I want you to take a moment to think back to your last workout at the gym.
Did your workout include a LOOONG ass sweat sesh on the treadmill to burn off that late night slice of pizza??
TBH – we’ve all been there… myself included!! ( S/O to Ray’s NYC sausage pizza w/ extra parm. cheese 🙊 ).
It is SO EASY to get caught in the belief that exercise can make up for a poor diet. Last year, I read an article from Insider that showed various calorie dense food and drinks and their activity equivalence. The article did a fabulous job of contextualizing the caloric density of foods; for example, one would have to walk for 1 hour and 23 minutes or run for 43 minutes to burn off one large slice of pizza.
I do appreciate the underlying message of this article; it’s EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to work off a bad diet – RIGHT?!
However, before we jump into the overeating aspect, I do think that it’s important to discuss the energy expenditure formula and address how it’s not necessary to work off every single calorie you eat… My goal with this post is to spark conversation around overeating ( in a manner that isn’t intuitive ).
Total energy expenditure ( “T.E.E.”; the total # of cals you burn in a day ) doesn’t only include physical activity. In fact, physical activity is only the second largest component of your daily energy expenditure! One’s energy expenditure has 3 components: basal metabolic rate, physical activity, and the thermic effect of food.
♡ BASAL METABOLIC RATE – ( AKA metabolism ) 45-70% of T.E.E.; how many cals your body requires to function at rest
♡ PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – second largest component of T.E.E. ( and most variable ); this includes vigorous activity and non-energy activity thermogenesis ( any energy expended that isn’t sleeping, eating, or sports – like walking working, typing, etc. )
♡ THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD – 10% of T.E.E.; did you know that your body uses energy to break down foods?
Percent of TEE according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
It’s natural to assume that the we should up our cardio game to burn off excess calories from an indulgence that wasn’t mindful… but, why are we eating so many calories in the first place if we have to be a slave to the gym??
According to Statista there were a total of 36,180 health clubs in the US in 2015, an increase of over 5,500 on that number from 2010. The U.S. has the most fitness centers in the world! However, obesity rates in America don’t support what would seem logical – that America would be the fittest country. According to State of Obesity, nationally, nearly 38% of adults are obese and nearly 8% are extremely obese.
If we really think about the commitment it would take EVERY DAY to burn off a daily slice of large sausage pizza ( w/ extra parm ), it’s unrealistic and perhaps one of the reasons America is so overweight is due to our reliance on the gym to burn off excess calories. IDK about you, but I don’t have a spare 1 hour and 23 minutes every day I can dedicate to walking off a large slice of pizza!!
Instead of focusing on “burning off XYZ”, focus on intuitively eating and filling your diet with nutrient dense, high fiber, and wholesome foods! Overeating is easier than spending hours at the gym, so it’s VERY important to focus on intuitively eating. If you do want to indulge, make sure it’s a mindful indulgence and not impulsive! Everybody deserves to treat themselves once in a while!
My boss at F-Factor, Tanya Zuckerbrot, tells the other interns and me that discipline is like a muscle, you have to flex and use it to strengthen it. This applies to intuitive eating because it requires thought and reflection behind you indulge.
Now don’t get me wrong – exercise is absolutely AMAZING for your health, but it is important to think of exercise as a supplement to weight loss, not as a way to burn off yesterday’s indulgence. In combination with a healthy diet, it can work WONDERS!
Overcompensating is just so… overrated !!
What are your thoughts on intuitive eating and overcompensating?!