Home Video Vault Why You Can’t Just “Burn Those Cookies Off”

Why You Can’t Just “Burn Those Cookies Off”

by Erika Nicole Kendall

I get soooooooooooooo tired of people telling me “Oh, I’m not worried about it. I can just burn this dinner off tonight on the treadmill.”

All I keep thinking, as I glance at their plate, is “Oh, really?” I’d never say that, though. I kind of just smile and say “Wow, well…hey!”

This video is why. (You don’t have to click on their links in the video – the site actually looks kinda spammy, even though the video is awesome.)

So…for all you people who swear that people only need to “move more” in order to lose that weight? Stop lying to people, and stop lying to yourselves. That’s why I write so much about food – if you think that you can eat calorie-heavy dishes and “just burn it off” at the gym… you’re sorely mistaken. Weight loss is, at least, 85% diet. If you never eat it, you never have to worry about burning it. It’s just that simple.

Here’s to making better decisions!

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Crissle January 11, 2011 - 12:51 PM

okay, okay. i got it!

Jackie January 11, 2011 - 12:58 PM

“If you never eat it, you never have to worry about burning it. It’s just that simple. ” That’s it in a nutshell. (Love your blog by the way!)

Daphne January 11, 2011 - 1:20 PM

Thanks for this! Intellectually, I knew this, but subconsciously (not to mention how much I hear it from others), the “burn it off” theory lingered.
I brought my lunch to work today, but was seriously thinking of ordering out before I read this. Of course, I’m enjoying my homemade, healthier, yummy lunch of roasted veggies and baked chicken as I type this.

10 lbs lost and counting!

lisa January 11, 2011 - 2:03 PM

This is sooo true! I used to think the same thing until I started to wear a heart rate monitor and realized my 30 minute workout was only burning around 200-300 calories. That obviously didn’t make a dent in what I was eating!

acf January 11, 2011 - 3:14 PM

While understand and agree with the overall sentiment to which the guys were trying to disseminate. I find it problematic that they berated cardiovascular exercise in his words: “cardio is a joke” in an attempt to discard with the pretense of cardio as the end all be all for weight loss. However though admittedly many people use cardio as an attempt to lose weight– the activity itself is indispensable for overall health. Cardiovascular exercise is beneficial for exactly what the name intimates. I cannot tell you how many people who engage themselves throughout life in weight lifting as well as adequate nutrition yet find later in life, because they have ignored their heart health, that they have complications because of it. They don’t need to disparage cardiovascular exercise in order to make a point as to the benefits of nutrition! They are both integral parts of the process.

kohy January 11, 2011 - 5:09 PM

“you cant outtrain a bad diet”

grasp this concept and then you can commit to an effective fitness routine

KANEKA March 18, 2013 - 1:43 PM

That is definitely what stood out most from this video. That statement alone says everything that needed to be said…

JoAnna January 11, 2011 - 5:31 PM

The word ” cardio” is an abbreviation for “Cardiovascular” which is another term people use to describe aerobic exercise. “Cardio” means heart. And aerobic exercise is a way of getting more oxygen into our bodies, and more blood pumping thru our veins.

Now cardio does help. It allows you to enjoy the body you have. My mostly clean diet helped rid me of my first 70lbs, but I had no stamina, and couldn’t do 2:30mins on a treadmill for a stress test. If there was a “disaster movie of the week” moment, I’d be the woman who had the heart attack trying to outrun the aliens/floodwaters/lava/etc!

Think of it as a sleek new Porshe (clean eating body) and an old worn out, rusted pickup truck (junk eating body) that someone fished out of a river. With the Porshe, it’s easy to add some gas (cardio) and get going. That old truck is gonna need a new engine, new brakes, belts- the works before you can even consider putting gas in it to go anywhere.

Just my personal thoughts…

Crystal January 11, 2011 - 10:12 PM

I love your blog! I had one of these moments today thinking about choices.

