Anyone who has happily downed a big packet of chips and/or a few chocolate filled doughnuts (admit it, that's everyone) will know that eating delicious junk food is easy. Too easy.
While our thought process usually starts with 'treat yo self', our innate reaction after indulging in a few too many treats is often:
Well that happened. Eh, I'll just go for a walk/to the gym.
We have bad news -- it ain't gonna work.
"Some people give themselves permission to indulge in junk food just because they had a great workout or plan to have a good workout later in the day. It's a common excuse," dietitian Robbie Clark told The Huffington Post Australia.
"Many people believe that because they exercise, they're in the clear regarding their calorie intake versus their output from exercise. But in reality, many people have no idea how many calories they consume on an average day, and when asked to guess they usually underestimate it."
On top of this, people tend to also overestimate the number of calories they burn through exercise.
"Truth be told, 30 minutes of the best boot camp in town may not cancel out that burger and fries you had for lunch."
Basically, you can't outrun a bad diet. Damn.
"Many people who are wanting to lose weight make the mistake of focusing on exercise, but there is a mountain of research that shows that exercise alone is not enough, and that reducing calorie intake should be the focus for weight loss," Clark said.
"While physical activity reduces the risk of a range of health conditions such as heart disease, dementia, some cancers and type 2 diabetes, as well as reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, the impact exercise can have on weight loss is limited if changes are not made to a bad diet. It's rare to lose weight on an exercise only program."
Still not convinced? Let's look at the maths.
"Your average moderate intensity workout will burn approximately 300-400 calories in about an hour. That's an hour of hard work with plenty of sweat and heavy breathing," Clark explained.
"Now, if you decide to eat a slice of chocolate cake with the intention of 'working it off later', in the three minutes it will take you to put away the cake, you've consumed around 500 calories. Not even that hard workout you plan to do will burn off the cake you just ate."
That doesn't mean we can't ever enjoy cake, chocolate, doughnuts or chips, obviously. It just means we have to be wary of the implications and eat them in small amounts, and focus primarily on a healthy diet.
"If you try to battle a bad diet with exercise, the exercise will lose every time," Clark said.
"The best way for successful and sustainable weight loss is to eat a healthy diet in support of -- not a substitute for -- a good exercise program."
Here's how long it takes to walk off popular junk foods.
The above times are based on an average adult walking at a pace between 5-6 kilometres per hour.
"Note that the 'average adult' is based on an adult male with a height of 170cm and weight of 70 kilograms," Clark said. "The length of time to burn off the above will vary depending on several factors such as gender, age, weight, fitness level, genetics and basal metabolic rate (BMR)."
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