Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hunger, Wait for It

Have you seen those lists that detail how much exercise it takes to burn off what you've eaten?  For example, it reportedly takes an average female 35 minutes of running to burn off a serving of potato chips (415 calories). 

Seems like practically useless information to me.  I know, calories in, calories out.  But it's so much more than that, at least it feels that way to me.  The quality of those calories counts for something and the type of exercise matters too.  Sure, if you run long enough to burn 415 calories then you've "worked off" the chips.  But what else have you done?  Well, there's a laundry list of health benefits from the running, but there's also a potentially missed opportunity in not strength training.  Not to mention you could have had 415 calories of something that your body could have used in a much more efficient manner and might have been much more satisfying.

Not sure what my point is but seems to me these lists offer little in terms of usable, applicable information - other than trying to scare you into not eating chips.  What does it matter how long it takes to burn off a bag of chips?  Burning calories is such a small part of running.  I know a lot of women run specifically to lose weight and so it's a big part for them, potentially the only part that matters.  But if she doesn't eventually see the other benefits of running - better cardiovascular health, improved mood, better sleep, etc, etc - she's likely not going to keep up a regular running routine. And then how long she has to run to burn off chips won't matter, because she's not running at all.

Anyway, enough ranting.  I have such a full schedule this week that it feels like it's almost over.  On Monday we ended up taking the kids bowling.  The weather was too crappy to do anything outdoors and they loved bowling last time we went.  On the way we stopped for In-n-Out burger for lunch.  I had a hamburger with ketchup/mustard instead of "special sauce" (basically eliminating the mayonnaise), about half an order of fries and unsweetened iced tea.

I hit the gym when we got home.  Started with 25 minutes on the upright bike and then did back/biceps/core.  My back is still touchy so I skipped a couple things and did no/less weights on some things.  A reader, Sara (from Rantings of an Insecure Chubby Girl), asked me when I'm going to go to the doctor for my back.  That got me thinking, physical therapy was so helpful for my shoulders (they hardly bother me at all now), maybe I should see if they can give me some back exercises and stretches.  Anyway, after the gym I took the kids out to dinner for Mexican food and ate black beans, guacamole and chicken with probably one too many potato chips.  I was too hungry when I went in and practically attacked the chip bowl. 

I was so full I managed to get through the evening with no snacking.  Today I had a grilled chicken breast sandwich for lunch and snacked on fruit all day.  I wasn't able to get to the gym so I'm scheming to go tomorrow.  For dinner we had tipico (canned refried black beans, avocado, corn tortillas and cream).  I felt like I didn't have enough food and kept feeling the urge to find something to snack on.  But my stomach wasn't hungry so I told myself it was fine to eat, when I get hungry.  I think my urge to snack was taking a preemptive strike against hunger.  Hunger is fine, it doesn't hurt, and it's a good sign (at least now that my appetite is in the normal range) that I need to eat.  And now I'm in bed (before 10pm, imagine that!) and doing fine, guess dinner was enough after all. 

1 comment:

  1. You are right , if the only motivation to do exercise is to burn calories then I wouldn't do anything , there are so many benefits more important for me. Glad to see you are more in tune with your body foodwise , it must be like a learning process to know your body and differentiate between hunger and emotional eating


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