Monday, May 7, 2012

The Low-down on the Gut

I was at a fund raiser carnival thing yesterday at my kid's school and while I was waiting in line for a sno-cone, one of my friends walked up to me holding a deep fried chimichanga and said hi.  After talking for a minute or two, he smacked me on the gut and said "Hey man, what's this, I thought you had this big workout thing going? You're starting to look like me!" (as he patted his own prominent beer gut with the hand that wasn't holding the massive chimichanga).  I explained to him that while I do workout on a very regular basis and with great vigor, you're pretty much not going to make any real progress unless you stop putting so much food and drink in your mouth.  This fact, that I thought was known to everyone, seemed to surprise my buddy.

Bottom line is, the science is in and there is no way anyone's going to lose weight unless they stop eating so included unfortunately.  Some good points are made in this article from a Dr. at the Mayo Clinic (

"The key to weight loss is burning more calories than you consume. Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories)."
Obviously, this is no shocking news to anyone but its important to just do the simple math.  3,500 calories is one pound.  I'd say the average workout for most people is roughly 500 calories burned.  So if you just bust out the old calculator, you'll note that fewer (and better) calories means a hell of a lot more than exercise if you're just considering weight loss.  Some food for thought below (pun intended):

  • One can of coke is roughly 155 calories.  Say you have one of those babies per day, that's 1,085 calories or a little less than 1/3 of a pound per week added to your panza just for having one soft drink per day
  • Chick Fil A - my favorite fast food by a mile and, as far as fast food goes, much healthier than other fast food joints.  One #5 (12 nuggets, small fry, and a medium coke) is 960 calories.  Three of those adds a pound to your fat ass or if you look at it another way, it takes two full cardio workouts (for most people) to burn off one of those delicious badboys.
  • Just going to have a salad you say?  A grilled chicken Caesar salad at Chilis is 680 calories.  That's not very healthy...never mind the 22 grams of fat and a heart stopping 1,500 grams of sodium in that badboy.
  • My buddie's chimichanga you ask?  According to my internet machine, there are 425 calories in a regular chimichanga.  The forearm sized chimi that my buddy was about to down was probably the size of three regular chimichangas so, even though they are delish, you're looking at three days of cardio to burn off that one chimi.
  • Last but not least, our good buddy In-N-Out.  My usual, the #3 (Double double, fries, and a big coke) - Hold on to your hats and glasses folks because this $hit's about to get real!  1,265 calories.  Roughly three cardio workouts or a little over 1/3 pound straight to the old boilermaker.
Long story short, it's probably known by most but rarely thought about, but you can work out all you want and it won't do much for your weight unless you quit strapping on the feedbag and eating high quality food in normal sized portions.

Here's another good article on the subject:

This concludes our lecture on the painfully obvious

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