Exercise Is Dangerous For Your Diet

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Exercise Is Dangerous For Your Diet

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  • I have been thinking about exercise, as it is easier than doing it. One of my basic beliefs is that exercise is detrimental to weight loss and causes well intentioned people intent on losing weight to abandon their diets and remain fat.

    Let me first say that exercise is without doubt the number one thing you can do to improve your health – even above weight loss. Recent studies show that a fat person that is physically active lives as long as a thin person that is physically active, and longer than thin people that are physically inactive. So mine is not an anti-exercise rant. And, yes, you can exercise on your fast days (unless you want to do 50 consecutive 100 meter dashes).

    Mine is a comment on expectations. For as long as I can remember (and I’m old with a good memory), we have been told (even by our doctors) that to lose weight we must combine diet and exercise. There is an entire industry of health clubs, personal trainers and exercise equipment makers pounding in the message that if you just use our services and equipment, you can lose weight. Yet we seem to have an obesity epidemic.

    So let’s get real.

    A pound equals about 3500 calories. To burn 3500 calories, and without eating one extra calorie as a result of the exercise, an average fat person needs to walk about 25 miles at about 3 MPH. Or run 18 miles doing 9 minute miles. I do not know too many average fat people that have the time or ability or willingness to devote that kind of effort to lose one pound (just think if they want to lose two). Put a more realistic way, I would have to walk 2500 miles, or run 1800, to hit my weight loss goal. Let’s face it, people have been taught and believe that by beginning to exercise at whatever level they will lose weight. They have been taught that by people that should, or do, know better.

    In addition, when you start exercising after not exercising for awhile (years?), your muscles are damaged and rebuilt (that is how you ‘grow muscle’). This process requires that your muscles retain water to repair and grow themselves (sorry for being so unscientific). That means you gain water weight as a result of exercise.

    Finally, when you exercise you become hungry (just like you become thirsty – although you get thirsty before you get hungry). When you layer hunger from the calorie restriction of the diet on top of hunger resulting from exercise, you are really hungry and your body is constantly reminding you that you really must eat. It requires a real mental effort to resist that demand to pick up and eat that (whatever).

    So, you go on 5:2 and begin to exercise. You exercise like heck. Your 5:2 way of eating is a slow weight loss process – perhaps a pound a week. Your exercise really isn’t burning enough calories to make much of a difference to your weight loss. You hop on the scale after a great week of fasting like it says you should and exercising more than you have in years. You expect to be down at least 3 or 4 pounds, if not more.

    But because of slow weight (fat) loss from 5:2 combined with water retention from exercise, you don’t lose anything and maybe gain. And you are really hungry. Second week, the same, and you are really, really hungry. Third week, the same, or maybe down a pound if you are lucky, and you are starving.

    So clearly this 5:2 does not work (only one pound after three weeks of pain and suffering), and you are almost dying from starvation and tired of fighting the hunger, and say what is the use, and quit.

    If you must exercise, at least don’t blame your slow or nonexistent weight loss on 5:2, and quit! Your exercise is helping you become more healthy, and 5:2 is helping you lose fat weight. You just have to be patient and wait for the slow acting 5:2 to overwhelm the effects of your exercise!


    Hey nice to see you on here Simcoeluv!

    yep I agree with all of the above, I have cut down on the exercise level I do, mainly walking everyday and a short 10 minutes abs workout,4 days a week is more than enough for me 🙂

    I guess its whatever works for you as said so many times, I go by my clothes a lot more than scales and the way the feel and the buzz I get buying smaller sizes 🙂 it makes it all worthwhile, and I know this will be my way of eating for life!!


    Hey Angie:

    Hope 5:2 is going well for you.

    Take care.

    Hi there Simcoeluv!

    its been ok for me, kind of hit a plateau I think, but not fussed at all, I just keep going and do my fasts as usual 🙂

    hope its all good for you too, am sure it is and with no more “trousers” incidents lol 🙂

    Hi again Angie:

    I have thoughts on plateaus, too, but I have not posted them here yet.

    Short version, just keep doing what you have been doing to lose weight, and plateaus will pass.

    I now have trousers that are acceptable for the general public. I’m not sure for how long, though.

    Thank you Simcoeluv!

    glad about the trousers 🙂

    @simcoeluv Exercise is ‘dangerous’ for your diet???????

    I think that is a very rash and misleading statement.

