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Eating Well vs. Exercising


So I have a semi short and sweet post today about the effects of exercise vs. the effects of eating well/cutting calories/etc.

I have come to realize that for me personally (being that I didn’t go to training or do any formal workouts last month) that my body responds best to exercise – but also, they sort of go hand-in-hand for me.

Let me explain.

If I am exercising regularly I find myself naturally eating better. I am thinking about food as fuel and have learned what types of foods effect my workouts, etc (e.g. I cant eat a bunch of froyo before my workout).

Last month when I wasn’t going to training, though I was pretty active at the lake and moving apartments, etc, I was just sort of eating whatever without much thought. Though it wasn’t horrible, I just didn’t really put the thought and effort into it like I usually would – like hey I hardly ate any veggies today, I should load up at dinner! Instead, I just sort of mowed down on whatever was convenient at the time – which we all know is not always the best option.


By the end of the month, I found myself feeling sort of blah and flabby, though I think it was in my head, it was my muscles way of saying they needed some true strenuous activity.

With that being said, when I’m not on a usual workout schedule, I eat worse. You would almost think it would be the other way around – like hey I just burned 600 calories I ‘m going to eat fried chicken now.” But for some reason, for me, it goes hand in hand. I think this has something to do with the routine factor of it all.

Regardless, I always read things/hear things/see other bloggers talk about how when trying to lose weight or get into shape, they find that the ‘”eating well” side of the equation is most important for them. Including this article from one of the pros at the Mayo Clinic.

The article of course also discussed the importance of how exercising is also very important in the equation (of course).

I think how your body responds probably has to do with genetics as well as your everyday lifestyle. Maybe exercise effects me so much because I have a desk job? Or maybe because I don’t eat “really badly,” so watching my diet isnt as crucial (if I drank tons of soda and ate lots of fast food, it would obviously have a larger effect for me to cut those items out).

So obviously I am curious to know:

  • What do you think your body responds to more when it comes to losing weight/keeping healthy – eating well or exercising? Or does it really have to be a mixture for you?
  • Do you find if you are on a normal workout routine do you eat better, or do you eat a little worse? If you weren’t working out regularly, would you try to eat very well to compensate, or does your “eating well” tend to fall by the wayside when regular exercise isn’t present?
10 Comments Post a comment
  1. for me I think it comes down to eating well…I exercise because I love it but it also amps up my appetite and I know I eat more because of it and also because I need it…and I know for the most part I eat healthy but I could do without the unhealthy options 😉 When I went to El Salvador for two weeks last summer I was careful about what I ate since I wasnt exercising really..and I came back weighing a little less then I usually do while working out and eating at home…oh well. Its all a balance act for me!

    August 7, 2012
  2. I have to agree with Theresa. My body definitely responds the most to eating well. When I workout, I notice toning but no real weight loss. Watching what I eat is my fail proof way to lose weight. I actually think I eat a little bit worse when I workout because I seem to be snacking more. If I’m just watching what I eat, I will definitely snack less and have less of a “need” for a reward.

    August 7, 2012
  3. I eat better when I’m on a workout plan. When my body is being pushed it craves good food!

    August 7, 2012
  4. Hi, Andrea!

    Great post, good questions! I’m a yoga instructor and personal trainer, so I guess there’s no way for me to get through a day without at least doing some kind of workout. I’m also a gluten-free and alcohol-free person for health reasons—allergies, mainly. So for me, working out and eating well are so equally important to how I feel every day that I can’t imagine separating the two! If I eat poorly, or if I miss a day or two of exercise, I feel the effects immediately. Especially now that I’m in the second trimester…


    August 7, 2012
  5. I think I’m opposite of everyone after reading some of the other comments. I think my body responds better to exercise then eating well. I’m an extremely picky eater and don’t eat a ton of “healthy food.” Now I have great genetics luckily and am pretty small but I notice that its easy for me to shed some weight quickly if I exercise. If I want to lose a few pounds before a beach trip or tone up a little..then I know to start walking or running a month before my goal and most times it works without changing my diet. (Note: I’m not saying I can have a 6pk or anything close to being “in-shape” but I am able to lose a few quick pounds)

    August 7, 2012
  6. Great post and great blog. I am a personal trainer and group exercise instructor. For me, both are so important. I feel so much better when I do both 🙂

    August 7, 2012
  7. For me, it’s definitely eating well. I enjoy exercising, and I think it’s important for long-term health and weight maintenance. But the biggest thing for me is keeping my diet in check.

    August 7, 2012
  8. My mindset is similar to yours – when I’m pushing myself in my workouts, I tend to naturally eat better without thinking too much about it. My body responds to having both challenging workouts and eating well (mainly when I can do both at the same time!).

    August 7, 2012

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