Harder to reach a calorie deficit when working out?

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  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,874 Member
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    pondee629 wrote: »
    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    pondee629 wrote: »
    "Harder to reach a calorie deficit when working out?" NO. It takes the same discipline and dedication to keep you calorie intake in check whether you're working out or not. Since you're burning more calories working out, and can, therefore, eat more, it should be easier. If it was easy, we would all be in great shape.

    Anecdotally that's just not true. A few years ago, I lost 10-15 lbs by having 1200-1300 calories a day with very light exercise (30 minutes of strength training including warmup and cooldown). That was MUCH easier than trying to have 1600 calories a day with 60-75 minutes of high intensity exercise and walking 15,000 steps a day. The calorie deficit theoretically isn't that different but it's much harder with exercise.

    For YOU, perhaps.

    A lot of people have issues losing weight with training vs regular exercise. Like I mentioned before, if I'm training for a 1/2 century or more, it's very difficult for me to lose weight because I'm legit hungry most of the time I believe due in part to the stress on the body and raised cortisol levels, and a desire for my body wanting recovery more than anything.

    I have no problem eating a deficit when I'm just riding and lifting for my fitness and just generally exercising.

    My wife is the same way...if she's training for a 1/2 marathon or more, she has a lot of difficulty with losing weight because she's insatiable. She has no issues doing 5Ks and 10Ks.
  • butterfli7o
    butterfli7o Posts: 1,319 Member
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    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    Also, my bigger point is that it's significantly harder for me to reach a calorie deficit when I do work out than it is when I don't work out. Has anyone else experienced this?

    Yes!

  • NicoleHaki
    NicoleHaki Posts: 55 Member
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    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    In my own personal experience, I do better cutting weight when I'm doing a moderate amount of exercise vs a lot of exercise. I've tried cutting weight while training for endurance cycling events where I easily do 8-10 hours per week or more of exercise and it's an exercise in futility because I'm hungry and my body wants the recovery more than anything.

    I do best cutting weight with moderate exercise of 4-5 hours per week because I'm not constantly hungry and recovery is easy.

    ^^ this

    I'm finding this to be true for me as well. When I'm working out HARD 10+ hours/week, trimming back is just plain old difficult. The hangries are real! But, on a slightly easier workout schedule (similar hours but lower intensity workouts) I'm finding it MUCH easier to trim back my calories and focus on losing the weight.

    I won't skip working out as I need my fitness for my sport, plus I like that I can eat more with working out, but the intense workouts were making weight loss nearly impossible. As soon as I'd trim my calories to a slight deficit (about 1/2lb week loss rate) my workouts would suffer.

    Now that I've lowered the intensity (lighter cardio and more ST), I'm finding it easier to trim back on the meals and NOT see my all day energy levels suffer.

    Exactly! I think it would be easier if I cut down on exercise but I don't want to cut down...I enjoy working out!
  • NicoleHaki
    NicoleHaki Posts: 55 Member
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    pondee629 wrote: »
    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    pondee629 wrote: »
    "Harder to reach a calorie deficit when working out?" NO. It takes the same discipline and dedication to keep you calorie intake in check whether you're working out or not. Since you're burning more calories working out, and can, therefore, eat more, it should be easier. If it was easy, we would all be in great shape.

    Anecdotally that's just not true. A few years ago, I lost 10-15 lbs by having 1200-1300 calories a day with very light exercise (30 minutes of strength training including warmup and cooldown). That was MUCH easier than trying to have 1600 calories a day with 60-75 minutes of high intensity exercise and walking 15,000 steps a day. The calorie deficit theoretically isn't that different but it's much harder with exercise.

    For YOU, perhaps.

    Yes, and that's why I shared this, so I could see if other people have had the same experience. Have you tried dieting while working out vigorously for 10+ hours a week?
  • NicoleHaki
    NicoleHaki Posts: 55 Member
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    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    pondee629 wrote: »
    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    pondee629 wrote: »
    "Harder to reach a calorie deficit when working out?" NO. It takes the same discipline and dedication to keep you calorie intake in check whether you're working out or not. Since you're burning more calories working out, and can, therefore, eat more, it should be easier. If it was easy, we would all be in great shape.

