Cheesey fries

The calories we burn in exercise and running vs the calories we consume vs the weight we lose is a frequent and sometimes hot topic here. We know that running burns 700-1000 calories/hr depending how fast we go or the challenge of our route. And that offsets our dietary indulgences, right?

This puts it into a bit more context. This is today's Spartan Race Workout of the day. It is called Revenge of the Cheesey Fries, because...

You would have to do this entire workout twice just to burn off half a serving of cheesy fries.


Jump Rope โ€“ 3 minutes

10 Isometric Wipers

10 Double Leg Butt Kicks

Main set:

Hike a steep hill carrying a log, weight, rock, half-filled bucket of water, or sandbag. Hike back down. This should take about 10 minutes round trip.

Run/jog/walk the same hill.


10 burpees

15 squats

Hang from a low branch for 30 seconds or as long as possible, until you accumulate 3 minutes of hanging.

Rest 2 minutes

Jog a flat trail or road for 20 minutes.

still standing?

Remember: You would have to do this entire workout twice just to burn off half a serving of cheesy fries.


HALF a serving.

And that is why it's 80% diet 20% exercise. Now put down those cheesey fries.


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37 Replies

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  • Thanks, Rignold - this is a much-needed reality check! :)

  • And i get accused of being condescending when I tell the plain truth.

  • Oh dear, and i love cheesy fries too! ๐Ÿ˜•i did turn down some on sunday, glad i did now,,! I how many calories roughly.?

  • Thanks for this, understanding how much exercise you actually need to do is really important but can I also put a slightly different spin on your finally percentages.

    Having spent 20 years struggling against the cheesy fries (can't stand them myself) I would actually put a lot more importance on the exercise. Not necessarily from a calorie burning/deficit point of view, but from a success point of view. My reason behind this is, you are over weight because you consume too may calories and therefore that is your natural behaviour. Isn't it therefore naive to assume that you can simply change that? I am not an advocate of set diets anyway because as soon as you stop the prescribed eating plan you revert to norm. It has to be a lifestyle change. In my experience its the exercise that triggers the life style and eating change. Once you break the initial barrier of "Oh my god how hard is that" and "it hurts so much I can't move" and start to feel the benefits of the exercise, I find anyway that I then don't want to eat the "cheesy fires" any more. I want to find that healthy alternative, don't want to feel bloated and so the cycle continues. I lose more weight, the exercise becomes easier and so on

    As I look back over 20 years of weight loss failure, it is always a break in exercise (an injury, chest infection, change of job and therefore loss of spare time etc) that halts my progress. I then instantly go back to the cheesy fries syndrome and bang all gone.

    For me exercise is THE key I would give that a success weighting of 85%

    I'm just about to finish week 1, thanks for an amazing week in this forum, good luck to all

  • Agreed. I think that what you've said for many people is true - exercise is the key to making a diet work. I like your point about success. What feeling of success do you actually get when you turn down a portion of cheesy fries? For some people, that momentary feeling would be enough to keep temptation at bay - but probably not many. Compare that with the feeling of success you get when you can run for 90 seconds when you couldn't manage 60 a couple of weeks earlier. That good feeling lasts much longer and can be the basis of lifestyle changes, which I think is your key point.

    I'm quite skinny and can normally get away with eating anything ... but I think I'm at an age now when that's sadly no longer quite true. And I've just given in to the temptation of 2 pieces of cake for elevenses... oops. No will power at all!

  • But that's the point. You have be able to have the piece of cake, because you are kidding yourself if think you can go the rest of your life not doing so.

    Ask yourself one question, how many over weight people do you see that do regular exercise? Not many.

    We didn't put this weight on overnight, so why do so many people think they can lose it quickly.

  • because there is a whole industry out there that thrives on selling them the idea that they can. "I lost 3 stone in 28 days," says Kerry on the cover of Lies! magazine at the supermarket checkout. "My new DVD shows you how!"

    "Get washboard abs in just 6 weeks!" screams Men Dacity Fitness, every single issue.

    Because "Lose 3 stone gradually in a sustainable healthy manner over a period of 18 months, by healthy eating and regular exercise" would not sell magazines. Nor would "If you want visible abs you need to drop your bodyfat below 10% like our model".

  • Agreed. I only recently started exercising (started C25K 3 June last year) and I love the effect it has on my head - the buzz I get from knowing I can run several ks nonstop is a huge thing for me. I haven't lost any weight at all by running, and I didn't expect to. I have lost a few inches though, and it seems nuts to go for a long run and then eat 2 choc bars and a plate of fish and chips washed down with a couple of pints!

    I was a couple of stone overweight 11 years ago and went to Weightwatchers. While I don't endorse everything they do, and it is an expensive habit if you can't learn from it and then take it on yourself, it made me realise the 'type' of foods which will help you maintain a healthy weight and which ones you only needed a little bit of to put on a lot of weight (and cheese and wine are two of the worst dammit!). What embarking on a healthy eating plan rather than a 'diet' makes you realise is what to eat and in what proportion if you want to lose weight or maintain. And once it becomes second nature, it sticks with you properly for life. I still eat biscuits and cakes when the mood takes me, but if I can feel the waistband tightening on my jeans I know what to do. So now, my weight only varies by a few pounds either way of my 'comfortable' weight.