    Exercise is NOT ‘dangerous’ for your diet

    Exercise COMBINED with diet is anything but dangerous, unless you have a medical condition that precludes exercise.

    Exercise of the type that builds muscle may slow weight loss because muscle weighs more than fat but simple exercise – even something like walking – combined with diet is better for your health. Any medical practitioner will tell you that.

    It’s a matter of being sensible. Exercise does not need to mean ‘pain and suffering’ – walking for 30 minutes can be very enjoyable, it doesn’t make you hungry and doing it regularly is good for your health.

    Please! There is enough confusion on these forums, especially for those just starting, without having misleading titles on threads.

    hi Sylvestra!

    I think maybe Simcoeluv didn’t mean “dangerous” in the literal sense of the word?


    @angie090465 perhaps not Angie but it’s not the best heading for a post, is it?


    It’s making me think twice about all the exercise I do! I’ve just started really enjoying it too! 😉


    ……. but I’m blooming well going to the pool anyway!!!!

    @chrissieinbrittany Don’t think twice ….keep exercising. It’s NOT dangerous and it’s good for you.

    It’s only one person’s opinion …we’re all entitled to have one…..doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct.


    Hi Simcoeluv,

    For the most part I understand your opinion but… (there’s always a but isn’t it?) I think that you miscalculate some things. You forget that musles on itself use calories to, so if you gaine musles, your need more calories to stay on the same weight. There is another one, but that is suporting your idea somewhat. If you run at 8 km an hour (about 5MPH), You need 5.9 hours to run of 3500calories, thats about 47km (almost 30 miles).
    running at this speed takes 590 calories per hour.
    I think its to extreme to say that excerse is dangourous, you explane it in you text and then its not so bad as it sounds, but some people will not read everything and react on the title only.
    This is absolutly not to tear you down, because you write your story to help us. So I hope you understand my point of view. I hope you lose a lot of wieght as I did without exersice. (20 kilo and going strong)

    Hi all. Exercise and diet?. Lots of comments so I will add my two pennies worth.
    Due to several health and fitness concerns I have turned to a personal fitness trainer who has worked out a fitness programme based on my personal needs. The exercises include those that will strengthen my lower back and central core and improve muscle strength. (I am a 65 yr old male by the way). Also included are sport specific weight and flexibility work outs coupled with cardio. She, Vicky that is, is a highly respected fitness trainer who has worked with Premier League footballers, Tennis, Rugby and other sports people. In short, she knows her stuff. She also is aware that I do the 5:2 diet and has no issues with that. She is also aware of my weight loss targets and agrees that weight loss is a viable part of my programme.. In dietary terms she suggests a breakfast with protein and heavy on vegetables for the low carbs during the day. She actually believes in the Paleo diet but has not pushed me into this.
    So, in response to diet and exercise… from the horses mouth so to speak.. do it.
    Good luck to you all out there.

    I agree that managing expectation is the key. I’ve been on 5:2 for almost a year & a half and lost 3.5 stone without any additional (& realistically probably a bit less) excercise.

    Now I’m ramping up the exercise, as I get into the last couple of stone left to lose and want to ensure that I end up toned rather than saggy (my skin has form for not being mega-flexible – stretchmarks!!! – so I want to make it as easy on it as I can).

    However, my expectation is that ramping my exercise regime up by 400% or more is going to have a disasterous affect on my weight loss margins for a while. I fully expect to plateau and may very well put on some weight in the short term. That’s fine. The long term will bear out the sanity of my plan and as long as I’m expecting it, hopefully it won’t depress me too much.

    😉 Good luck all

    TBH I didn’t read the title correctly – I read ‘Exercise is Dangerous’ 😛
    This I believe to be true having seen the effects of jogging, skiing, horse-riding not to mention football, on the human body.
    Having read the first post I think a ? after the word diet might have been appropriate – but not nearly as controversial or interesting.
    Exercise is necessary to keep our bodies moving and supple, it also has all the health benefits associated with 5:2. So its a personal preference how much or little you do for yourself.
    Good luck to all those who exercise much more than I do and to those do less than me.

    I wouldn’t give up exercise now. I’ve gone past doing it for weightloss and now it’s my ‘drug’. I’m up to 52 lengths of the pool and am just learning to crawl. I go three times a week and get cheesed off if I can’t go for whatever reason.
    But…. if I WAS only going as a weightloss aid, I would be really discouraged by the original post!
    Ps… the only way execise is dangerous to me personally, is that I come out of the pool ravenous!

