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Diet vs Exercise - Which is more important and why?

RashadLavelleRashadLavelle Member Posts: 46 Member Member Posts: 46 Member
I used to think that it's 80% diet and the rest is exercise, but I'm starting to lean more towards, exercise being more important than diet. We all know that the SAD diet is the worse, that's a given. But many people are reaching their goals and reversing diseases from multiple types of diets and even fad diets. Honestly I believe that exercise is more beneficial than find a perfect diet, because there is no perfect diet. While most people can't seem to agree of which diet is the best, I think we can all agree that we need more activity in our lives. Your thoughts?
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Replies

  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,309 Member Member Posts: 7,309 Member
    Depends on the person, as well as "for what," as people have said.

    I find that for me exercise seems like it is more important, at least, as I tend to eat reasonably healthfully anyway, and for whatever reason when I'm exercising regularly, my diet seems to just naturally both improve and become more mindful (and that prevents me from overeating). Plus, I tend to have more consistency between how much I want to eat and how much I should eat. Also, exercise/activity makes a big difference for me in dealing with some of my mental struggles, and that again helps me not stress eat/overeat/eat mindfully.

    For weight loss, of course, especially if you have been eating non-mindfully or quite a bit too much, getting diet in check is going to be essential, but for sustainability and mindset, I find physical activity more important for me.
  • LGreenfield7LGreenfield7 Member Posts: 72 Member Member Posts: 72 Member
    This question reminds me of a comparison that I gave my brother once. What is more important the size of your engine (exercise) or the grade of fuel (food). If you want your engine to last as long as possible, you need high quality fuel. Does not matter the size. If you want race car performance you can get a big V8. fuel does not matter. However, if you want to get the most powerful and reliable car, you need both.

    If you are only going to invest in one, go for the long run and tweak your diet. You only get 100 years on this planet, you might as well invest the time into yourself. Don't eliminate one over the other and think that is going to make you happy.

    Remember, you can buy another engine if you treat it poorly. Once your body is done, that's it.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,072 Member Member Posts: 24,072 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    Depends on the person, as well as "for what," as people have said.

    I find that for me exercise seems like it is more important, at least, as I tend to eat reasonably healthfully anyway, and for whatever reason when I'm exercising regularly, my diet seems to just naturally both improve and become more mindful (and that prevents me from overeating). Plus, I tend to have more consistency between how much I want to eat and how much I should eat. Also, exercise/activity makes a big difference for me in dealing with some of my mental struggles, and that again helps me not stress eat/overeat/eat mindfully.

    For weight loss, of course, especially if you have been eating non-mindfully or quite a bit too much, getting diet in check is going to be essential, but for sustainability and mindset, I find physical activity more important for me.

    Yes, regular exercise is crucial for my mental health, and that's not dialed in I am far more likely to emotional eat or make choices that lead to overeating.
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,451 Member Member Posts: 10,451 Member
    Why does it have to be one or the other?
  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,589 Member Member Posts: 1,589 Member
    First, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    Second, for weight loss eating in a deficit is the only thing that will have you losing weight. Some people (myself included) use exercise as a tool so that we can eat more and maintain a deficit. My primary reason for exercise though is for health and NOT weight loss as you can’t out exercise a bad diet no matter how hard you try,
  • J72FITJ72FIT Member Posts: 5,801 Member Member Posts: 5,801 Member
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    First, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

    Second, for weight loss eating in a deficit is the only thing that will have you losing weight. Some people (myself included) use exercise as a tool so that we can eat more and maintain a deficit. My primary reason for exercise though is for health and NOT weight loss as you can’t out exercise a bad diet no matter how hard you try,

    Agree. It won't hurt results but IMO it's not the primary reason to do it...
  • JACKRABBITnotsoSLIMSJACKRABBITnotsoSLIMS Member Posts: 90 Member Member Posts: 90 Member
    So recently back in the gym, as I have done in the past. For me, the commitment to get up and work out drives my diet. Food goes from being a hobby or main source of enjoyment to a fuel and in a sense, a currency exchange. Simply speaking, since I spent 3 hours in the gym this morning, I am more inclined to eat a healthier meal with a focus on nutrition and calorie content then grabbing a burger and a six pack on the way home knowing it will just cancel out all the work I put in this morning.
  • J72FITJ72FIT Member Posts: 5,801 Member Member Posts: 5,801 Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    Personally I don't like to put arbitrary percentages on this or that. It's all connected.
    Diet.
    Exercise.
    Sleep.
    Stress management.
    Bring up the areas you lack, maintain the areas that you don't.

    Or of course improve...
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,451 Member Member Posts: 10,451 Member
    I'm not posting this as advice about what anybody should do, I'm posting to point out that peoples experiences are broader and more varied than what's available in this thread.

    A friend of a friend lost 40 pounds hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He was in the middle of the healthy weight range for his height when he left, and underweight when he finished. He wasn't trying to lose weight, he was trying not to. This is not an uncommon experience.
  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,589 Member Member Posts: 1,589 Member
    I'm not posting this as advice about what anybody should do, I'm posting to point out that peoples experiences are broader and more varied than what's available in this thread.

    A friend of a friend lost 40 pounds hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He was in the middle of the healthy weight range for his height when he left, and underweight when he finished. He wasn't trying to lose weight, he was trying not to. This is not an uncommon experience.

    Trail hiking with a pack that weighs 40 lbs for an extended period is a lot different than what most of us do for normal work outs. It’s not in the same realm...

    I live near the Appalachian trail and thousands of people hike the whole thing (over 1000 miles) each year. Every single one of them loses weight because that is a crazy level of activity for 4-6 months.

  • deputy_randolphdeputy_randolph Member Posts: 925 Member Member Posts: 925 Member
    So I don't think either is more important than the other...diet and exercise are 2 different facets of total health.

    Let me give you an example. My father is 71...had a horrible diet as long as I have known him (40 years), but had a highly physically active job in construction for many years.

    My dad was usually in decent shape, occasionally went through periods of being overweight, but would lose weight. He was generally pretty healthy and not on very many meds UNTIL his bad diet caught up with him last year....when he had to have quadruple bypass.

    Diet and exercise both impact health for better or worse.
    edited December 2020
  • breefosheebreefoshee Member Posts: 398 Member Member Posts: 398 Member
    If I work out a little, I find maintaining weight loss to be easy even if I am not eating exactly how I'd like.
    If I pair that with a calorie deficit, I feel good and I see the scale go down.
    If I work out like crazy doing a ton of cardio, I tend to overeat like crazy and just maintain.
    If I don't work out at all, I tend to maintain until I overeat-- then I gain.

    I think they are both important, but it is really relative to how you live what "percentages" will work for your goals.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 2,567 Member Member Posts: 2,567 Member
    Over 10 years doing this whole weight loss thing (and nine into maintenance), it's been my observation that you have to do both. Those doing only diet tend not to keep off the weight (and research backs that up, that among the 10% that keep off the weight, on average they workout almost an hour a day).

    I've known many that lose all the weight by working out more and not really changing their diet. But most of those folks end up (ironically) upping their calorie counts and putting most of the weight back on.

    I think you have to find balance of both.
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