What's more important to lose weight - diet or exercise?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by cafwen, Jun 26, 2016.


Which is more important - exercise or diet?

  1. Diet

    88 vote(s)
  2. Exercise

    22 vote(s)
  3. Definitely both!

    194 vote(s)
  1. cafwen

    cafwen New Member

    It sounds like a simple answer of 'both', but I was wondering what people have actually found themselves when trying to lose weight (and let's face it - the vast majority of us have been there!) - has changing your diet or increasing your exercise level helped you more? Personally, I have managed to lose a fair deal of weight (10kgs, which is about 22 pounds) by changing to a low-fat vegan diet, but it looks like if I want to get rid of the last few stubborn pounds I will have to start exercising as well. Sigh. What have other readers found? Also make sure to check out this great infographic which actually breaks down the science behind successful weight loss.
  2. Hex23

    Hex23 New Member

    For me, diet is more important than exercise.

    The logic behind it is that every time you eat healthy, your metabolism improves which helps your body digest easily therefore, reduces the chance increasing your weight. The weight that will be added to you is just the body's requirement for you to live properly.

    However, exercising without observing proper diet will only burn the calories intake of eating more unhealthy food which does not allow to burn more fats stored in your body.

    While doing both is the best way to lose weight, this will be very difficult if you have no discipline.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  3. Christelle12

    Christelle12 New Member

    All around you'll hear the motto 'Losing weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise'. Which I think is true. No matter how much you exercise if you're not eating the right amount of calories, you won't be burning off the necessary amount of calories from exercises properly. All you would be burning off is the excess calories you weren't supposed to take in.
    Andrew Leith and Christy Ann like this.
  4. stef015

    stef015 New Member

    Hi cafwen, Yes, I do think you need a combination of both. Exercise does not require such a great effort, unless you have a lot of fat to get rid of. Swimming, a brisk walk or exercising on a bicycle can be quite pleasant. I include a green smoothie with some aloe vera gel which I am sure keeps the fat off.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  5. brittxxbabe25

    brittxxbabe25 New Member

    Not to say that exercising isn't important, but what you're putting into your body is definitely more important. You can exercise all day everyday, but if you're still fueling your body with junk, you aren't going to see any changes. For example, you can lift the heaviest weights, but if you aren't giving your body enough protein, you aren't going to be building much muscle and a lot of that weightlifting will have been for naught. Another example is if you are running everyday, but you're still eating a diet that is high in fat, you're likely going to be consuming more calories than you are burning. As the saying goes, "abs are made in the kitchen!"
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  6. CarlosTL

    CarlosTL New Member

    Diet. You're literally what you eat. Exercise if of course very important and get speed up the process and/or get in you better shape, but you need to do it right. Repeating the same exercise over months and months (as in treadmill running) is seldom effective because you're body ends up adapting, so alternating and switching exercises is also key.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  7. Jekaterina Maslova

    Jekaterina Maslova New Member

    I think both are equally important. I mean, if you eat healthy but do no exercise at all your body will be tired and weak. If you choose to work out and then eat burgers and junk then you'll never achieve your perfect body goals. I just try to keep mine in balance, some vegetables in my diet and less sugar and a lot of working out!
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  8. hellen maina

    hellen maina New Member

    exercise is the best as it make one flexible........sometime diet are misused
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  9. techteacher511

    techteacher511 New Member

    I really think diet is more important. If you can do both successfully, and have the time to get in some exercise, then it's even better, however, you are what you eat. Keeping a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and plenty of fresh clean water will keep your body healthy and strong.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  10. Allegro

    Allegro New Member

    Both are important, but diet is more important. Although rather than "diet" I think the best way to see it is as a lifestyle change. Going on a diet and then eating junk after you're done will cause you to gain your weight back and sometimes more.

    It is possible to lose weight with a healthier diet if you don't exercise. It's how I lost a significant amount of weight until I discovered the joy of cardio. If you want your body to run well, you need to eat well. If you're filling your body with junk every day and still exercising, chances are you are not going to be exercising enough to burn it off.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  11. Gina24

    Gina24 New Member

    The most important thing is to eat 3 meals of healthy foods daily. Drink lots of water as well. This is very important. Try to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes 3 days a week, more days if possible. If you do this the weight will come off.
  12. Kae-Dee