    ChrissieinBrittany – good for you!!! That’s brilliant. I love swimming too. I sort of taught myself to crawl over a couple of years and I’m now teaching myself to do it better. I can’t be far off – I went to a ‘coaching session at a local pool a couple of years ago before I did my first swimathon and the coach didn’t have much to say about my crawl, although I’d apparently been doing breast stroke wrong for the previous 30 years 😉

    Good luck with it and if your in the UK get yourself down for the Sport Relief swimathon. It’ll be great encouragement for you 😀

    I’m in France Tracy! I also had been doing the crawl ‘wrong’ all my life. Sorted out now though. How often do you get to the pool? I’m all excited because I’ve just ordered a new swimsuit from a website for gals with big boobs. Can’t wait to have a swimsuit that fits (everywhere)!

    I guess I have mixed feelings on the whole topic. Exercise has more benefits than just the calories burned. Especially for me having a metabolic disorder. It improves metabolism which benefits you more long term than just today’s calories in/calories out. I have to be careful not to overdo it with exercise though.

    ChrissieinBrittany – Hah – yeah I realised as soon as I hit ‘submit’ (what a dafty) my mum lives in Brittany too & she refused to fly back to do the swimathon too – no commitment!

    I’ve just joined a gym with a pool so that I can swim more often actually. The pool I went to was pretty restricted to what I could do in an average week, so I’ll be upping my average visits by about 400% 😉 Gonna try and go 4-5 times a week (on way home from work) and do at least 2K (40 mins) each visit and 4-5K at least once a week. I MIGHT do the odd class aswell but I have zero interest in the actual ‘gym’.

    I might post a link to my giving page for the swimathon here actually (if that kind of thing is allowed on here (I’ll check). I know the distance wont be a problem but I am DETERMINED to beat my PB this time.

    Blimey!! It takes me 40 mins to do 40 laps = 1k so you’re very fast!

    I couldn’t afford to compe over to the UK even if I wanted to!

    Happy swimming. I went yesterday and will be going again on Wednesday.

    I know what you mean – gone are the £10 flights the last year or 2 I notice. I’m going over to visit in the summer & it’s costing an arm & a leg this time. It’d better be half decent weather this time – last time I went for a week it was miserable on all but 3 days of the week and my mum epically failed to get me to a beach on all 3 of those nice days (we only managed once because everyone else was “too tired” after their “big day out” – wimps!).

    Whereabouts are you? They’re near Josselin. Nice area.

    I’m near Carhaix. Josslin is lovely!

    Krista Varady’s lab has done a study that shows exercise combined with ADF leads to greater weight loss than ADF alone: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23408502


    I just read this thread today and I’m a little dumbfounded, particularly with the title! and Simcoeluv, your numbers are all wrong to go with it and I’m not sure where you come up with them. Then you finished your rant the way you started by suggesting that exercise causes people to quit a diet and that it is only the 5:2 diet that makes you lose weight and not the exercise!

    I think most people have made the point that exercise and diet go hand in hand and that BOTH should be included in any lifestyle change with the goal to become healthier. Learn to love exercise as much as the diet, that should be the message.

    Hi Jaidee09 – It is a bit of a confusing thread and you’re right of course, if including a new exercise regime in your life alongside 5:2 is possible then it is the ideal for health. However, I would always wish to point out for anyone new to this board that the 5:2 on its own, with no changes whatsoever to your normal level of activity, WILL work for weight loss. It is important that new folks know that because exercise is not always an option for everybody.

    I was just lazy and couldn’t be bothered to do any more exercise for the first year (during which I lost 42lb) but some people are confined to a wheelchair or otherwise restricted with what they can do, even if they want to.

    I agree with Tracy – I have been doing this almost 6 months – with several weeks off for holidays, Xmas and my recent hip replacement operation and I have lost weight with no exercise.

    The only exercise I have managed is a few days of limited cardio and swimming in November when there was a special 10 day ‘trial’ offer at the gym – and clearly the cardio was extremely limited as I couldn’t move my dodgy hip very well. The rest of the time I have been entirely sedentary – I haven’t even been able to walk more than a few yards.

