Math has never been a strength of mine, yet I’ve come to accept its place in my world. Most recently, I’ve begun to view my efforts at exercise and food consumption as a mathematical experience.
I didn’t start thinking this way until after the birth of my little one, when weight seemed to cling to me a little more easily than in years past. Yeah–I was one of those annoying women who ate anything she wanted and never gained weight. I have come to hate me too, as I am no longer that girl.
To combat this natural result of age and children and the glorious American Diet, I’ve turned to using simple math to unravel the mysteries of weight gain and weight loss. Seems it’s not so complicated after all. Now sure–there are certain states your body enters when it feels it’s being starved, it holds on to every spare calorie it can, fearing it may be its last. And of course, you can use other tricks to set your body up for optimal fat burning like maintaining a certain heart rate and drawing out your workouts. But that all takes a lot of thought and calculation, and I don’t have time for that. So it boils down to this: Calories=weight. Eat fewer calories, burn more calories=weight loss. Eat more calories+burn fewer calories=weight gain. This isn’t really hard conceptually. It’s the execution that’s tough.
First of all, I have a sweet tooth. This is a pleasure I do not want to deny myself. I love chocolate and honestly have no desire to subtract it from my diet. Life wouldn’t be worth living. It’s worth pedalling the extra miles on the bike.
Second of all, I personally enjoy exercising, yet I find my responsibilities between work and parenting leave me little time to do something truly vigorous. I used to do 4 hour mt bike adventures with nothing but a couple of Luna bars and a hydrapak. I used to hike the 4000 foot peaks in the White Mountains for 10 straight hours. I used to push my grimy, sweaty, bloody and bruised body up any mountain I could. Now, everything has changed, and those days seem over.
So if I can’t exercise it off, what do I do? I have to cut my intake. Oh, this is a painful process but with any change you make in life, eventually you get used to it. The very best way I have found to do this is through Weight Watchers. If you want to lose just 5 pounds or if your goals are more lofty–I have done this program and it works (Lost 32 lbs after the baby). I’ve been off it for a while but the program teaches you the simple math of intake. It also offers you healthy, tasty alternatives that you can incorporate in your life permanently, with little to no painful adjustment. I even found a way to keep chocolate alive and well in my daily routine (although I doubt the people at Weight Watchers would actually recommend chocolate as a dietary staple). But the program teaches you to count–and account for, what you shovel down your throat every day. And when you start writing it all down, those numbers add up fast.
But the good news is that the same is true with exercise. The more you exercise, the more calories you burn, and those numbers add up fast too. I keep track of how many calories I burn through this site. Even if your just talking a walk on your lunch break–it counts.
Everything counts–whether it’s coming in, or going out.–Karen