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Please settle a dispute: which is more important, your diet or working out when it comes to losing weight?

I've read that diet is most of it. I've read this EVERYWHERE. My husband and I are on opposite sides because he can workout and lose 10 pounds in a week. now I'm wondering myself.

Wed. May 3, 12:32pm

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I really think it depends on the person. For some they see better results by dieting and others have more success with exercise.

I am the later. I can diet til the cows come home and see only grudging results, however if I add even a moderate 1/2 hr of exercise the pounds just melt off. However I have a very good friend who is most definitely the former. She has lost nearly 40 pounds and all through diet with not much extra in the way of activity (although she is more active because she likes to go out more now).

I do not think, on an individual basis, that there is a definitive answer to that question. But that's my 2 cents so take it for what it's worth.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 12:48 PM

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These go hand in hand-- you can loose weight by dieting simply by limiting the amount of calories needed to sustain your current weight. If you consume excess calories you will gain weight....sound familiar? If you diet only without exercise it will only get you so far before it becomes unhealthy or you hit a plateau. When you exercise you increase your metabolism, burning more calories over a shorter period of time.

Be careful-- I know everyone wants to loose weight quickly, but do it the right way. If you are reducing your caloric intake excessively your body with store all calories consumed no matter how much exercise you do. The best book I have found that does a good job at breaking down how many calories you should consume based on your activity level is 3 Steps to Weight Loss by
Lawrence J. Cheskin. Check it out- it's going for $.01 on ebay right now :)

Also, check out the link- it's just one study that was done about weight loss/management.

Hope this helped. Good luck!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 1:12 PM

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ever notice how some people do well on atkins while others don't? Why some people can be healthy vegetarians, and others get sick on a vegetarian diet? Simple fact is there is NO cookie cutter diet that works for everyone the same. We all have individual bio chemistry. Not everyone does well on redmeat, dairy, or grains. You and your husband could be eating the same, but the diet could be doing his body good, your body bad.

Even with exercise, intense cardio can result in different hormonal reactions with some people. Ever notice some people need to go for a run to relax, some need to meditate?

Fact is your husband may be doing what works for him, while you still need to find what works for you.

(For the record, I need both a lot of exercise, and a proper diet. I work under stressful conditions, and i need to run to relax. No running, no big wieghtloss.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 1:42 PM

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 1:47 PM

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I believe that diet is 85% of weight loss. You could never exercise and lose alot of weight just by eating right.

Now, if you are talking being healthy and being toned...that's a whole different story.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 1:50 PM

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Diet is definitely at least 70 - 80% of weight loss. Do the research - it's there! You can work out all the time but if you're not eating right, you'll just build muscle under your fat and make yourself look fatter. But I agree with the last poster, it depends on whether you're looking to lose a lot of weight or looking to get toned up. When you have lost the majority of your weight, then to get toned you need to add in the exercise but STILL watch your diet.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 1:53 PM

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The reason your husband can lose 10 pounds by working out is probably because his diet is more balanced in the first place. And men and women are different when it comes to weight loss, we all know that. You are right, it's diet.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 1:53 PM

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I just got a lecture on this from my personal trainer. I was complaining that I was not loosing any weight and his response was to ask me what else I'm doing besides working out with him. Am I being careful with what I'm eating? He said it's a combo of all these that will result in meeting my weight loss goals as well as just generally becoming a healthier person. I was finding I was rewarding myself with not so healthy meal options because I felt I was working out hard - I'm now finding that is definitely NOT the right approach. Baby steps I guess...

Men are always the lucky ones and can loose weight a bit faster - however doesn't necessarily mean they are being healthier.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 1:58 PM

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either one. but if you're to maintain your weight loss, diet alone won't cut it. if you don't exercise and build your muscles, the minute you go off the diet (diet alone decreases your muscle mass hence slower metabolism) you'll start gaining your weight back. Unless you're committed to eating microscopic boring meals your whole life - you could stick with diet alone.

the reason some people who constantly exercise don't lose weight, is that they either a) eat more (exercising increases your appetite); b) don't exercise enough or eat too much to create any caloric deficit. You also have to remember that when you lose weight, your caloric needs decrease, so you have to cut your daily food intake, i.e. diet, otherwise you'd be stuck at the weight you're.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 2:44 PM

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First of all, the 10 pounds your husband is loosing in a week is most likely water weight. Loosing 10 pounds in ONE WEEK is ridiculous and not healthy.