    Despite this inactivity I have lost 24lb. Now I am back on 5:2 it will be interesting to see what happens to the rate of loss when I am able to start exercising again – probably in about 4 weeks time.

    @jaidee09 I don’t think the title of this post was the best that could have been chosen. It is a fact that most people read headlines and not always the body of the article. (You obviously did go on to read it all). That’s why headlines like “5:2 – starve for 2 days and stuff yourself for 5” – which I have seen – are so misleading.

    Exercise is NOT dangerous for 5:2 (or any other ‘diet’) but it is NOT compulsory for 5:2 either! As others have said 5:2 works whether or not you can exercise but if your health and your lifestyle allow you to exercise then there are obviously benefits to be gained from so doing.

    I agree with most of what you say but there is no ‘SHOULD’ about including exercise in 5:2 – as has been said many times….it’s what works for you.

    The best thing about this WOE is that ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ are kept to an absolute minimum.

    I would also add that simcoeluv’s figure of 3500 calories burned = one pound lost is something that comes up frequently in weight loss topics.
    If this is the case – in very simple terms – then someone with a TDEE of 2000 and fasting 2 days creates a 3000 calorie deficit (2 x 1500 = 3000). All they need to do is eat 1900 calories on the other 5 days (5 x 100 = 500) to have created that 3500 deficit to lose 1 lb. Obviously since TDEE varies from person to person that will an effect but you get my drift.


    Personal anecdote coming up.

    In 2010 my wife and I successfully rode our bikes from Land’s End to John O’Groats, thereby fulfilling a long held ambition (we are in our 60s). At the time I was attending Weightwatchers and slowly losing weight by the persistent food deprivation method. However,I dropped the Weightwatchers stuff for the duration of the ride, believing that the exercise would be bound to help with weight loss. Surely ?

    Finally triumphant at completion of the pedalling task set, and back home after nearly 1,000 miles on my bike, I expectantly stepped on the scales … and shrieked in appalled disbelief when I discovered I had actually GAINED 1kg !

    How could this be ? Dunno, but I do suspect that my belief that to ride that distance I had to eat – lots – contributed. I blame too many Full English Breakfasts myself !

    lol : macloud.
    That was some ambition and congratulations to you both on achieving it.
    It would have been interesting to know your measurements pre-ride compared with post-ride. I am sure you must be a different shape now – more toned and were your clothes fitting more comfortably?
    Those full English/Welsh/Canadian/American/All Day/etc breakfast have a lot to answer for!

    Hi Folks,
    all of the posts above mention weight loss but no one thinks of measuring their body fat and muscle composition. You can do this in several ways; the original method dreamt up by Archimedes was to submerge the body in water and calculate the amount by displaced water not something that many people would do. The next method is to have a personal trainer take skin fold measurements with a set of callipers (3x for each skinfold in 4 to 12 places) and then using complicated tables calculate your body fat percentage and muscle mass. This gives you a good starting base line for your 5.2 adventure.
    The next method is to use a Bodystat machine or Tanita scales. These will take your weight height and age in to consideration and come up with a figure (which is as accurate as skin callipers) based on the impedance of an electrical current through you body. Since fat holds no water it can calculate this figure.
    So yes exercise will help you build muscle which takes up far less room in your skin than fat and despite not losing weight you will be losing fat which is the whole point of 5.2 and exercise! Good luck if you want to find a PT try looking in nrpt.co.uk

    simcoeluv, are you an expert with 5.2 and related to micheal or mimi?

    i read quite a few of your posts which claim to be “authoritative”

    what i dont get is the science behind your argument… while excercise may not do much for your calorie consumption, when i went to weightwatchers it was said that never the less, excercise
    a)makes feel fitter and happpier as it generates endorphins-but of course thats only the right type of excercise -its not muscle building or weight training that generates endorphins but swimming and other aerobic excercises which also make the heaRT STRONGER(or more specifically reduce the build up of cholestrol which with transfats-polyunmsaturated fats- creates artery blockages and particularly around the heart(carotid arteries)
    b) increases the metabolic rate for those(scientifically obese with a high BMI) with a slovernly metabolic rate
    c) a combined approach of dieting, excercise, eating only “good foods” like the five a day and fruit and veg, and managing all your nutrient intakes will alll help in ensuring continued weight reduction:

