Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's the Calories and Only the Calories. Duh!! How I'm Doing It.

I am 14 1/2 weeks into my diet and exactly halfway done. I am down 46 pounds, as of this morning, with my goal being 90 pounds, so 44 more to go. I posted this on my facebook page and 14 people asked me what I was doing to lose weight so I was stimulated to write this blog on diets and dieting from a skeptical point of view.

Multiple times each day we are bombarded with ads that promise the weight will melt away. When you look at the fine print they almost always say either when combined with an exercise program or even they have the nerve to say when combined with exercise and reducing intake...DUH. Rarely do the diet products work. If they did they would blow the competition out of the market and capture that whole market. The fact that they don't should tell you something.

Science is science and we cannot change the rules of biochemistry, chemistry, thermodynamics or physics. To burn one pound fat you need to burn 3500-4200 calories more then you take in this varies based upon efficiency of converting fat to energy). Now here is where it can get confusion but I will walk you through it. Go to this page and calculate your basal metabolic rate(the back ground rate at which you burn calories before you add your exercise). This can vary based upon lots of factors some individual metabolic rate, age weight. I recommend for this number use light activity ( i will explain in a moment), I was 2555 calories at my starting weight and 2300 at my current weight. You then add your exercise, here is a calculator:|hco|ns|calories|PPCA7FBa|c , When I started I burned 783 calories per day and now am burning 661 calories per day. The reason for the difference is that as you lose weight you are carrying less and therefore both your basal metabolic rate and your calories burned from the same exercise goes down. So at the beginning of my diet I was burning 3338 calories per day and now I am burning 2961 calories per day. This is one of the main reasons as you continue to diet you loss less weight for the same effort and the same calorie intake. So this is one of the reasons but there is evidence also that as you lose weight your abdominal fat cells release a hormone that slows your basal metabolic rate. This number is hard to get a grasp of.

Lets look at the intake side. I cut down to 1200-1500 calories per day lets say 1350. I will talk about how below. So if we subtract this from calories burned you get 1980 calories when I started my diet/exercise and 1610 calories now. That would mean I would lose about .55 pounds at the beginning and about .4 pounds now. Surprise surprise that is exactly what I am losing. If you lose less then you calculate you are either eating more then you think ( patients always say they are eating like a bird and I see in my mind a candor) or exercising less. This is straight math and science. It is so easy to delude yourself. I have not missed a day exercising and have only had 6 days I ate more then my 1200-1500 calories.

O.K. here it is my diet:
  1. Eliminate fried food. I have only had one fried item in 14 weeks.
  2. Eliminate fat containing condiments. No mayonnaise or salad dressing. I have not had any tuna/egg/potato salad and have only had plain balsamic vinegar on my salads. No deviled eggs.
  3. No bread and butter. I have had 3 pieces of bread and butter in 14 weeks
  4. No starch with meals. If you eat out ask for double veggies
  5. When I eat out I ask the waitstaff to only give me half the meal and pack up the rest before they give it to me so it is never on the plate.
  6. Eat as many raw fruits and veggies as you want. Some days I eat 2-3 pounds of melon.
  7. Subway is your friend . A half chicken breast sandwich without dressing (just vinegar) and no cheese is 320 calories for a six inch. Make sure you put on loads of veggies (so 3/4 of the thickness of the sandwich is veggies about 4 times what they normally put on the sandwich)
  • Have lots of low calorie snacks, here are some of mine:
  • Pickles 20 calories for large pickle
  • stick pretzels 5-8 calories each
  • slice of white meat turkey breast 20 calories with spicy mustard - no calories
  • slice of smoked salmon 40 calories
  • assorted nuts 100 calories for one ounce.
I do ask restaurants if they know the calories of the item I want to order. I do keep track in my mind to how many calories I'm eating each day.

Now the exercise. When I started I could only walk briskly for 15 minutes it took me 3 weeks to be able to walk a full hour. At that point I was walking about 2 miles in an hour. by week 5 I was walking 3.0 miles in 50 minutes. A few weeks ago I added stair climbing and now in 60-65 minutes I do 3.0 miles, 17 flights up and 17 flight down. So as you loss weight and sweat less you need to increase what you do. Now about safety. If you are over 40 or get winded when you exercise you need to be concerned. I recommend you get one of those pulse monitors at a pharmacy that you wear on a finger or your wrist. When you start to exercise monitor your pulse rate. Then do the calculation of 220 minus your age. So for me 164. Then take 80% of that so for me 131. If your pulse rate goes over the number for you stop exercising and see you physician before doing anymore exercise. If you have chest pain while exercising stop immediately and call 911.

The final way to be successful and also help others. Tell everyone, and I mean everyone (no exceptions) that you are dieting and exercising to lose weight. The more people you tell the stronger social contract you are making and the more likely you are to stay on your diet. Also this will have a positive effect to get more people to be successful in dieting them self. That is why I blog and post it on my facebook page.


  1. It's worth nothing that:

    1. The various diets actually do play a legitimate role in weight loss -- they assist in calorie reduction by simplifying the process.

    2. Protein, fat, vegetables and other low-GI foods keep you feeling "fuller" longer, which assists in calorie reduction.

    3. Cutting and/or limiting sugar is a great first step. The American Heart Association just released daily sugar intake recommendations... and they are frightenly low considering the amount of sugar (mostly HFCS) that has been added to nearly everything that we eat.

    As an anecdote, my girlfriend and I spent cut sugar from our diets completely, excluding the natural trace amounts in vegetables, recently. We both suffered withdrawal. Mine was mild -- headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, nausea. My girlfriend, who averages 3 desserts a day, was a wreck. She had my symptoms plus a fever, vomiting, and severe mood swings. Both of us suffered for about two days. It was **very** enlightening.

  2. *spent two weeks cutting sugar from our diets completely*