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Life's Little Indulgences

The truth about treats

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Life's Little Indulgences

Ahh, la dolce vita. We love to treat ourselves on occasion; after all, life should have its little rewards. We live in a stressful world and the urge to splurge on something sinful is one way many of us cope with the stress of day-to-day life.

Ahh, la dolce vita. We love to treat ourselves on occasion; after all, life should have its little rewards. We live in a stressful world and the urge to splurge on something sinful is one way many of us cope with the stress of day-to-day life.

In moderation, it’s not such a bad thing. In fact, our mind and spirit thank us for the diversion. You will notice I did not mention the word “body” in that statement. That’s because, like many things in life, there is a price to pay.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy that Starbucks grande Vanilla Frappuccino Blended Coffee. Oh, and by the way, that’s 430 calories (with whipped cream) and 14 grams of fat (including 9 grams of saturated fat).

Does Tim Horton’s make your favourite treat? Determined to make a healthier choice, you decide to avoid a plain bagel and choose a 12 grain one instead. You spread it with a helping of herb and garlic cream cheese. Total calorie count is 471 with 22 grams of total fat including 9 grams of saturated fat. Don’t feel discouraged, though. We can turn a negative into a positive.

Neutralizing the frappuccino fix
The human body burns calories for its immediate energy needs; the rest are stored as fat. So, how can we burn these calories? It’s simple. Physical activity increases heart rate and blood circulation. This requires energy on the part of the body. Remember those stored calories? It’s time to put them to good use!

Let’s assume your body weight is 150 pounds. If you are very patient, sitting and reading will burn about 69 calories per hour. That’s also assuming you have not eaten anything else in the meanwhile. So, a little over six hours of vigorous page turning should do the trick. However, there are quicker calorie-burning options available (see “Treat trade off” below).

The health benefits of regular physical activity are well known. When it comes to controlling weight gain from high calorie treats, physical activity can work in your favour.

Treat trade-off
As energy expenditure varies with the individual, these figures are approximate.

How long it would take a 150-pound person to burn 440 calories:

Activity Duration of activity in minutes
Stair climbing  45
Low-impact aerobics  90–100
Stationary bike (moderate) 60
Walking (moderate) 130
Jogging (moderate) 40
Golf (walking with golf clubs) 100
Swimming (moderate crawl) 60
Hiking 65
Squash  35
Tennis  60
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