Sunday, June 19, 2011

Brief Update : Fitness

Since February 7th I've been on a bit of a diet. And going to the gym. All which seems to have cut into creative time. Or, more sensibly, has cut into any energy I might have had to think up appropriate topics for the blog. So I'm just going to blog a post that's more.. bloggy.

The getting fit thing is something that I've been meaning to do for a while, but I finally snapped. Cumulative thing really. One of the straws was realizing that the amount I was overweight was like carrying my two kids strapped to me at all times. Another was I was getting short-winded typing.

My fitness regimen is a mix of things, really. The most important being diet, since it's far more important for weight loss.

I'm from the school of thought that goes, if it's too hard, I ain't gonna bother.¹ Which, granted, might be the Loser's Recipe for Life, but helped me to build the perfect program for me, so far.


A few notes:
  • in weight loss, diet is way more important than exercise.
  • keep it simple, calories in < calories out (there are no forbidden foods).
  • there are 3500 calories per pound of fat.
  • eat tons of veggies. I mean, a ton. I mean, 1/2 to 3/4 of my plate is heaped with broccoli or bell peppers or lettuce or some other leafy green, this is to keep me from getting hungry. Some veggies have a caloric punch to them, just look them up and count accordingly.
The first step is to  find how many calories your body burns doing nothing. Now, I'm a lazy lazy lazy man. I have no illlusions. I always enter activity level of 'sedentary', and that, only because there's no option that reads 'for all intents and purposes, functionally vegetative'.

The second is to count every goddamn calorie. This involves a calorie counting book/app/website of somesort, a weight scale, measuring cups, and severe OCD. Try and find a calorie deficit per day you can handle. A deficit that won't have you clawing at the walls for food. Keep in mind that there are about 3500 calories to a pound of fat. Plan your loss and expectations accordingly.

To keep you on the plan, I use the Seinfeld method.

To keep me from going insane from hunger, I eat food that's volumetric, which is a fancy way of saying 'pack as much water and vegetables and lean protein as you can handle so you feel full'. When that fails, diet coke.

Life is a constant balancing act and counting game. Trying to figure out if this weight of food will get me full, is a 'good deal' in my crazy diet parlance. It kinda consumes a shitton of mental room, but none of us are working for CERN, we can spare the brainpower.

One ends up having a weird knowledge of how many calories many common bits and pieces of food are. Slice of Bread= 100 cals, banana = 150, egg = 80, can of tuna = 120, bagel =300, big mac = 550.

And what I've found is that if I do count every calorie and try and pack lean protein (most satisfying filling for the buck) with tons of veggies (feeling full) plus some sort of carb (my body goes crazy on Atkins like things) I feel full², and can keep the diet going.

Inertia, I think, is the most important thing. Overcoming the inertia of doing nothing is the most hardest bit about getting fitter. The absolute hardest bit. I've been intending to do something about it for about, oh, five years? Likewise, the inertia to keep it going is even more important. Because I know how hard it is to GET going.


This is the graph I live by. You'll see that as you increase your effort, you get to a point where the additional effort you're putting in is TREMENDOUS, but the calories your burning per hour is hardly increasing at all. The trick is to find that sweet spot where it seems like you're barely exerting yourself at all, yet burning quite a bit.

I use cardio machines that have a heart rate monitor. Heart rate can be roughly mapped to your effort. If you can keep at that perfect pace, you'll never get that winded, 'going to die right now I swear drop down and die tell my wife I love her' feeling that you experienced in high school gym doing timed runs. It's that pain that keeps many from doing cardio, or at least me. Which will effect the all important inertia.

It will vary according to sex/age, but I find doing some cardio activity with a heart rate between 120-140 is sustainable for a ridiculous amount of time. 140-150 the sweat starts pouring in torrents, 150-170 is a full on sprint that is unsustainable.

You'll see that in both my diet and excercise, everything is planned to avoid pain, because pain (whether that be hunger or the sensation of your heart exploding like a pinata ) will bring your fitness and diet to a stop, will kill that all important inertia of keep on, keeping on.

That's all I have to say about that for now.  And as for results? I find bragging to be a character flaw, unless you're in a job interview. But it might be helpful to see if this crazy No Pain All Weight Loss system works.

February 7th 2011 : 211.7 lbs, ? % body fat
June 19th 2011     : 166.4 lbs, 19.2 % body fat

¹ Where 'hard' is defined as 'feeling fricking hungry all the time', or 'dying while exercising'.
² Example of a meal : 200g chicken breast diced (200cals), 1 cup cooked rice (200cals), 1 cup diced carrots (50cals), 1 cup diced onions (50cals). Cooked in a non-stick pan (oil is cals), mixed all together, seasoned with low to no calorie seasonings (soy sauce, hot sauce, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, even some chicken stock (very very low in cals)). The result is a heaping plateful of food. Total cals, 500.


shipwreck said...

Great post, Owleh!

I've lost about thirty pounds since March (go us) but I'm starting to flounder so this kind of thing is good inspiration.

The Nighthawk said...

Nice job bud! That's some enviable results. I'm sorry I didn't compliment you last Friday! You certainly deserved it, but I was too drunk to put 2 + 2 together with you looking thinner and getting drunk faster. ;)