One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

WEEKLY QUESTIONS

Which is easier for you, Exercise or Diet?

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Question of the weekAs always this question of the week is inspired by what I’m going through right now. Most people know I’m a gym “immigrant”. When I started this journey I was hell bent on losing weight without exercising because that’s how I lived. So I focused on diet, on learning how to portion control and overall making better choices. I don’t want to say it was easy, but changing my diet seemed easier then getting motivated to workout.

Now, after discovering I really do love working out, I seem to have the opposite problem. Exercising is easy now. I look forward to my time at the gym. However, my diet seems a bit out of control again.

Sometimes I really feel like I can only have a handle on one or the other and I’m curious what you guys find easier.

SO…..

Which is easier for you, Exercise or Diet?




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Discussion

There are 56 comments so far.

    MuscleBits

    June 3, 2008

    Even though this is probably not the answer you are looking for, I prefer both. You see, if I’m not exercising right, I feel like my dieting accomplishes nothing. And if I’m not dieting right, I feel like my exercise goes to waste. Kinda strange eh?

    Nomad Librarian

    June 3, 2008

    Exercise. I have a much easier time convincing myself to go work out or just go for a walk than convincing myself to skip the cake, or saying, hey, I ate my points for the day, no cookies before bed.

    Also, I exercise first thing in the morning and then I’m done. Eating/dieting I do all day, which makes it tougher.

    Michele

    June 3, 2008

    Diet is so much easier for me. I worked out almost every day when I was in losing mode but now that I am in maintenance, I’ve slacked off so much with my exercise. I go through spurts of working out every day for weeks and then not working out at all for weeks. I really don’t like it even though I love the way I feel afterwards.

    Laura Brandon

    June 3, 2008

    I will definitely have to say dieting is easier for me. i hate exercising, but i still force myself to do it 5 times a week. i’ll do it, but changing my diet is way easier. especially lately, as i’ve been discovering new healthy and delicious meals!

    zazu

    June 3, 2008

    Dieting is easier for me. When I add in a lot of exercise it does this thing in my brain where I think, “I’m burning calories… therefore I don’t have to count them.” When I am not working out I am more conscious of what it I eat. I think I am somewhat like you and when I get my eating under better control and have more success with my weight loss then I will add another goal with fitness. Trying to accomplish both at the same time hasn’t proved successful for me.

    Fatinah

    June 3, 2008

    exercise is way easier for me than diet. I find less obstacles to getting my fitness in than making the right food choices.

    Crazy MomCat

    June 3, 2008

    This response requires no thought for me–hands down it is exercise that is easier. I frequent the gym and am usually just fine doing so–I enjoy the classes or a nice run with my headphones on. Eating–whoa…that’s my weak spot.

    Erik

    June 3, 2008

    Exercise keeps me dieting. If I start eating poorly, I notice a huge drop in performance at the gym. The harder I push myself when I work out, the more I seem to crave whole foods and veggies. Junk food just makes me sick.

    Dani Spies

    June 3, 2008

    Exercise, Exercise, Exercise… I’m lucky because I LOVE working out (that’s good) But I also LOVE eating (not always so good). This is an easy one for me, exercise is much easier than diet!

    Amanda Daybyday

    June 3, 2008

    It used to be diet – without question. But since I’ve started earning 4+ AP’s per day in the last month or so, I’m finding exercise is becoming easier and diet is becoming harder (as I sit here with a stomach full of chocolate that put me over my weekly points). :)

    Laura Brandon

    June 3, 2008

    roni this was such a great question! such an interesting topic!

    Ashley

    June 3, 2008

    Exercise is so much easier. For me, it comes down to that making myself DO something (get my butt to the gym after work) is a lot easier than making myself NOT do something (skip going out to eat massive amounts of Indian food with my friends). And yes, that was a real example from today.

    Sally

    June 3, 2008

    I’ve been on weight watchers for just over a year and I’m going to start exercising tomorrow actually.. So i don’t know which is easier yet but i really hope that the exercise is easier than the diet.. lol =]

    Christie

    June 3, 2008

    Diet is totally easier for me. I just have SO much trouble getting the motivation to work out. I can’t keep up a routine for even a little bit (like 2 days in a row) unless I have someone counting on me to be there (like a gym buddy). I can do the diet thing though much easier.

    I am just so surprised that everyone is not the same way?! I can’t fathom exercise being easier. Great question!

    Maggie

    June 3, 2008

    I think the more you exercise the more your body needs fueling. Hence you eating more lately. I think you’re doing a great job Roni.