Second, it is a matter of calories in vs. calories out. 3500 = one pound, no matter how you slice it. You could eat 3500 cals less and loose a pound, or you could burn 3500 calories and loose a pound (if your diet stayed the same). OR you could eat fewer calories AND exercise to loose the pound.

Combo is best.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 3:19 PM

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Diet is 80%

Diet is the most important. Its the front line of losing weight.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 4:11 PM

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Both! Why is this even a dispute? Different things work for different people but I think for most people it is some of both!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 4:34 PM

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I have found from life experience that diet makes the biggest difference. I used to exercise 4-5 days a week for an hour and easily make up those calories by eating whatever I wanted. Only when I started cutting back calories did I start losing weight. But, it's much easier to maintain now with exercise to build muscle and make up for little splurges now and again. And my body is very healthy because of the exercise!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 4:36 PM

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exercise, then diet

For me, exercise was a big component of the initial weight loss (and I think brought my metabolism back up), but diet is what has helped with maintenance and more gradual weight loss. If I hadn't figured out the eating habits, I would have gained it back, cause you can't keep up heavy exercise forever, week in and week out. But it certainly was important, esp at the beginning. Critical, I would say.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 9:57 PM

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Really, if you cut calories for a deficit of 3500 a week, whether it's by wroking it off, or by just eating less, that will lead to weight loss.

Too few calories or too much exercise can be counter-productive. You need to eat the proper amount for the weight you are aiming for!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 11:02 PM

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you can lose weight by dieting . . .

you can lose weight by exercising . . .

but w/ dieting alone, you will plateau much faster because you body will think it is starving after awhile and your metabolism will slow down to a craw.

when you exercise you build muscle which will speed up your metabolism (even if you haven't changed your eating habits at all) since muscle needs more energy every day than fat does.

now when you combine a healthy, lower calorie diet w/ exercise . . .you win!!! why do just one when you can reap the benefits of both?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 11:03 PM

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Oh, and another thing. If you fill up with empty calories. i.e sugars, fats, things ladew with lots of chemicals, etc. I'm sure your body may have a harder time processing it vs. good fruits & veggies and lean protein, whole grains, etc.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006, 11:04 PM

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when someone says "working out" I think of weight/strenght training...
when someone says "exercise" i think of cardio/aerobic sort of things.

for weight loss, I think its a combo of diet and exercise. exercise will increase your heart rate, and step up your metabolism, which will help you burn calories, which will help you lose weight.

working out, using weights, can do this too, but at the same time it's building on your muscles, and muscle increase can mean weight gain. muscle weighs more than fat.

what has worked for me is a healthy diet. watching what I eat, making sure I eat often, and exercising. I've been doing a lot of walking. I try to get 2 hrs of walking in a day, and it's really helped me.
good luck!

Thursday, May 04, 2006, 6:45 AM

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I have to agree with a poster above...i have to start exercising first, then the diet changes seem to happen naturally. i'm sure the diet changes are having the bigger impact, overall, but i need exercise to kick start it all.

Thursday, May 04, 2006, 8:52 AM

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I definately see the pounds drop when I am dieting. But I feel better when I am working out. I also look better because I am more toned. I think diet and exercise need to go together. I sometimes read Oxygen magazine, which is focused on muscle building, but even there they say diet is just as important as weight trainig. I don't think you can really get the results you want by just doing one or the other.

