running and biking 3 days a week for an hour at a time (M/W/F), and I'm doing 2 strength training sessions per week on Tues/Thurs (total of 5 days at the gym). I also do 8 hours of karate (not too hard) per week; my only day off from the gym and karate is Sunday. So, I'm working out 6 days a week (7 if we take the dog for a long walk), but it's a moderate intensity on average, which is why I use "moderately active".

I'm no expert in BMRs in the slightest, but I hope I've helped you guys out.
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Old 01-21-2010, 01:05 AM   #15  
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Are you routinely taking 12000 steps a day? Good on ya! I would lean more towards using a moderately or very active rather than extremely active (I would imagine an extremely active job would be a soldier, builder, firefighter, landscaper performing heavy manual work all day-- but this is just a guess; maybe you do fall into this category!). On your days off, depending on how many calories you're eating, eat less. If you're exercising on your days off, eat a little more (probably about 200-250). Are you tracking your calorie intake at all?
Yeah. I range from 9000-12000 on my days at work. That is what I've been tracking it as of lately. And I was already planning to lower my calories on my days off. You answered the question I had that I posted in the calorie counters section that no one fully answered because I've always preferred using BMR and all that. With a calorie deficit, days working I eat 2500, not working but exercising 2200, and if I don't exercise 1900. Yes, I've been counting my calories. I'm probably bad at it so far. Thank you SO much
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