Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't Get it Twisted - Diet vs. Exercise

Because I talk a lot about jumping up and down, sitting on your hand, squatting, cycling, meditating, and all sorts of other exercises, don’t think that means that diet is not important. Diet is just as important as exercise when it comes to staying healthy. Why?

Well, think about it like this. It can take you about 5 minutes to eat 500 calories without using much energy. But it takes about 30 minutes to burn 300 calories with significant effort. Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. It’s definitely more effective to cut your food consumption by 350 calories each day to burn 1 pound in 10 days than to run for an extra half hour on top of your regular exercise program. Hopefully, that puts things in perspective. If we started thinking at length about everything we ate, we’d realize how much work we’d have to do to nullify the negative effect of some of the bad foods we eat.

But then for most of us, it’s easier to exercise than not eat exactly what we want when we want. Most of us come from a culture where food is very important. You don’t rush through bad food just to say you ate. Rather, we spend hours and hours on end cooking up one meal so when we eat, we feel like we are entitled to enjoy every last bite. Trust me, I know.

So we get tempted by food every day, and just think we’ll burn it off when we hit the pavement. But we fail to realize our diet may be having a larger effect on our bodies because it does take a whole lot of effort to burn what we eat.

Another silly thing we do as humans is that we eat more when we exercise. Our brains signal our bodies telling us it is okay to eat more because we’re burning some off. It’s called ‘compensation’. But we forget the point was to burn what we were already eating before (which was probably too much of the wrong foods in the first place). ¡Ay yay yay!

Now, let’s put the calories aside for a second, and look at some symptoms of a bad diet that exercise may not be able to cure:
  • Diets too high in saturated and trans fats has been tied to stroke, heart attacks, diabetes, high cholesterol, and even PMS. Exercise can help, but both have to work together.
  • Diets too low in carbs can cause fatigue and depression, leaving you with little or no energy to exercise.
  • Get this. Eating too many empty calories like soda, alcohol, and candy can cause an increase in cravings. And obviously, the more you crave junk food, the more you eat junk food. It’s a vicious cycle.
  • Diets that are too low in carbohydrates can cause (wait for it) halitosis. Yes, that is the bad breath disease. And no, I didn’t make that up.
So while you’re working out this week, realize that exercise is not the complete picture. No matter how hard it may be to accept, our diets play a huge role as well, just as much as exercise. So please don't run on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then go eat a 2,000 calorie meal. I beg you!

Oh, next week is another installment of the 'What I want to know is...' segment. If you have a question, please leave a comment or send it to It may be the one chosen next week!

Cheers 'Eights' and 'Weights'!


  1. Hi...thanks for the me its invaluable!pls wanna find out how many calories an indomie noodle contains. I tend to eat it alot.

  2. Hi Owolabi. Indomie contains about 320 calories per pack.

  3. Trust me I know too. I'm learning though, and I can assure, it ain't easy! Thank God for willpower and fortitude (when I happen to use them. Lol.)


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