Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Mary Wolbach Lopert

It’s A Laughing Matter: The Calorie Hole


December 27, 2018

I knew it. We’ve been hoodwinked, flimflammed and just plain ripped off. Really. After years of aerobics, anaerobics, Pilates and fitness centers foisted on us, which created a gazillion dollar industry based on guilt, bogus studies and ibuprofen, we’ve finally been told that exercise alone won’t help you lose weight. Well, duh.

Thank you Time Magazine, you’ve confirmed what I’ve always known – “exercise alone” will not cause you to look like Princess Kate, even 10 minutes after she gave birth. What does exercise really do? It makes you really hungry.

I’ve always called this phenomenon a calorie hole. I developed this theory after years of skiing. The very industry that Colorado is known for, that brings in big bucks to our cash-hungry state, is causing all to lug home more weight than we came with.

Think I’m wrong? Here is a list of activities associated with skiing over a four-day stay. Activities which burn calories have a “–” and activities which add calories have a “+”.

  • 3 days of packing, planning and grocery shopping (-175)
  • Sampling food at organic food store (+200)
  • Coffee with sugar, substitute/cream for 4 a.m. departure (+75)
  • Super-sized non-diet cola at potty break (+250)
  • Schlepping equipment, food and clothing up 3 flights at ski condo (-205)
  • Bear claw because you missed a healthy breakfast (+ 327)
  • Waddling to shuttle bus in ski boots with skies, poles (-95) Subtract 35 calories for each set of equipment per child
  • Total calories burned in first 2 hours of skiing (-475) Subtract additional 7 calories in 5-degree increments from a base temperature of 30º
  • Ski lunch: pizza/burger, fries, soda and brownie (+1023)
  • Total calories burned after lunch (-367) You never ski as hard after lunch
  • Return to condo including standing in crowded shuttle bus, carrying all equipment up 3 flights of stairs (- 295)
  • Après Ski: alcohol, chips, dip, beer nuts (+ 1,266)
  • Nap (0)
  • Dinner: beer/wine, nachos, steak, baked potato, salad with light dressing and shared dessert (+ 3476)
  • Hot tub with more wine/beer (+150)
  • Being too tired for sex (0)
  • A night’s sleep before repeating whole process (- 99)

By my calculations, that’s a net positive caloric input of 5008 calories. Even if you decrease the amount of food you buy because eating lunch at a ski cafeteria borders on usury, you’ll still end up in a hole, because no one skis as hard after the first day. And after the third day everyone is home eating hot-buttered popcorn, drinking more beer/wine and watching “the game” so that the calorie hole just gets deeper and wider.

In fairness, we all know that exercise is good for the heart and soul, and as a card-carrying gym member, I routinely pound the treadmill and abuse the free weights. But as I sit here eating my light lunch, after a hard workout, guess what – I’m still hungry.

But we’ll just keep this amongst ourselves, because if the airlines find out about the extra pounds accumulated on a swanky ski vacation, they’ll start weighing passengers on the outbound flights and again on the inbound flights and then charging them for the real excess baggage fees.

But being flimflammed by the airlines is a whole other kind of hole. Really.


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