The truth is out there

Lets talk about calories, weight and all that.

I have a friend that is quite overweight. We were chatting over sewing halloween costumes the other day and she said she was going to talk to her Dr about her weight.

I’m pretty happy about this, she’s been carrying about 100 extra pounds for quite a while so her wanting to talk to her Dr means she is perhaps finally in the right head space to do something about it. I think that being overweight is like being depressed or an addict – until you are ready for change nothing works.

But thats not what I wanted to get into, today.

This friend is pretty sedentary and has been walking 2 times a week and about 6 weeks ago she added swing dancing and she is disappointed that this extra cardio has not lead to weight loss.

It made me think about how people often have unrealistic expectations on what activity can do.

Yes walking twice a week and dancing is great. It will help increase blood flow and get the body in better shape but its not going to drop pounds without some other changes.

Lets look at the math.

At 5’4 and 260 lbs you can assume that living burns around 2200 calories, (http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/calories-burned.php)

thats around 80-90 per hour.

Lets replace 1.5 hours of sittting (burning about 130 calories) with dancing – swing burns 300-500 per hour if you are moving the entire time. she’s not so lets say she burns 400 calories in 90 minutes – now subtract what she would have burned watching hockey night in canada 400-130=270.

Hey don’t get me wrong, 270 calories is great but if we go with the rule of thumb that it takes 3500 to loose a pound it means it will take 12 weeks to loose one pound!

People assume that getting a good workout will answer all their weight issues – it doesn’t.

Lets take a run as an example. You run 5K race at a good pace and grab a bagel from the snack bin after. Guess what? Those two things cancel each other out. Running burns about 100 calories a mile, 5K is 3.1 miles so a 140 pound person (more for us heavier types) burns 300-340 calories in a race.

Guess how many calories are in a bagel?

You got it 300-330.

Am I saying that the answer is not in activity? No, I’m not. You do need to get moving, even at a comfortable pace like walking or dancing to help your body create muscle so that when you change your calorie intake you drop that fat and not the more important muscle tissue. The best solution is to combine balanced eating with activity and not fall into that “I went for a run/worked out so I can eat whatever I want” trap

trust me, I’ve done it too.

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