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Diet vs Exercise - Which is more important and why?

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  • sportygal1971sportygal1971 Member, Premium Posts: 55 Member Member, Premium Posts: 55 Member
    Nutrition!!!! You definitely need both, but you are what you eat. You eat 💩, well then...😁
    However if you are younger and mildly out of shape or overweight, you can most like kick butt w exercise.
    At the same time, nutrition sets the stage for life. I've always exercised, but the lapses in nutrition did the most damage
    N&E go hand in hand, but N are the thumbs!
  • sportygal1971sportygal1971 Member, Premium Posts: 55 Member Member, Premium Posts: 55 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
    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.

    But you can ruin the axel, frame, tires etc. by over exercising. (Been there, done that) so if you dont do the car maintenance (nutrition) you can blow out your engine. But I still like your analogy, because when you're young, the engine runs great and w regular maintenance you can still have a great engine 20-30 years. Lol my 20 year old Tacoma is in better shape than me!😁
  • tsazanitsazani Member Posts: 758 Member Member Posts: 758 Member
    Diet is far more powerful for weight loss vs exercise. So is a good night's sleep.

    Why? Insulin and stress hormones are the keys.
  • tuckerrjtuckerrj Member Posts: 1,446 Member Member Posts: 1,446 Member
    Take it from an old geezer, the best diet is, , , wait for it, , , a balanced diet. Yep, with protein, carbs, & fats in reasonable proportions. Meat, fish & poultry (or vegan protein sources) along with sufficient whole grains, fruits and vegetables, now THAT is the best diet. If you need to lose weight, eat at a deficit. If not, eat at maintenance. If you want to put on muscle mass, a slight surplus (usually of protein) works best. Take it from the guy that has tried nearly EVERY fad diet known to man.
    It is extremely difficult to "out exercise" a diet with too many excess calories. I can run a half marathon and barely burn enough calories to make up for a burger, fries & shake.
    edited January 16
  • gigius72gigius72 Member Posts: 183 Member Member Posts: 183 Member
    J. Fixx used to think like you.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,277 Member Member Posts: 24,277 Member
    tsazani wrote: »
    Diet is far more powerful for weight loss vs exercise. So is a good night's sleep.

    Why? Insulin and stress hormones are the keys.

    Without exercise, I don't get a good night's sleep.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,277 Member Member Posts: 24,277 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    Interesting focus on the topic - which was left open ended.

    I scanned through and there were a few comments of another focus but not that many and brief.

    Diet or exercise for mental & emotional well-being, which has bigger impact on you, and what nuances discovered?

    Exercise for mental & emotional well-being, for sure.

    And this drives better food choices.
  • jodibeth5744jodibeth5744 Member, Premium Posts: 67 Member Member, Premium Posts: 67 Member
    I think they’re both equally important.

    It’s important to keep your body moving to keep your heart strong.

    It’s also important to make your calorie choices nutritionally sound. Yes, calorie restriction will get you to your goal, and I’ve seen a lot of members who get to their goal while never eating a vegetable and keeping a lot of chemical laden junk in their diet. In the long run, it’s not great for the functionality of your body.

    I remember when the leader of the biggest loser had a heart attack, and the world was shocked because he was so fit. Afterwards he talked about re-examining his food choices and removing red meat from his diet.

  • nytrifisoulnytrifisoul Member Posts: 486 Member Member Posts: 486 Member
    +1 on both. If you rely soley on exercise, you are eventually going to wear your body down trying to burn off daily calories if not dieting. It might be no problem in your 20's-30's but i am now in my 40's and my body can't handle trying to burn off those extra 1500 calories every day. So i alternate diet days and exercise days.
  • nytrifisoulnytrifisoul Member Posts: 486 Member Member Posts: 486 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    +1 on both. If you rely soley on exercise, you are eventually going to wear your body down trying to burn off daily calories if not dieting. It might be no problem in your 20's-30's but i am now in my 40's and my body can't handle trying to burn off those extra 1500 calories every day. So i alternate diet days and exercise days.

    Burn off extra 1500 calories every day?

    Are you suggesting that is a deficit worthy of attempting?
    Or something else you think must be burned off?
    Or that you want eat daily 1500 cal above maintenance?

    That would effect the idea you'll wear your body out when you exercise when older - which is a great time for exercise especially if done younger as you get older.

    And it's eating less than you burn, whether that burn be from sedentary daily life, active daily life, sedentary daily life with exercise, active daily life with exercise, lots or little exercise, or any other combo.

    The only thing exercise does for diet is when you eat less than you burn - perhaps you get to eat what you might consider somewhat normal level you can sustain and adhere to.

    1500 above maintenance. That 6 pack of beer every night added up. Especially quality microbrews 250+ cals per bottle.

  • zamphir66zamphir66 Member Posts: 582 Member Member Posts: 582 Member
    If you forced me to choose one, I would say diet. Because you're food has such a bigger effect size on your outcome. Also, exercise is something you have to work into your life in one way or another, while eating is something you just have to do period. I.e., you can fall off the exercise wagon. You cannot fall off the eating wagon (not really).
  • 4Phoenix4Phoenix Member Posts: 206 Member Member Posts: 206 Member
    Diet for the weight loss win....however, physical exercise is a critical component for health/well being. I've witnessed people working out with dedication and high motivation but unable to harness their diet. Yes, there will be results, but the potential goals are lost. Of course most of us on this board incorporate both strategies to reach our vision of health and a kick-*kitten* body.
  • ndj1979ndj1979 Member Posts: 29,148 Member Member Posts: 29,148 Member
    Depends on your goals. IF you just want to lose weight and get to a healthy body weight then diet with minimal exercise is fine.

