Sunday, April 03, 2005

Excuse #3: "I'll just run twice as far to burn those extra calories."

I'm amazed about how hard I'll work against myself sometimes. If your brain is anything like mine, then you may find your inner voice coaxing you to eat more than you know you should and providing all kinds of reasons why it's okay. One excuse I used often was that I would workout more to cover the extra calories.

However, this has a few inherent problems. First, using this crutch too often nulls out any benefit I receive from exercising. In other words, I'd have to exercise more all the time just to stay even. Second, as with the previous excuse, I simply wouldn't follow through. Third, we tend to overestimate how many calories used during exercise (and underestimate how much we eat). So, even if I did extend my exercise time, it'd rarely be enough to truly balance the additional calories.

This kind of thinking definitely contributed to my weight gain. I figured that I was active enough to burn all the calories that I was eating. But, the scale told a different story. When I put numbers to my calorie intake and use I was astonished. The imbalance was large. No wonder the needle on the scale kept creeping up.

Learning how to estimate my calorie intake and use was a major key to gaining control of my weight. I describe the simple techniques and calculations I use to monitor my calorie flow in my book. These techniques have been working for me for four years now. Some friends and family members think I'm crazy for tracking my calories. But, to me, having a good sense of my calorie balance is like using a watch to figure out what time it is.

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