When you’re losing weight, bad advice can be one of your worst enemies. You may have read some weight loss advice on Facebook, or maybe a friend swears that some crazy method worked for her cousin’s best friend’s neighbor.
There are dozens of weight loss myths out there, but this one is particularly dangerous – and common.
I can cheat on my diet, and just exercise more later!
You really want to indulge in those cookies, so you tell yourself, “Oh well, I’ll go for a walk later”. You figure you’ll burn off the calories you just consumed, so you’ll break even. This way you aren’t really cheating on your diet….right?
Wrong! This type of thinking can backfire, for one simple reason: Most of us have seriously distorted views of how many calories are in the foods we crave, and we vastly overestimate the calories burned through exercise.
For example, you might believe those cookies only contain about 200 calories, when it’s really more like 600. Conversely, you also believe your walk around the block will burn the mere 200 calories you think you just consumed. In reality, a walk around the block might burn 50 calories.
If you fall into this trap, you think you’re eating 200 calories and burning 200 calories. What you’ve actually done is consume 600 calories and burn 50, leaving you with a net gain of 550 calories! You’ve just lost a day of progress toward your weight loss goals, and now you have to burn off those 550 calories through the rest of the week just to break even again.
While it’s okay to indulge in a small treat occasionally, don’t fall into this trap on a regular basis. Use a calorie calculator to get a more realistic estimate of the nutritional value contained in the foods you eat, and consider a getting a smart phone app which will calculate calories burned through exercise. Taking the time to get a more accurate picture of calories consumed versus calories burned will keep you on track toward your weight loss goals.