Debunktion Junction. Lesson 1: You Can’t Outrun Your Fork

My husband, Scott is a personal trainer. A really good one.

Once, he trained a senior citizen to climb to an Everest base camp. So, yeah… He’s legit.

Think I take advantage of my in-house trainer? Free super-trainer services for me?

Not on your life. Never, not ever.

It’s not such a good idea for a trainer to train their spouse. Can you think of a quicker way for a man to land on the couch than to yell at his wife to move her ass?

Me neither.

I don’t even like for him to watch me work out. There is only one man on this earth who has to find me attractive, and I prefer that he not see me as gross as I get when I sweat my face off.

I reap all sorts of personal trainer benefits, though. My man brings the Fitness Wisdom. Thanks to Scott, I have been deprogrammed. All of the BS fitness myths that are oddly pervasive in American society have been banished.

Want to be deprogrammed, too? Scott and I can help.

Enter: Debunktion Junction. In the weeks to come, I’ll be using Happy Exhaustion to do battle with the myths that get in the way of attaining our healthiest selves.

First on deck (because it’s the one that makes me the most crazy):
You Cannot Outrun Your Fork.


Ladies and Gentlemen – Lend me your ears! If you don’t regulate your food, no amount of busting your ass at the gym is going to slim you down. I promise.

When Scott explained that you can’t just exercise yourself thin, it was like he was speaking Swahili. What’s the point of working out if it doesn’t allow you to eat a pint of ice cream whenever it strikes your fancy? I’m supposed to work out just for health and strength?? Bummer.

But even if you hit the gym – even if you hit the gym every single day – even if you hit the gym HARD – it won’t make you skinny if you’re eating all sorts of things you shouldn’t.

Working out is essential to fitness and strength, but it’s not the key to weight loss. The key to weight loss is your food. Exercise can aid your diet, but it cannot BE your diet.

Trainers are constantly being blamed when their clients don’t lose weight despite all the workouts. But, if the client walks out the front door and heads to the pizza place for a slice and a beer, there will be no weight loss and there’s nothing your trainer can do about it. You’ll build some rockin’ muscles… you just won’t be able to see them under the fat you picked up from your food.

When I work out hard for an hour, I burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 calories. That’s roughly the same number of calories in my favorite blended vanilla Frappuccino.

It’s just math, but it’s hard to accept.

If you want to maintain your weight AND you want to eat a piece of chocolate cake, you have to go to the gym. But don’t fool yourself into believing your trip to the gym earned you anything more than a single piece of cake. That second slice is gonna get ya.

If you want to lose weight? You have to go to the gym and not have any cake. At all.

I know. I’m sorry. I wish it wasn’t true, too.

It’s sad, but if you eat more than you should, you won’t be physically capable of working out enough to burn it all off. You can’t outrun your fork.

Don’t quit the gym! Keep burning those calories and strengthening your body. Just don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. The gym can make you fit, but only your diet can make you thin.

Moving The Goalpost

Ladies and gentlemen – I just registered for my very first 5k!! Woohoo!! Hooray! Nothing has ever been so exciting! Best! Day! Ever!

Not convinced?

Bear with me. I’m doing my best to convince myself that training to run a 5k is something that I am in any way excited about.

I’m not the girl who loves to run, or the girl who craves competition. Who I am is the girl who needs goals. Badly.

Whenever I had a particularly rough day chasing THE BIG GOAL to lose 100 lbs, I would imagine the Before & After pictures. I could force myself to work out even on the laziest day by imagining a sports-bra-in-front-of-people After Picture.

I’m not gonna lie, putting together Before & After images is great fun.

What’s that? You want to see another one? Well… if you insist:

smiling banda

Yup. That’s fun.

But now I need something new to force a workout on a lazy day. I need a goal with a deadline.

One thing I’ve long known about myself is this: If I don’t have a deadline to meet, I will do precisely nothing.

I respond well to deadlines. Deadlines and goals help me to frame my life.

I spent so long in pursuit of my 100 pound weight loss. Now that that goal has been met I scarcely know what to do with myself.

Enter: 5k. Craziness.

It had to be done. I had to move the goalpost on myself.

While running a 5k may not be as exciting as a Before & After picture, failing to set new goals could mean falling into the ‘diet’ trap. When I’ve yo-yoed in the past, it was because I reached a goal and called it a day.

Unfortunately, when you choose a fit lifestyle, you’re not allowed to call it a day. You have to keep going forever.


If you’re the kind of person who can go to the gym every day without any specific goals in mind, you’ve got your ish together better than I do.

As for me, I need to be consistently mindful of future goals. Up next: Sprint Triathlon? Maybe.

Who knows how far those goalposts can go! I hope to live an Eleanor Roosevelt kind of life.

“ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”