Thursday, May 04, 2006, 9:18 AM

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i read somewhere that there was a study that looked at 3 groups - diet only, exercise only, and both. the "both" group lost weight the fastest. the exercise only group lost the slowest but kept it off the longest. why? when the "both" group quit one area, they quit doing the other too. when the diet only people got to their desired weight, the quit dieting and gained it back. when the exercise only people got to their desired weight, they continued to exercise because it was a maintainable lifestyle change.

Thursday, May 04, 2006, 5:55 PM

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Diet and excercise definitely go together. The quality of what you put into your body makes a big difference. I found a great nutritional program last summer. I lost 14 lbs in the first 9 days and went on to lose a total of 40 lbs in 3 months. I'm still on the maintanence phase of the program and feel absolutely great. Now I'm starting to excercise. If you're interested check out the link.


Sunday, May 07, 2006, 2:22 AM

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both for me

Sunday, May 07, 2006, 9:38 AM

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You can't gain what you don't eat

Sunday, May 07, 2006, 10:02 AM

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My recent experience is that working out is helping me 100% to lose. But I have already lost a lot and working out helped me over a plateau.

Monday, May 08, 2006, 9:01 AM

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Marathon training is totally different - when you train for a marathon or other long-distance, endurance type of event, you train your body in opposite direction of weight loss - you teach your body to go by by very little food, i.e. slowing down metabolism.

Like you said, you overate your caloric expenditure. If you stayed on the same caloric intake as before training for the marathon, you would've lost weight. It's a simple calories-in, calories out equation.

Monday, May 08, 2006, 12:44 PM

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i find more success with exercising, but i have not really changed my "diet" for many years. when i don't exercise, the weight really adds on fast, but then simply working out every day can help me drop those pounds pretty fast.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 12:38 PM

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changes to both diet and exercise are equally important

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 2:49 PM

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I think excercise is the key to long term weight loss but to me you must do both. If your eating way too many calories the amount you need to excercise to get in shape would burn you out very quickly. If your dieting without the excercise your only going to accomplish part of your goal, cause you can tell thin people who aren't in shape their body still looks flabby so your still not likely to be happy once you've hit your goal if you haven't used any excercise.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 4:59 PM

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Do you think the dispute is settled? LOL

Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 2:20 AM

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For me its definitely working out. I am eating healthy also, but that's more to speed the process along. In highschool, I ate whatever I wanted and lost 30 lbs., but I was much more active........and having to participate in PE 5 days a week helped a lot. Now I have to workout, or the weight will keep coming on.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 1:07 PM

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I think that if you change your diet and lower the calories, then you will lose weight no matter what, but if you exercise and don't change your calorie consuption you might not lose weight.

Your body is always burning calories when you just sit there, but to add some movement only burns more calories....they are both important but I think that Diet is mroe important.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 1:17 PM

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For me it is diet! I am not bvery good at excersicing. For some strsnge reason ,when I excersied alot I didn't do to well that week. Right now I am working on the food maybe later I will do better with the excersize

Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 4:34 PM

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For me, exercise was critical. Diet has been helpful to maintain, and also to feel healthier. But exercise is the big one for me. Dieting may give more dramatic results in the short term, but exercise helps with the big longterm loss. Have to watch what you're eating when you exercise though, or you'll eat much more and undo the benefits.

Thursday, September 21, 2006, 10:58 AM

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Has anyone tried a long period of serious exercise and NOT become more fit (perhaps not dramatic weight loss per se, but more muscle and less fat is what counts) -- maybe its just too hard for people to keep up consistently....

Thursday, September 21, 2006, 10:59 AM

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For me it's exercise. I am eating a lot healthier these days, but exercise is really key. When I am vigorous exercising 5-6 times per week, I lose weight. When I'm not, I don't. From reading the posts, it sounds like people are different.

I know the mantra re a calorie is a calorie, but that point has never seemed to accurately predict my weight loss, gain or maintenance (not to mention which clothes do or do not fit).

Thursday, September 21, 2006, 11:02 AM

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You lose the most weight when you combine both a good diet and exercise! Doing one or other by itself will not have long lasting weightloss effects.

Thursday, September 21, 2006, 11:18 AM

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Both for me also!

