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Diet vs Exercise - Which is more important and why?

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  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member
    I find the either/or conversation kind of misses the point.

    There are absolutely people who are active enough to make a huge difference for their TDEE. Because these people can meet their calorie goal on higher calories, it often looks like they're eating "whatever" because if you have a lot of calories, you can meet all your nutritional needs while still fitting in a couple of beers and some nachos after that long Saturday bike ride. But I think most of these people are eating plenty of nutrient dense foods because athletes -- even recreational ones -- want to feel good during activity and you can't do that unless you're also doing things like being well nourished (obligatory disclaimer: this seems to become more important with age too).

    For a sedentary person who is adding a few lower intensity sessions a week, the calories burnt are going to be more minimal and that meaningless "refuel" fun meal from the previous example may be the difference between them being in a deficit for the week or not. It's not that they have to choose between diet and exercise, it's that many sedentary people are not realistic about how many calories they're actually burning.

    If I'm sedentary, I need 1,460 calories to maintain and hitting my needs on that goal is more like a puzzle game that can be derailed by a plate of french fries. Bump my calories to 2,200 (like they are in the typical summer) and everything becomes easier. The principals are the same, but the logistics and daily reality feel totally different.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 45,143 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 45,143 Member
    You can't outrun a bad diet.
    Definition of a "bad" diet is subjective. I relish in junk food weekly and have been maintaining. For many a "bad" diet means no junk food.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 45,143 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 45,143 Member
    tsazani wrote: »
    Diet for health. Exercise for fitness. One can be fit and unhealthy.
    The same goes for being at a normal weight and unfit.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • glassyoglassyo Member Posts: 5,302 Member Member Posts: 5,302 Member
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    You can't outrun a bad diet.
    Definition of a "bad" diet is subjective. I relish in junk food weekly and have been maintaining. For many a "bad" diet means no junk food.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

    Sounds more like the diet from hell.

  • Sara3vegSara3veg Member Posts: 42 Member Member Posts: 42 Member
    For myself personally I found out that being more active has been more important for maintenance, than during my weight loss phase. First time through I lost a big chunk of weight with no extra exercise at all, (improved my health markers/corrected a health issue with just the weight loss). Started walking after I started transitioning into maintenance and its been very helpful to keep my mindset where it needs to be. Now I'm working on some 'pandemic weight creep' and I'm trying to make regular walks a thing again, (something I got away from over the past year). Being more active is part of my weight management plan-which I've now learned is something I actually have to keep doing to keep my weight in my maintenance range, go figure :p

    In hindsight I should have added the walking back when I was doing my initial weight-loss phase, to cement the habit. Live and learn.

    eta: OP, I just took a peek at your profile and wow, we've pretty much done the same thing lol :) I've experimented with just about every way of eating during my years of maintenance. From WFPB to a two years experiment with very low carb/carnivore (I was featured on Shawn Bakers website haha). Now I'm just working on finding a balance with all of it.
    edited June 1
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,442 Member Member Posts: 10,442 Member
    If exercise was a pill, it would be the most widely used medicine in history.
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