You Can't Outrun Your Fork

"You can't outrun your fork."

It's a powerful saying and a concept that many people don't quite understand.

What does it mean?

It's a clever way of saying that if weight loss is your goal, you can't out-exercise a bad diet no matter how long or vigorously you walk, run or swim.

To lose weight, we all know that you need to burn more calories than you consume.

But have you ever stopped to think how quick and easy it is to eat and drink calories but how difficult and time-consuming it is to burn a comparable number?

Here are a couple examples:

  • It takes maybe 7 minutes to eat 3 cups of potato chips which have about 350 calories
  • But it takes about 60-minutes of moderate- to high-intensity cardio & weights for a 150 lb. woman to burn about 350 calories

The message? Unless you have hours and hours to dedicate to exercise each day, you need to change your diet to drop the pounds.

If you can sacrifice those few minutes of bliss (and is it really bliss?) you get from that piece of pie or extra serving of dinner, you'll begin to see immediate changes in your weight.

If your main goal is to lose weight, make a commitment to two lifestyle changes.

  • First, start by simply moving more. Start walking at lunch or in the evening, Over time, ease into something more formal. Sign up for dance classes, join a power walking or a learn-to-run group. Find an activity that makes you feel good and boosts your energy and spirits.
  • Then take a good look at the foods and portion sizes you're eating, and start to make small changes.

Lastly, team up with a supportive friend or a structured program—such as Weight Watchers, TOPS or (a simple, free and very motivational app I really like that tracks your exercise and diet). Even better, find a personal trainer who will support you and cheer you on. 

"You can't outrun your fork" is one of my favourite sayings.

Here's another one: "Health isn't everything, but without it you have nothing."

How Do You Measure Up? (Find out in 3 Minutes)

There's an old management adage that we use a lot in the fitness world:

"You can't manage what you don't measure."

What's it mean? Simply that if you don't start with a baseline you won't know if you're improving, staying the same or losing ground

When you get fit the right way, changes in the way you feel and look appear immediately but gradually.

And when anything happens gradually, it's easy to forget just how far you've come—unless you measured and recorded your starting point.

This is why I start all my personal training clients with a very brief (and painless) fitness appraisal. What I measure is different for each client and is always based on the goals we've set.

If you don't have access to a fitness professional (and even if you do), here's an interesting, quick and fun online alternative.

Norwegian rock-star-cardio-researcher Ulrik Wisløff has created a simple assessment, based on a huge and growing data sample, that lets you easily estimate your fitness level by answering a few basic questions.

Use his 3-minute questionnaire-style assessment to benchmark where you are today. Then get moving with a regular exercise program and revisit the questionnaire in three to four weeks to check your progress.

People I Love to Recommend

When I need a house painter, a new furnace or a dentist, I always look to my friends and acquaintances for referrals. It's an almost-foolproof way to quickly shorten a to-do list or resolve a problem.

Over the years, I've created my own list of Toronto-based health and wellbeing experts who I highly recommend. Here it is below.

If you connect with any of them, please say hello from me!

Riverdale Shiatsu - 416-466-7483
Trinity Dempster (registered massage therapist and shiatsu therapist) offers professional, stress-reducing massage at her Danforth/Broadview location.

Carol Bloemen, registered nutritionist - 416-932-9711
Contact Carol for assistance with managing your weight, improving your health and increasing your energy through improved eating habits.

Chance Ng, chiropodist - 416-536-7727,
Contact Chance for any foot or gait related issues.

Footsteps Reflexology
Manage stress and other medical conditions with a professional reflexology treatment with Janet Williams.

For Health Wellness Consultants
Wellness seminars, coaching, counselling and products. Contact Marla Warner for information on individual and group programs.

East Toronto Physiotherapy
Let Danny Kuzmich and his team of therapists help you with injuries at his Danforth and Coxwell clinic.

Pivot Sport Medicine and Orthopaedics
High-quality physiotherapy on Bloor St. West.

Buy high-quality, validated pedometers and stand/sit desks here.

Toronto Power Walkers
Learn proper power walking technique, train for local and far-away races and socialize with a great group of women.

Bio-Mechanical Advantage
I highly recommend Babs Aiyede for any foot/leg/gait-related injuries or issues.

About Me: The Full Spiel

While studying health and physical education at university, I never imagined that one day I'd be running my own personal training business,  travelling the country educating other fitness pros and writing for national magazines and newspapers.

But life takes some interesting turns.

My fitness career began with great stints at places like Toronto's Metro-Central YMCA and the prestigious Fitness Institute.

Later, I enjoyed many years managing Manulife Financial's large corporate fitness facility.

Things changed considerably when I took a 12-month leave of absence from Manulife to sail from Toronto to Trinidad and back.

After a spectacular and carefree year spent in flip flops and sarongs, I loathed the idea of returning to the corporate world. So instead I harnessed my entrepreneurial skills and sharpened my writing skills at Ryerson University to shape a new career.

Today, many years later, I happily spend my days working with personal training clients, writing magazine articles, and editing and blogging for corporate clients.

I love teaching Urban Poling Nordic walking classes and instructor certification courses and making special appearances.

My 9-to-5 friends can't believe I get to have this much fun making a living.

Sometimes I can't believe it either.