    Anecdotally that's just not true. A few years ago, I lost 10-15 lbs by having 1200-1300 calories a day with very light exercise (30 minutes of strength training including warmup and cooldown). That was MUCH easier than trying to have 1600 calories a day with 60-75 minutes of high intensity exercise and walking 15,000 steps a day. The calorie deficit theoretically isn't that different but it's much harder with exercise.

    For YOU, perhaps.

    A lot of people have issues losing weight with training vs regular exercise. Like I mentioned before, if I'm training for a 1/2 century or more, it's very difficult for me to lose weight because I'm legit hungry most of the time I believe due in part to the stress on the body and raised cortisol levels, and a desire for my body wanting recovery more than anything.

    I have no problem eating a deficit when I'm just riding and lifting for my fitness and just generally exercising.

    My wife is the same way...if she's training for a 1/2 marathon or more, she has a lot of difficulty with losing weight because she's insatiable. She has no issues doing 5Ks and 10Ks.

    This is exactly what I am going through! I don't lift anything crazy but I definitely do notice that an intense interval training session makes me feel more hungry than a zumba class would make me feel (even though zumba actually burns more calories).
  • collectingblues
    collectingblues Posts: 2,541 Member
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    katlady33 wrote: »
    I have heard from a trainer that this is largely due to cardio, and focusing on strength training alone will provide a lower heart rate and better results for fat loss. Continue cardio, but your fast walking to work is probably enough.
    This is why I personally gained weight training for a marathon. Insatiable cardio appetite!
    Good luck! I am using this technique as of late and have found less is more.

    Nope. I'm *fine* on cardio days, and could eat a horse the day when I lift.

    It all depends on the individual, and there's certainly no hard or fast rule.
  • LeanButNotMean44
    LeanButNotMean44 Posts: 852 Member
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    OP - I feel your pain. Due to several life changes, I ramped up my workouts to deal with the stress. Lifting an hour/day 5 days per week and cardio 5 days/week. A couple of those cardio workouts aren’t much, 35 minutes on the elliptical. The other cardio workouts are running and stairmill. I am ravenous ALL OF THE TIME and as a result have put on 5-10 lbs. Like you, I do enjoy working out but I hate how I look with this extra weight. It seems to be a catch 22. :'(:'(
  • voiceoverbird
    voiceoverbird Posts: 2 Member
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    Hey,
    I have a similar problem. I have to make sure my diet is jm packed full of foods that.are very low GI (in - slow releasing and keep your fuller for longer). Introduce lots of pulses, grains, chick peas, beans into your meals. It's pretty easy to do. When you're having a salad or a file of veg, thow in a pile of barlotti beans, chick peas etc. Drain them, season with lemon juice, pepper, lemon zest and just chuck them in with what you're already eating...
    Bagels are high calorie so if you can't resist just make sure the rest of your diet is low GI. Google a list of the lowest GI foods.
    Good luck.
  • _piaffe
    _piaffe Posts: 163 Member
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    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    In my own personal experience, I do better cutting weight when I'm doing a moderate amount of exercise vs a lot of exercise. I've tried cutting weight while training for endurance cycling events where I easily do 8-10 hours per week or more of exercise and it's an exercise in futility because I'm hungry and my body wants the recovery more than anything.

    I do best cutting weight with moderate exercise of 4-5 hours per week because I'm not constantly hungry and recovery is easy.

    This is me too.

    If I want to cut, I have to start by cutting back on my intense cardio in particular - I do 7 to 10 indoor cycling classes a week, plus 3x full body weights. When I'm at that level, I cannot eat less than 2500 calories without triggering a binge (and easily, I can eat 3000 calories and feel like I'm still hungry!). I'm a 43 yo woman fyi.

    I just took 3 cardio rest days (but did 2 modified deload full body workouts) and my appetite dropped.

    I need to take more rest days for a lot of reasons. But I find it HARD mentally - that's something I am "working on." It's a mental thing bc I use it to manage anxieties.

