Thursday, November 01, 2012
Not so long ago in a neighborhood near you, I was an ardent believer in calorie in minus calorie out. But once I took a close look at the numbers, I noticed that my weight loss didn't follow the pattern. 500 calorie deficit a day did not lead to 1 lbs of weight loss in a week. If the theory was sound, then it should be consistent and repeatable. Or it should at least be close.
The main reason that calorie in minus calorie out derailed my weight loss goals was because of a false sense that I could 'make up' less than optimal choices with more exercise.
"I burned 300 calories on the elliptical, so I can eat ice cream today and it will cancel out."
"I shouldn't have eaten the ice cream. Maybe I'll do another workout today to cancel it out."
I got rid of the idea there are 'free' calories and I can 'cancel' out my choices with more exercise.
Exercise became a form of torture and punishment. I had to exercise to 'work off' my bad choices. It was a terribly unhealthy attitude.
Couple of months ago, I ate birthday cake because, well, it was my birthday! No regrets. I'll do it again next year.
I am now a believer that weight loss is a function of hormonal balance, rather than calorie arithmetic. Exercise we do and foods we eat cause different hormonal responses. Balance of good quality food and moderate exercise leads to good health.
I still track my food, but I don't worry about making the calorie ledger balance. I use food tracking as an accountability tool to make sure I'm eating enough of the right things. It's all too easy to have a treat food here and there, and think it's only occasional. But when I log my food, it's harder for me to have amnesia on whether I had ice cream only once or five times last week.