Health Trip Words of Wisdom

by Liz Stovall, Fitness and Wellness Division Manager, Department of Human Resources

Do Not Ignore Your Diet

One of the most common mistakes I have seen people make when they start exercising is increasing the amount of food they are eating. In fact, a study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that when overweight women and men started exercising, many in the study compensated for their workouts by taking in as many as 270 extra calories a day – negating more than half of the calories they burned. A typical moderate 45-minute bout of exercise burns about 250-300 calories. Enjoying a glass of wine and a few crackers with cheese is more than enough to wipe out the calorie deficit from the workout.

One of the best ways to avoid this type of weight loss sabotage is to pay attention to what you are eating when you begin an exercise program. Sticking to a quality meal plan will keep your appetite and calories under control but allow you to be properly fueled for your workouts – and lose more weight. A good place to look for reputable, calorie conscious meal plans include the American Heart Association ( and Eating Well (

Even if you decide to not follow a specific meal/diet plan, if there is any chance that your eating habits may be an issue for you, experts recommend that you start tracking your food intake. It is easier to say NO to second helpings, big portions, and high calorie treats if you know you must write them down. It is not uncommon for those who regularly record what they eat and when they exercise to lose nearly twice as much weight as those who do not keep track.

If you are looking for help in starting a healthier eating plan, join the Fitness and Wellness ‘Unlock your Potential’ Challenge. Participating with your co-workers who will support your efforts and cheer you on can give you the boost you need to keep believing in yourself when the going gets tough. For more information, visit the Power Henrico Health Trip page.