I really enjoy indulgences. Things like cake, wine, yummy restaurant entrees are not-to-be-missed treats in life. And now that I’m an active person, I can safely say that I have earned them.
Except when I haven’t.
See, the trouble all starts when I have a planned activity (like running). Safe in the knowledge that I’ll be covering some miles and burning some calories, I enjoy a glass of wine (or two), a rich dessert (and entrée) or a yummy Belgian waffle (with syrup and butter).
So what happens if the run is a bust? This is exactly why management (me) instituted new rules…
When Houston Discovered a Problem
I had been handling an indulgence here and there quite well, but when I started physical therapy for a pretty nasty shin splint plus a shoulder impingement, I had to bump back my activity quite a bit.
No one explained that to my appetite.
There was no more Body Pump, no thirty minute cardio in the AM followed by additional activity in the evening. There was lots of rest and very low, low, low resistance work targeting teeny tiny muscles in my shoulder.
The itty bitty ones that stabilize your shoulder and burn zero calories.
Slowly but surely, after the muscle for fat exchange completed itself through three months of reduced activity, I was 10 pounds heavier and trying to figure out how to keep additional fat deposits at bay.
The problem is that cardio isn’t enough to make up for loss of muscle.
And so a new exchange program was launched: Calories burned = calories earned.
How to Measure
As most of my friends will tell you, I’m a total gadget girl. A technophile to the core, I’ve got multiple methods for tracking activity. My favorites are my heart rate monitor (Garmin brand, but Polar’s just as good) which gives me a personalized calorie burn total, and my Weight Watchers Activity Link, which converts activity into WW points.
What I really like about the heart rate monitor is the ease of the exchange rate. I burned this many calories, so I can eat that many calories. My general food intake is pretty healthy and not out of range. So any activity that burns more than 100 cals according to the HRM, I consider to be excellent earning opportunities.
The important thing is getting an accurate count of both what was burned and what will be consumed. And of course, consuming less than what was burned in order to reduce overall body fat.
Forewarned is Forearmed
You know that piece of cheesecake at your favorite restaurant? It can be over 500 calories.
I’ll stop for a moment until the smelling salts have had a chance to work.
Ready to continue? Okay, big deep breath. A single Krispy Kreme doughnut is 200 calories. A five ounce glass of wine is about 120 calories. Your favorite pasta alfredo at that chain Italian place? 1,220 calories. Yes, you read that right. Dinner portion, pasta alfredo. One. Thousand. Two. Hundred. Twenty. Calories.
What can you burn in an hour? Well, I can get somewhere between 500 and 700 calories an hour at Zumba, depending on the intensity of the teacher and the playlist (thank you, Marcela!). Running can rack up about 600 to 800 calories in an hour. Body Combat can get me around 500 in about 50 minutes or so.
Body Pump (resistance work/ weight lifting) isn’t a big calorie burner during class, but the muscle mass is SO important to maintaining a healthy weight, strong bones and endurance. Plus, bigger muscles require more energy in general, which helps me burn more all the time, especially during cardio activities. So I never skip my resistance training if at all possible.
The Exquisite Rule
Two days of running for one plate of chain-restaurant pasta. Hmmm. For me, the cheesecake and an excellent glass of French Pinot Noir is much more exquisite, but that’s just me.
The key (for me) seems to be enjoying fully and with complete appreciation.
With zero guilt or regret.
Now that’s an exquisite indulgence that has been earned.
Wishing You an Awesomeliciously Balanced Day… Calories Out, then Calories In!