I don’t know if I’m starting to sound like a broken record at this point, but one thing that I’d really like to drive home with this blog is the concept of being absolutely honest with yourself. One aspect of this has to do with, when it comes to diet and exercise, just how much of either of those items contribute to your long term goal. And because one is takes such a major proportion over the other, we cannot be idle or lazy with our accounting!
Remember that comic, I’m sure it’s still in print, called “Cathy?” The no-nosed, constantly dieting shoulder-padded relic of the 80’s who is in a constant battle to diet and be thin (emphasis on look and not health!)? One thing that she did in the comic, and what I’ve seen MANY people adopt, is the idea that there are certain calories you don’t have to count. Free? Doesn’t count! Birthday party? Doesn’t count! Found in trash? Doesn’t count! Well, I’m sorry to say that your gut never gets that message. It counts. Every time. No matter what. When we make all this “health and fitness” effort and we’re constantly beating ourselves up mentally, ignoring certain sources of calories is just self-sabotage. When we step on the scale and we don’t notice any change, or worse a change in the wrong direction, you are NOT allowed to wonder why no progress has been made. It’s that jolly rancher you snag every time you pass the receptionist’s desk. It’s the handful of almost you have 5 or 6 times throughout the day. It’s the free donut(s) you ate in the breakroom. They’re teeny and tiny, but you’re “nickel and diming” the pounds on.
It sucks. It’s probably the hardest thing about this whole journey. You just can’t slack off. You can’t give an inch. You absolutely do have to be this strict if you want to be successful. Why is that? Why do these mini transgressions end up with such big consequences? Even when we’re exercising that 30 minutes a day like it’s a religion? It’s simply because exercising just doesn’t burn the amount of calories you think it does. It’s yet another injustice!
And of course, in order to motivate ourselves into exercising, we reward ourselves with goodies. I get it too; there’s a lot of pain in exercise. It feels like you really should be able to reap the same amount of joy from the amount of pain you endured. And when you view the calorie counter on that elliptical or stationary bike, you tell yourself that something’s just broken. There’s no way you only burned 100 calories in 15 minutes. It hurts so much! Surely it’s no less than 450! But it’s a huge imbalance; that 100 is closer to reality.
So when I see someone rewarding themselves with a mocha cappuccino with whip cream, or a hot chocolate, or a slice of pizza after a grueling 30 minute spin cycle? You pretty much wipe out your entire previous effort! And then some! ARGH!
So here’s the deal. You want to lose weight. You’re exercising, and you’re not making progress. The after-workout treat is what keeps you going. But really… it’s time to stop that. I’m sorry. Please be honest with yourself here. If you eat healthy and exercise, you will lose weight. If you eat healthy, exercise, and have a little somethin’ somethin’ post workout, you won’t. The calories you burn in exercise pale in comparison to the amount you’ve just consumed. If you’re not making progress, you need to cut out the consumption, or start exercising 3x more per day.
Except wine, beer, and cocktails. Those still have no calories. (Except when they do.)