It's Top-Notch Tuesday!

Should you Choose Meal Planning Over an Extra Workout?

For most of us, when we start thinking about living a healthy lifestyle and/or losing weight, we get 2 thoughts. One, I need to start exercising, and two; I need to go on a “diet”.  Although, both of these ideas are true to a certain degree, how we actually understand them could be skewed a bit based on mixed information we’ve read in popular magazines, from our medical doctors, and all the fad diets.

It seems everybody knows how to lose weight, but astoundingly still 60% of us are overweight.  I believe a huge piece of why the statistics are so high is due to the behavior change that must happen to ultimately be successful in maintaining a healthy weight long term. The other culprit is simply many of us don’t understand how our bodies work. I find this every day in talking to members at my weight loss facility or when I am speaking to groups.

Understanding your metabolism, BMR, homeostasis, lean muscle mass, and ultimately how your body functions is of the utmost importance when it comes to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, you have to know how much energy (calories) your body needs in a day to sustain life based on your age, your weight, your height, and your activity level.  Then, you can adjust your diet accordingly. The word diet simply means what you are putting in your mouth. It doesn’t mean not eating. You could have a good diet, a high fat diet, a poor diet, a gluten free diet, a low carb diet, a vegetarian diet; ETC…It’s how you eat on a consistent basis. That is your diet.

I love to say, “You can’t out exercise a bad diet”! It’s one of my favorite lines, but sometimes even I don’t realize the truth of that statement to its fullest.  What that means is, there is just no way to burn off several thousands of calories per day. You would have to spend all day everyday exercising. The bottom line is, it’s hard to burn calories.

Here are some examples: An hour of running (5 miles at a 9min pace) burns around 500 calories. An hour of cardio on treadmill walking at 4 miles per hour or on an elliptical is around 350 calories. An hour of Zumba (depending on intensity) could be around 350-400 calories. Compare this amount of exercising to one bad meal, or one bad choice like a piece of chocolate cake. The calories don’t match. One piece of rich chocolate cake can have 500-600 calories. A combo meal from your favorite fast food (even grilled chicken sandwiches) can have upwards of 1000 calories. You will not be able to burn those calories, and your exercising efforts won’t match up. This can be very frustrating.

I ask a trivia question to my members this week, which is better spending an extra hour meal planning or an extra hour of exercising? Proudly, all of them got it right when they answered meal planning.

Our weight is 80% of how, what, and when we eat and exercise is the other 20%. Don’t get me wrong, exercise is very important. We must do it! But, no matter how much we do it, unless we change our eating habits, it will be impossible to reach a healthy weight and maintain it long term.

To truly live a healthy lifestyle, it’s about balance. Exercise must be a part of your routine in balance with your food choices, meal planning, and educating yourself on what it means to live a healthy lifestyle, and how your body works. When we try to overcompensate by adding extra exercise, or not eating enough, it throws our balance off and reduces our odds of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Click here if you would like a free download of my book DECIDE: A 6 Step Behavior Change Methodology that Works!

Kim Martin


Kim Martin