    if in doubt try reading patrick holfords books

    Perhaps the point of the title was to stand out amongst the others? It certainly got my attention.
    I started this way of life in January 2013 weighing in at 11 stone and 11 lb. I also started training for a local half marathon(which was in the March) as an un fit woman of 52, purely because I wanted to see if I too could stagger round and finish the course uninjured.Half Marathon Day saw me at 11 stone 1 lb, I had been running twice a week and the completed the course of 13.1 miles.My weight continued to decrease at an average of 1 lb a week,although some weeks I gained and some I stayed the same for a month or so.However, the one thing that was quite obvious was that I was losing inches all over.By the time December (another Half in September) arrived I was down to 10 stone 2 lb (23 lb loss ) BUT there was 5″ off my waist,4″ off my hips, 4″ off bust,8″ off my thighs and 6″ off my calves.I gave myself December off the 5:2 and was ill in January.I managed to put on 10 lb over Christmas! I didn’t run much at all and only just managed to be fit enough to run the same local half in March.I am struggling to get the scales to move, but the inches that I put on over the festive season are certainly disappearing again.We are doing interval training at the gym twice a week, and we’ve never worked so hard.Exercise trims and tones, improves mental health and overall fitness……..BUT it doesn’t always get the scales moving when you are building muscle(which burn calories,fat doesn’t). I am slimmer and leaner and although I am now just 15 lb lighter, there is also 24 inches/61.5 cms less of me
    I am delighted that my blood pressure is now normal and my psoriasis has gone as well.We are training for a 10K at the end of the month and hope to beat our personal best(I am quite slow)by some margin after all my efforts on the treadmill.
    At my lightest,there was 23 inches less of me. However, I am 8lb heavier and yet there is 24 inches less of me…..

    Dear annette55 that’s absolutely brilliant! I went skiing and came back 3lbs heavier but it was all muscle!!(Legs and arms) Husband put on 3lbs but he lost 2lbs fat and gained 5lbs muscle!! One week and 2 fast days later back to 9st 8lbs and raring to lose the final 8lbs.

    Thanks jenni. Lovely to hear about your experience too.


    I do not do 5:2 when I travel, and I travel quite a bit. In March, I returned after several months away and had no new travel scheduled. So I decided to perform a personal experiment on 5:2 and exercise.

    I decided to do what many people do, especially after the holidays, when they make a New Year’s resolution to go on a diet and get in shape by starting to exercise more than they have been. Statistics show that most that go through this ritual do not last more than two or three months before they end both their diets and their exercise programs.

    My experiment was simple and unscientific. As I had not been on a diet for quite awhile, I was starting a new diet. As for exercise, for years I have normally walked about a half an hour, three times a week (over and above my normal activities). As I have no interest in running a marathon or becoming ‘ripped’, I decided walking was just fine, but I would substantially increase it. I ended up going from an average of 12 minutes a day (360 minutes a month/number of days in a month) to a consistent from the start 45 minutes a day. So I increased my exercise level by about 375%.

    I know that when I do 5:2, I average losing about a pound a week, so I started without any doubts about whether or not 5:2 works as a weight loss diet for me. I suspected that with the added exercise I would not lose as much at the start, or might even gain a little, but had no idea really of what would happen.

    Here is what happened (in cumulative rounded pounds):

    Start 0
    Week 1 +1
    Week 2 0
    Week 3 -1
    Week 4 0
    Week 5 -1
    Week 6 -1
    Week 7 -1

    Here is when a lot of people give up. After all, 7 weeks on a diet with a lot more exercise than usual and lose only 1 pound? The diet obviously does not work, I’m hungry, tired and am quitting. Well not really, because I knew 5:2 worked – but I was wondering when.

    Week 8 -3 (finally)
    Week 9 -7 (wow)
    Week 10 -7
    Week 11 -9
    Week 12 -12
    Week 13 -12
    Week 14 -12
    Week 15 -16

    So the experiment is over (because its time to travel), but it was interesting. I lost about a pound a week, despite increasing my exercise. My ‘numbers’ indicate I should have lost about 7 pounds more than I did. But I do not count calories and while I know my diet days were done correctly (I don’t eat, so I don’t go over), I may very well have eaten slightly more on my non diet days because the exercise made me more hungry. As my exercise level continued at the higher level, I may still be building muscles and retaining water. I don’t know.

