Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

Exercise Doesn’t Erase Your Bad Diet

How many times have you been to dinner at a restaurant, trying to decide between having the healthy salad you know you should have, and the nachos that are screaming your name? In an effort to justify the unhealthy choice, you say to yourself: “I’ll burn it off in the gym tomorrow.” Look! A weight loss loophole!

Everyone needs to exercise. Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, fight aging, or haven’t given your health a single thought, you need to exercise. In addition to burning calories, exercise helps prevent diseases like cancer, increases bone density, prevents injury, relieves stress, improves sleep and gives you firm, toned muscles that boost your confidence and keep you feeling good.

All too often, however, people look at exercise as a way to erase making bad diet decisions.  This is a recipe for an unhealthy relationship with both food and exercise, which will never get you the results you want.

If weight loss is your goal, exercise alone will not get the weight off. Burning calories is an important part of the equation, but you can’t forget the other half. You have to exercise self-control. Exercise does not give you permission to eat whatever you want, and slashing calories doesn’t mean you don’t have to work out. Despite the calories in, calories out relationship essential to weight loss, they are not opposites; they, in fact, work together. Calories are fuel to get you through your workout, your workout is not a way to get rid of the food you eat.

You cannot ‘out exercise’ a bad diet.

Most people overestimate how many calories they burn and underestimate how many calories they eat.

A good, intense 30 minute cardio session will burn around 250 calories. Those nachos? Upwards of 1,000 calories.  That means you’d have to hit the treadmill for two solid hours just to cancel out that indulgence. Those two hours will do nothing to get you towards your goals, because you are just trying to get back to where you were before that dinner.

Worth it? No.

Constantly playing the math game of indulgence and punishment will not only have you fighting to keep your head above water, it gives a negative connotation to both diet and exercise. Exercise is not a punishment for eating, and your food choices should be based on what is going to give you the best nutritional bang for your buck and provide your body the nutrients it needs to perform its best during your workouts.

There are no freebies. You need to practice self-control. Eating healthy and getting in your exercise is the only recipe for long-lasting, successful weight loss.

August 26th, 2010

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