Posted by: cmittermeier | May 20, 2011

How many calories do you burn pulling weeds?

Yesterday I spent about 8 hours weeding my front garden, I took it from this:

Dandilion patchto this:

Lawn - no dandilions
The dandilions taken out filled a full large garbage can –

Garbage Can of Weeds

Yes, that is all dandilions.  I was tempted to take my scale outside to see how much it weighs, but in the end its the volume that floors me more. said that in the five hours I worked on it before dinner I burned 1600 calories – or just over 330 calories an hour.  I just laughed!  Yes, my hands hurt and I am a bit stiff, but I spent the day primarily on my butt working with a hand tool.  Only for short bit of time did I use a pitchfork to loosen some areas that had a lot of clover (I found the clover roots held the dandilions in).  According to, an hour of weeding with my weight would be 433 calories.  Two other websites had it in between those numbers, 360 and 410.  I can’t believe those numbers – maybe there is another way to weed that I don’t know about?  Because I can’t quite beleive these numbers, I won’t quote my extra activity in my outs for today’s numbers.



– Still on track for 1-2 pound loss this week.

This is the third year I have tried to get the weeds out of my garden.  Every year I spend a lot of time in the spring and get them all out… but they keep coming back, in fact I would say my front yard is worse this year than before.  I was not able to work on the clover yesterday, so my yard may be dandilion free but it is hardly weed free.  I fear the clover is taking over much the way the dandilions did.

Weeding is a very introspective activity.    I always love the analogy between sin and weeds and  how we need to focus on the root of our problems, not the symptoms.  The fact that this year is worse than others spoke volumes.  I have big issues with consistency – I tend to think a short burst will take care of everything.  But that doesn’t work with weeding.  Once a year to clear the area isn’t working.  I made a decision to work for an extra hour each week on it when I hang my laundry.  If I don’t put it into the routine of life I am going to loose my lawn.  The same holds true for my weight.  Its not enough to push hard through lent, or during a trip.  I need to watch my intake everyday.

The same holds for my spirituality.  I have to make sure I am on track daily, weekly… My trip to Rome showed me just how important a yearly retreat is.  My time in the garden showed me how important regular time with Him is.  I have made headway in my life because of a dedicated effort to keep up with confession.  This is more than just a weekly trip to the box.  It includes continued reading on how to improve my examination.  It includes taking time on a daily basis to note where I am.  I can use the Ignatian Examen or a number of other standardized examinations of conscience.

I have lots of weeds yet to pull, and there is so much more to getting a healthy lawn than just clearning the weeds.  Lots and lots to do, and its not a quick fix.  No stripping of the old and laying of sod here.  If I had the money I would be tempted to do that, but thankfully God hasn’t put that temptation in front of me.  I need practice in this long haul stuff.  I need training in consistency.   I thank Him for how he has placed this task in front of me.  It also gives me something to think about other than food… and that is a good thing.



  1. Brava! That was quite a work out… but argh! weeds are a real pain. I couldn’t do it for 5 hours! But I really love how u interconnect the experience w/ ur spirituality.

  2. […] wrote a post a long time ago about calories burned while gardening, specifically pulling weeds.  To this day, because of its title it is still one of the posts that […]

  3. This is so nice. Quite lovely. Very true.

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