Can you really undo an hour of exercise with one meal?
The average 165-pound person walking for 30 minutes will burn about 250 calories. If she happens to meet a friend for dinner later that day and orders pasta with alfredo sauce, she’s undone her workout four times over! That’s right, that pasta dish packs at least 1,000 calories (and that doesn’t count the bread on the side — about 150 calories per slice).
Beware of how quickly you can eat back the calories you burned during your workout session! Hidden calories are everywhere in restaurant meals, where the portion sizes are increased to as much as three times the recommended serving size, if not more.
Love Applebee’s Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo (PDF)? A single serving (well, their serving) has 1,517 calories! To burn that many calories in one workout, you would have to:
- Jog for 174 minutes;
- Walk for 421 minutes; or
- Cycle for 231 minutes.
Does it still sound worth it?
We’re all going to splurge now and then. It’s a fact of life, dieting or not. Remember, when you’re trying to lose weight, consistency is the key. That “one little splurge” can derail an entire day of good behavior. Think about it. If you decide to go for the splurge, do it consciously and know it’ll take work to balance the scales.
Another important note: exercise machines often overestimate the amount of calories you burn during your workout session. The machine may say you’ve burned 300 calories, when in reality it was only 250. This varies from machine to machine, so it’s nearly impossible to know how accurate your equipment is — just know it might be off.
When you’re going out to dinner, try planning ahead by researching the menu and looking for healthy choices. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for special preparation to cut back on the calories, such as leaving the sauce on the side or cooking without butter.
If you’re interested in more information about nutrition and weight management, visit the FMH Wellness Center website!