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RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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9/6/14 11:20 A

@ Deanna -- I AM over 40! Unless you were responding to the OP and not to me.

As for change of diet, I cut out a whole lot of junk food, but I don't have anything like a purist approach to eating. But I've cut out junk food before too for brief periods and gotten nowhere because the calorie reduction wasn't great enough to see anything on the scale over that time period and might not have been below maintenance at all. Same idea. To me it's the calorie restriction below maintenance that is the only key -- if you can't or won't do that (after factoring in any exercise you may do, whether it's a little or a lot (or none)), you can't expect to lose weight.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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9/6/14 11:18 A

@ Deanna -- I AM over 40! Unless you were responding to the OP and not to me.

As for change of diet, I cut out a whole lot of junk food, but I don't have anything like a purist approach to eating. But I've cut out junk food before too for brief periods and gotten nowhere because the calorie reduction wasn't great enough to see anything on the scale over that time period and might not have been below maintenance at all. Same idea.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,274
9/6/14 11:11 A

the notion of not being able to out exercise a bad diet comes from looking at the input vs the output. if you want to eat 1000 cals at mcdonald's it takes you, what ten minutes to get there? if you want to burn 1000 cals through exercise how long does that take? i can't name an exercise that's going to burn 1000 cals in ten minutes. from that standpoint it's always going to be easier to eat more calories than you burn. to burn calories you're limited by your size, your workout and the time you have to spend working out. to eat calories, particularly the sort of calories that constitute a bad diet, you're getting very nutrient dense choices that don't fill you up. it takes much less time and effort to eat the same amount of calories than it does to burn those calories.
the idea that you can't out exercise a bad diet doesn't mean it is absolutely impossible to do so, it means that it's not particularly sustainable long term for most people. most people don't have the time, energy, ability, knowledge or desire to keep up the kind of workouts that let them eat absolutely anything. yes, exercise can balance out a huge amount of calories IF you workout but you have to work out. and most people aren't working out on that level higher level, especially when they are starting out and walking a 20 minute mile is winding them. particularly for people currently quite overweight and new at all forms of exercise telling someone to just burn more calories working out so that they can eat what they want is a little like telling them they should have gone to law school so they could be a judge now. it's not something that is totally out of reach, but it's a long term goal and not something that they can just do tomorrow if they feel like it.

FOXGLOVE999 SparkPoints: (27,532)
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9/6/14 9:08 A

It also depends on what you consider a bad diet. I get the impression that some people diets have changed dramatically in order to lose weight. That's not so true for me. I credit a lot of my weight loss success with increased exercise. I'm aware that my level of exercise won't allow me to eat everything in sight, but I never did that anyway.

DEANNA0725 SparkPoints: (22,611)
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9/6/14 8:20 A

If only that was true once you get over 40!

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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9/6/14 7:39 A

Likewise. Those paired myths are so frustrating.

"I work out like a fiend, why can't I lose weight?" Answer: In most cases, because you are eating enough to keep up with everything you burn and then some. My father has seemed to believe his whole life that going on a great, long bike ride for 2 hours, then stopping on the way back for a muffin and sweetened, creamed coffee is going to help him manage his weight. Even though the bike ride burns probably 800 or so calories and the muffin and coffee must total more like 1000. And personally I spent years upon years thinking that if I could just get up off my butt and get some exercise I'd lose some of those pounds that kept creeping on. I did get off my butt from time to time, but I never lost more than five pounds doing it. The only thing that worked was restricting calories and changing the way I eat.

"I'll never be able to work out like a fiend, so I'm doomed to be fat forever!" Response: Not true. Many if not most people can reduce their calorie intake enough below metabolic needs to lose weight at a slow to moderate pace without doing any exercise at all. Exercise can make it faster, as long as you're careful not to out-eat any increased hunger. Exercise can help protect your muscles while you're losing. Willingness to exercise regularly seems to be one of the better predictors of whether someone who has lost weight will be able to keep it off. Exercise is great for all kinds of reasons. But necessary? Not usually. And eertainly not at the stereotyped "must work myself until I drop" levels. All I ever did for months was walk, though I did do a lot of that. And when I hurt myself and did absolutely nothing for a few weeks, I reduced my calories a bit to compensate and I still lost.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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9/5/14 8:03 P

When I use this phrase, it's to combat the idea that you have to exercise in order to lose weight. That the only way to lose weight is to run on a treadmill. That if you exercise enough, you don't have to change anything else.

For the vast majority of us, exercise alone simply isn't enough to combat the poor diet choices we make. Sure, you can gorge yourself on pizza and beer, workout as a teenager for 6 hours, and not gain.

That doesn't mean you're healthy. You can still have heart disease, you'll be suffering from malnutrition, and you can't live like that forever.

Realistically, the vast majority of people here can't just get out and exercise and expect to change. THey have to change their eating habits, and exercise for other reasons.

LUCKYNUMBER23 SparkPoints: (12,425)
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9/4/14 1:53 P

Most people have 30 - 60 minutes to exercise a day. If I had 6 hours, I would be thin too. If you eat pizza and cheeseburgers, it is not healthy for you. My metabolism is slow, so it won't work. If I was 21 and not 47, it might work.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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9/4/14 1:15 P

I think the OP's point is that you can, but you need to be working out at a high level for 2+ hours a day and possibly gifted with a fast metabolism. For example, Michael Phelps ate 12,000+ calories while training for his Olympics runs and obviously is not obese. But he was also spending 5-8 hours in the pool every day as well as time cross-training.

The fact is that 99% of us on here cannot sustain the level of exercise needed to lose weight on the Standard American Diet because of jobs/family/life.

