Monday, September 1, 2008

Weight loss is only math...and I hate math.

Repeat after me...Eat Less, Exercise More. Portion sizes in this country have continued to grow, as have the waistlines at Luby's and The Golden Corral. The southern US has become Canada's fat, dragging ass. And every time we turn around, some guru with a book is trying to sell us on low fat, low sugar, low salt, low carb...and every time we buy what they are selling, the only things we end up with are lower accounts and lower IQs.

Forget every fad, and go back to the science with me. Back to the numbers. To the...gulp...MATH. Wanna lose weight? Put down the 1100 calorie Chipotle Burrito and follow me to the chalkboard.

One Pound = 3500 Calories. It's that simple.

Think you gained 5 lbs of fat this weekend from the hedonistic binging you did? You might be carrying 5 extra pounds this morning, but it's not necessarily fat...yet. It's food, water, waste, and fat. But I guarantee you probably didnt consume 17,500 calories in 48 hours. If you did, take a bow...I'm impressed. Need help getting up now?

Back to the math. One Pound = 3500 Calories. That's the first component. Now, how many calories do you need to consume per day to simply maintain your current weight?? Five parts will figure into this: your height, your weight, your gender, your age, and your sedentary or active lifestyle. You will need a Calorie Calculator, and there is a great one found at

I'm 6 foot, 194 pounds, male, 40 years old, and am lightly active (and I am being generous with that characterization)...that means that I need 2636 calories to simply maintain my current weight. If I eat less than 2600 calories, I lose weight. If I eat more, I gain.

So now, if you are remotely competitive, you can really get into this. (it's free, by the way) has a HUGE database of foods and all their nutritional info, even if they are from a restaurant. So every day, you can enter into your profile your daily weight, and exactly what you consume, food and drink. Make a game of it.

When I was really intent on losing the weight, I would see how low I could go calorically, because the fewer I ingested, the faster my weight dropped. If I consumed only 1636 calories each day, I lost a pound every 3.5 days. Plus, in the process of entering all my foods into the database, I learned what everything "cost me", and could sub other foods in future that maybe were more substantive, and made me feel "fuller" for the same calorie total. Still today, I make a game every day of how few calories I can ingest, or what I can sub for what, etc...eating a lot of fruit, yogurt, wheat bread, and tracking it all.

Also, try a book called "eat this, not that"...great for fast food junkies like me, it has a total breakdown of what you should order rather than what you normally order.

One mood killer, however, the Chipotle Burrito with all the fixins...drumroll...1100 calories. A true, delicious gut bomb. Try TWO turkey sandwiches instead on wheat bread with lite miracle whip, avocado, mustard and and lettuce...only 550 calories...and filling...

And look at this: One whole large apple, 110 cals. One large banana, 110 cals. One lite vanilla yogurt, 110 cals. Cut up the fruit, mix in the yogurt, you have a big, filling lunch or breakfast for 330 calories. One large bowl of granola and raisins with skim milk instead, 600 cals..see the difference?

A recent study showed that people who tracked their diet were more successful at weight loss than those who did's about first making a game, and then keeping yourself in it.

Now is it EASY? No. The human motivational component will always be there. But the one thing I have really taken from this process is learning what my body needs, what is "too much", and finally balance in place of ritualistic gluttony.

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Debbie said...

Easy? Yes. Fun? Not so much. Do you have a plan b?

Jay and Kat said...

Binge, Purge. Or choose your least favorite leg, and lop that sucker off.

Good N Crazy said...

Okay. Sheesh. I've just clicked through two different posts to get here..and um...HELLO??

No photo. Before I saw, how about after?

The Mom Jen said...

Math and food form some disassociative property inside me.

I've been on the 5 months-of-trying-to-figure-out-my-stomach-acid-issues and lost 10 pounds...sigh.

posthumous pointer
To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded. - Emerson