    So take it for what it is worth – everyone is different. But if you decide to start 5:2 and begin exercising, too, don’t expect to get off to a booming weight loss start (although I hope you do). And if you expect routine, consistent weight loss on 5:2, think again.

    BUT DON’T GIVE UP – I’m 16 pounds lighter because I didn’t.

    Good Luck!

    Thanks for sharing your personal experiment Simmo.
    My husband and I didn’t increase our exercise to enhance the diet. Once we had lost about 8kg we both found we were wanting to go for longer and longer walks because it felt good. So, we have done the reverse, lost weight, then exercised for fun.
    I worry when I see overweight (obese) people struggling to jog or even walk to get fit when they really should be losing weight first to prevent damage to the knees and hips. I feel like chasing after them (not very hard) and telling them about 5:2, but I don’t. 🙂
    I second your statement completely: DON’T GIVE UP!
    Enjoy your travels. Cheers PVE

    This was an interesting post (plus the subsequent comments) which I enjoyed reading (controversial title & all 😉 )

    I agree that exercise causes weight gain though I personally find that it is weight gain due to increased muscle mass (i.e. heavier on the scales yet smaller clothes) unless people do fall into the trap of eating more etc. which I can definitely understand (anyone who has ever run will understand the term ‘runger’!)

    I would hesitantly agree that weight loss can be achieved with effective dieting BUT there are some caveats such as:

    -exercising helps me (perhaps psychologically?!) to stick with a good diet as after my hard work I would rather eat nutritious foods than junk

    -gaining muscle mass & being more ‘toned’ is superior than falling numbers on a scale

    -I find it to be a key factor in maintenance. Since incorporating exercise into my routine, I find it MUCH easier to maintain once I’ve reached my goals.

    -it is fun! I know people hate exercise (I used to) but for me it is now a social thing & I live off the post-exercise endorphin rush. Healthy mind, healthy body & all that jazz 🙂

    So yes, definitely a pro-exerciser in this corner!

    Hi lucky:

    As you have read the post, you know I am anything but anti-exercise. Exercise carries so many benefits that it is hard to list them all.

    I don’t believe, however, that exercise causes weight gain other than some initial water retention weight. Muscle does not ‘weigh more’ than fat – a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. Muscle is more dense. So when you exercise while on a diet you are converting some of your fat to muscle and as a result your measurements are reduced. The only way you will gain weight is if you eat too many calories. You will then be in a situation where your measurements are declining but your weight is going up.

    Most people have been taught that exercise leads to weight loss. The moral of the post is that is not necessarily true, and if you start to exercise when you start your diet, don’t give up on the diet because it ‘doesn’t work’. Keep on dieting until the weight loss shows up!

    Hi simcoeluv

    Yes muscle does not ‘weigh more’ than fat & is denser & that’s what happens to my body when I exercise – I become ‘denser’ i.e. smaller in measurements, but the reading on the scales is higher. Fat cells can not be converted into muscle cells as they are different cells. That way I say ‘toned’ in inverted commas as scientifically it does not make sense – you just decrease the amount of fat in your adipose cells (as when you lose fat, fat cells shrink but are usually still there as opposed to dying) & gain muscle mass.

    You say that exercise only causes gains because of water weight & you will only gain weight if you eat too many calories. But if those calories are causing muscle gain that is a good gain in my book. I think we are saying the same thing i.e. measurements go down, weight goes up? But in that case it is because of muscle gain.

    If someone has a little to lose, they may have no weight loss on a diet including the 5:2 if extra calories are used for gaining muscle mass. That may not be a bad thing as they could be smaller but with a lower fat percentage.

    While I quite often agree with you in this case I don’t. I have to admit though that I am now at maintenance and I have tweaked my approach to the 5:2.

    First of all, I exercise A Lot and I burn regularly 1000 calories a day. Also I love eating and having some treats. If I were to have to eat my TDEE five days a week and twice under 500 calories…I would give up rather sooner than later as it would not allow me to get my treats. In other words, I eat some of my exercise calories back and this makes the whole diet more bearable for me.

    Now, I use a fitness tracker and a multisportswatch with heart rate monitor to measure my calorie expenditure and so far 9 months in, it works perfectly well for me.

    Further, while on a diet you can NOT build muscle, but you can retain the muscle that you have. When losing weight you usually also lose muscle, so it is quite important to do some kind of sport.

