Diet vs Exercise: Which is Better for Weight Loss?

by Millie

Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by irshad israr

Here is my six-month experience and answer to the question, diet vs exercise: which is better for weight loss? This didn’t start as an experiment, but this turned into a very vital lesson for me and perhaps you can learn from my experience.

I started 2019 at 313 pounds, my highest weight (or so I thought at that time) and it was clear that I needed to do something.

The Choices

person exercising on a treadmill thinking that exercise is better for weight loss
Diet vs Exercise. Is Exercise more important than diet?

Of the two pillars of weight loss, diet and exercise, exercise has always been easier for me. I love food! You don’t get to be over 300 pounds and without overindulging in the good stuff. So step one would be to exercise or quite frankly just to be more active. Also, this was a good first step for me because I was really, really out of shape. I was out of breath after one flight of stairs! 

I needed to improve my cardiovascular system and lose fat. What cardio exercise do I choose? I need low impact because of my weight and chronic back pain. The best low impact workouts for overweight individuals like me are walking, cycling and swimming. 

There is no way I will be going to a swimming pool soon. Pool and bathing suits are so anxiety provoking for me that I was sure to have a heart attack. Furthermore, walking, even slowly, for more than five minutes would leave me in extreme pain. So that leaves me with cycling.

Yes, I can join a gym and ride until the cows come home. But most of us obese people do not feel comfortable in gyms. No worries, I can purchase a stationary bike to ride at home. 

Because of my back pain, I focused on getting a stationary recumbent bike. This is a bike that according to Wikipedia, “places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons; the rider’s weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks.” For me, I was most interested in the support for my back. Also, sitting down rather than having to carry and moving over 300 pounds was much better for me! 

One of the issues when buying exercise equipment when you are overweight is the weight limit of the machine. Many years ago, I had a stationary bike and sometime later, the frame cracked! Probably because of my weight gain over the years. Pay attention and be aware that some of the salespeople are not very knowledgeable about weight limits. After all, most of their customers are not super obese.

healthy foods including salmon, broccoli, avocado, blueberries are better for weight loss
Diet vs Exercise ‘ Some experts believe that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise

The Results

I bought a True Fitness recumbent bike … with a 350-pound limit! It was delivered on March 14, 2019, and I used it four to seven days a week. I started exercising for 20 minutes and then I added 5 minutes about every two weeks. I can now ride for 60-65 minutes! Any longer and my butt hurt. 

Yes, I was definitely fitter! After about two months, I passed my stairs test. I was no longer out of breath when I climbed one flight of stairs. Three months later, I was going for 30-minute walks in my neighborhood. 

Also, three months later, I went from a size 22 to size 20 pants! However, I did not change one iota about my diet and I didn’t weigh myself until September 14th. What do I see on the scale? 328.9!

Diet vs Exercise: Which is Better for Weight Loss

So what is my answer to the question, Diet vs Exercise: Which is Better for Weight Loss? DIET! You may have heard that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. Or you can’t outrun a bad diet. Well, it’s certainly all true based on my experience. In fact, most research would support my experience and conclusion. I am happy that I started with exercise but I could have been further ahead by doing both at the beginning.

Take a look at the food I eat. 

Have you had any success losing weight with just exercising? I would love to hear about your experience

Diet vs Exercise: Which is Better for Weight Loss?

You may also like


Mimi June 3, 2020 -

I find that it’s true for me too, I usually find myself starting with dieting and that usually motivates me to workout too.

Millie August 19, 2020 -

Hi Mimi, I think for most us it’s easier to start with either diet or exercise, not both at the same time.

Amber Myers June 3, 2020 -

I usually stick to jogging in the neighborhood. I don’t focus much on losing weight. So long as I can fit into my pants, I’m good to go!

Millie June 3, 2020 -

Hi Amber, You are so lucky. I am sure jogging helps you maintain your weight. I’m sure you will have no problems in the future.

Nadalie Bardo June 3, 2020 -

This is one of those questions that’s always been debated. Glad to hear it’s mostly food. I eat pretty healthily, I just need to bring in my 25% exercise.

Millie June 3, 2020 -

Hi Nadalie, It’s so great that you have a healthy diet. Keep doing you.

Marta June 3, 2020 -

This is REALLY bad news for me (but explains so much). I don’t know that I’ll ever lose weight now!

Millie June 3, 2020 -

Hi Marta, I know how you feel. However, if I can do it so can you. You got this!

Marina June 4, 2020 -

Since the lockdown started I began to workout at home and I’m also following a diet. Got so many amazing results so far. Diet without exercise works, but doing both at the same time speed the whole process and it’s much easier if you want to loose weight.

Millie June 4, 2020 -

Hi Marina, How amazing you have turned the lockdown to something positive! Keep going strong!


Leave a Comment