    Anonymous

    June 4, 2008

    I have to say excercise, I was really fit as a teenager and then totally slacked off in my twenties hence the weight!!!! But I am now back loving being fit, although I still try and stick to eating a pretty healthy diet and with the excercise I am doing I don’t feel so GUILTY about those sometimes prohibited treats!! and I have to say that the weight is not coming off on the scale up I am def losing some centimetres as my body is feeling much more toned!

    MizFit

    June 4, 2008

    such a great question.
    Im a mix—I love how I eat so it doesnt feel like a diet per se.
    I ADORE weight training.
    but cardio?
    I could never do that again and be just fine :)

    LA

    June 4, 2008

    Exercise is easier for me, but up until about a year ago I would have said both are really hard! I’m fortunate to have found an exercise I really love. I’ve been swimming for almost a year now, and I love how I feel after so much that even when the pool at the gym is closed for repairs for a WHOLE WEEK (like it is now), I HAVE TO do SOMETHING or I feel like a slug!

    Erin

    June 4, 2008

    Great question
    Exercise. It is my absolute favorite thing to do…although without diet, would I be where I am today – NO. I look at diet(ing) as just eating and I have to – with exercise I want to and if I could I would do it all day long!

    Lauren P

    June 4, 2008

    They go hand in hand for me. If I’m not eating right, then I’m probably not at the gym either. If I’m spending lots of time in the gym, I don’t want to ruin all my hard work with M&M’s!

    Anonymous

    June 4, 2008

    I’m seem to be very much like you – I am able to put only diet OR exercise into “project status” at a time. I can plan and follow through on a healthy meal plan OR on an exercise plan. I don’t seem to be able to focus on one of these at a time. That said, when I’m really working out hard, sometimes I will opt for healthier food choices because I don’t want to “undo” all the hard work I did.

    Jenn & Ed

    June 4, 2008

    I agree w/ the first poster. For me, it is easier to keep up w/ one if I am doing the other. If I am working out then it is easier for me to say “I will pass on the pizza” because I know how hard my workouts are and I don’t want them to be a waste. By the same token, if I am eating well, I want to work out more to get toned so that my results from eating healthy are maximized with tone. When I am not working out, I cheat more on eating. When I eat bad, I want to work out less. That probably makes no sense, but then such is my brain :)

    Tamela

    June 4, 2008

    Exercise is my “me” time. I read a book and listen to my ipod when I’m doing cardio. I think some days it can be hard to convince myself that I need to get up & go to the gym, but I’m always happy that I’m there and it’s only an hour-90 minutes a few times a week. Dieting for me is much harder, especially if there are sweets around!

    NerdbyNature

    June 4, 2008

    Diet is way easier for me. I have this complex when it comes to exercise…it always makes me feel bad until I get used to doing it for at least a week- my problem is I can’t stick with it for a week to get past the initial feeling bad.

    Estellia

    June 4, 2008

    Excercise is so much easier! I excercise so I can eat more and have a little more flexibility with diet. If you don’t excercise I think you really do have to be perfect with your diet…and I cannot do that for very long. I find cardio much easier than weight training also. I force myself into doing weights.

    Aimee

    June 4, 2008

    I prefer to exercise for sure. I have a hard time with self-control and munching all day, especially since I don’t really have much or any weight to lose (could maybe lose about 5lbs, but I’m sure I’m more muscle than fat, so it’s hard to tell). It’s still a struggle though because I feel bad when I’m too snacky and don’t eat healthy enough.

    Melissa

    June 4, 2008

    Exercising! I am a SAHM and I take the kids with me to the gym in the mornings, so it’s my 2 hours of “me” time while they are in the gym daycare. I do a weight class, run a little, then sit in the sauna and listen to my ipod – I wouldn’t give up those 2 hours for anything! But, I am exactly like you – I am so good at exercising, but not too great at my diet.

    Anonymous

    June 4, 2008

    I agree with Ashley, it’s much easier for me to DO something than to NOT DO something. I can force myself to get to the gym, but sometimes can’t stop myself from eating that bowl full of ice cream :)

    Tara

    June 4, 2008

    I am having a hard time with that balance as well! If I work out then I eat slightly worse than when I dont work out. Mentally I still think that if I work out I can have those few extra calories. It will be tough but I have to practice NOT doing it!

    Anonymous

    June 4, 2008

    Exercise–although ask me two years ago and I would have said neither! I’m with the group who has an easier time with making myself exercise versus denying myself dessert! If there’s birthday cake anywhere in the vicinity it’s all over for me. But I can pedal away on the stationary bike all day long! Donna.