    Upshot is: if you are trying to drop a couple of pounds, I would definitely reduce cardio. (I also feel like my muscles retain less water after recovery - I "depuff" a tiny bit).
  • NicoleHaki
    NicoleHaki Posts: 55 Member
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    So here's another thought that's kind of out there. When I look at my macros, I usually get enough protein and fat but I'm usually low on carbs. Like usually I'm at around 40% carbs and MFP says to have 50% carbs. A trainer at EQX told me to have more carbs and I kind of brushed it off.

    Maybe since I'm always trying to eat healthy foods (protein shakes, salads, eggs etc.), I'm getting enough calories (or more than enough for my goals) but my body still wants more carbs! The reason I'm saying this is because I had a bagel today after my morning run and instead of feeling the feared rise and fall in my blood sugar, I feel more satiated than I felt in a while, like I finally got it out of my system. I think if I had a protein shake after my run with the same amount of calories, I would still be hungry and wondering what I could eat (in fact, yesterday I had a relatively low-cal smoothie after my workout and ended up having 1800 calories for the day, whereas today I had an even higher intensity workout and I think I can get away with 1600 calories for the day). Does this make sense at all or could it just be a coincidence?
  • CharlieBeansmomTracey
    CharlieBeansmomTracey Posts: 7,682 Member
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    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    So here's another thought that's kind of out there. When I look at my macros, I usually get enough protein and fat but I'm usually low on carbs. Like usually I'm at around 40% carbs and MFP says to have 50% carbs. A trainer at EQX told me to have more carbs and I kind of brushed it off.

    Maybe since I'm always trying to eat healthy foods (protein shakes, salads, eggs etc.), I'm getting enough calories (or more than enough for my goals) but my body still wants more carbs! The reason I'm saying this is because I had a bagel today after my morning run and instead of feeling the feared rise and fall in my blood sugar, I feel more satiated than I felt in a while, like I finally got it out of my system. I think if I had a protein shake after my run with the same amount of calories, I would still be hungry and wondering what I could eat (in fact, yesterday I had a relatively low-cal smoothie after my workout and ended up having 1800 calories for the day, whereas today I had an even higher intensity workout and I think I can get away with 1600 calories for the day). Does this make sense at all or could it just be a coincidence?

    if you feel satiated on more carbs then up your carbs. but if carbs make you more hungry then dont worry if they are low. you have to find the macro percentages that work for you and your satiation. also get in more fiber and water which can help with feeling full too.
  • nikkit321
    nikkit321 Posts: 1,485 Member
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    If working out in the morning makes you ravenous, what if you worked out in the evening, and then had your dinner? You could even save some calories during the day and have a larger dinner.
  • firef1y72
    firef1y72 Posts: 1,579 Member
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    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    pondee629 wrote: »
    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    pondee629 wrote: »
    "Harder to reach a calorie deficit when working out?" NO. It takes the same discipline and dedication to keep you calorie intake in check whether you're working out or not. Since you're burning more calories working out, and can, therefore, eat more, it should be easier. If it was easy, we would all be in great shape.

    Anecdotally that's just not true. A few years ago, I lost 10-15 lbs by having 1200-1300 calories a day with very light exercise (30 minutes of strength training including warmup and cooldown). That was MUCH easier than trying to have 1600 calories a day with 60-75 minutes of high intensity exercise and walking 15,000 steps a day. The calorie deficit theoretically isn't that different but it's much harder with exercise.

    For YOU, perhaps.

    Yes, and that's why I shared this, so I could see if other people have had the same experience. Have you tried dieting while working out vigorously for 10+ hours a week?

    I average 3 hours a day and am currently losing the weight I put on while marathon training (I deliberately ate at a slight surplus during that training). I've got a modest deficit set, and as long as I make choices that are good (for me) have little issues with hunger. It did feel strange to actually wake up hungry in the morning as I was eating 4000 Calories a day before starting to cut and then dropped down to <3000, but a big breakfast soon sorted that out and I'm enjoying not eating for the sake of it.
    Anyhow for me intense cardio actually supresses my appetite, I struggle to eat after high intensity classes. But a long (2hr+) steady run will leave me ravenous for at least 24 hours.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,382 Member
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    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    So here's another thought that's kind of out there. When I look at my macros, I usually get enough protein and fat but I'm usually low on carbs. Like usually I'm at around 40% carbs and MFP says to have 50% carbs. A trainer at EQX told me to have more carbs and I kind of brushed it off.

