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You have probably heard that the key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume; but have you thought about how much activity it actually takes to work off your favorite foods? Of course it depends on the type of activity you do and how long you keep doing it. For example, if a 150 pound person consumes a junior cheeseburger that contains 290 calories, it would take approximately 33 minutes of biking at 12 miles per hour to burn it off.  If the same 150 pound person ate that burger and then sat back in the recliner to read a book, it would take 7 hours and 36 minutes for those calories to be utilized. Keep in mind, these numbers are for comparison only, the actual amount of calories you exert is also dependent upon other factors such as your individual body weight. For example, the more you weigh the more calories a specific activity will burn.

 

            Thinking about how long and hard you may need to work to burn off an additional treat, like another cookie or an extra scoop of ice cream, may make those tempting foods seem less appealing.  Just remember there are about 3500 calories in one pound of fat. In order to lose one pound a week, you must burn 500 calories more per day than you consume. This can be done through a combination of decreasing calorie intake while increasing activity. Reducing portion sizes, steering clear of sugar-sweetened drinks, altering recipes to cut the calorie content, and leaving off cheese and high calorie condiments, like mayonnaise, are steps in the right direction toward limiting calories.

 

In addition, making a conscious effort to move more, even in the smallest activities, can make a big difference over time in the weight control battle. For example, instead of burning just 2 calories letting the dog out the back door, actually take the dog for a 30 minute walk and burn 125 calories. Instead of lounging on the couch and burning 4 calories while you talk on the phone for 30 minutes, take the call standing up and burn 20 calories. Instead of burning 0 calories on yard work by hiring a lawn service, do 30 minutes of gardening and 30 minutes of grass cutting and burn 360 calories. Do the math, if you start taking opportunities to eat a few less and to burn a few more calories here and there, it can lead to gradual, but significant, weight loss. Don’t miss these chances to tip the balance of calories in versus calories out in your favor. For more information on balancing calorie intake and output check out these websites:

 

www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/calories      

 http://www.choosemyplate.gov/physical-activity-calories-burn

http://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-of-leisure-and-routine-activities