Would You StairMaster for 55 Minutes to Eat a Medium French Fry?

Wednesday October 10, 2012


When I was young, I played outside A LOT!!!! It was way back in "the dark ages" when we did not have: cable with hundreds of channels, no computers, no laptops, no iPads, no iPhones, no video games. It was a time when you went outside & played almost every day & through the weekend. I also did physical activity in school. I was on sports teams & we actually had GYM CLASS!

I also ate a lot of the wrong foods & too much of the wrong foods. So no matter how much activity I did, I still could not burn off more calories than I consumed in food. I could not OUT PLAY my poor eating habits!

What follows is some information I found for you to look at it & see how hard it is to eat "what you want" & then think you can burn it off by exercising. 

I mention it often on the blog - a couple of the biggest things that people do is underestimate how much they eat & overestimate how many calories they are burning off....

1. From What It Takes to Burn Off Your 30 Favorite Food Splurges - some of the pics crack me up. The link shows all 30 food splurges.

Medium size french fries

Calories: 380

Fat: 19 grams

Now burn it off with:

70 minutes of low-impact aerobics

55 minutes on the Stairmaster

45 minutes of calisthenics (pushups, sit ups, etc.)

3-ounces lay’s potato chips

Calories: 450

Fat: 30 grams

Now burn it off with:

135 minutes of miniature golf

90 minutes of car washing

50 minutes of rock climbing

Starbucks venti white chocolate blended crème frappuccino w/whipped cream

Calories: 510

Fat: 20 grams

Now burn it off with:

90 minutes of playing cricket

80 minutes of bike riding (around the neighborhood)

75 minutes of Strength Training

3 Otis spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies

Calories: 360

Fat: 16 grams

Now burn it off with:

90 minutes of ultimate Frisbee

80 minutes of hatha yoga

55 minutes of rearranging furniture

Large slice of pepperoni pizza

Calories: 729

Fat: 37 grams

Now burn it off with:

115 minutes of ballroom dancing

70 minutes of shoveling snow

65 minutes of running at 6.0 mp

From comments & OH SO TRUE!!!!! Keep in mind that these "burn times" are probably calculated with the average 130-lb person in mind. If you weight considerably less, it will take MORE time to burn the same amount of calories and - on the other end - if you weight considerably MORE it will take LESS time to burn the same amount of calories. That's because the calories burned also has to do with how much energy your body has to exert to burn them - and if there is more mass to move, it means more energy burned, so more calories are used up.

2. From Daily SparkHow much damage could one strawberry frosted doughnut really do? Find out how many minutes of brisk walking you'd have to do at the office to undo that doughnut. 

Your average strawberry frosted doughnut contains about 240 calories (not too bad) and 10 grams of fat (ouch!). That's not exactly a caloric nightmare—as long as you limit yourself to just one. (And we all know how hard it can be to stop once you get started.)

According to SparkPeople.com's Fitness Tracker, a 150-pound woman who walks briskly at a 15-minute mile pace (4 mph) will burn 5 calories per minute. To burn off the doughnut you'd have to walk around the office (at this quick pace) for 48 minutes, which is just over 3 miles!

3. From Livestrong: How many calories does walking burn off per minute

Physical exercise helps you burn off calories, lose weight and maintain long-term control over your weight. Walking is a cheap and easy exercise. According to the Harvard Medical School, it can have a positive impact on your health and well being.

3.5 MPH

The number of calories you burn depends on several factors. These include your weight, the speed you walk at and the time you spend walking. If you weigh 185 lbs. and walk 3.5 mph for 30 minutes, you will burn off 178 calories. This figure equates to burning 6 calories every minute.


If you weigh 155 lbs. and walk at 4 mph, or one mile every 15 minutes, you'll burn 167 calories every half hour. This equates to 5.5 calories every minute.

4.5 MPH

If you weigh 125 lbs. and walk at 4.5 mph, or one mile every 13 minutes, you'll burn 150 calories every 30 minutes. To work out the number of calories you burn every minute, simply divide 150 calories by the number of minutes you plan to walk. In this example it's 30 minutes, which equates to 5 calories per minute.

It is not hard to see from all the examples above that you just can't out-train or out play poor food habits! 

I have made a lot of mistakes in my past. I can tell you that as much as you want to think you can just burn off all that food by exercising it off, 99.9% of the time, you will eat way more calories than you can burn off.  If you are not aware of what you are eating & you leave it up to chance & guess work it is going to come back to bite you as weight gain!

Make a plan! Put together a food & exercise program that will work for you long term. Yes, I changed my along the way but that is what it is all about. ALWAYS LEARNING & ALWAYS A WORK IN PROGRESS (this is in a good way)!


What did you think of this article?

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  • 10/9/2012 9:01 PM Lisa wrote:
    wow really great info. i used to struggle with this issue, thinking i could just eat what i wanted and exercise it off... no more! now i eat waaaaaay less food and still exercise. finally i am seeing results. lost 6 lbs. in 2 months, yay!! thanks Jody for the great post. we appreciate you!
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  • 10/9/2012 10:44 PM Ewa wrote:
    And even armed with that information I was not able to persuade my family that just because I exercise I cannot burn all the calories they expected me to eat. I love them dearly but I am ready to go home before they start feeling offended.
    Reply to this
  • 10/9/2012 10:56 PM Marc wrote:
    You didn't ask what would I do for a Klondike bar? I could try a stairmaster. I don't think I'd be able to do 55 minutes though.
    Reply to this
  • 10/10/2012 3:23 AM April wrote:
    NO WAY! I don't like the way crap feels in my body.

    It worked in my early 20's but it's catching up with me now.
    Reply to this
  • 10/10/2012 3:45 AM KarenJ wrote:
    I used to be able to sneak in a treat now and again, but no more in my 50's. My body tells me there's no extra calories for treats, so I have pretty much eliminated everything except for the occasional glass of wine Good information Jody and a good reminder to ask yourself whether that indulgence is really worth it.
    Reply to this
  • 10/10/2012 5:17 AM Dr. J wrote:
    Thanks! Now I have my Thanksgiving menu all planed out for me, lol!

    Yes, we are very efficient creatures with food, that's why we are still here! Unfortunately, now we are too efficient and have to pay attention!
    Reply to this
  • 10/10/2012 5:33 AM Emergefit wrote:
    I love this -- all the examples. I once calculated that for the average American eating the average Thanksgiving dinner, with seconds, to "walk it off" he or she would have to walk from Carlsbad, CA to the Mexican border -- about 60 miles.

    Nope, you can't out train bad eating...
    Reply to this
  • 10/10/2012 5:40 AM Keri wrote:
    This is great!
    Reply to this
  • 10/10/2012 6:15 AM Patrick wrote:
    Fine, I will put down the bean and beef burrito smothered in cheese, wrapped in bacon, stuffed in a pita, that has been battered and deep fried, and liberally sprinkled with sensa. The sensa is getting all over my elliptical anyhow.
    Reply to this
  • 10/10/2012 6:49 AM Trish wrote:
    Great article! Nope I would not as it feeds my emotions not my body! =)
    Reply to this

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