    Maybe since I'm always trying to eat healthy foods (protein shakes, salads, eggs etc.), I'm getting enough calories (or more than enough for my goals) but my body still wants more carbs! The reason I'm saying this is because I had a bagel today after my morning run and instead of feeling the feared rise and fall in my blood sugar, I feel more satiated than I felt in a while, like I finally got it out of my system. I think if I had a protein shake after my run with the same amount of calories, I would still be hungry and wondering what I could eat (in fact, yesterday I had a relatively low-cal smoothie after my workout and ended up having 1800 calories for the day, whereas today I had an even higher intensity workout and I think I can get away with 1600 calories for the day). Does this make sense at all or could it just be a coincidence?

    Repeat the experiment and see. Certainly, some people do seem to need carbs to feel satiated. It's not the most common pattern, but it's true for some. Maybe you're one of them. As long as you don't truly low-ball protein or fats below nutritional needs, more carbs is fine.
  • joyoakey
    joyoakey Posts: 22 Member
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    I find increasing protein with a protein powder drink really helps me feel less hungry. In fact, I have to drink it after exercising, because it makes me feel too full to run. A high protein, lower carb diet helps keep weight down too.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,382 Member
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    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    So here's another thought that's kind of out there. When I look at my macros, I usually get enough protein and fat but I'm usually low on carbs. Like usually I'm at around 40% carbs and MFP says to have 50% carbs. A trainer at EQX told me to have more carbs and I kind of brushed it off.

    Maybe since I'm always trying to eat healthy foods (protein shakes, salads, eggs etc.), I'm getting enough calories (or more than enough for my goals) but my body still wants more carbs! The reason I'm saying this is because I had a bagel today after my morning run and instead of feeling the feared rise and fall in my blood sugar, I feel more satiated than I felt in a while, like I finally got it out of my system. I think if I had a protein shake after my run with the same amount of calories, I would still be hungry and wondering what I could eat (in fact, yesterday I had a relatively low-cal smoothie after my workout and ended up having 1800 calories for the day, whereas today I had an even higher intensity workout and I think I can get away with 1600 calories for the day). Does this make sense at all or could it just be a coincidence?

    Another thought:

    Maybe I'm reading too much into your choice of phrasing, but it sounds like you're saying healthy foods have driven out carbs from your eating. Carbs aren't unhealthy, though - bagels aren't bad, but if you think that's not your best choice, there are other carb options like fruit, whole grains (oatmeal, say), etc.
  • NicoleHaki
    NicoleHaki Posts: 55 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    NicoleHaki wrote: »
    So here's another thought that's kind of out there. When I look at my macros, I usually get enough protein and fat but I'm usually low on carbs. Like usually I'm at around 40% carbs and MFP says to have 50% carbs. A trainer at EQX told me to have more carbs and I kind of brushed it off.

    Maybe since I'm always trying to eat healthy foods (protein shakes, salads, eggs etc.), I'm getting enough calories (or more than enough for my goals) but my body still wants more carbs! The reason I'm saying this is because I had a bagel today after my morning run and instead of feeling the feared rise and fall in my blood sugar, I feel more satiated than I felt in a while, like I finally got it out of my system. I think if I had a protein shake after my run with the same amount of calories, I would still be hungry and wondering what I could eat (in fact, yesterday I had a relatively low-cal smoothie after my workout and ended up having 1800 calories for the day, whereas today I had an even higher intensity workout and I think I can get away with 1600 calories for the day). Does this make sense at all or could it just be a coincidence?

    Another thought:

    Maybe I'm reading too much into your choice of phrasing, but it sounds like you're saying healthy foods have driven out carbs from your eating. Carbs aren't unhealthy, though - bagels aren't bad, but if you think that's not your best choice, there are other carb options like fruit, whole grains (oatmeal, say), etc.

    Yeah I think that's a fair characterization. I think I'll try to do that. Thanks!