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Old 01-23-2012, 09:00 PM   #1  
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Default Yet another question about Exercise and Weight Loss

Ok, so I'm getting confused. I'm sure this question has been asked 100 times, but I'm asking it again. How does exercise play into weight loss? I've seen how a lot of people say that their diet (watching their food intake) is for weight loss and exercise is for fitness. And I've also seen people who've said that they wouldn't have lost the weight without doing at least an hours worth of exercise 6 days a week.

So I hate exercise. I loathe exercise. I know everyone always says to find something you like to do. Well as far as I'm aware I've tried a lot of things and I don't like any of them. However, I do want to get fit. For health reasons and vanity reasons. So I do understand the importance of exercise. But I'm struggling with going 3 times a week for about an hour (an hour with stretching and stuff). One of those days is with my trainer so I'm worked a little harder. But I can't imagine having to try to exercise 6 times a week. I can't imagine trying to find the time or motivation.

The last time I remember hearing about exercise years ago everyone (you know, the pseudo experts on tv) was saying you can lose weight by exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes. I feel like that has gone out the window. Now the time and days have increased to like an hour for 4 or 5 days. So which one is it? Do you have to dedicate 6 days a week to be successful with weight loss or is it the simple fact that I'm trying for a few days a week going to make a difference? The professionals in my life are just happy that I'm doing 3 days. But if it's not going to get me to my goal I'd like to understand that now so I can figure out how to work that in (which is going to be hard for someone who hates exercise). Hopefully this makes sense and doesn't sound too whiney. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:05 PM   #2  
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Exercise is important for myriad reasons. You burn calories when you exercise, you also burn more calories at rest if you have been exercising than if you haven't. Exercise also increases your feel-good endorphins which can help with stress (and thus stress-eating) and also actually decreases you appetite for things that aren't good for you. Exercise improves mood, decreases depression and anxiety, and moves lymph throughout your body which improves your health. It has positive effects on your cardiac health and improves your longevity. In short, there are many reasons to exercise and no reasons not to. Our bodies were designed to move, that is what our creator intended. When we don't move, our health goes into decline.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:06 PM   #3  
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Well, I can attest to the fact that it's possible to lose weight without exercise, even at my age of 55. I lost 50 pounds last year, the first 30 or so entirely without exercise. I firmly believe that food intake takes precedence over exercise in promoting weight loss, and my research supports this view. That said, the National Weight Control Registry has identified exercise as one of the key drivers of long-term weight maintenance. According to internationally renowned obesity expert Dr. Arya Sharma, the chief benefits of exercise may lie not in its ability to "burn calories," but in its role as a general health motivator. Can you tell I'm a medical writer?


p.s. I also used to hate exercise, but I recently joined a gym (for the first time in my life) and for some reason it's different this time. I never work out on my own -- I take various fitness classes and find myself feeding off the group energy. So you never know when something will "take."

Last edited by freelancemomma; 01-23-2012 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:37 AM   #4  
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Exercise does not make you lose weight. A calorie deficit does. People exercise for many different reasons. It makes you feel good and it makes it so you can eat more! The lowest net calories for a woman is 1200 per day. If I was to eat 1200, I would lose weight without exercise. However, I love food. I eat around 1600 a day, which is still below my maintenance level, so even without exercise I slowly lose weight. However, since I want to lose weight more quickly, I aim for 1200 NET calories. So if I eat 1600 calories, I need to burn off 400 in order to hit the 1200 range. Its that simple.

On days I dont want to exercise (which is most days), then I try and eat only 1200-1400 calories. On days I do exercise, I make sure to eat whatever exercise calories I burn so that I do not go below 1200.

I HATE HATE HATE working out, but I know its great for your health. So my solution is simple... I only do 20 minutes! I make those 20 minutes count though as I work my butt off. Some days I will do 20 minutes twice. Once in the morning and once at night. You will never find me working out for an hour. I'd rather shoot myself in the foot. With that being said though, I do have a 45 minute deep water workout once a week as well as a 55 minute boxing class. But those are things that I like to do. I would never do a 60 minute workout DVD or run on a treadmill for 55 minutes.

To sum up my rant (sorry!) you do not need to exercise to lose weight. You need to have a calorie deficit. That means if you are not going to exercise, you need to eat less.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:07 PM   #5  
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My appetite DECREASES with exercise, it doesnt increase. But that is not the same for everyone.

