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Does exercise really make any useful mpact on weight loss?

(62 Posts)
Ledkr Thu 18-Aug-16 09:59:31

You see lots of "celebs" having lost stones having "hit the gym" but they then go on to say they exist on a few leaves and some water grin

A woman at work has been doing 5-2 and has lost a bit over a long period but also has been doing loads of exercise classes but I'm sure that her loss would have happened with just the5-2.

I go to 2 Zumba classes and a step class each week and myself and all the other attendees look no different! I'm now starting to think my time and money would be better spent simply on a healthy diet.
I do think exercise lifts my mood but I'm unconvinced it affects weight loss.

absolutelynotfabulous Thu 18-Aug-16 10:02:20

In my bitter experience, no, unless you're doing lots of it, and combining it with something else.

Thefitfatty Thu 18-Aug-16 10:04:47

Generally diet is more important for losing weight. However exercise is associated with lowering risks of the same lifestyle diseases associated with being obese, among it's many other benefits.

ftw Thu 18-Aug-16 10:05:51

IME it makes me slightly less likely to stick cake in mouth because I remember how hard it is to work it off and also has a marginal appetite suppressing effect.

But in terms of burning off calories, not really. I couldn't do enough to shift the amount of weight I need to.

OliviaStabler Thu 18-Aug-16 10:08:42

It did for me. I really dislike restricting what I eat so I regularly go to the gym and eat a balanced diet with some treats now and then.

I am more toned and, due to the increased muscle, have a better metabolism now.

Realise it won't work for everyone but it has to be exercise you like doing.

OhNoNotMyBaby Thu 18-Aug-16 10:10:04

IME? No.
I joined a gym in December of last year and went 4 x pw religiously until end Jan. I lost 3lbs over that 2 months, with Christmas in the middle, and tbh, didn't really diet. I continued through February and put it back on again.

Gave up in March, went back in April... with more focus on dieting. No change.

I'm giving up the gym membership now - it just doesn't work for me though I used to be a 3x per week for years and years. But I was slimmer then, not dieting and just did it because I enjoyed it.

I'm trying the Michael Mosely blood sugar diet right now. I'm neither diabetic nor prediabetic but it just makes sense. Hardly any carbs or sugar. Slow progress - but it IS progress. 4lbs in 3 weeks. Nothing like what you hear other people have lost but it's the first time in 10 years I've actually managed to lose anything. So I will persevere.

swampytiggaa Thu 18-Aug-16 10:10:09

I find that I eat better when I exercise as it makes me more aware of what I am doing. I know how much exercise I would need to do to burn off a family pack of crisps so I save myself the trouble and don't eat them in the first place!

Exercise is good for my general health and well-being - possibly toning as well - but it doesn't over ride a bad diet.

MorrisZapp Thu 18-Aug-16 10:11:19

For it to help with weight loss you have to do sustained aerobic exercise. This isn't currently fashionable, they want us to think lifting heavy weights is what works. Lifting heavy is brilliant exercise but you need to torch calories, raise your metabolism and kick your appetite into touch for weight loss, hello cardio.

I haven't stopped laughing yet at Geri Halliwells 90's assertion that yoga turned her into a stick insect. Oh no it didn't!

MrsNuckyThompson Thu 18-Aug-16 10:11:25

You have to do A LOT of exercise for it to make a difference in wait loss. Of course it is good for fitness and toning, but really food is the focus to shed pounds.

I say that as someone who has struggled to the gym at 6am to be beasted by a PT twice a week for the last year and is still 10kg heavier than when I had DC1.

MackerelOfFact Thu 18-Aug-16 10:13:27

I've heard it's about 80/20 - 80% diet and 20% exercise.

I find doing exercise makes me hungrier, and also lulls you into the trap of 'well I did a 45 min spin class, I deserve this glass of wine and dessert' - and you can guarantee that they'll total more than the 450 cals burnt in the gym.

If you're eating healthily though, exercise will of course accelerate fat-burning and tone you up as well, since the calorie deficit will be greater - but if you're adding muscle, your weight won't necessarily go down.

KoalaDownUnder Thu 18-Aug-16 10:22:40


The problem is that most people vastly overestimate the amount of exercise that they do, and underestimate how much they eat.

If you combine weights and cardio, and work out hard for hour-long ssssions several times per week, you will lose fat and gain muscle.

It might not show on the scales (as muscle weighs more than the equivalent volume of fat), but you will look slimmer and feel much better

AaronBleurgh Thu 18-Aug-16 10:26:24

Yes. I lost 30lbs by hiring a PT. I really didn't change my diet that much at all. You have to work hard though and be ready to really sweat. And not eat cake.