    Katie

    June 4, 2008

    Without a doubt, exercising. It just becomes a routine. While healthy eating can become a habit, it’s hard to make it a routine because you will never be able to avoid a last minute lunch meeting or dinner out or birthday party, etc. Exercise, however, becomes a part of a routine and it is (relatively) easy to fit in at least SOME form of exercise (even if it is just a 10 minute walk around the block), whereas, at least for me, it is not nearly as easy to avoid a dessert buffet or deep dish pizza, etc.

    IzzyBeth

    June 4, 2008

    Right now? NEITHER! I did very well with food for 2 months – then Memorial Day hit. I’m still not doing terribly – but not great either.

    Usually, I do better with one for a while and then do better with the other. If I could just do BOTH at the same time, that would be nice.

    gottahavefaith

    June 4, 2008

    Diet!!! I am a great lover of food, but that means that I LOVE going to the market to hunt out fresh produce and it is honestly fun and relaxing for me to experiment with finding inventive, tasty ways to prepare it. As long as I keep my fridge well stocked with healthy ingredients, I really enjoy eating well and it doesn’t feel burdensome to me. I wouldn’t feel at all deprived if I ate this way forever.

    I feel great after I exercise, but dragging myself to the gym feels like so much more of a time commitment. I don’t think to myself “Oh, hurray! Time to go to the gym!” I think, “I will feel so much if make myself do this.” I’m much quicker to think that I don’t have time to go to the gym, so I tend to be less consistent with that. That said, I know both are essential!

    Lesley

    June 4, 2008

    I have a hard time answering this question myself. Sometimes I feel like I can only handle one at a time, other times it seems that the two go hand-in-hand. If I’m exercising regularly, I’m more motivated to really be mindful of what I’m eating.

    I think actually that exercise is easier for me. Once I’m on the treadmill, I’m loving what my body can do. But with food, it just seems so easy to slip and keep slipping all day long.

    Arin

    June 4, 2008

    I find that diet and exercise are both VERY hard for me but if I had to choose, I would choose diet to be easier. The reason that I pick that is because I CANNOT for the life of me get in to a routine of exercise. I either have an excuse or I am way too sore to continue the next day, thank you Beach Body, and by the time I am “ok” again, I am out of the groove and have zero motivation to do it again.
    I REALLY really really want to start running again; I have not run since hmmmmm, high school, so 13years…..OUCH. I just keep finding a reason not to!!!
    Ugh, I am my own worst enemy.
    Anyway, love your site!!! I use many of the recipes :)

    BonnieR325

    June 4, 2008

    Well, it used to be exercise. Before I started WW (August 2007), I started Curves (February 2007). My son told me that it was great I was trying to get healthier by exercising 4 times a week, but not to expect to lose weight by exercise alone. That upset me, because at the time, I was eaten very badly, but thinking I was enjoying that.

    Once I started WW and learned how to eat right (mostly thanks to you, Roni), I now really enjoy eating right. I do get bored with the Curves circuit, however, but I have also been taking pilates twice a week, and walking on the weekends. I’ve found that the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve been replacing the Curves workout with walking more during the week. And my pilates class is now over for the summer, which makes me sad. I LOVED it, and could physically feel myself getting stronger from class to class.

    So bottom line now is….that I think my diet and exercise basically go hand in hand. Doing one keeps me doing the other. But then, I’m still trying to lose the last 16.8 pounds, so I don’t know how things will go once I’m on maintenance.

    Jewely

    June 4, 2008

    This is a tough question, as I battle with this issue daily. For me, exercise is easy. I love to get on that cardio machine and feel the sweat dripping from my body. I love to lift weights and see definition in my little biceps. The problem is…I love to eat!!! And I love to eat the not-so-healthy foods. When I was in weight loss mode, I did both, as I needed to in order to lose. However, now that I am maintaining, I find that execise is my saving grace and I can indulge in foods more often. Granted, I still drink a lot of water and try to have healthy, well balanced meals for my family…but I splurge on ice cream and other goodies more now than I did while I was in weight loss mode. Of couse, I would really love to lose another 5 pounds, so I need to stop splurgling and get my diet back into check.

    deanna

    June 4, 2008

    Exercise by far, each day is a struggle with food that I am so working on…

    Inhale then exhale

    June 4, 2008

    working out is certainly easier…. however, 70% of losing weight and getting to your goal is in what you eat so I have the 30% down which is working out but the 70% I flubb up often :-) ONE DAY my thick head will get it hehe.