Exercise is vital for HEALTH.

The reason they say diet for weight loss exercise for fitness you CAN overeat what you exercise easily. For most people the amount of food you ate to gain weight will still be too much no matter how much exercise you do.

Combining both gets you to your goal faster and makes you look better. How much you do is really up to you. I freely admit to being an exercise junkie. 30 minutes 3 days a week wouldnt come close to keeping me in a good mood. People who tout "if you do THIS diet you wont have to exercise" baffle me. I'd probably go insane or homicidal within a month of no exercise.

Last edited by ennay; 01-24-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:24 PM   #6  
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I am one of the "diet for weight loss/exercise for fitness" touting folks.

Creating a calorie deficit is what weight loss is about. Some people can and do that thru exercise alone, or by combining it with diet. Or just diet alone. The bottom line, for us normal people (i.e. NOT athletes), we cannot out-exercise bad eating habits. If you run two miles a day every day and yet eat 3200 calories every day, odds are, you'll gain (or at least not lose) weight.

Athletes -esp professional ones!! - need a LOT of calories to maintain their work-out habits. For instance, Michael Phelps (the Olympic swimmer) ate 12,000 calories per day!!! But he was training 6-8 hours per day as well.

If you HATE exercise - then you might try to find something physical to do that you don't hate... something you don't consider exercise - swimming? Biking? Playing tennis? Something!-anything!- is better than nothing. But if you HATE exercise, it's highly unlikely you will join a gym and enjoy treadmilling next to Sweaty McSweaterson. Altho - there ARE people who have never liked to exercise who have found a niche for themselves... I surprised myself during college when I took a weight lifting class & learned that I truly enjoyed it.

But if your GOAL is to lose weight & you HATE to exercise, then yes, you can lose weight by diet alone. Remember: CALORIE DEFICIT. You must intake less than you burn to lose weight.
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:38 PM   #7  
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You say you've tried many types of exercise. Have you tried sports? An indoor rugby league, rock climbing, a lifting team, real martial arts at a real dojo, etc.?

I hated exercise too till I tried an outdoor sport, loved it, and then got into resistance training to improve my abilities in my primary sport. I found it dreadful to spend hours in aerobics classes and on cardio machines in the past; I find it easy to lift weights because my goal each session isn't to burn calories, it's to get stronger for my primary sport. That sense of purpose has made a huge difference in my view of exercise.

Just my experience.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:51 PM   #8  
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You sound like me when I first started losing in June. Now here I am, several months later, and I do work out 6 days a week for at least an hour each time. And guess what? I'm loving it. But I didn't begin that way. Here's how I started:

1) I committed to at least one hour of activity per day, 6 days a week. That "activity" could be almost anything that made me break a sweat. So on some days, I cleaned my house vigorously for an hour. I logged that into my calorie-tracking app as activity (there's an option there for housework!). Other days, I accumulated that hour by riding my bike to various places on errands---to the deli to pick up some rolls, to the library to return or get a book, etc.

2) I incorporated exercise into my day. Yes, as corny as it seems, I really did take those oft-touted suggestions to park farther away from the store, take the stairs, etc. Also, at home, I realized I spent a lot of time just sitting. I changed that. There is always some sort of housework or organizing to do, and I started spending more time doing it. Not only did I burn more daily calories, but I also have a neater, cleaner house. Besides all of that, I have a tread-desk (Google it). I do a lot of computer work & I'm on that when I do it (& even for general Internet surfing).

3) Like freelancemomma, I joined a gym and started taking some fitness classes. I really love them!

So, with all those options, it seems really easy to me to get in that one hour a day.

Yes, you can lose weight without exercise. But exercising makes you look more toned (so perhaps helping you to fit into a smaller size), makes you feel better in the long run, and makes you healthier. Also, I lost weight at a faster pace now in my 40's that I did in my 30's and I truly believe it is due to all the activity that I incorporate into my daily life, and it's one reason that I think I'm able to eat a much higher daily calorie level than I ever thought I would be able to.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:36 PM   #9  
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I love that you're exercising even though you hate it. I really do! But I hate that you hate exercise. That's got to be miserable.

I love what beach patrol says, but I consider myself an "athlete" of sorts, and even I can not out-exercise a bad diet...or believe me, I would!! If someone said, "If you run a full marathon you could eat all the chocolate you want," I'd be all over that!

