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Food vs Exercise: An Experiment with Calorie Differential

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A month ago, I blogged about how exercise was making me so hungry that I was overeating consistently. I was *supposed* to be losing weight anyways because of the intense exercising I was doing. Alas, no, my weight loss had come to a complete and utter standstill. So I decided to experiment a little, to see if it makes a difference *how* you create the calorie difference in order to lose weight.

I went back to focussing on what I eat. For two weeks, I was vigilant about staying below the allotted BMR calories. I was ONLY able to do this because I stopped doing intense exercising like mountain climbing, which was making me ravenous! Funny thing is that my average calorie differential was a few calories less than when I was doing intense exercising. However, before this experiment, I wasn’t losing any weight nor decreasing measurements. In two weeks of focussing on not eating, I LOST 4 POUNDS! I hope that I have maintained my strength and muscles, but I don’t test my body fat so I can’t be sure. I have kept up with my protein intake and am averaging 30 minutes of exercise a day (instead of 60) so I should think that I would have maintained my good tissue.

Here is what I think is what happened: when I was counting on exercise to create the difference, I didn’t lose ANY weight, either because the ‘burn’ calculation was not accurate, or because my aging female body didn’t do what it was expected to do. At least the exercise stopped me from gaining weight when I was eating more calories than I needed to maintain my body weight.

Now, by doing less intense exercise (but not giving up exercise), I am not so hungry and I can actually eat less and lose weight. I had heard that weight loss is 70% what you (don't) eat, and 30% exercise, and I think my experiment is starting to lend credence to this!

Two weeks is a bit too short a time for a conclusion, but I think I am on the right track to get over this plateau. I won’t be giving up exercising, but I will be doing less intense workouts so I can lower my caloric intake to below my BMR and hopefully get these last 20 pounds off faster.

Wish me luck!
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