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Apr 24, 2013
04:45 PMHealth Kick
When the Numbers Don't Add Up
A lot of my runner friends say that they run so that they can eat. I used to be in that camp, too, but I've realized that running six miles a day does not give me license to eat whatever I want. I tried it for a while. Then my weight started to creep up, and I had to consciously decide to limit what I ate—both in terms of quality and quantity—in order to keep the needle at the right point on the scale. It's not easy.
You'd think that the menus with calorie counts would drive the message home, but I don't always make the connection between the calories listed next to items and how much running I'd have to do to balance out. I need to eat something, after all, and I have no idea whether the bowl of mac and cheese at Noodles & Co. is more calorie dense than the dinner I would eat at home. I suppose I could read up and carry around some tools or find an app on my phone. The problem is that I largely ignored the numbers because I was too lazy to do the mental math necessary to translate them into time-on-the-treadmill equivalents. But if menus did that for me, as this article in Time says may soon be the case? I have no doubt that I'd think twice about dessert if I read plain as day that I'd have to walk for two hours just to burn it off.
If I've learned anything from watching the treadmill display it's that time moves much more slowly when I'm running on a machine and that I don't burn nearly as many calories in an hour as I can inhale in ten minutes of beer and cheese curds. And I really don't need a menu to tell me that, but I bet it will help when it does.