Counting calories, while a great strategy for recording what you’re eating, may not be the best thing for measuring exercise. The reason for this is that when calories are measured and used interchangeably, the same for input and output, we tend to underestimate what we eat and overestimate how much we exercise. The problem is that our estimations are usually off and we tend to overindulge on food because we think we “deserve it.” Thinking of food as a reward can have it’s own damaging consequences. In reality, we deserve to treat ourselves with healthy food like lean meats and vegetables because that will actually make us feel better. Not only will we feel better physically, we will feel better mentally as well because we know we are taking care of our bodies.
There are still ways in which you can benefit from exercise tracking. One is by calculating calories you’ve burned with a fitness tracker that will provide accurate readings. Recording those calories on an app like MyFitnessPal will help keep track of calories you’ve eaten and calories that you’ve burned. This way, you will have a more accurate estimation of caloric intake and output.
You will want to consider changing how you think about aerobic exercise. Instead of having cardio as your main exercise for losing weight, try thinking of it as something you do for self-care because that’s your lifestyle now. Think of cardio as supplemental to your exercise routine.
If you are working out strictly to lose weight, consider strength training. You will get more ‘bang for your buck’, so to speak, for the time you’ve invested. Time spent strength training will show you more results than cardio alone.
Keep in mind, that weight is lost in the kitchen, not the gym. You can’t realistically think that a great workout outweighs the benefits of clean eating.
If you’re going to “cheat” by eating something that’s not in accordance with your new lifestyle, plan for it and record it in your food log. Also, look at the nutritional facts of whatever you’re about to eat beforehand and then decide whether that hour workout was worth what you’re about to eat. Keep in mind that you will see faster results when you don’t eat the calories that you’ve “earned” from exercising.
If you’re tired of not seeing results at the scale, don’t reward yourself with food, instead think of it as nourishment for your body. Food is essential to our lives, but just let it be the fuel you need to get you to where you want to go and whom you want to be.
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