    Kae-Dee New Member

    I have been working out all my life running and swimming. The most efficient thing to do to lose weight is to eat well. If you don't have a proper diet and only exercise, you might not see any results! A well-balaced diet is the key to shed off a few pounds. Try to avoid as much as possible sugar and fat because it will accelerate how fast you lose those extra few pounds. I see so many people that go on a treadmill for half hour and then go straight for french fries or a chocolate bar instead of opting for a baked potato or an apple. I know it doesn't sound as tempting but having good-eating habits is one step forward to success. Exercise will help you to lose weight more rapidly but it will not do the job by itself as I mentioned before. The best exercise to incresse your chance to lose weight is a HITT (high intensity level training). It will burn mega calories and fat in no time. Therefore, by eating and exercising properly, you should hit your goal in no time :)
  13. jaaayyy

    jaaayyy New Member

    Both are important when trying to lose weight. I think your eating habits tend to be a little more important for most people and some people can lose weight simply by changing their eating habits. But to lose weight effectively and healthily you should exercise as well. I don't agree with crash diets or any of those crazy fads because it's all about long-lasting, lifestyle changes, so that when you lose the weight you can keep it off.
  14. abs_14

    abs_14 New Member

    I've been dieting and exercising for 6 months now, and even though I would be considered new to it, my general understanding of it is in order to lose weight and keep it off you have to make sustainable changes to your eating habits. The only way I could have ever lost 33 lbs is through counting calories aka dieting. That being said, exercise isn't bad by any means and helps your body become healthier and fitter both emotionally and physically. However, exercise won't cause weight loss by itself. Weight loss only occurs if you're eating less calories than your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure.) So in short, dieting is far more important than exercise if you're planning to lose weight, but exercise doesn't hurt your body at all (unless you're doing it wrong!) Both.
  15. karleehubble

    karleehubble New Member

    Both diet and exercise are both key factors in losing weight. If I had to choose a "more important" one, it would probably be diet. A few years ago I had a terrible diet where I was not getting enough macronutrients but I was exercising at the gym about 5 days a week. I was not getting the results that I wanted so of course I got a little discouraged because I though all of my time in the gym was getting me nowhere. The only time I saw results was when I saw a nutritionist and changed up my diet to meet the macronutrient values that I needed.
  16. SkyrraSsorc

    SkyrraSsorc New Member

    Both diet and exercise are important if you want to lose weight. Mostly, it comes down to math: 1 pound is 2500 calories. That means you have to burn 3500 calories to lose 1 pound. If you cut your diet from 2000 calories a day to 1500 calories a day, you will lose 1 pound in 7 days (500 * 7 = 3500). If you exercise and burn 350 calories a day, you will lose a pound in 10 days (350 * 10 = 3500). If you do both, however, you will lose almost 1 pound every 4 days (850 * 4 = 3400). This si what I did when I lost 85 pounds, and what I continue to do to maintain my weight for the last two years. Diet, exercise, and water are the most important elements for losing weight.
  17. girlikecupcake

    girlikecupcake New Member

    For me, it comes down to diet. It's much easier for me to simply not eat a 200 kcal snack item than it is to burn off 200 kcal working out. It's unrealistic to expect to burn that same amount in the gym if you only allot yourself an hour and have poor stamina (like many who are starting a new routine).

    Unfortunately, many people have the mindset that they can eat that 200 kcal snack, then just go work out for additional time to 'make up for it,' when in reality they'll fall short, or eat more snacks after working out because by that point, they're hungry and likely craving carbs.
  18. mhague15

    mhague15 New Member

    A great quote I know is "diet is 80% what you eat & 20% by excercise". I believe this to be true. My mother has struggled with her weight for awhile. She had been going to the gym but had only lost 2 pounds in 4 months. She was completely frustrated. After thinking about things she decided to change up her diet by eating more whole foods. After only 2 months she had lost 30 pounds all because she changed what she was eating.
  19. AlbertTwain

    AlbertTwain New Member

    Gina24, I assume you are not in the health industry; however, it is OK because very few are. Even those who are educated and experienced in the industry rarely agree, completely, on this subject. I majored in Nutrition and competed as a bodybuilder. I learned there is no "most important thing" when it comes to losing weight with diet and exercise. From a high-level view, first, you should assess your current health situation and determine your goal(s). The path you take from the beginning is unique to every individual. (After my body-fat drops below 6%, I have to eat 6-8 meals per day to continue losing fat...)
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  20. AlbertTwain

    AlbertTwain New Member

    Congratulations on the weight loss and going to a nutritionist (instead of a celebrity) for guidance. I've found the only way to change the results is to understand how I got to that point. I kept a food diary with everything I ate and the corresponding kcals, carbs/sugar, protein, total fat, and saturated fat. I had predetermined goals each day for the % of total kcals each day that came from each macronutrient. I would adjust the ratios and/or exercise program if my expected results were unsatisfactory.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  21. AlbertTwain