    From my own experience I can say that I do not get much hungrier from exercise and for me it is quite easy to burn a lot of calories through exercise. One hour running around 9 km gives me around 600 calories combined with forty minutes of weight training, I have earned a total of roughly 900 calories, per DAY. If you do this about 5 days a week I have lost more than a pound per week purely through exercise. Now I might eat some of them back, but never all of them so it still contributes to my weightloss.

    Anyhow, everybody as they desire, but in my “experiment” it works wonders and it is good for my health. Never been fitter in my life and I am 49.


    Hi Stef:

    I don’t think you said anything (except for your numbers, of course) that I did not say in the thread. Of course you can lose weight from exercising – Michael Phelps had to eat up to 12,000 calories a day just not to lose weight when he was in training.

    However, our perspectives are entirely different.

    My perspective is from the standpoint of a newbie, overweight if not obese, really wanting to lose weight, having stumbled on 5:2 and this site and asking for advice. The question is, what is the best advise to give so they derive the most benefit from 5:2 over time? You can give both ‘ideal’ advice, or advice that, while not ideal, has a better chance, if followed, of yielding a better result in the long term. I choose the latter.

    Most people that show up here, other than wanting to lose weight, have neither the ability nor the time to purchase heart monitors and begin strenuous workouts five days a week. They have other places to spend their money and other things they have to do. But even if they start that way, statistics show most would quit before they saw much benefit from the program.

    The research on exercise and weight loss is abundant and the results are clear – exercise has only a minor impact on weight loss: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/19/exercise-has-minor-effect_n_730597.html Even Varady in her recently published research on ADF and exercise illustrated that the exercise group, after attending mandatory, supervised exercise sessions three times a week for 12 weeks, lost an average of only 3 ounces a week (1 kg over 3 months): http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.20353/full. All research shows that it is the diet, not the exercise, that generates the vast majority of weight loss on combination exercise/diet programs.

    Most newbies come to 5:2 with some very understandable and rational doubts about whether or not it is for real and will work for them. My perspective is that they should embark upon 5:2 without distraction and without the initial negative impact exercise can cause – slower initial weight loss, greater hunger, etc.. I also worry about high expectations that will not be met, also leading to quitting because 5:2 ‘doesn’t work’. Even Varady’s ADF/Exercise combination group only lost about a pound a week.

    As I posted, I believe the most important thing a person can do to improve their health is exercise. But in the context of this site, which is a weight loss site at heart, I believe a newbie should first lose weight doing 5:2. I agree with PVE that only after losing enough weight to prove to themselves the diet works for them should they then embark on an exercise program of their choice. It will be easier for them because they are exercising with less weight, so they will be more likely to continue their exercise, and they will not doubt their diet if their rate of weight loss slows.

    It is not whether exercise is good or bad – it is good – it is when it should be introduced into the overall weight loss program. I believe that for most people it should be introduced after the person is confident the diet will work for them, and decides to improve their health by exercising.

    As an aside, the other, more minor, side of my position is to illustrate to those newbies that cannot exercise for whatever reason that they don’t have to exercise to see success with 5:2. It is a shame to see people come to a diet and start with the mindset that it won’t work for them because they can’t exercise.

    I’m astounded how people can have such strong views about what other people should and should not be doing in terms of diet and exercise. If they’re having a go at either or both then great, if not, well meh. People give up frequently for lots of reasons. Sometimes the effects or enjoyment (or otherwise!) of exercise can really help someone’s get slim/fit, sometimes the opposite. People will find their own way.

    Wow some very interesting comments about exercise,fitness, weight loss etc etc. I have been doing the 5:2 lifestyle,off and on since Jan 31st 2013. I have also been in the gym, off and on for longer than I care to remember. At present, because of 5:2 I am approx 16 lb lighter than when I started 5:2. I am on Mon, Wed and Friday fasting at the moment. However I abuse myself with food and alcohol on the “off days”. Three days ago I got a pain in my right knee as I walked up the stairs in my home. Now I am a 66 yr old male. I find I have difficulty bending and standing due to apparent weakness in my knees. In order to address this I intend to do certain exercises in the gym (in addition to cardio vascular work outs for fitness) to strengthen my joints. It will be very specific. I will target joint strength not weight loss. In all the years I have worked out it has been for fitness, not weight loss. I believe working out can assist, be helpful or aid weight loss for me but mainly it is for health and fitness reasons. For every one else it is up to them why they work out. What ever the reasons are I wish you all good luck in your endeavors. Thank you all for your views and comments on this forum, keep them coming.