    Rig is right, 'diets' are the work of the devil, and leave so many people yo-yoing up and down for their whole lives. I am nervous about things like '12 week plans' as it sounds as if you can eat differently for 12 weeks then go back to all the unhealthy choices you were making before. If you learn which healthy foods will fill you up for longer without clogging your gut and making you fat, it is worth changing your lifestyle because you'll feel better. I could live on veggie smoothies and soups and never feel hungry, but that would be a bit dull, and I dooooo like a cream and jam doughnut! What can I say - I am only human!

  • You are, of course, correct, but in this instance I use 'diet' in the sense of 'what you eat all the time' as opposed to the 'Atkins/5:2/ F-Plan temporary weight lossplan' sense of the word. It s a shame that we use the same word for both things as it causes much confusion.

    The simple fact of the thing si that 'diets' and 'dieting' don't work. Trying to acheive a permanent change in your body by means of a temporary restriction or avoidance of certain foodgroups is only ever going to have a temporary result. Permanent and sustainable weightloss, liek permanent and sustainable fitness requires lifestyle change in both what we eat and our relationship with food and how we use our bodies. Crash diets and restrictive diest may have dramatic initial results but are not susatianable so when we go back to our riginal eating pattern the weight comes staright back on again, and worse, because much of that weigth loss will have been lean muscle rather than bodyfat, our metabolism will have dropped in the meanwhile and we actually put on MORE weight than we had before while eating the same amount.

    Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

    There's all we need to know abut nutrition in seven words, from Michael Pollan.

    Avoid sugar and processed grains like the plague. Eight more from the Mighty Rignold.

    I'd like to say that's all I have to say about that, but it would probably not be true.

  • Oh man you are so right, I get in discussions about diet all the time. It is simply the wrong word for a regimented, false, short term eating plan. Your diet is what you consume every day of your life. If I am making a change to my diet, I am changing what I am eating, not these fad things. The CEO of weight watchers was on a TV show a few months back and he actually said "of course dieting doesn't work, that is why we are so successful and make so much money" I couldn't believe my ears.

  • Also I should add, I wasn't challenging your comments, or your use of the word Diet. I was merely trying to put my spin on success/failure for the benefit of others in this group, because actually I think its the members that make the difference (an entire 5 days in) The training plan is nothing special, its the same as a dozen other you can find or sign up to on the web or via Runkeeper. The difference is this interaction an the fact that since I sign up on Saturday I have come across dozens of others also on week one and good healthy discussion and advise like this posting.

  • I'd agree about the unfortunately tangled connotations of the word 'diet'. Saw an e-card thingy on Pinterest that said "athletes don't diet and exercise, they eat and train", and rather liked that. Think it kind of sums up the distinction people are making between dodgy quick-fix vs. profound attitude shift.

  • Here here.... !!!However after a long run my appetite increases enormously so I do listen to my body and eat a lot more... And I don't gain weight so I think that's ok?

  • With my pathetic arm and upper body strength, I think it would take at least an hour to get anywhere near an accumulated 3 minutes of hanging!

  • Just a further point, I really do blame all supermarkets!! I am shocked at how much food comes in packets, boxes etc. the choice of fresh food is terrible and the amount !! Supermarkets here are too big and don't offer enough fresh food. I am not surprised people struggle, also the amount of crisps, chocolates, sweets on sale is mind blowing. I really had forgotten and didn't realise it doesn't have to be this way.

  • Oh yeah, definitely.

    If it comes in a box, has a list of ingredients, or has a TV advert, don't eat it.

    another of my collected maxims.

    See I told you that wasn't all I had to say on the subject.

  • Supermarkets only cater to what their customers actually buy. The food industry has enormous lobbying power and our political leaders (rightly or wrongly) will never intervene to prevent the unhealthy, processed and high sugar crap being on the shelves.

    At the end of the day, it comes down to willpower and personal responsibility and in that sense is the same as smoking, drinking and exercise.

  • although, tbh I do not blame the supermarkets. Supply meets demand. If shoppers want organic kumquats and freekeh wheat, that's what the supermarket will stock. If they want bread made of cardboard and neon orange food colouring maize snacks, they'll sell that. It is up to us to take responsibility, not for Tesco to be our Nanny by just offering us what we should have. There are lots of Health Food shops. People who want Doritos and Pepsi choose not to go there.

  • I agree... I was brought up in an alternative way and we had a health food shop in Falmouth from when I was about 13 ( 1983) we used to sell organic veg, fresh yeast and all manner of other things. People loved our shop and used to walk up the hill especially to get our food. one thing it has done is instilled in me a passion about never being lazy about cooking. I feel quite strongly about this, it should form part of the day, and to enjoy the whole thing too...our society has lost that ....

  • I definitely need to read this post every now and then to get me focused on my diet!

  • Google 'Miracle Weight Loss', buy the tablets that are offered... Bingo! you've lost 100 pounds in one day, no exercise required :-)

  • And possibly your life, like that poor girl last week.

