Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exercise and Calorie Intake

As most of you know, I've totally changed my dietary and exercise habits over the last nine months, thanks to a totally unexpected heart attack in March of this year.  I've lost about 50 pounds or so and have been maintaining my weight at about 200 pounds for the last few months (though, in all honesty, I wouldn't mind losing some more - my original goal had been 195).

Even though I'm not actively trying to lose weight anymore, I'm still counting calories to ensure that I am not overeating (it doesn't always work, of course).  My current calorie goal is about 1750 per day.  If I exercise on any given day, then my calorie goal goes up by however many calories I burned doing exercise.  So, for instance, if I burn 500 calories on the elliptical trainer, then my daily calorie goal goes up to 2250 for that day. 

Despite that, I've discovered that when I exercise, I actually have a much easier time keeping my daily calorie intake below the baseline of 1750 than I do on days when I don't exercise.  I frequently go over the calorie baseline on days when I don't exercise, or, at the very least, I have to struggle all day not to snack and not to overeat at meals.  On days when I do exercise, however, I typically stay under 1750 without any problem, even though I could have up to 2250 or however many extra calories I burned in exercise.

The point of all this is to say that when you exercise, not only are you doing good for your body and your organs, and not only are you burning calories and thus burning fat, but you also are regulating your metabolism so that it is easier to control your urges.  

That's been my experience, anyway.  


John E.D. Patton said...

From The Power of Habit: The impacts of exercise on daily routines. When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically, people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It's not completely clear why. But for many people, exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.

Scott said...

Yes, I've experienced all those things. It's really odd how that happens, but exercising regularly somehow just changes your whole outlook.