From skwigg's journal:
I finally realized that exercise doesn't have anything to do with weight other than it makes me hungrier. If it makes me hungrier and I eat more, there's no problem. If it makes me hungrier and I restrict, that's when I end up with angry hormones, water retention, and strong urges to overeat. I like when Jill Coleman and Jade Teta talk about Move More / Eat More, and Move Less / Eat Less. Either phase may be appropriate depending on a person's goals. It only goes wrong when people try to Move More / Eat Less, especially in extreme ways. A new hard training regimen and a new strict diet launched together are pretty much guaranteed to be short lived, causing more problems than they solve. It puts a lot of stress on the body to try to increase performance with less fuel. Calories in, calories out math says you should lose fat, and maybe you will at first, but then your body will slow metabolism and ramp up cravings to protect you from the crisis.
For me personally, I always lose weight when I quit exercising. Every time I've ever tried it, my appetite and weight drop significantly. I love exercise though, so my two guidelines are to exercise for fun and to eat to appetite. It never goes wrong that way. Do you find the 2x per day elliptical sessions fun? Or are they about calorie burn?
I walk 5-10 miles per day seven days a week, but I've never been on a 10 mile walk, or a power walk, or any kind of deliberate walking workout. I stroll. I play fetch. I shop. I take the stairs. I pace while I talk on the phone. At the end of the day, I've moved a lot but my appetite doesn't ramp up because it's not very intense. My 10 minute ZGYM workout may be intense, but the rest of it is pleasurable general activity, spread out over all my waking hours. For me, that makes for appropriate appetite, great energy, and sound sleep. Hour long strength workouts and fasted HIIT cardio always did the opposite, especially if I tried that while undereating.
Are you trying to eat close to 2,000 calories per day? Do you let yourself eat considerably more when hungry? That intake would probably be fine for me on a day when I didn't exercise, but it would kill me on a 10 mile day with a kettlebell workout. If I stacked a bunch of those days together, as I often do, I'd be ravenous and wiped out. Eating to appetite and sleeping well, I stay very springy and energetic.
So, that's my thing. Exercise for fun and eat to appetite. Exercise doesn't have anything to do with weight other than it makes you hungrier. If you're wanting to eat less, exercising less certainly helps with that. I love the exercise more, eat more approach myself though. I feel good moving a lot and eating a lot.
If everything I do is based on how I feel that day, my energy and enthusiasm stay high. If any kind of dread enters into it, that's always been the red flag that I'm overdoing it. Normally, I can't wait to walk the dog, swing the kettlebell, jump rope, do some flying burpees. It's exhilarating! If it feels like it's going to be a chore that day, maybe I'm getting sick, or didn't get enough sleep, or I've been overdoing it lately. So, I take it easier, do something that actually does feel good. Maybe it's just stretching or foam rolling, maybe it's a 5 minute workout, or a beginner workout, or nothing. I don't have any rules about minimum activity. Sometimes a day off and an extra hour of sleep does more for health and fitness than a workout.