Saturday, November 01, 2008

The math underlying phenomenally bad rationalization

I bicycle everywhere. It's good exercise, it's a cheap mode of transportation, and it's a phenomenally bad rationalization for eating poorly. On a regular basis I catch myself thinking, "I rode my bike today; I can eat [extremely unhealthy food product] and it'll balance out!" But the math doesn't actually support this. In an hour of cycling, a person of my weight and fitness level burns somewhere around 675 calories per hour above the base metabolic rate (that is, the amount of calories I burn sleeping). On days when I commute, I burn about 540 calories on the bike. And here's a partial list of foods I've rationalized by cycling in the past two weeks:
  • an entire box of O'Malia's gourmet chocolate chunk cookies in one day (2000 calories)
  • a large mocha from South Bend Chocolate Company (very yummy, but 550 calories)
  • a jar of honey-roasted peanuts (1800 calories, and the equivalent fat of 3/4 cup of Crisco)
  • a package of Oreos (2400 calories)
  • a Cinnabon Classic and a MochaLatta Chill (1100 calories)
Yeah, the math isn't in my favor on this. That box of O'Malia's cookies, of which I had three: each box balances out almost an entire week of cycling. And I've eaten three boxes of these in the last two weeks. Ouch! I think I'll have to expand my awareness about my rationalizations, and work to do it less and eat healthier food.

Or, better: expand the rationalizations themselves! See, I move a lot of heavy things at work, and that burns calories. And I put some things on a high shelf for Laura this morning -- more calories burned. I vacuumed yesterday, too, at about 100 calories per hour. I bet if I add up all the incremental exercise I get in a day, I'll be able to rationalize even more bad dietary habits! I love it when my math skills save me from exercise and/or dietary self-control!

No comments: