The truth is… Many of us like to keep a full tank.

Often too full. Few have mastered the art of “calorie management.” Unlike pumping gas into your car at the gas station, pumping fuel into your body is often a rewarding experience. When you pump gas into your car, the weather is usually too hot, or too cold. Further, you have to touch a gas pump handle that tens of thousands of people have marked with who knows what, and then you fight the machine for a receipt and try to make sure the next customer behind you does not capitalize on your car wash offer.

Refueling the body, on the other hand… Much more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, every ounce of fuel over what you should be taking in is costly. It’s like the game show “The Price is Right.” You have to learn to eat the proper amount of calories “without going over.”

When considering diet vs exercise for weight loss, you must understand how efficient your body is at burning fuel. Your body is somewhat similar to a hybrid vehicle when it comes to efficiency. According to RunnersWorld.com, your body needs approximately 100 calories of fuel to walk one mile. If you equate one pound of fat, which contains 3500 calories, to one gallon of gas, we are looking at a fuel efficiency rating of 35 miles per pound of fat! That’s 150% more efficient than the average American car that gets 21 miles per gallon.

How many miles do you have to walk to avoid consuming 3500 calories per week?

Zero.

Diet vs. Exercise for Weight Loss

To be as straightforward as possible- you cannot out-exercise your diet. Even if you perform high impact, high intensity exercise on a daily basis, you will not lose weight if you are taking in too much fuel. According to The Mayo Clinic, you would have to perform one hour of high intensity aerobics exercise per day to burn 500 calories and lose one pound per week. Or just skip the Coke (240 calories), eat one less doughnut (200 calories), and choose a healthier snack other than a chips from the vending machine (12 Doritos = 150 calories) to cut a pound of fat. With this simple example alone, you are saving yourself 590 calories of fuel, or six miles of walking per day, equating 42 miles for the week!

Determining how much fuel you need each day can be challenging. Your body obviously needs calories, but calculating how much you need to fill up your individual tank can be frustrating. Medline Plus, of the National Institutes of Health, recommends

  • 10 calories per pound of desirable body weight if you are sedentary or very obese
  • 13 calories per pound of desirable body weight if your activity level is low, or if you are over age 55
  • 15 calories per pound of desirable body weight if you regularly do moderate activity
  • 18 calories per pound of desirable body weight if you regularly do strenuous activity.

Activity Levels defined as:

  • Low activity: No planned, regular physical activity; occasional weekend or weekly activity (such as golf or recreational tennis) is the only type of physical activity.
  • Moderate activity: Participating in physical activities such as swimming, jogging, or fast walking for 30 – 60 minutes at a time
  • Strenuous activity: Participating in vigorous physical activity for 60 minutes or more at least 4 – 5 days per week

For example, if you participate in moderate daily activity and want to be 150 pounds, you should consume 2,250 calories per day to reach your desirable weight of 150 pounds.

While calorie management is an important skill to have, use three simple rules to maintain the perfect dietary lifestyle:

1. Follow the United States Department of Agriculture’s recommendations to eat one half a plate of fruits and vegetables, one fourth a plate of whole grains and one fourth a plate of a lean meat as your basis for a well-balanced meal. Learn to build your meals around fruits and vegetables, other than a meat or carbohydrates.

2. Avoid high calorie foods to keep your calories per serving low. According the the Food and Drug Administration, 40 calories is low, 100 calories is moderate and 400 calories is high. Try to keep your snacks and beverages under 100 calories per serving. Meals around 400 calories. Begin a habit looking at how many calories are in the foods you buy.

3. For every 100 calories in the junk food you are considering eating, you must walk or run one mile.

Learn the art of “Listening for the Click” and you will lose weight in no time. Throw in a 500 Rep Workout, and regular cardiovascular exercise on a daily basis to burn additional calories and improve your physical health.

You got this…

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