SheSparkles Thu 18-Aug-16 10:29:34

Absolutely it does, I've come down 3 dress sizes in the past year with exercise alone. I started gently with Pilates and have added in gym work amd body pump (both of which I swore I'd never do). I've not changed my diet at all.
I still have a long way to go but I'm in for the long haul-for the first time in my life!

OpenMe Thu 18-Aug-16 10:36:54

I don't think exercising will continuing with a poor diet would see you like weight but if you're exercising regularly, I fo think you start wanting to ear better.

Also for every hour of your spare time youre out running etc, that's one less hour you're sat on the sofa with a packet of crisps or opening the fridge out of boredom.

Daytona79 Thu 18-Aug-16 10:37:54

They say 70%diet and 30% exercise

MatildaOfTuscany Thu 18-Aug-16 10:46:12

It's surprised me how much exercise has helped - over the last 6 months, I've been doing one very modest (2 mile) run a week, and one swimming session a week (I can maybe do 500, 600m in half an hour, so pretty pathetic compared to most swimmers), and cycling to work (which isn't any change from my regular habits for the last 12 years, and is only 2 miles each way so doesn't really count as exercise), and yet I've dropped a clothes size without any changes to my diet at all.

It really surprised me because I'd read all the "exercise doesn't make a difference, only diet does" articles - and when you look at the numbers, my weedy amount of exercise shouldn't change things - running a mile shifts about 100 calories (and that's before you've subtracted off your base metabolic rate - you'd still burn some calories just sitting on the couch). Yet for some reason, it has made a noticeable difference.

OpenMe Thu 18-Aug-16 10:49:28

I bet you have subconsciously changed your diet Matilda. Exercising makes you feel better about yourself and when you feel better you don't turn to sugary "Treats" as much. Also, while you're out running you're not snacking

TheDowagerCuntess Thu 18-Aug-16 10:50:37

Exercise will make a difference - IF - you don't eat too much.

In other words, unless you run at least 10KM a day, you have to restrict what you eat quite significantly, to actually lose weight.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Thu 18-Aug-16 10:53:29

I think there's starting to be some evidence that indicates that those that keep weight off tend to have done it through lifestyle changes involving exercise rather than dietary changes.

Agree about the right type of exercise and the huge health benefits too.

Pisssssedofff Thu 18-Aug-16 10:56:40

No I was thinner smoking and doing nothing but not healthier obvious so I see that as the benefit of exercise

Thefitfatty Thu 18-Aug-16 10:57:37

I tend to be one of those people that diet certainly out weighs exercise. I gain muscle easily, but I also gain fat quite easily.
However, because of the exercise my GP says I'm in great shape with the heart/lungs/stamina etc of a teenager (I'm 35). He doesn't even care that I'm a stone overweight because it doesn't matter in comparison to how much muscle I have and how healthy my organs and things are.
So exercise is important in so many ways.

OpenMe Thu 18-Aug-16 10:58:53

This is a subject I'm really interested in and thinking about it more, I suspect that whilst there is little direct link between exercise and weight loss (need to run c. 5miles to burn off one Mars bars) a lifestyle that revolves around exercise probably woyld see weight loss because of changes in brings in our attitudes to food and our bodies. E.g I'm a fairly serious runner. I eat well, not to lose weight but in the hope I'll run faster

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 18-Aug-16 11:00:08

I lost weight at a steady rate with calorie counting until I hit about 73kg, then I plateaued. As soon as I started actually moving a bit more, the weight started to come off again. Admittedly I'm not really dieting atm (currently 68kg) but am doing a lot of exercise as I'm scared it'll come back if I stop!

Sheusedtobesomeonelse Thu 18-Aug-16 11:09:48

Like LaContessa i started off being alot more careful with my diet (still have puddings/wine on a weekend etc) but it wasnt until i started Jillian Michaels DVDs 4-5 times a week & running 3 times a week that my weight loss was actually amazing. I was 76 kg in febuary, now i've been at 64kg for a month or so. Bit scared of it coming back though so i still don't snack between meals unless i really feel the need and when i do i eat slowly, slowly, slowly!
I've recently upped my running to 5 times a week (training for a semi marathon in october, i only started running 2 years ago to see if i could!), JM really helped me get toned and feeling like i could actually move my bum and do it myself! I still do her DVDs 2-3 a week.

Diet aint everything..

lucjam2105 Thu 18-Aug-16 11:11:37

I took up running a year ago and have lost 1 stone. I run approx 15-20k per week. I have a lot to loose though. It's totally slowed down now, I need to tackle my eating next as I'm fustrated that I'm not getting faster at running and its because I'm too heavy.

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