Sonya January 11, 2011 - 11:08 PM

LOL…Thank you thank you for that…because i’ve always had it in my head that i can work it off in the gym/treadmill…and always in the back of my mind i was thinking wth? How long do i have to be on this thing to burn off a burger or whatever unhealthy thing i had, i always knew i was kidding myself, but after veiwing the video i have no excuse now because it makes sense, and i will pass it on…smdh my friends and family are already sick of me talking about it day and night to anyone who will listen…Oh well i don’t care…i have to keep repeating it so i get it!

Tks Erika…

nikki January 11, 2011 - 11:57 PM

I know this but its hard!

Kim January 12, 2011 - 2:04 PM

I have never seen this concept displayed in quite this way, and I agree that it is fantastic. Sometimes people need to have things blatantly spelled out and these guys do just that with their video. That’s a heck of a differential in calories!

Athena January 16, 2011 - 6:22 PM

This really put things in perspective! Good post

CoCo January 17, 2011 - 9:50 PM

LOL! I agree 100% with Crissle! “Okay, okay…I got it!” pretty much sums it up for me, too. Especially since you just busted me out while I was thinking about going to grab those cookies….

Dee January 18, 2011 - 12:08 AM

Wow…I needed to see this! I’m one of ‘those’ folks who would say, “I’ll just burn this off later”. Even as I’m huffing & puffing on the treadmill, I glance at the calorie burner and I’m thinking, “Surely, I’m burning more calories than this”! Well, obviously not! This is a Great eye-opener.

I’m new to your website and I’m so glad I found it! Thank you so much for all you do to help others. I look forward to exploring & using the rest of your site!

Congratulations on your Awesome weight loss! I’m looking forward to learning And ‘losing’ with you!

Jaclyn January 21, 2011 - 1:42 AM

I kind of want to make out with the pizza eating guy. Is that weird?

Erika January 21, 2011 - 8:01 AM

Bet his breath smells like processed tomato paste and high fructose corn syrup. ROFL

Danielle May 27, 2011 - 8:38 AM

You stepped on my toes with this one lol. But I needed it! I really need to focus on changing my diet.

April June 5, 2011 - 1:06 PM

For someone like myself, I am aware of how to burn calories. If that incline was taken to 15 and a speed of 3.6 – 3.8, you would burn about 200 calories in 10 minutes. So if you eat 3 slices of pizza at the calories stated in the video, expect to be on the treadmill for about 30 minutes at the incline and speed I mentioned.

Another point, running that fast can be bad for your joints.

Erika Nicole Kendall June 5, 2011 - 2:30 PM

Here’s why your comment misses the point:

1) You’re willing to go through a level 15 incline at 3.8 to burn off cookies, instead of burning off what’s already there? It sounds like an exercise in futility.

2) If you are burning 200 calories in 10 minutes at that incline and THAT speed, without inferring anything about how much you weigh now… let’s just put it like this: the smaller you become, the harder it will be to burn off that same amount every time you set out for it. That’s just how weight loss works. You won’t always be able to burn that amount in that amount of time. And considering how fast he was going – even at that low incline – with his size… and listening to what you’re saying about such a slow speed (it’s not even a 15-minute mile), regardless of the incline… it would take far more than that for many people to burn those calories.

3) Muscle mass, fat mass, height, overall weight… everything down to whether you land on your heel or the balls of your feet when you run ALL play a HUGE part in how much you burn. It’s ALSO why the calorie counts on the machines are often off by as much as 30%. So your “200 calories” might actually be “140 calories,” and you don’t even know it.

4) Your comment implies that we all burn calories at the same rate and speed. We don’t. Again – muscle mass, fat mass, height, overall weight… everything down to whether you land on your heel or the balls of your feet when you run ALL play a HUGE part in how much you burn.

5) Running that fast can be bad for your joints… if you’re at a certain weight. If you’re overweight (obese, even more so,) and constantly hitting a level 15 incline at a “fast walking pace,” that’s bad for your joints, too.

All in all, the bottom line is that this doesn’t negate the point. Learn to let the regular cookie indulgences go and stop setting out to “just burn it off.” It’s an exercise in futility.