    AlbertTwain New Member

    You are right! Garbage in = Garbage out. People would ask me when I was bodybuilding for exercises that would give them abs like mine. I, always, answered they probably need to change their diet; it's 90% diet and 20% exercise. ;-)
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  22. sadaf anis

    sadaf anis New Member

    I agree with both, diet and exercise. Diet doesn't mean to skip meals but to eat healthy food like vegetables, eggs, poultry, dairy products etc and to avoid fried food and junk food like burgers pizza broast. While exercise is also important to loose wait. daily exercise in the morning burn calories plus walking after half an hour of every meal also help in quick digestion and prevents weight gain.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  23. Emma Ruth Nagano

    Emma Ruth Nagano New Member

    In my opinion, both are necessary for weight loss. You need to work out more if you eat more. You can work out less if you eat less. They should be balanced because you can't lose your weight while eating the whole turkey with a little exercise. I suggest to do both if you want the process to be faster. I also went through this when I stopped working out but ate less. Now, despite the diet, I still gained just a bit of weight especially in my tummy.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  24. shawnie

    shawnie New Member

    Diet and exercise should form part of any sensible weight loss plan. If I have to choose, however, I would say diet is the more important part. By controlling the type and amount of food that we take in, we can actually lose weight safely even without exercise. To accelerate weight loss, stock up on foods that raise the metabolism naturally. These include whole grains, lentils, green tea, quinoa, and black beans. On the other than, It would be very difficult to lose weight if you're just exercising without minding your diet.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  25. tejus khanna

    tejus khanna New Member

    Both of them are equally important for losing weight. One should burn equal the amount he/she intakes. A person suffering from obesity faces lot of problems during some phase of life. so its very important to have balanced diet along with regular exercise. No meal should b skipped as every meal has its own significance rather control on diet should be implemented. Exercise also plays vital role in maintaining weight. 90 minutes of daily exercise is recommended by dietitians for healthy body.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  26. Jessica Flowers

    Jessica Flowers New Member

    I think both are really important. However, diet may be a little more important because I believe you can eat a limited number of calories and still lose weight. For example, the Lose It app gives you a certain calorie allotment for the day based on your weight loss goals. It's very accurate and you'll lose the weight if you just adhere to the calories allowed each day. If you overeat or want to eat more, you can log those calories and eat some of them back.
    Andrew Leith likes this.
  27. Lauren Espejo

    Lauren Espejo New Member

    I agree that you need both diet and exercise to lose weight. I would say that it is 80% diet and 20% exercise and genes.
  28. Bankaimaster

    Bankaimaster Member

    Diet is definitely very important because weight gain and loss is determined a lot by the properties of the food you eat. I cut off soda and lost 7 pounds doing that alone over 2 weeks. I also started eating more seafood, in particular Japanese cuisine. That helped a lot also. Exercise helps burn energy and tone the body so the two work hand in hand really well.
  29. drcamacho

    drcamacho New Member

    I believe that without a proper diet, exercising want improve you physically. I believe that exercise is important for internal organ health. I think that if someone is regularly working out, that they should be inclined to eat healthier. Personally I try to have a healthier diet when I am working out so that I can see better results. Everyone has a different reason for working out. I believe the answer to your question would depend on the person's "why" for working out.
  30. EscapetheDiet

    EscapetheDiet New Member

    As my username suggests I don't really care for the term 'diet' so of course I'm going to have to go with 'exercise' if I had to choose one of the above mentioned choices.
    But as 'Allegro' put it above, a 'lifestyle change' in the way you eat would actually be more important than exercise in most circumstances.
    My reasoning; as with 'Karleehubble' 's example above macros are very important. A shortage in any one of them (fats, carbs, proteins) for long enough can cause a whole host of health issues (my own experience and that of clients I took on can attest to that as can many medical books). Not to mention 'dieting' so to speak or making a lifestyle change, more accurately is as 'SkyrraSsorc' said above; 'comes down to math'. Almost anyone starting on their journey can do simple math. Now although 3500 calories per pound of fat is an estimate (as everyone is different) it still works as a starting point.
    But, as a Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach, if I were to answer the interpreted 'meaning' of your question I would say 'diet' is more important but as any other Personal Trainer or Nutritionist will tell you if you really want to meet your goals you have to do both.
    Disclaimer: I highly suggest consulting with your physician before beginning any fitness or diet program as each person is different.

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