    Rebecca

    June 4, 2008

    I don’t have a definite answer to this question. On one hand exercise is easier because for once in my life I love the feeling I have after I do it. I usually exercise first thing in the morning so I am aware all day if I didn’t get up and run or whatever I decided to do that day. On the other hand I do give myself a little more freedom if I do a little more exercise and also I have to have food to live so its all about the better choices for me. GREAT ?.

    kikimonster

    June 4, 2008

    Exercise is definitely easier for me. I LOVE FOOD. Self-control really comes into play there while I can go to the gym in a kind of brainless manner and go through a workout (I use the gym as my non-thinking time to just zone out while I sweat) but eating… that’s the toughy!

    Anonymous

    June 4, 2008

    They both go hand in hand for me. My diet stays better when I exercise and vice versa.

    I find if I skip working out I have a huge tendency to snack and go more for the unhealthy choices.

    Krysten

    June 4, 2008

    Exercise by a mile! I’m definately stuck (in a good way) in a pattern of going to the gym a consistant amount each week but if someone put a box of chocolates in front of my face…I’d eat them all!

    Anonymous

    June 4, 2008

    Without a question: Excercise!!! And always has been. And when I get in a good exercise rhythm I find that I will let myself eat worse as long as the scale doesn’t go up. Never mind that I’m trying to lose right now.

    Leigh Anne

    amynoroom

    June 4, 2008

    I”ve always worked out since I was 18 years old (I’m almost 38 now). My problem isn’t exercising, it’s food.

    So, my answer to your question is definately Exercise is easier!!!

    casmommy

    June 4, 2008

    i’m going to say exercise overall BUT living in the south, diet is relatively easy for me in the summer b/c it’s so stinking hot, i dont feel like eating. also, i know if i eat before a run, like i did today, i feel gross, so thats motivation to eat light. as you’re probably seeing, its a constant process of different things being easier at different times. congrats on the 5k btw, thats awesome!

    Anonymous

    June 4, 2008

    I didn’t exercise the whole time I lost 100+ lbs on WW. Now that I am an avid runner (CONGRATS on the 5k! That is how I started and now I am a 1/2 marathon gal! Watch out it is addictive!) I wouldn’t dream of missing a day of running and the diet is much harder to follow now that it was when I was losing.

    Crista

    June 4, 2008

    Good question…I definately think it’s easier to diet…cause I really don’t like to exercise…I feel like everybody is looking at me…

    Ms. Flusterate

    June 4, 2008

    Put me down in the easier to exercise camp….WAY easier. I have no problem going for a run most days of the week but curtailing my eating….that’s the problem.

    Valerie

    June 4, 2008

    I agree with many of the other bloggers. Exercise and diet go hand in hand for me! If I am on a roll exercising, I eat healthy because I don’t want to negate what I’ve done at the gym. I need both in order to stay on track. I can fall off the diet wagon in an instant. I can also fall off the gym wagon just as quickly. Right now I am on an exercise kick so therefore I am eating healthier.

    weelittleme

    June 5, 2008

    I agree with the people that have said the two go hand in hand. I find that when I’m exercising I do get hungrier but it is easier to stick to eating well when I need to be well fueled for a work out and after working out consistently I’m less likely to waste Calories eating empty junk.

    Maria

    June 5, 2008

    I can exercise all day. Well not really but you know what I mean. The problem is, I can eat all day too. But it is much easier for me to exercise than diet. I agree with musclebits that they do go hand in hand. A good diet makes working out much easier!

    kathyj333

    June 5, 2008

    Exercise is by far easier for me than diet. And it has become a habit.

    Leisa

    June 5, 2008

    Definitly exercise! I love it and would do it all day if I could get away with it. Diet on the other hand…TOUGH!

    DLAOKC

    June 6, 2008

    Exercise is easier for me, because I LOVE to exercise. I care about eating right, and want to, and do, but excercise if FUN! My routine: to the Y at 5am five days a week for stairclimber, treadmill or swimming. To the Y after work two days a week for yoga.

    Jzbell

    June 11, 2008

    I’m another “BOTH” kind of person… one is motivation for the other. When I’m working hard at the gym, I pay extra attention to what I eat because I don’t want to counteract all that effort, and vice versa.

    However, I am definitely NOT a strict dieter, nor am I a hardcore exerciser. I do eat well (thanks to you!!) most of the time, but I won’t deny myself the occasional piece of cake or a few beers on the weekend. And while I usually make it to the gym at least three times a week and try to stay active otherwise (taking a walk at lunch, swimming laps at the community pool, etc.), I don’t beat myself up over taking a few days off if I just don’t feel like it. I think the most important thing, as you’ve said many times, is to remember that one not-so-good day – or even one bad choice! – is not the end of the world. It is all too easy to think, “well, I blew it anyway, might as well sit home and order takeout now.” Since I’ve realized that I CAN have an off-day and then get right back into my diet/workout routine, I am having much more success than ever before.