Dieting without exercising is…

…The lazy way out?  Impermanent?  Hopeless?

I’ve never relied on exercise to lose weight before.  I’m just too lazy.  Dieting is passive.  I have to eat anyway, so I can just make better choices when I do, right?

Not so sure anymore.  If that were true, this wouldn’t be an almost 20-year-old problem for me.

It’s not like I’m a complete couch potato.  There’s at least a mile of walking built in to even my laziest of days, the days where I don’t leave the house except to drop off and pick up at school.  It’s not much, but it’s more than I would get living in the suburbs, waddling from house to SUV to building back to SUV.  A more typical day involves lots of subway stairs and walking ten or twenty blocks to get somewhere.

Now that the weather is warmer, many days will also involve stalking celebrities by bicycle (finding parking is nearly impossible).  But even though biking around Brooklyn is hard (and often terrifying), it’s not exactly aerobic exercise.  There’s too much traffic, too much stop and start.  The only time my heart rate really goes up is when a truck is parked in the bike lane or when a Chinese delivery guy is speeding towards me going the wrong way, and I’m boxed in on the side.

And occasionally, I lift weights.  And by occasionally, I mean that you have to count the time between sessions in weeks, not days.

So, while I’m fairly active, I’m not doing much sustained exercise.  I’ve tried.  I had a membership to the YMCA for about six months.  I went about six times.  The Y had just gone through a huge renovation and was fabulous – clean new locker rooms, all new equipment, individual TVs on every single treadmill and elliptical trainer.  But I still couldn’t make myself go.

I thought maybe an exercise DVD was the answer, and I did find a good one – a Pilates video from Gaiam.  The exercises were great, but it was just too repetitive.  I think I have some kind of adult ADD.

On the other hand, today was a good day with the food.  I made it all the way to dinner effortlessly on only about 400 calories.  Used up another 400 on dinner.  Just had a snack.  And I still have 200 more to go.  I see Oreos in my future.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom


  1. says

    I don’t think exercising without dieting is much better either. I kill myself on the treadmill for an hour then come home and eat a brownie. Not good. Wish I could trade you a little of my exercising for a little of your dieting. :)

  2. says

    You know, exercising makes my brain think it can have more food (hey I just burned all those calories, so I deserve…), but physically it makes me less hungry. But I usually listen to my dumb brain.

  3. Toni says

    Actually myfooddiary tells you you’re supposed to eat back your exercise calories. There’s tons of threads about it. So who knows.
    Honestly? I started this diet off exercising. Then I stopped. (see many of your reasons above.) I’m still losing at about the same rate. I’ve honestly started to think that the exercising would just let eat more than I am now and still lose. But what do I know? Everyone’s different, too. And of course exercise is always good even for non-dieting reasons. I’ve yet to find one I don’t detest though.

  4. says

    @Toni – You know, as much as I love My Food Diary (and I do love it – I credit it with the last 25lbs I lost), I’ve always ignored the exercise part, because I don’t want to eat my exercise calories, and they don’t give you the option of not including those calories in the Daily Report, which means I have to do math to figure out how much I can eat! So when I do actually exercise I just don’t record it there.

  5. Cara says

    Ok I’m here to tell you that if you only diet without excercise you will never keep the weight off and will have to keep dieting your whole life!! I never used to believe that if you had more muscle you burned more calories even when your doing nothing but it is true. Now I know you think of me as your skinny in shape sister but believe I have lots of experience with diets..excercise…over excercising etc.. I can tell you that I never used to lift weights….I only wanted to run or rollerblade or swim or do those excercise that burn a lot of calories…the problem is that i had to do those things four or five days a week and that is way to much…I like excercise but I don’t want to spend my whole life doing it!! Last april I started a regular weight lifting program..three days a week… really worked..I gained a lot of muscle and lost fat even though i wasn’t killing myself with aerobic excercise. Now if you have motivation problems you may need a trainer to help you stay on track but it is worth a shot. By the way I weighted 12 more lbs when we moved back to st thomas three years ago. I am in better shape now than i have ever been and it’s the first time in my life i am not on a constant diet.

  6. Toni says

    @Amy Exactly. I also think their “calories earned” numbers are off. So like you said, I stopped logging my exercise too (whereas the food logging is great).
    @Cara, You are 100% right that exercise is completely important to weight loss. My doctor most definitely agrees with you. What I was saying more was about MyFoodDiary and their whole system of recording exercise/dieting calories and how I stopped using that component of it, as Amy explained better, but haven’t suffered ill effects.
    I have a lifetime of bad eating habits to correct. Focusing on portion control and nutritional value has made a big change in my overall health. It’s just as important as exercise to make that a lifetime commitment, I think. It’s not as much dieting forever as it is kicking a heroin addiction & going clean. :)

  7. says

    I’ve been exercising at least 5 times a week since January and I have to say, I’m feeling good and lost about five pounds. I’m not sure how old you are, but I hit 40 last year and definitely felt the metabolism crash. I read somewhere that I need about 9 or 10 hours of a week of exercise just to maintain my weight, but that’s not gonna happen. Ultimately, it’s about finding something that works for you. That said, you might need to really force yourself those first few weeks, after that it will (hopefully) not only be a habit, but something you really enjoy.

    Good luck and stay safe on those Brooklyn streets!

  8. says

    I cannot argue with anything said by any of you about exercise. But I need to pay somebody to come to my house and hold onto my computer and Diet Dr. Pepper until after I exercise.

    As for my sister Cara, amazingly I’ve never been jealous of either of my sisters for being thin, because I see how they work at it and how disciplined they are (not that I haven’t seen you eat a foot-long cheese sub in under five minutes, Cara!). But those skinny bitches who eat nothing but fast food? Them I want to smack.

  9. says

    You and I sound very much alike. I enjoy exercise, but I never do it. When I do, however, it’s typically walking.

    I did just started the 30 Day Shred DVD today and it’s really hard BUT it’s only 20 minutes a day. You do one workout for ten days, then another for ten days, then another for ten days. May help your ADD. ;)

    Can I come over and stalk celebrities with you? That would be great.

  10. Cara says

    Thank You Thank You. I can’t tell you how annoying it is when people say “your so lucky your skinny”…………yeah that’s cause I’m up at 5am running up and down the mountainside of st thomas….it’s hard and if I don’t excercise and watch what I eat I absolutley gain weight :)

  11. says

    @Cara – You’re very welcome! You get all the credit in the world. We come from short, fat, big-boned wide-hipped Sicilian stock. Any one of us who is under 200lbs deserves credit!

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