Is your Food Worth its Weight in Exercise?

Earth Day Cartoon Photo
Photo Courtesy of Odalaigh

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Lisa Newton who can be found at Iowa Avenue and the Healthy Lifestyle Bloggers.

If you’re trying to lose weight, exercise is the best way to create a negative calorie balance. Too many people have the misconception that exercising affords them the permission to eat more. This idea is flat out false. Where it came from I could only speculate.

By eating additional food because you exercised, the hard work you just did is lost, and instead of losing the calories just exercised away, you’re left with an equal number of calories lost vs. calories gained–thus, no weight loss.

Is the food you eat worth it?

Another aspect of exercise and food is that many people complain about having to diet, diet, and diet some more because they are not losing any weight, or have hit a weight loss plateau.

As you lose weight, the amount of food you need to maintain your new weight lessens, so you need to marginally decrease your food intake.


Or if you aren’t physically active, your weight loss plateau could be the direct result of you eating the same amount of food, but not exercising.

You won’t be able to lose weight unless you either eat less or begin an exercise routine.

Don’t believe all of the hype. Just as you would be careful and prudent when making a major purchase, your health is equally as important.

Most advertisements, posts, commercials, or just plain bad advice in the public domain, that you can lose weight, continue to lose weight, or maintain a weight loss without exercise is based on deception, and/or probably some type of over the counter pill that’s not good for you or your health.

90% of the people included in the National Weight Control Registry—which tracks over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time–exercised for, on average, an hour per day.

To avoid making the crucial mistake of thinking you can eat more, or lose weight without exercise, consider these facts:

Junk Food and Exercise to burn it off chart

So the next time you want to gorge or splurge on food just because you exercised, ask yourself:

Is your Food Worth its Weight in Exercise?

After all, it’s about a healthy lifestyle!

About the Author

My name is Israel Lagares. I used to be the kind of guy that was always in shape, but over the last few years I've fallen off tremendously. This site is my final attempt to get back into shape. So far I've lost 70.4 lbs. Check out my weight loss chart, weight loss videos and progress pics. Follow my journey, those of others, and read our thoughts on various health topics. Share your thoughts, experience, and journey here on FMU.

Community Thoughts (27)

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  1. BCBS NCNo Gravatar says:

    Good point : ]

    Since I started making lifestyle changes, I LOVE going to the gym. Once you get in the habit, it’s an enjoyable part of your everyday routine! So far I’ve lost 38 pounds!


  2. DAILYMACHO!No Gravatar says:

    Man I would always eat something after I run or worked out. I’ve always thought after an intense session of cardio your body is depleted of energy so you need to eat after. I guess I was wrong…

    • Israel LagaresNo Gravatar says:

      A shake or a light snack is fine. When I was in high school we would have intense practices and workouts, then go eat pasta, pizza, and chinese food! That’s a no no.

  3. LisaNNo Gravatar says:

    No, you’re not wrong. If you’re hungry after a workout, you should eat something healthy. But you shouldn’t use that intense workout as an excuse to eat unhealthy or overeat.

  4. Exercise management means, in the last analysis of food intake, the substitution of thought for brawn and muscle, of knowledge for folklore and superstition, and of cooperation for force.

  5. PJ GriffithNo Gravatar says:

    Yuk. Well, when you lay it out like that! The srcubbing the floor for 2 slices of bacon! WOW

  6. CynthiaNo Gravatar says:

    If you are working out intensely, especially doing weight training exercises, you need to eat. I eat MORE on heavy workout days. But I eat LESS on light or rest days. As long as you are staying in an overall calorie deficit for the week, fat loss will happen.

    That said, when I eat more it’s not junk… it’s high quality lean proteins, veggies, fruit and maybe some whole grains, legumes or starchy veggies.

  7. Mel TNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Great post. It’s good to put snacking into perspective by seeing just how much exercise is required to burn off the calories. Thanks!

    • LisaNNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you. I’m always surprised to how much exercise it takes to work off the food we eat. When making food choices, it’s definately good to know how much that food “costs.”

  8. NicoNo Gravatar says:

    Very sound advice Lisa! I must admit I do very often make the same mistake of ‘binging’ after a workout. It’s mostly healthy stuff, though, but the caloric deficit is definitely nulified.

    I think first of all I should drink a lot of water, which lowers my post-workout cravings. What do you think Lisa?

    • LisaNNo Gravatar says:

      Drinking water is a great idea. In replenishes your body’s need for fluids, plus helps lower your food cravings. Great advice, Nico.

  9. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    In the end, if you are trying to lose weight, it comes down to calories in vs. calories out. Exercise can help burn more calories but you can quickly negate the benefits by eating too much after the workout. We (my wife and I)use software that tracks our calorie consumption on a daily basis to see where we are at. It helps tremendously. Just the act of logging what you eat helps you become more aware of what, and how you are eating. Then, when you exercise, you know what you can eat after the workout to help you recover without losing all of the benefits.

  10. LisaNNo Gravatar says:

    You are so right. Back in November, I wrote a post How much food is 1300 calories? using software I designed, and I’m still surprised at how much food is included in this list.

    If you eat the right kind of food; plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and watch your portion sizes, you can really eat quite a lot.

    • Israel LagaresNo Gravatar says:

      You guys are right, knowing how much calories food has is vital. Although I don’t keep a log of my food intake, I do keep a mental log and know how much calories food that I eat have.

  11. Steve v4.6No Gravatar says:

    Great post. Healthy choices for me most often involve just keeping my mouth shut and body moving. It’s so much easier to avoid the calories than to burn them.

  12. WarrenNo Gravatar says:

    I hate exercise, so I learned to cut back on eating so I don’t have to. I know, I know, the doc says I should anyway, but my grandma was 5′ and 400 lbs and lived to be 91 with no exercise.

  13. AnthonyNo Gravatar says:

    Man, all that work just for the sake of a big mac. The best solution is simply not to bother eating one. 🙂

  14. aroengbinangNo Gravatar says:

    The biggest challenge is to have a regular monitored exercise, as there are many interuptions in life, travelling, meetings, sickness, and once we get back to normal life we forget already going to the gym.
    However, to control the intake is equally challenging. Maybe we need to use both…

  15. also i want to add losing weight is really hard if the person is not that determine to lose weight.

  16. ZaneNo Gravatar says:

    The job for whom I’m involved is quite difficult to get leisure time. So for me it’s quite hard to get time for work out. I follow a healthy diet chart and drink plenty of water and fruit juice.

  17. Let’s say that walking remain the best exercise, that will never get board by doing it every and every year, all your life, it is the best way to keep fit.

  18. taniaNo Gravatar says:

    i think like that friend. when you lay it out like that, the srcubbing the floor for 2 slices of bacon!
    wow !

  19. Interesting have provided list of food as well its equivalent exercise….well it’s a great help…

  20. P90X VideosNo Gravatar says:

    Great point regarding the risk of over rewarding yourself after an intense workout. I used to consistently consume not-so-healthy meals and assume (hope) the added metabolism would take care of it…not always the case..

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