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Diet vs Exercise - Which is more important and why?

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

  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,894 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.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,953 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.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 Member
    Why does it have to be one or the other?
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,581 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,
  • J72FIT
    J72FIT Posts: 5,932 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...
  • J72FIT
    J72FIT Posts: 5,932 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...
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,967 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.
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,581 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_randolph
    deputy_randolph Posts: 941 Member
    edited December 2020
    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.
  • breefoshee
    breefoshee 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.