NO MOM, you can’t just run off that bear claw!

You just have to love moms.  My mother is super active, and yet she came home today and was complaining about her tummy and how she needed to do more crunches.  I asked her what she had to eat that morning, and she responded, “a bear claw pastry!”  Can you hear my audible sigh?  I responded that the best way to lose weight is by changing what she eats.  Then she responded that she would just work it off by running.  My mom runs 10 minute miles and will do about 6-10 miles, so she is running for an hour to an hour and a half.  Sounds like she should be able to eat a few bear claws, right?  Wrong,  it takes a lot of exercise to burn off a 700 calorie bear claw with 38 grams of fat.  You actually have to either walk for over 3 hours, jog for 80 minutes, swim for an hour or ride a bike for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Phew…. Was that doughnut really worth it?

Cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both amazing for your health, but if your goal is weight loss, you must truly adjust your diet.  I would say that 75% of your effort should be aimed at your food intake and 25% cardiovascular training and weights.  It is true that the more muscle you have, you more you will efficiently burn calories, but still the best way to lose weight is to either change what you are eating or limit your portions.

Below are a couple examples of how much exercise you really need to do to burn of specific foods:

  1. A snickers bar:  250 calories, 12 grams of fat:  Burn this of with 69 minutes of walking or 38 minutes of cycling
  2. A taco bell chicken burrito, 18 grams of fat.  Burn this off with 2 hours of walking or 50 minutes of jogging.
  3. Medium size french fries: 380 calories, 19 grams of fat.  Burn this off with 55 minutes on the stair master or 45 minutes of high intensity training.
  4. A large slice of pepperoni pizza:  729 calories with 37 grams of fat.  Burn this off by running at a a speed of 6.0 for 65 minutes
  5. A McDonald’s Double Cheeseburger: 440 calories with 23 grams of fat.  Burn this off by walking up hill for an hour or 40 minutes of cycling sprints.
  6. Ruby’s Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing:  1090 calories, 80 grams of fat.  Burn this of by dancing for 2 1/2 hours or vigorously rowing for one hour and 45 minutes.
  7. 30z of Lay’s Potato Chips:  450 calories, with 30 grams of fat.  Burn this off with 50 minutes of rock climbing.
  8. A Starbucks Tall Caramel Frappuccino with whole milk, but no whipped cream.  210 calories, 3 grams of fat.  Burn this off by one hour of walking or 25 minutes of jogging.  (That’s quite a bit for a beverage that takes less than five minutes to drink)
  9. A 12 oz Frozen Margarita: 540 calories, 0 grams of fat.  Burn it off with 80 minutes of hiking or 60 minutes of playing basketball.

Obviously,with most of the foods above, you would expect that it would take more energy to burn the calories.

 You might be surprised to find that these foods also require substantial effort to burn off:

  1. Granola – Bear Naked Fruit and Nut 100% Pure Granola for one cup is 560 calories with 28 grams off fat.  To burn this off, you have to walk for 2 1/2 hours or cycle for 1 1/2 hoursInflatable Castle.
  2. Gatorade – One bottle is 213 calories with 56 grams of sugar.  It takes 24 minutes of running to burn this off or 33 minutes of cycling.  (unless you are a triathlete or serious athlete, I would stay away from these drinks totally.  If you want to replace your electrolytes, have water with orange slices)
  3. Cashews – 1/2 a cup is 393 calories, 31% from fat.  To burn this off  you need to walk for 1 1/2 hours or swim for 1/2 an hour.  (I think nuts are a great snack and a good source of protein, but eat these in moderation.  It is so easy to have handfuls and handfuls of nuts.
  4. Starbucks Blueberry Muffin – 350 calories, with 12 grams of fat.  You have to ride a bike for one hour just to burn this off.

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Was what you put in your mouth really worth the amount of energy that you will have to exert to burn it off?


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