April June 5, 2011 - 5:01 PM

That video doesn’t take a lot into account. It’s a bad demostration period. We don’t have any information on the gentleman eating the pizza nor the gentleman on the treadmill. If it was a 200 lb woman eating that pizza and running at that speed the burn rate would be different. That video makes a lot of assumpation. Bottomline, it’s a bad example. We all have different burn rates.

Erika Nicole Kendall June 5, 2011 - 5:22 PM

Nothing you’ve said here negates what my comments were. It’s not a bad demonstration. It’s proof positive that the “eat it and burn it later” mentality is a waste of time. You’d rather waste a half hour of your day eating bad, sloppy, greasy pizza and struggling to burn it off than eat something of a better quality and burn to tone your body. That’s an exercise in futility. If you want to justify the fact that YOU, a 200lb woman, still engages in that foolishness, you might be better suited to doing it in the mirror, not here. Just don’t wonder why you aren’t progressing.

Brandi Roberts August 13, 2013 - 10:14 PM

Erika! You are soooooo right about the machines not showing what you actually burn! I got a heart rate monitor when I got serious about working out and the machines are off every time! I love your blog and motivation! I have you (and some very unflattering photos) to thank for my 38lbs gone forever!

Allyson June 28, 2011 - 6:24 PM

WOW- I just had this conversation with my Godson over the weekend. He is spending hours in the gym and not getting the results. I said simply- Its about the food. Change your mind, change your body.

Jocelyn September 7, 2011 - 4:06 PM

Thank you! I really needed to hear that.

Athletemom November 13, 2011 - 12:09 AM

You can still eat a slice or two of pizza. As long as you know what your total calorie intake should be for the day you can just add the pizza. I excerise regularly, go out for pizza every Friday with my husband and three kids and have never been overweight in my life. I don’t understand the all or nothing mentality. Have a cookie while your at it. ONE cookie won’t kill you. Chances are if you allow it you’ll stick with a healthy eating regime for the long haul. Geez folks it’s just food. Not a raison d’être !!

Erika Nicole Kendall November 13, 2011 - 9:10 AM

Sure, you can eat pizza – is it clean? Is it good pizza? Is it worth the “caloric expense?”

I’m glad that YOU have “never been overweight in your life,” because it means you understand caloric maintenance levels. Others don’t, and the “burn it later” method doesn’t help with weight LOSS, and that mentality certainly doesn’t help an emotional eater. Big difference between the two.

It IS just food… so letting it go (if that’s what your situation calls for) shouldn’t be that big of a deal, right? Jeez. 😉

Keishia December 4, 2011 - 10:15 PM

Wow! Seeing this in the physical was enlightening. Even though I knew this information–it just broke my heart to think about how many calories we can consume in a few minutes, and how long they actually stick with us. I have friends and family who constantly say “oh you’re work that off later,” but I know better.

Well, love the blog! 14 pounds down and counting.

NneNna May 10, 2012 - 3:18 PM

You are so right about it. I am living proof that it does not work! I used to have that mentality and think I can eat whatever I want as long as I burn it off in the morning and that is what I did (well so I thought). However, I was not losing weight, I was just maintaining the heavy weight. I was not gaining or losing just spending a lot of time in gym. Not to mention I always felt horrible and fatigue! Eventually, I realized that avoiding healthy eating was not going to ever help me so I switched to my now calorie counting, clean eating self and I have lost 40 lbs so far! Even if you feel it works for you, it is not worth spending hours in the gym to burn off mere minutes of eating unhealthy food. Second on the lips, forever on the hips! 🙂

Bmpowerd May 14, 2012 - 2:33 PM

I never fell for the burn it later theory simply because even though I’d love to eat the extra stuff but I hate working out. Trust me I am not going the extra mile just so I can have 5 mins of pleasure

Shannon July 2, 2012 - 7:42 PM

Geez! How many times have I fooled myself with the lie of “I’ll just burn it off later”? This is so enlightening. I do agree with acf about the video downplaying cardio. Cardio is important, but the overall msg that I can’t out train a bad diet really hit home. Thanks, Erika.