Thursday, September 21, 2006, 11:27 AM

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Calories in - Calories out

If you take in more calories than you burn, you gain.
If you burn more caloreis than you take in, you lose.

More exercise = More calories out
DIeting = Less calories in

So... it's either or both. What works best for you is the one that you can manage to make the biggest difference between what you take in and what you burn.

Thursday, September 21, 2006, 12:37 PM

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they are equally important


Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 9:08 PM

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Both here too.

I usually find a bigger calorie deficit in dieting, but without exercise my metabolism would crash. Also, psychologically, if I work out I'm more likely to eat right because I don't want to undo all my hard work.

Either way, both are important for a healthy lifestyle. Your body NEEDS exercise to prevent diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure, and your body NEEDS a healthy diet to prevent diseases like cancer.

Even if you reach your goal you want to keep both of these things in your life.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 10:31 AM

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I think they are equally important. I think if you just focus on diet, your body might end up looking awkward, i.e. loose skin and the like. I did both and my body seemed to bounce back nicely. I have an aunt who has lost 50 pounds through diet only and her skin is sagging all over the place. It looks awful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 11:45 AM

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As someone who struggles with binge eating, its my food plan, not exercise that determines if I'll lose weight. I cannot exercise enough to counteract a binge that may equal ingesting a couple thousand calories in one sitting.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 12:20 PM

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For me it is both but more on the exercise side. If I do not do some sort of matter what it riding, walking, Curves workout, walk video, something...I will not lose weight no matter what I eat or don't eat throughout the day. I can "over eat" my calorie intake for the day and exercise and still lose weight. Now mind you, I can't do this on a daily basis and still lose, but about 1 day a week I can.

I think they go hand in hand for most people...all people are different though.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 4:46 PM

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I believe we need a healthy balance in everything...but the order of importance is generally accepted as:
1 - nutrition
2 - strength training
3 - cardio

Wednesday, June 24, 2009, 6:24 PM

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Thursday, June 25, 2009, 12:29 AM

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Diet 80% - exercise 20%.

If you are a normal dieter and exerciser. Of course if you do lots and lots of exercise, it could be different.

Thursday, June 25, 2009, 10:01 AM

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Agree - diet.

Thursday, June 25, 2009, 10:02 AM

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Diet. Doesn't it take about 3 twenty minutes episodes on the elliptical to burn off one snicker? So sad.

Sunday, June 28, 2009, 12:27 AM

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Men sweat

Men sweat copiously when they exercise, much more than women; it's easy for a man to drop 10 lbs. but it's water not fat. Diet and exercise work together for real weight loss over time. Slow and steady wins the race.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 9:55 AM

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Men sweat? Did I miss somthing? :)

I'm a woman and I sweat my A** off when I workout!

Men also have more testosterone and more muscle mass = advantage to losing weight. Which is not an excuse for women, however. We just have to work with what we've got. Just b/c my husband can drop weight over the weekend by not eating his usual dessert, it has nothing to do with me! I just have to do what I've got to do. And for me, the biggest focus has to be on my DIET.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 1:54 PM

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Diet for the quick impact, Exercise for the long run

Diet can do it, but unless you want t diet forever, exercise has to become an element. I's sure its been said already, but once more can't hurt....

If you exercise, you burn more calories and can eat more calories without gaining weight.

If you build your muscle mass, you burn more calories so can eat more calories without gaining weight. But you have to maintain that muscle mass which yes... means exercise.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 3:18 PM

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Diet = what you eat, not to be a temporary fix

I believe in exercise and exercise regularly, so it's just a part of my life. When it comes time to lose some weight, changing my eating habits (addressing my diet) is a must.

Someone can consult with the best trainer in the world and exercise regularly and still not lose weight b/c of their eating. That's why I vote eating habits as being more important. And my eating habits (diet) are for the rest of my life, so that's okay with me.

I believe research shows that exercise keeps people on the wagon when it comes to maintaining good eating habits.

Monday, June 29, 2009, 3:44 PM

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