Minutes, Miles, Calories, Pounds – what to track and why
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I have no doubt that tracking calories-in made all the difference in reaching my weight goal. I never realized how much I was actually eating until I measured and tracked it. An added benefit was being aware of nutrients. Monitoring calories-in definitely resulted in pounds lost.
Tracking calories-out should have had the same effect only in my case it really didn’t. I always logged my workouts – for decades. I was a fit person who was also getting fat anyway. The trend was constantly upward. So just tracking calories burned wasn’t enough.
To paraphrase an old song “You can’t have one without the other” (at least I can’t).
This brings me to 2 local fitness challenges. I like to support local healthy living initiatives. I live in a rural area equidistant between 2 small cities. Each Parks & Rec dept has been holding fitness programs to encourage people to “get moving.”
One tracks miles (run, walked, biked, paddled, swum) and even allowed 20 min of aerobics to count as 1 mile.
The other is tracking minutes of exercise. It doesn’t matter what you did, just record the minutes.
Both are self reported.
The “Miles” program reports the aggregate total of how much we’ve accomplished.
The “Minutes” program posts a “leader board”
Both methods have value, but neither considers intensity. That’s not the purpose of this. There are numerous competitive events for those seeking intensity of effort.
Still, I was thinking about this last week when I rose suddenly up the “Minutes” leader board, but my “Miles” were holding steady. Easily explained - I was walking with DH, a lovely and relaxing activity for both of us. It just took awhile.
10 miles of walking takes 3 ½ hrs at DH’s approximate 20 min/mile pace.
Running that distance (10 min/mi) & I’m done in 1 ¾ hrs.
Now looking at calories (using the SP tracker).
I’ll burn 1000 calories by running or 700 by walking with DH.
That’s about a 3 chocolate chip cookie differential or a cup of yogurt, a banana and an orange.
This leads me back to what I always knew. I can burn calories any way that I choose with any activity that I enjoy, but I better keep track of my food intake. I DO NOT want to become complacent and regain that weight.