Gia A. October 28, 2012 - 3:51 PM

This video makes so much sense! Even though I’ve lost 28 pounds and down to 153, I am starting to crave sweets and baked some cupcakes today and told myself I can burn it off later. I already ate 2, but I will just let my kids have the rest! Time to get back on track! I needed to see this! Thanks!

Meg October 28, 2012 - 4:40 PM

This vid was kind of a duh and was blatantly skewed. Of course it’s much easier and faster to take in calories, esp. eating calorie, sugar, & fat laden foods like pizza, than to burn it off. Moderation is key. You can have a cookie or two and burn it off but you have to real with yourself. Are you going to do an extra twenty minutes of cardio to do that? I started thinking about how long it would take me to burn off a food and that stopped a lot of my cravings. Also give yourself a limit. One treat a week won’t negate all your hard work but a treat a day just might!

Erika Nicole Kendall October 28, 2012 - 6:42 PM

I’d just like to use this as a polite opportunity to remind people that what might be a “duh” for you isn’t always so obvious to others.

Samiya November 19, 2012 - 5:50 PM

This is about the best pre-holiday video to watch ever. Thanks for posting it!

Samiya November 19, 2012 - 5:52 PM

And re: “duh” – sure, it’s “obvious” but if obvious were all it took, many of us likely wouldn’t be in the situations we’re in. Sometimes a little visual imagery is extremely helpful as a reminder to keep the good loop running in our head against all of the other crazy imagery and poor misinformation out there that can seem…nicer. haha. 🙂 Thanks again!

Tatiana November 20, 2012 - 2:10 PM

why am i seeing this as i just ate a cookie!!!!!!! its cool it was my first one in two weeks….

Sheryl B November 20, 2012 - 2:15 PM

Sho ya right! Thank you very much for the needed reminder.

Jae November 20, 2012 - 3:13 PM

I agree with eliminating this as a duh moment. I also agree with the fact that most people won’t in fact make it up later. If you aren’t disciplined enough to not eat it I don’t see much discipline coming into play to work it off later. This is in fact an exercise in futility to use my workout time making up for eating bad as opposed to using my workout time to burn some fat stores. I guess, unless you are already at your goal weight. If I’m going to eat bad….I’m just going to eat bad. Which is why when I choose to, I make sure it’s going to be well worth it.

bisdelish March 16, 2013 - 6:28 AM

no you can not out train a bad diet, but i think (i know) its HARD to get your eating in order, so i say do the gym (work on the bad dirt as you long along).cause the truth is when you do start exercising you realise that it take s too much energy to burn all that.

I’ve tried both ways to eat not so good but exercise and to try and get my eating in order first. I have lost weight, inches in the former rather than the latter

Elle M August 13, 2013 - 6:52 PM

This why those that are too heavy to exercise are still able to lose weight by changing their eating habits. Diet alone can get you down to a point that you can comfortably exercise. I don’t think the demonstration was saying that exercise is not important, because it does help with getting rid of visceral fat, that can cause organ difficulties even in thin persons. It was just a simple demonstration that ‘I cannot eat a whole bag of cookies, or a whole pizza and expect to burn it off by doing exercise’.

My friends that claim they exercise so they can eat what they want will not like this.

Karen August 13, 2013 - 9:11 PM

I need some help. I am 177lbs. Workout 6 out of 7 days. Heavy weight lifting and 30min cardio on a 1600 cal diet. Clean eating 6 small meals a day. I am not losing the weight. It has been 3.5 months. Any suggestions?

Erika Nicole Kendall August 14, 2013 - 12:18 PM

1600 might not be enough for you? I don’t know, it’s hard to troubleshoot with so little information.

I’m curious as to what heavy lifting is supposed to do for you when you’re in a caloric deficit, though…especially if you’re not eating enough protein. Do you take account of your macronutrients?

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