  • Oh sorry, that wasn't very sensitive of me. It is a tragedy that our young people are so indoctrinated about body image that they will try these 'supplements'. I think my point was 'There are no short cuts'.

  • I'm always amazed at how much quicker things get. Killer Abs in 30 minutes is a fairly common one, and the 15 minute Abs... whch to be fair, is not too unreasonable. The ab workout I do is about that long, and packs in 340-something moves and certainly leaves me feeling like I have been kicked in the tummy repeatedly. And yes, if you do that 4 times a week afetr regular exercise it will pay dividends.

    However, I may be doing far more than is necessary as I am constantly bombarded with adverts for 7 minute abs!! and more recently 3 minute abs!!! Tat's pretty quick, but imagine my surprise when I got the 60 second abs email, and then within 2 days, the same people offered me 30 second abs!!!

    30 second abs.

    That's less time than you have taken to read this post!

    You could have had a six pack instead of reading me wittering on about it.

    But fear not, give it another week and the 10 second ab workout must surely follow.

  • I've got fabulous abs. I just keep them well covered in a thin layer of blubber so people don't get jealous :)

  • Ha Ha!! :-)

  • What I feel is a bit tricky to understand is - if it is possible to lose weight by having a gastric band fitted - then the whole process of gradually building up to eating food which has not been pulped. Can we just miss out the bit about the gastric band. Sensibly do some exercise and pulps food if this is the way to weight loss. its just a thought.

  • Hahaha MarkyD

  • ๐ŸŸ

  • Before and during C25K I was following the 5:2 diet. It did get me down to my target weight. Now I have graduated and I am running 4 times a week (about 30 K total) I no longer do the fasting diet, as I need the nutrition.

    However! I know I feel rubbish when I run if I have pigged out or had alcohol the night before, so the running has encouraged me to eat more healthily and drastically reduce my alcohol intake.

    My weight is now stable/ dropping very slowly.

  • Mmmmmmm cheesey chips :) Thanks Rig, I haven't thought about them for months and months, and now I'm in the throws of a full on craving!! :( Lol

  • Cheesey Chips from Ed's Diner in the King's Road, or the one in Soho. The fuel for many a late nigth and early morning's dubious shenanigans back in the dim distant years of my mis-spent youth. Calories were different in the 80's: they burned up in the flash of.. well, the less said about what the flashes were of, the better. 30 years later and they settle in for a long stay.

    Kale smoothies all round.

  • Blimey that puts it in perspective. I've never had cheesy fries, but my Achilles heel is chocolate, can't get enough of it... Since running though I have been able to up my daily quota, and the day after a big run I'll even have 3 bars :)

  • Thing about exercise it is something you *do*, whereas the eating part is fundamentally about not doing something (whether that is not eating a particular thing at all because you're a 'can't stop once started' person or portion control)... which tends to be a lot harder. You can however spin it a bit and focus on delicious meals that just happen to be less calorific.

    I'm on a deep fried Mars Bar diet... I have one every two or three years and I've lost 20kgs, good innit?

  • Whilst running 5k three times a week won't help me lose much weight, sadly, it is exactly what the doctor ordered. Regular exercise has numerous health benefits.

    Hopefully people will still do exercise even when they figure out it's not gonna help with weight loss.

  • Nobody said exercise doesn't help with weight loss. Of course it does. It's just a question of how much excercise vs how much food.

    Also it is worth bearing in mind how different forms of exercise fuel themselves from your body. HIIT burns a lot more fat than low-intensity exercise. 20 minutes of 20 second all out effort with 90 second recoveries will burn the same number of calories as 45 minutes of moderate effort, be it running or on a bike or whatever. However, the interval work will burn 9 times as much fat as the body is drawing directly on fat reserves to fuel the effort.

  • The 'quick fix' weight loss culture drives me mad. How anyone believes that by a month or so of living off meal replacement shakes (for example the 'Lighter Life' crap used by a friend of mine), they will obtain a sustainable change, I don't know. I have no issue with Slimming World and Weight Watchers, but most people I know who have used them have put back all the weight they lost and more, because they regarded the 'diet' as a fix rather than a lifestyle change and reverted to type as soon as they got their weight to target. The whole concept of 'going on a diet' reinforces this idea of doing something short term rather than making a permanent lifestyle change.

    I think it's easier to add exercise into your life than permanently deny yourself whatever it is that is giving you a dietary problem - because it's an addition to your life rather than denial of something you like. I would therefore say exercise carries a lot of importance in weight loss. I also think fitness (as in healthy heart, strong muscles) is not going to come through diet. I would rather be fit and slightly overweight than a thin unfit person.

    As others have said, sustainable change isn't going to fill up magazine and tabloid pages. No one wants to hear it may take 2-3 years to shift a few stone through sensible, sustainable change. My mantra would be: Eat sensibly, preferably cooking food from scratch. Watch portion sizes. Watch alcohol. Too much of any one food item is probably a bad idea but eat anything you want in moderation. Mix up your exercise but do it regularly. No one doing this will achieve instant dramatic weight loss, but they will gradually lose weight, tone up a lot, improve strength and flexibility, reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and probably improve their mood and sleep quality.

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