Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Don't Die Daddy Initiative: Week 3

Three weeks in and I have to warn you, I am getting dangerously smart about this weight loss stuff. Here is a little something that I probably shouldn't share with you, but since we are pals, I will let you in on. The secret to losing weight is to eat fewer calories than what you burn on a daily basis...I know, pretty mind blowing stuff. With the help of my nutritionist, let's call her Dr. Good and Plenty, I have started building a plan of attack. Here are some things that you need to do if you are serious about losing a couple of pounds (but not serious enough that you would be willing to cut off a limb to lose a quick 15).
  • Establish Your Plan 
    • It all starts with understanding how many calories a day you should be eating to achieve your goal weight. This will be based upon your current weight, your time frame, and the amount of physical activity you perform on a daily basis (playing video games does not count–not even Wii Fit). The basic math goes like this:

      Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your typical diet each day, you'd lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). - Mayo Clinic 
      You could do this the old-fashion way with math and fingers, but thanks to the Googles, there are literally hundreds of calorie calculators our there. I recommend that you stay with a reputable site like WebMD. Based on my goals, I am aiming for 1,500 calories a day. If I follow this program, I should drop the 50 lbs. by March. (This might seem like a long time, but I am learning that with weight loss, you need to slow your roll on how much you want to lose. Try to stay around 2 lbs a week. Remember the idea here is to keep you from dying, not win a swimsuit contest.)
  • Track Your Calories 
    • Now that you have your plan in place, you are going to need to start actually tracking what you eat. For me, this is the hardest thing. I work in a really fast paced office and often don't have time to think about what I am going to be eating that day (at least that is my excuse). The truth of the matter is that I am choosing not to think about it. This is an easy way to screw up a diet. This challenge has forced me to start thinking in advance about having either good options available or making sure that I know in advance how many calories something is before I eat it. There are several online and mobile tools that are available that easily allow you to plan your food choices, track your calories, and measure your goals. I am using It has a really intuitive user interface and a deep database of foods with calories already determined. A couple of other alternatives are and
  • Make Smart Choices 
    • 1500 calories goes really fast. My nutritionist has recommended eating at least 5 times a day. These give me roughly 300 calories per meal/snack. This is not easy. There are several items out there can help with this. Here is a typical day for me:
      • Breakfast: Morning Star Sausage Patty, Piece of Cheese, 100 Calorie Bagel Thin
      • Snack: Chocolate Chip Zone Bar
      • Lunch: Salad with Chicken (no creamy dressings)
      • Snack: Apple and Almonds 
      • Dinner: Salmon, Green Beans, Mushrooms
      • (Maybe Snack): Vitatop Muffins
  • Be Prepared When Eating Out
    •  Eating "low calorie" meals is not easy, especially if you eat out at restaurants a lot. Due to my job, I travel constantly, so this is something that I have to pay lots of attention to. There are several resources out there to help with this including the Eat This Not That Series and articles like this one from SparkPeople. An easy way to do this is to say no to the starters and the sides. Did you know that Chili's Awesome Blossom (a deep fried onion that resembles an exploded heart) has 2710 calories, the typical fast food Large Fries has 540 calories, the Au Bon Pain Macoroni and Cheese has 500 calories, and (this one breaks my heart because I love it) the Chipotle Chips and Guacamole is coming it at 720 calories. And the scary thing is that I have eaten all of these before as a "starter" or on the side of something else that probably was coming in around 700 to 800 calories. No wonder I am not an Ambercrombie model...well, that and my back hair.
  • Deep Six the Six Pack
    • The good news is I am already a little ahead on this one, but it still is crazy when I start thinking about how many calories I was drinking. Let's do a little word problem. If the average beer has 170 calories and Stunt Chad use to drink at least six beers (easily) when he went out (this is 1020 calories). How long would Stunt Chad have to run on the treadmill at 5 miles an hour to just burn off the beer...nothing else. Just the beer and not even the eventual 2.30 am Taco Bell that would accompany my partaking of said six beers. The answer is 85 minutes. 85 minutes!!! I don't know about you, but I don't have a spare hour and a half to maintain a crappy lifestyle. Glad to say that this checked off the problem area. 
Things are going well. I am starting to get into a groove. I have already lost some weight and I am starting actually feel a little bit better. It is amazing how great you feel once you decide to take control of a situation. This has opened up many new doors for me and I am excited about what is to come. I'm just saying that maybe Ambercrombie should be on the lookout. Stay tuned. 
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