    Interesting topic!

    I did some work with a weight loss group that was headed up by a sports physiologist. His theory was that when you lose weight you also lose muscle mass. Therefore the exercise you should do whilst you are losing weight is not to lose weight but to ensure that you maintain musculature along the way.

    This basically means that you shift the focus from cardio based running/walking to high resistance muscle work over shorter time frames.

    From what I understand, this also increases your metabolism, helping you shift the fat faster.

    At the end of the day for me personally, if I am watching what I eat, exercise is an additional thing that helps me stay in a “healthy mind” space and remain focussed on my goals.


    AJdreams, I agree and I tried to make the point above. Exercise is vital for muscle maintenance and metabolism.

    Simcoeluv, I do understand your points, but frankly do not follow how you would know what people can afford or not, either financially or time wise? You can buy a heart rate monitor for $40 and use it with a free app on your phone. I am full time working, but get up an hour earlier to get my exercise in.

    I do agree on the point of expectations, but nevertheless stress once again that for some people, including myself, gaining calories through exercise and allowing oneself an extra treat here and there might be the solution to an otherwise strict diet. One can call it what one wants, but 5:2 means calorie restriction on ALL days. Staying under your TDEE is not the easiest if you like ice cream, as I do.

    Anyhow, yes you control your weight through diet and your fitness through exercise, but the two work nicely together and the latter is essential when it comes to the preservation of muscles, something that is not stressed enough in my humble opinion.

    This might be of interest re the importance of fitness for a longer life in comparison to weightloss:

    Hi Simcoeluv,

    I just wanted to say thank you for this thread. As I mentioned early on, I upped my exercise regime in February by about 400% and have maintained that level and added to it since then. I do 10k in the pool per week (minimum), I walk to and from the gym (about 1.5 miles) 2 days a week, 1 yoga session (1hr15) and at least one pilates session (1 hour) per week. I’ve also just had a personal training session, a couple of weeks ago and have started doing some weights work at least twice a week (HIT sessions of up to 30 minutes) before I swim. This is A LOT of exercise compared to my old regime, which was 1-2 swimming sessions a week of about 2.6k a time (1 hour).

    My fitness has no doubt improved through the roof and I have had 2 ‘MOTs’ at the gym, which have highlighted improvements in my health as well as a little measurement difference in my waist and weight. However, since about month 3-4 at the gym I have lost nothing and when I do weigh (I do it monthly) the last 2 times I’ve actually fractionally put on some weight.

    As you can imagine, despite starting out with the increase in exercise knowing and accepting that I would probably plateau and/or gain a little weight this is still really demoralising. I’ve come to this thread today to bolster me up on my first fastday of the week and remind me that it is NOT the fasting that’s at fault. I know that anyway, having lost upwards of 55lb prior to the gym without ANY increase in exercise but it’s good to be reminded.

    I’ll keep on trucking, I know I’ll reach a ‘sweet spot’ at some point and start losing again. I think in the interim I may just stop weighing (even monthly) as it affects my equilibrium so much. As long as none of my clothes get tight I’ll know I’m still on the right track 😉

    Hi simcoeluv, also want to say that I agree with you. Of course exercise is excellent – you keep stressing that, but much better to embark on such an exercise regime once eating habits have changed, portions/meals re-assessed, “success” has been proven and “hope” established. Then of course all exercise hell can break loose in terms of exercise.

    Stef whilst your level of exercise is highly admirable if not enviable, i would classify 1 hour and forty minutes daily as slightly extreme and not achievable (long term) by the majority of people. Simcoeluv was talking about us mere mortals 😉 who enthusiastically embark on a weight loss journey wanting to lose weight as quickly as possible and, alas, get easily discouraged.

    I think Michael Mosley touched on this in the programme about HIIT when he explained how much exercise was needed to burn off the calories of a banana or a couple of biscuits. It is indeed pitiful.

    I only exercise for health NOT for weight loss. My TDEE is just under 1500 which includes moderate exercise of a 3.3 mile walk in my lunch hour 6 times a week. According to my app I spend 180cals on my walks. Frankly, if it wasn’t for the other health benefits I’d not bother. For me the pain of any more exercise is worse than that of not eating the treat in the first place. Everybody is different.

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