So I’m entering Day 9 of my challenge. It’s going well. I’ve managed to get in every squat, push-up, and leg lift I’ve been instructed to. Yet, my weight has managed to creep up.
This could be due to a number of reasons: increased muscle mass, water retention, increased alcohol intake over the last two weekends due to visitors. Yet, I think the main reason is I have been eating more since starting this challenge and not good-food eating, like 3 cupcakes in one day type eating (that was only one day and it was yesterday).
And it is likely all those factors contributing to an increase in weight, but the main culprit is diet. It always is.
Oftentimes when people start exercising, they believe that the extra calories burned equate with an extra slice of cake. And in some cases, it sure does. But it really depends on the cake. For example, let’s say three cupcakes are consumed. That equates to almost 900 calories. That’s right folks, I took in almost half my daily caloric intake in just three measly, non-filling, but seriously delicious cupcakes. So I would have had to run at a moderate pace for more than 2 hours yesterday to burn that off. Some high intensity workouts will get you close to 600 calories, if not a little more, but hitting a 900 calorie burn is pretty tough.
I’m not saying stop eating cupcakes, or cake, or brownies, or ice cream. Not at all. I would never want anyone to give up those decadent treats. What I’m saying is that we have to be more aware about what we eat when we introduce exercise back into our life and/or make a change to our current workout. We may think we’re able to increase our caloric intake and have another treat, but in most cases we simply shouldn’t (I know, I hate the word should or shouldn’t, but can’t sounds too extreme). In most cases our hour long workout will be lost (not entirely as there many benefits to exercise unrelated to calorie burn) if we look at it solely as a way to burn calories.
And this brings up a bigger issue, our overall diet. When I was at school, I became familiar with the 70/30 rule. Exercise, on average, will account for 30% of a change in weight while diet will account for the remaining 70%. As I said in the title of this post, diet really matters.
I realize I’ve been talking quite a bit about calories in this post, and I want to clarify that I am not a calorie counter nor an advocate for doing so. Yet, I do monitor what I eat (okay, not yesterday) and I am usually aware of the caloric composition of the foods I eat. I don’t shy away from fat, because low fat diets make no sense. Let me clarify, I eat high-fat / good-quality foods such as full fat yogurt, cream, avocados, nuts, bacon (guilty pleasure). I do monitor my simple carbohydrate intake. I do eat as many veggies and fruits as possible. I do consume dairy and egg products. I do drink a lot of water and monitor my caffeine. Yet, I do still enjoy a drink, a piece or two or three of chocolate, and three cupcakes every once and a while. I am usually quite aware when it comes to my diet which is why I know it has been interfering with some of the benefits I’d hoped to have received from my current exercise challenge.
As my birthday has ended (two days ago…and thus does not explain my cupcake intake yesterday) and we have few visitors for the next month, I plan to get into a better routine with monitoring my diet. This will entail making a crock pot dish for lunches throughout the week, not bringing chocolate into the house or ice cream or cupcakes, having a drink on the weekend, and increasing water intake.
Again, diet really matters, but so does enjoying life (not that these are mutually exclusive, but sometimes it can feel that way). So every once and a while treat yourself to three cupcakes in a day. Trust me, it felt great.