    If you want to lose weight, maintain muscle, and get to an optimal body fat % then it is going to be both ...
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 20,797 Member Member, Premium Posts: 20,797 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    +1 on both. If you rely soley on exercise, you are eventually going to wear your body down trying to burn off daily calories if not dieting. It might be no problem in your 20's-30's but i am now in my 40's and my body can't handle trying to burn off those extra 1500 calories every day. So i alternate diet days and exercise days.

    Burn off extra 1500 calories every day?

    Are you suggesting that is a deficit worthy of attempting?
    Or something else you think must be burned off?
    Or that you want eat daily 1500 cal above maintenance?

    That would effect the idea you'll wear your body out when you exercise when older - which is a great time for exercise especially if done younger as you get older.

    And it's eating less than you burn, whether that burn be from sedentary daily life, active daily life, sedentary daily life with exercise, active daily life with exercise, lots or little exercise, or any other combo.

    The only thing exercise does for diet is when you eat less than you burn - perhaps you get to eat what you might consider somewhat normal level you can sustain and adhere to.

    1500 above maintenance. That 6 pack of beer every night added up. Especially quality microbrews 250+ cals per bottle.

    If you ask me, anyone drinking 6 x 250 calorie beers every night is creating a bigger health problem ("wearing their body down" more) by doing that long term, than they would be by intelligently exercising 1500 calories worth daily (and fueling that adequately, even if losing weight, because that kind of deficit is only for people who are severely obese).

    I like double/triple/imperial IPAs just as much as the next li'l ol' lady (maybe more) - have some nice barrel aged stouts in my fridge right now that come in at 400+ calories a pint - but jeesh.

    And I say that from the perspective of age 65, not 40, BTW, and most of the year exercising 6 days a week (but not 1500 calories worth . . . not because I couldn't, and stay healthy, but because life balance is important, and 1500 calories of exercise is not how I want to budget my time).

    At 40, you are darned close to a child, in my world. Many of the folks I work out with are over 65. They're not doddering through it, either.
  • nytrifisoulnytrifisoul Member Posts: 486 Member Member Posts: 486 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    heybales wrote: »
    +1 on both. If you rely soley on exercise, you are eventually going to wear your body down trying to burn off daily calories if not dieting. It might be no problem in your 20's-30's but i am now in my 40's and my body can't handle trying to burn off those extra 1500 calories every day. So i alternate diet days and exercise days.

    Burn off extra 1500 calories every day?

    Are you suggesting that is a deficit worthy of attempting?
    Or something else you think must be burned off?
    Or that you want eat daily 1500 cal above maintenance?

    That would effect the idea you'll wear your body out when you exercise when older - which is a great time for exercise especially if done younger as you get older.

    And it's eating less than you burn, whether that burn be from sedentary daily life, active daily life, sedentary daily life with exercise, active daily life with exercise, lots or little exercise, or any other combo.

    The only thing exercise does for diet is when you eat less than you burn - perhaps you get to eat what you might consider somewhat normal level you can sustain and adhere to.

    1500 above maintenance. That 6 pack of beer every night added up. Especially quality microbrews 250+ cals per bottle.

    If you ask me, anyone drinking 6 x 250 calorie beers every night is creating a bigger health problem ("wearing their body down" more) by doing that long term, than they would be by intelligently exercising 1500 calories worth daily (and fueling that adequately, even if losing weight, because that kind of deficit is only for people who are severely obese).

    I like double/triple/imperial IPAs just as much as the next li'l ol' lady (maybe more) - have some nice barrel aged stouts in my fridge right now that come in at 400+ calories a pint - but jeesh.

    And I say that from the perspective of age 65, not 40, BTW, and most of the year exercising 6 days a week (but not 1500 calories worth . . . not because I couldn't, and stay healthy, but because life balance is important, and 1500 calories of exercise is not how I want to budget my time).

    At 40, you are darned close to a child, in my world. Many of the folks I work out with are over 65. They're not doddering through it, either.

    My point was that its easy to go over your maintenance calories just by drinking 4-6 beers. In my case, i choose to burn them off to either still loose weight, or stay at the weight i was. It was a wear on my body (mostly my knee's) from running. In hindsight, i wish i balanced both the diet, and exercise so i had less wear and tear.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,419 Member Member Posts: 7,419 Member
    This is why it's really individual. As I said upthread, for me exercise leads to eating more mindfully and better for a lot of reasons, so it's more important. However, back when I was obese and largely sedentary, I wasn't in shape to do that much exercise (and didn't have the time to walk for hours a day, although even then I walked a good amount), understanding how/why I was overeating and controlling that was the first and most significant thing I could do to actually lose, even though I also started on an exercise program (and think that was very important to the sustainability of my weight loss).

    However, at times (and not only when young) I have been a reasonably healthy weight and eating a pretty consistent maintenance level diet and felt like I was just stuck at a particular weight (yes, I know it's about cals), and rather than eating less or tracking cals I simply started to increase my exercise and lost weight. It's very possible to accidentally start eating more when increasing exercise, especially if one doesn't have a well-controlled diet, but IME for me if I'm eating mindfully at maintenance I can usually add exercise and lose because I am aware enough of my diet not to change it.

    The times I've regained weight it's been about becoming less active and not adjusting my eating and not about starting to eat way over what my prior maintenance had been. Of course, this can happen if one has an injury or becomes unable to do the exercise they were (and then one has to figure out how to adjust diet), but in my case it's not been that.
  • ajwindsoriiajwindsorii Member Posts: 18 Member Member Posts: 18 Member
    You can't outrun a bad diet.
  • gigius72gigius72 Member Posts: 183 Member Member Posts: 183 Member
    Exercise is excellent for health and it helps to lose weight. You burn some extra energy and increase metabolism speed, which will continue for some time after you finish work out.
    But the main thing is what you put in your mouth. Weight control-wise, and healthwise.
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