Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simple Math

It's time for some simple math....

If you want to lose weight, take in less calories than you use.

Thus, if

A is the number of calories you eat daily
B is the number of calories you burn daily

Then as long as AA you will gain weight.

The math is simple. Like most simple things, it is all about implementation. That takes willpower. It is often the case that sudden, drastic change results in a lack of sustainability.

At the extremes are starvation diets that dramatically reduce A but do nothing about B or PX90 extreme home workouts that do lots of B, but do not really address A. Michael Phelps, winner of 16 Olympic Gold medals, packs in 12,000 calories per day during hard training, but he has very low body fat due to his enormous B. As he says "eat. sleep. swim." A typical adult has a 2,000 calorie per day guideline, but many people go over this, especially in the US. Coupled with a decreasing B, this results in obesity.

you can look like this while eating 12,000 calories per day...if you swim 12 hours a day as well.

Most of us already know that the most effective, long term way to lose and keep off unwanted weight is BALANCE between A and B. Gradually reduce A and increase B and weight will naturally come off and stay off.

This is mostly true when we ourselves have control over the change (or rate of change). We feel shock and rebound. When the change is out of our control, such as loss of job/death of loved one, natural disaster, and the like, we will suffer the stress and break, or suffer the stress and adjust. Different people react differently to stress. The best way is always to control the change through small, gradual lifestyle adjustments.

This requires patience, which is a rare commodity in a modern world of instant gratification.

For body weight, it can take several weeks of implementation before the change begins to be visible. That can be the delay that causes people to stop. This happens before they see the change, reinforcing their lack of self-esteem and belief that they are doomed to fail, no matter which fad diet they try.

In a nutshell?
  1. know a bit about what kinds of calories you eat
  2. know a bit about basic nutrition
  3. Be aware of stress in your daily life and how you respond to it
  4. Make long-term goals, but short-term plans
  5. start small. small changes can yield big long-term results
  6. reward yourself for positive changes, rather than punish yourself for small transgressions
  7. give it time - it can take several weeks before the results start to show
  8. plan your work and work your plan - stay the course, be patient
  9. balance decreases in A with gradual increases in B - make sure to plan BOTH
  10. avoid extremes. too much too soon can have drastic negative effects on your health
AVOID FAST FOOD!! lots of calories (mostly from saturated fat, salt, and sugar).
"Fast food speeds you to the grave". This is probably the biggest single change anyone can make to lose weight.

Now off of work, I am eating better, exercising more, and much happier than before.

I will update my progress in my own plan to lose weight, get fitter, and increase my happiness.

See you on the mats.

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