Day 266: How much exercise to burn off junk food?

26 09 2010

We went to the theatre to see a movie this afternoon. As I was drooling over the selections of candy (none of which I bought, yay me!), I remembered something I learned recently at a Weight Watchers meeting: to burn off the calories from one plain M&M (not one bag, but one single piece of candy), you would have to walk the length of a football field! One small bag of M&Ms has approximately 53 pieces, which would mean walking the football field 53 times. A horrifying way to put calories into perspective, isn’t it? (Disclaimer: some sites claim this information is not true and is used as a scare tactic by Weight Watchers. Other sites do seem to indicate it’s true.) Whether it’s true or not, it does make you think. I decided to look for similar information for other “bad habit” foods I eat. Here’s what I found:

  • One soft pretzel contains around 483 calories (according to According to’s Fitness Tracker, a 150-pound woman (that’s me) who bikes at a 10 mph pace will burn 6 calories per minute. To burn off the pretzel, you’d have to bike at this moderate pace for 81 minutes, which is just over 13 miles! Sounds like I need to work a lot harder to break my habit of one of my favorite foods at a local neighborhood eatery.
  • Halloween is just around the corner. I love Halloween and I especially love Halloween candy. Candy corn is my all-time favorite. Especially the little pumpkin-shaped ones. According to Yahoo’s Associated Content, it’ll take about 10 minutes of step aerobics to burn off the 70 calories in 11 pieces of candy corn. A Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Skittles or Twix bar (one fun size) contains about 80 calories. A 10-minute bike ride will be needed to burn off those calories.
  • Panera’s Whole Grain Bagel contains 350 calories and 3 grams of fat. Add to that another 130 calories for the 2-oz portion of reduced fat cream cheese.’s Fitness Tracker says a 150-pound woman “who jumps on a trampoline burns 4 calories per minute. To burn off this chewy breakfast, you’d have to ‘rebound’ non-stop for 2 hours!”

While I have broken a lot of bad habits in recent months, my eating habits (and my exercising) still need a lot of improvement. I realize it won’t happen overnight, but it’s a work in progress. It may take 81 minutes of cycling to burn off the calories in the soft pretzel I had for dinner earlier tonight, but only one second to not eat it in the first place. It’s time for me to find a new healthier item on the menu.

Today’s food journal:

— Whole wheat english muffin = 2 points
— 1 Tbsp peanut muffin = 1 point
— LF chocolate milk = 3 points

— Veggie chicken patty = 3 points
— Deli flat bread = 1 point

— Soft pretzel = 10 points
— Iced tea = 0 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

…( ) / ( )

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