Imagine heading to McDonalds and ordering a Big Mac meal. The nutritional information is printed on the side of the box – whether you check this or not is down to you, but they provide it for us in order that we can make an informed choice…to eat, or not to eat! I would question how many people really care what the nutritional content is in a Big Mac – after all, if you really cared perhaps you wouldn’t head to a fast food outlet in the first place?!
However, I have always been of the opinion that if you can’t beat them, join them. We all know that McDonalds aren’t going anywhere, so working with them to improve nutritional content is an important job – and one which I will discuss in another blog post!
Going back to the nutritional information on the box; how many of you would reconsider eating that burger if you were told how much exercise you would have to do in order to burn it off? Rather than calories, which can be a bit difficult to fathom – as you can’t see and touch them; they aren’t tangible for most people – exercise is something that most of us understand.
I watched a short video of someone eating a 550 calorie Big Mac whilst his alter-ego ran around trying to burn it off. It took this 170lb man 37 minutes of running to use enough energy to burn the burger off. He then sat and ate a large portion of fries at 500 calories, which took his alter-ego another 33 minutes of running to burn off. This was then finished with a large Coke at 310 calories…which took an extra 21 minutes of running – he should have had a diet Coke! An hour and a half of running to burn off a large Big Mac meal…and to think that I used to eat two of them for lunch whilst sat on my arse!
A recent study published in ‘Nutrition Journal’ investigated food labels and whether or not we would benefit from having a guide as to how much exercise we would have to undertake to burn that food off. Researchers at the University of North Carolina conducted this study. Participants were presented with two activity options—walking or running—to illustrate how long it would take to burn the calories eaten; they chose the walking option as this was considered to be something that most people do. When looking at the food labels produced, one participants response was, “To go back to zero, as if you’ve never had anything, as if you’d never eaten you have to walk this amount of time to burn it off.” As another participant put it, “It means you are going to have to do that much exercise to burn the calories you just ate.”
There are obvious limitations with this type of labelling. For example we all have differing weights and energy intake requirements, and we may all walk – and exercise in general – at different speeds or intensity. There are minimum energy requirements that our bodies need in order to function on a daily basis too, so you would not want to be burning off, through exercise, all of the calories you take in!
However, I think that this method sounds great and I know it would make me think twice before ordering something; and my other half agreed when I spoke to him about it too. During the research study mentioned above, one participant noted that there was only a difference of 60 calories between two sandwiches, yet the difference in the amount of exercise was significant; almost 20 minutes. This sounds like a big difference to me…having pounded the treadmill for a sweaty hour this morning, an extra 20 minutes would probably have finished me off. So even being able to chose a better option when comparing food labels would make a huge difference I think.
I decided to calculate the number of calories that I currently burn off with a variety of activities over a 30 minute session at my current weight of 417lbs, or 29st 11lbs – and then at my rather ambitious target weight of 154lbs, or 11st…
Running at 4mph (quite slow for a run…more of a jiggle than a jog even)
Current = 596 calories and Target = 220 calories
Swimming, breast stroke
Current = 526 calories and Target = 194 calories
Walking at 3mph
Current = 348 calories and Target = 128 calories
Zumba at a level where I could just about talk!
Current = 745 calories and Target = 275 calories
The difference between the Current and Target figures is quite shocking. At my current weight, a 30 minute session of those activities spread over a week would burn off 2215 calories. Yet when I reach my goal weight I would only burn off 817 calories. This just highlights how much harder it is to maintain your weight through exercise…I am going to have to be spot on with my eating habits as I get closer to target…I won’t be able to burn it off otherwise! I will also have to majorly increase the intensity of my exercise too!
It also highlights to me how helpful this type of labelling could be…I truly believe that a lot of people would make better choices. Perhaps not people with eating issues such as those that I had/have – when you want to binge, you don’t care what is in the food you binge on – but I think that it would go a long way for prevention and education.
Anyway, enough of my rambling now – let’s look at the usuals…
I woke up early after an uncomfortably hot night and decided to get up and get on the treadmill. I rather liked having a smaller session of exercise on a Sunday, so might just switch it to then instead of a Monday. So I got on with my big exercise session, interspersed with work on my other half’s project. We then headed off to the stables to finish up the cleaning after yesterday’s BBQ. Once this was done, we headed to Asda and then to the tip to drop the rubbish off. It has been a quiet afternoon and will no doubt be a quiet evening, although I might catch up with my niece who went on her first nursery trip today…to a farm! She is so confident around animals and has already decided that she wants to be a vet…and of course I am not encouraging her at all in this direction! Well, I am kind of hoping – after all, it would save me a fortune on vets fees for the horses…even though it would be another twenty or so years to wait!
Breakfast: Banana and a HiFi bar (1 x HEB).
I have felt a bit ‘urgh’ today, probably due to BBQ food overload. It has made me realise that I much prefer my veggie days though. I can’t say that I am ever going to become a vegetarian, but I do think I will be cutting right back on the meat. My fish will stay as I love it, but I could quite happily go without meat for the majority of the time. Anyway, today’s food was just pretty basic – the chicken was yet more BBQ leftovers…but I was a bit naughty and gave my dog a huge treat of steak and chicken as I just couldn’t face anymore of the stuff. My dinner tonight was quite simple as I was hot and bothered and didn’t want to have the cooker on!
Exercise: 4 x 15 minute treadmill sessions and 1 x 15 minute BodyPump / Swiss Ball session.
This heat is a killer when it comes to working out…hopefully next year things will be easier with more weight off…or else I might just have to join an air-conditioned gym! Even leading my Shetland pony around yesterday had me sweating buckets and I hardly did anything; I am more of winter person.
It is weigh in tomorrow morning…after the amount of BBQ food that I have put away this weekend, I am not hopeful for that 2.5lbs that I need for my 14st award. Who knows though – my body has produced some strange results and as long as I head in the right direction, I am all good!
Thanks for reading my lovelies,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx