Don’t Out Eat Your Exercise

I wrote an item on mall-walking presented a really clear example of a well-intentioned exercise outing possibly resulting in going overboard on calorie consumption. Since it all happened within an hour or so, it was very straight forward.

Consider this a variation on that theme.

A couple of years ago, I was counting up my bike riding miles. On November 28 I had a total of 3493 miles. I figured I was a cinch to reach my goal of 3500 miles for the year. There were two days left of November and the entire month of December. How could I miss getting another 7 miles?

Benefits of bike riding

Then came the snow and the ice and the freeze and winter’s winds. Chicago became Narnia under the spell of the White Witch – always winter and never Christmas. I looked out my window each morning and felt like a little kid who couldn’t go out and play.

At that point I was only weighing myself weekly so I didn’t catch on to what was happening for a while. The first week went by and I was unable to ride my bike. I gained 3 lbs. I didn’t take it too seriously because I know that water retention and elimination can through your weight off by a couple of pounds.

Another week of no riding passed, however, and I found that I was tipping the scales at 176 lbs, a gain of 6 lbs in two weeks. That’s not water weight. That’s a problem.

What was going on? Well, in retrospect it is pretty simple. Like the mall-walkers, I was out-eating my exercise or maybe more clearly I wasn’t exercising enough to balance my eating. Actually, I didn’t eat any more than usual, but I wasn’t riding my bike. So, the hole in my exercise routine had to be filled. I was packing on calories that normally would burn right off on a bike ride.

I started going to the health club at that point and doing cardio for a while every day and every other day adding weights to the workout.

Long story short. I never got to ride again that year after November 28 and I fell short of my goal of 3500 miles.

On the positive side, around the end of the year, I was commiserating with a friend and he told me about how he was using the Lose It app. As a result, I started using it too and learned what an effective tool it was. I used it for several years with great success.



Filed under Exercise, healthy eating

5 responses to “Don’t Out Eat Your Exercise

  1. stephieann8

    I’m starting small. I’ve been working hard at reaching 10,000 steps a day which is difficult with a very sit down job. I live in New York and the cold air makes me not want to go outside so I joined the gym by my job and go there during my lunch break. I don’t go as often as I would like and need to up my motivation :-/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You missed one of the benefits of bike riding–less impact and joint problems. You are absolutely right about not out-eating your exercise. That is the source of cholesterol and the kind of saturated fat that is harmful (C-16). It does not matter if you eat saturated fat or not–you will make it if you eat too much! You have to burn what you eat!


    • Thanks very much for sharing. I always appreciate informed expertise. As you know I am an avid bike rider. Nonetheless, I have mixed feelings about cycling. The fact that cycling is virtually no impact, it does not benefit the bones. I’m sure you know that Tour de France riders started doing weight work because they started to suffer from osteoporosis. I make sure I walk every day and climb stairs when I can to guarantee I am working my bones too.


  3. @fitone

    So true. I think so many people forget about the calories they burn when they workout and then weight gain sneaks up on them if they become injured or stop working out.


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