GIPPER1961 Posts: 766
9/4/14 12:50 P

I can tell you it never has worked for me. I have for the last 18 months exercised around 30 - 90 minutes most days and I have gained or lost depending on my nutrition not my activity.

MAIM138 Posts: 961
9/4/14 8:32 A

When I was in my 20s and played roller derby, and was training for the travel team, I had a 2-3 hour practice 6 nights a week and ran every morning. The practices were so intense that I got to the point where I could eat anything and everything and was still losing weight.

But what eventually happened was, I hurt my knee and was barely able to walk, but I kept on eating the same way I was used to and I gained 40 pounds.

SHOTOKIDO SparkPoints: (101,572)
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9/3/14 11:59 P

"When I was in college..."


Me too.

When I was on my college cross country team, I ate like a team of horses and gained no weight.


If I even LOOK at some of the crap I ate I gain a pound.

LARISSA_NY Posts: 200
9/3/14 6:59 P

A lot of whether or not you can out-exercise a bad diet depends on your work capacity. The only people who are capable of burning huge numbers of calories during a one-hour workout are the people who least need to - athletes, who are in good enough shape to really work hard for a very long time.

I'm not an athlete, but I do lift weights, and over the course of an hour's workout it's not that unusual for me to move two or three tons of iron. That's tons as in 2,000 pounds. A woman doing, say, lunges with a ten-pound weight in each hand would have to do 200 reps to even hit the lower bound of a light workout day for me, and if she isn't in good enough shape to handle more than 20 pounds at a time, she probably isn't going to be in good enough shape to do 200 reps in an hour. She also isn't going to have a significant amount of lean muscle mass lighting a fire under her metabolism and making her burn more calories even at rest.

In short, you can out-exercise a bad diet to a certain extent, but only if you don't need to.

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
9/3/14 6:11 P

I suspect that whether you can or can not out-exercise a bad diet is an extremely individual thing, dependent on a person's age, lean muscle mass, metabolism, health conditions, and just how much time and effort they are willing and able to put in to exercising. It basically comes down to assessing what would be required to exercise away the level of eating that you want to do, and making a personal choice based on that assessment.

For me - I'm older, a lot lower on lean muscle mass than I used to be, have a few health conditions that impact my ability to exercise, have a surprisingly high metabolism, and don't have the inclination or ability to put in an extra 5 or 6 hours per day working out. My personal choice is to eat less calories, eat healthier foods, and rely on exercise for fitness and not weight control.

FOXGLOVE999 SparkPoints: (27,532)
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9/3/14 3:52 P

While I haven't seen this as much on this website. The concept that exercise has no impact on weight loss, is very popular elsewhere. Personally, I think it is mostly espoused by people who don't exercise very much.

I find exercise to help my weight loss efforts considerably. It gives me more leeway to eat the way I want to, and still lose weight.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,404
9/3/14 3:37 P

Unfortunately, we are NOT all young male athletes who can do daily 6 hour workouts....

JENSTRESS Posts: 5,403
9/3/14 2:45 P

While this is somewhat true, if you can burn 5000 calories in a day, yes, you can out exercise a bad diet. However, eating healthy is far more important than diet and size. Eating healthy has more to do with much more than that!

MISSSVJS SparkPoints: (41,145)
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9/3/14 2:43 P

Just because you think you can "out exercise a bad diet" does NOT mean it is healthy to do so. While you may have been able to do that when you were in college, the fact of the matter is a bad diet will eventually catch up with you. There are a lot of skinny, unhealthy people in the world. So, being in "good shape" does not necessarily equate to being healthy.

BOBG01 SparkPoints: (20,046)
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9/3/14 2:23 P

It's also easier when you are young. Both of my parents are fat so I grew up in a household where healthy eating habits were never taught. I ate a lot of junk as a kid and I overate as well. I remember mom would go grocery shopping on Friday after work and she bought my favorite treat-Twinkies. I believe they came 10 to a box and I would eat the entire box on Saturday monring while watching cartoons. BUT I grew up in an era where kids still actually went outside to play. I was on the swim team and the tennis team in high school. I also was into bicycling, skateboarding, and snowboarding. In college I put on the "freshman 15" and never lost it. I would describe myself in my 20's as "fat but fit". I got into rock climbing in college and I was also into weight lifting and mountain biking as well. I ignored my weight (I was maybe 30 pounds overweight) and justified it by telling myself I was in good shape because I still exercised quite a bit. Then life happened. I got a desk job, got married, etc, etc. I also gradually decreased my exercise and increased my already too high food intake. I was no longer fat but fit by my mid 30's, I was just fat. Next thing I know I am 42 years old and 250 pounds. Getting dressed in the morning was a workout for me! So yeah, if you are young and able to exercise for several hours every single day, it is possible to out exercise a bad diet.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,755
9/3/14 1:52 P

I agree that if you have that much time to exercise, you can eat a significant number of calories and still keep your weight under control. But most people don't exercise that much, so the idea that they can do their typical 30-45 minute workout and have burned enough calories to enjoy a hot fudge sundae after every workout just isn't true :)

Coach Jen

PSCHIAVONE2 SparkPoints: (20,650)
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9/3/14 1:01 P

Not sure who came up with this notion of not being able to out exercise a bad diet. I have done it for years. When I was in college I was an athlete that weighed in at 138 pounds and 5 foot 6 inches. I would eat fast food and pizza and beer. At that time I worked out about 6 hours a day. Had no problem eating at about 5000 calories per day and had a body fat percentage of about 10 to 12 percent. If you have the time you can be in good shape and still put down quite a few calories.

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