Published on November 9, 2019
If you’re going to the gym as a complement to your decision to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle, that’s good.
If you’re going to the gym in an attempt to burn off the bad calories you know you’re eating and really don’t want to stop, well obviously, you’re wasting your time.
So, if you are a gym-goer, my question is:
Are you eating back all the calories you burn?
Do you tell yourself on a regular basis, “I worked out today so that extra slice of pizza is OK?
When you’re on a weight loss journey, it doesn’t matter if you work out every day; you can’t reason that you can eat more because you’ve “earned it.” . . . like it’s some kind of reward for getting your butt out of the house and to the gym.
When you work out, you’re burning extra calories. That’s why exercise can be an important part of the weight-loss equation. But a lot of people overestimate how much they burn — and use the “I exercised today” excuse to later over-eat, over-drink (including alcohol) or over-indulge. Be honest: How many times have you faced a food temptation and thought, “Well, I worked out today, so it’s OK this time.” Or even, “I’ll have this now, but work out extra hard tomorrow to burn it off.”
This is one of the major reasons why people don’t, or stop, losing weight.
For exercising or working out to help you lose, you can’t re-eat all those extra calories you burned. And almost always, in addition to folks overestimating how many calories they actually burned, they underestimate how many calories they’ve actually eaten!
So, using that 3-mile walk you took (for about 240 calories) to justify a restaurant meal (1,000+ calories) leaves you in a worse position than you realize (or, frankly, care about at the time you’re doing it). Now, you’re at a calorie surplus.
Exercise can help you lose when you’re using it to burn extra calories, and not as a reason to eat more.