This is what motivated me to finally start exercising. (I lost the first 30 without exercise) I noticed on these boards that two women the same height and the same weight were TWO sizes different! The smaller of the two exercised. That right there is all I needed to hear.

My favorite exercise for getting in and getting out is HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. If you do it right, your body feels great benefits in just 20 minutes of work. In fact, it's so intense, you may start out with only 12 minutes of works. You find a cardio activity and you go ALL out for a period of time and recover for a period of time, repeat. For me, I sprint 20 seconds, recover 40 seconds, repeat 12-20 times. I've done this on the treadmill (which is hard), elliptical, on a track/road, and by sprinting up and down the stairs. I would do this 2-3 days per week.

My favorite full body lifting routine is:
squat/overhead press
squat/tricep press
lunge/lat raise
calf raise/arm curl

For the the "squat/overhead press" I squat first, then go right into an overhead press, repeat. I like to do 15-20 reps, 3 sets.

Just a few ideas.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:48 PM   #10  
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Start small, and be easy on yourself. You're just starting out and I think it's WONDERFUL you have started working out. When I started I couldn't even do 1 meesly jumping jack. So I did 20mins of cardio Mon, Wed and Fri, with breaks in between for water and just kept at it. You will build yourself up, and try and concentrate on how your body feels AFTER you workout. I did that a lot too to keep me going....not the feeling of fatigue and tiredness I felt during the workout but how my body reacted to it afterwards. That's what pushed me to keep going. Now that I've been working out for almost 7 months I MISS my workouts and I'm at the gym 5 days a week (maybe 6) but it took time for me to really mix and match my workouts to find out what I really enjoyed, and as time went on, I found my niche in strength training and some Zumba classes. Eventually I began to CRAVE the feeling of what exercise does for my body, the release of those endomorphines is such a high. You will get there, just take your time, remember to breathe, catch your breathe, drink your water and keep going! There's a saying I like

"You don't have to be great to start, you just have to start to be great!"

I lived by that when I started working out.

And true, you don't need exercise to lose weight, however for me it keeps me accountable to what I put into my body. When I'm working out now I work my butt off, it makes me 2nd guess about eating that piece of chocolate cake after dinner cause I am working so hard.

You will find your groove too, just keep being kind to yourself and give yourself praise for the exercise you are doing!

Last edited by InsideMe; 01-24-2012 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:38 PM   #11  
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Thanks everyone. All good suggestions. When I say that I've tried most forms of exercise, it's probably within my limited knowledge of exercise. Lots of DVDs, Lots of Wii videos, Walking, Treadmill, Elliptical, Strength Training....all of the standard things that people usually start out with. And it just doesn't interest me. But it doesn't mean that I'm going to give up. It's like taking medication. I hate swallowing pills but I'm going to keep doing it because it makes me better. I was just curious as to how much makes it worth it. From my perspective I'm just happy that I'm moving. But wanted to understand if it wasn't enough to be realistic enough for weight loss. But you've all given me good information. Thanks.
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Old 01-24-2012, 05:42 PM   #12  
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One thing I don't think anyone mentioned (if someone did, I'm sorry) is that exercise is also very, very important for maintaining your lean muscle. When you lose weight, you lose fat and muscle, that's just how our bodies are made. That's why losing weight too fast is dangerous, because your heart is a muscle and it will cause damage to it.

Have you ever heard the term "skinny fat"? It's when someone is slim, but their bodies look sort of soft and flabby.

Some exercise, especially light weigh training, will help you maintain your lean muscle while you lose weight. This means you will be healthier, plus gain some nice tone.

Plus the things others have mentioned: muscle burns more calories than fat even while at rest (so you lose even faster), you'll burn some calories (although not as many as you may think), it helps with stress and it's motivation to stick with your diet (you don't want to undo the exercise you did with food, right?).

My advice is to try very hard to find some active activity you enjoy. It doesn't have to be what you might think of as exercising. You could swim, roller blade, play tennis, go hiking or even just chase your kids (if you have any) around the yard. Just try to be active in some way.

Another idea is get some hand weights (or if money is tight, even something like a soup can or filled water bottle) and do curls, squats, lunges, etc while watching TV. Or maybe see if there are any classes offered in your area. I've joined a class and that's really helped me with not skipping my workouts. It's a lot more fun with other people.
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