My experience is completely the opposite in one way from Ray.
My experience is that I could not out diet a completely sedentary lifestyle, in other word eat fewer calories than I was burning, if I wasn’t burning that many.
For years, I was overweight and I tried to diet off the weight.
Eating very little is not very sustainable.
I also found that eating very little slowed my metabolism down considerably so that I would stop losing weight.
I had found when I was younger that I could lose weight whenever I was on the swim team no matter how much I ate very diametrically the opposite of what Ray claims.
But I was also swimming about 3 hours a day at that time.
I started running and thought that I could burn just as many calories as swimming doing only about 30 minutes a day.
Soon, I found out that I could not lose weight eating anything I wanted by running.
So, as the years went by, I tried dieting and dieting and dieting my weight off, thinking that weight loss was all about dieting.
I really could only lose so much weight by doing this and any weight lost was easily regained.
I found in my forties that I practically could not eat anything to lose weight and eating very little slowed down my metabolism.
My doctor suggested really exercising a lot more- about an hour everyday.
I started bicycling to work everyday and the weight really came off very easily.
I never thought that I could eat anything I wanted by exercising- I actually thought I had to eat nothing and exercise all the time to lose weight.
So maybe, it wouldn’t have helped if I thought I could eat “anything, in any quantity.”
I also started counting calories and found that I lost weight rather quickly consuming 2000 calories a day.
I was in a HIV vaccine study at that time and was weighed on a regular basis and the nurse suggested that I increase my calories
intake to 2500 as she noted a rapid weight loss.
She tended to believe weight should be lost slowly to be lasting.
I know of even men who don’t exercise who have to eat only about 1000-1500 calories a day to lose weight.
I found I could lose weight eating up to 3000 calories a day.
I started eating up to 3000 calories a day and got down the lowest weight that I have been since early college (155 at 6 foot) and I now consume about 3300 calories and maintain this weight.
My highest weight ever was 255. I have maintained every single pound of this weight loss for 3.5 years, largely by continuing to exercise as well as counting calories.
Since losing the weight, I have transitioned to a plant based diet, esp. by Joel Fuhrman and Michael Greger mainly to solidify my health and weight loss.
I think the fallacy of your thinking is to say exercise doesn’t help because a person can’t lose weight by exercise if they continue to consume 9000 calories a day.
However, very few people who exercise on a regular basis would have to consume only 1000 calories a day in order to lose weight, as many persons who take the just diet approach would have to do.
Being able to consume more calories and still lose weight enables a person to get better nutrition in their diets- although a person has to make sure their calories contain nutrition.
Many low calorie diets necessitated by taking a no exercise approach to weight loss are nutrient deficient- it is hard to get enough protein on a plant based diet on 1000 calories a day.
Also, many persons who take the plant based diet, no exercise approach to weight loss don’t increase their HDL cholesterol.
My HDL was below 20 when I was obese, but now through exercise, it is 77.
People can eat more calories and still lose weight if they exercise a lot; just because it is not infinitely more does not prove that exercise is of no value for weight loss.