Fitness Magazine Quiz – Whack!

21 Jun

I’m so irked, I had to write about it. I am a devote Sparker (sparkpeople.com) and I get daily emails from them. Today’s email had a link to a quiz from Fitness magazine titled, “How many calories are you really eating?” I thought this would be appropriate, because I’m very frustrated about eating healthier and running a ton, but having my pants getting tighter and tighter. I have seriously considered the possibility that something is wrong with me. However, I hate it when people whine about how they can’t lose weight when really they’re just eating more than they think (or admit to) and they don’t move around enough (or at all), so I’m trying to avoid being that person.

Anyway, I decided to take this quiz.

Well, I was annoyed with the first question, which asked, “How long would you have to walk to burn off one soda?” Now, I work in Quality Assurance. Let me tell you why my blood is already boiling… Is this a can or a bottle of soda? How fast are we walking? How much do I weigh? Seriously… I know enough to know that there are 200 calories in a can of soda, about 250 in a bottle – not that it matters in regards to how many calories I consume because I don’t drink regular soda – but you burn more calories when you walk fast, and heavier people burn more calories just by being heavier. Case in point, the answer to another question from this quiz:

How many calories should an active woman eat in a day?

The correct answer is: C. about 2,000

If you work out three or more times a week for at least 30 minutes, you should consume about 17 calories per pound to maintain your weight. “If you’re looking to shed pounds, you need to cut about 500 calories a day, and you can’t do it with exercise alone,” Fernstrom says. Those who are most successful at keeping weight off do so by eating less, according to researchers at the University of Alabama. Your best bet: Take in 250 fewer calories daily and burn 250 more with exercise.

This is absolutely ridiculous. If this is true, I need to see a doctor immediately. I exercise (run, walk, zumba, elliptical) at least 3 hours per week, but usually more. I know that I’m burning more than 500 extra calories in that extra 1.5 hrs (considering “active” is 30 mins 3 times per week). And 17 calories per pound?!? PER POUND?!? Do you know how many calories that is? I am a size 14 (I’m in denial, as most of my clothes are a size 12, but I’m trying to be honest here.) and I weigh around 190lbs (I’m in denial, as I used to be 163lbs and my size 12s were comfortably loose, but I’m trying to be honest here.) There is no way I eat more than 3230 calories per day, which I would need to be doing to not be losing ANY weight while running a minimum of 15 miles per week, plus cross training.

I’m so angry, I had to quit taking this quiz!

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2 Responses to “Fitness Magazine Quiz – Whack!”

  1. anvancafitcoach June 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Yeah, that’s clearly wrong. I feel your frustration, and that’s why I took the time to respond. Please take this as a suggested approach. It’s meant only a means to try to help.

    First, you should calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It’s the energy that your body needs to keep all your bodily systems functioning. There are a number of calculators on web, and here is one you can try: http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/. Typically, most people have a resting rate, which is 1.2 x BMR. This should be your target number. In theory, if you eat less/burn more, you should lose weight.

    It’s easier to explain through an example: Let’s take a woman, who is 30, 5′ 7″, and weights 190lbs. Her BMR is 1650 calories/day so her resting rate is 1.2 x 1650 = 2000 calories/day. Let’s say, she wanted to lose a pound/week, then let’s look at the two extreme options. Since a pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories, she could either eat 2,000 calories a day, and burn 500 calories a day in exercise, or she could chose to consumer only 1,500 calories a day and do no exercise. Any combination in between, which gives you a net negative 500 calories/day should net the same result, like burn 100 calories and eat 1,900, etc.

    You should use this solely as a guide for it’s not an exact science. The calculators give you an average result, which can vary up to 20% among individual people. The BMR is not static – as a cruel twist – in goes down as you lose weight. It’s not perfect, but I believe it is a good place to start. Hopefully, it can give you a better handle on what is going on than the quiz did.

    I wish you the best.

    • indulgencerehab June 22, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      Thank you! That is helpful. And those numbers sound so much more appropriate. That’s pretty much what SparkPeople has recommended for me. I’m just bad at documenting what I eat, and I’m sure I’m heavy with the pour on my “glass” of wine, but I know I’m not consuming over 3000 calories a day! 🙂

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