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An enormous part of any weight loss plan is based on math. We assume that if we burn more calories than we consume, then we will lose weight. Technically, this is true. But just as we sometimes underestimate the amount of calories in our favorite foods, we’re often completely wrong in our calculations of calories burned through exercise!
You might already suspect that you’re not too skilled at calculating your calories burned. That’s why it can be tempting to rely on the numbers displayed on your elliptical machine or stationary bike. But it’s important to remember that the calories burned through exercise, even those displayed on fancy machines at the gym, are based on averages.
Are you of average weight and average fitness level? Do you have an average ratio of body fat to muscle? If so, the “calories burned” number displayed on your favorite exercise machine might be fairly accurate for you. But even so, it’s important to remember that the true number of calories burned can vary from one person to the next.
For the rest of us, who are not “average”, our true number of calories burned is probably not reflected by the machine’s calculations. So don’t pin your hopes on these numbers!
And if you need another reason to ignore that number on the machine – or even turn off that function altogether – consider this: The harder you think you’ve worked, the more you are likely to eat later! Subconsciously you are rewarding yourself, which is not such a terrible thing.
But what if the machine overestimates a 500-calories workout, and tells you that you just burned 700 calories? You might reward yourself for a 500-calorie workout, by eating a 700-calorie meal. See the problem now?
Rather than relying on digital machine displays, aim to exercise vigorously for a specific amount of time. If you’re eating a healthy, low-calorie diet and working out at least 30 minutes per day, you’re on the right track. If you find that you aren’t losing weight, consult with your weight loss physician, You might need to alter your diet plan slightly, increase the type or amount of exercise that you perform, or perhaps a little of both.