Saturday, November 12, 2011
I sincerely apologize, as I cannot off the top of my head remember whose blog brought this guy to my attention and the SparkPeople search is spinning its wheels rather than getting me that information - I'll credit you once I find out.
(( lol, got it via a plain old ordinary google search: LYNN-LOVES-LIFE's blog -- www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
So, there's this personal trainer who decided he would learn what it was like to be fat so he could better understand and help his clients. To do so, he set forth to gain as much weight as he could over six months (which just finished this past week). At this point he is turning around and going to eat the meal plans he has posted and do the workouts he has posted to show how it works to lose weight.
The blog about him correctly pointed out that he will have not learned a whole lot about what's in a "fat person's head". And I very much agree that he may learn a few things, but he has no way to comprehend others. However, this blog is not about that.
In watching several of his videos and reading his site, I discovered an interesting nugget of wisdom from his doctor. See, before setting forth, he did see his doctor and get all his bloodwork and such done, let his doctor know his plan, and hear about the ill effects it can have. I believe he may have been seeing the doctor at various points, I'm not sure.
Anyway, something the doctor said:
Early on in his weight gain stage, he wasn't putting on a lot of obvious fat. His body was still in a very healthy state. It could process the junk food he was eating rather well and eliminate what it didn't need from his body.
As he prepares to enter the losing stage, his body is way overloaded, his liver overworked trying to keep his system cleaned of what his body can't use. Even switching back to healthy eating, his body will take time to repair the damage before he can really start to lose well.
Now, I don't know how accurate those statements are, but it did bring to my mind something I say and do to some extent. I eat within my calorie range, but I eat what I want. I'm not overboard where I'm eating fast food every day, but I have a wide variety of things, including pies and ice cream if I can fit them in.
When I envision myself living a "healthy lifestyle" I definitely do not see myself going vegan, or purging my system of unhealthy carbs, or swapping from dairy products to soy (*SHUDDER VIOLENTLY*).
And I see that sentiment in other blogs too. "I don't want to do this if I have to eat rabbit food." Or "Giving up all the foods I love is so hard." As if the only way to lose weight is to eat tofu, bean sprouts, and soy milk. That's an extreme. It works for those who choose it IF they study proper nutrition and make sure they're getting everything they need. It is not NECESSARY to lose weight and regain health.
However, on the flip side, there's an unhealthy extreme. What if I ate enough ice cream every day to be right within my calorie range? I'd be eating what I wanted and I'd have eaten the right number of calories. So I should lose weight and get fit, right?
In order to be fit and healthy, we need a certain minimum amount of protein, we need a certain minimum amount of fiber, we need a certain minimum amount of fat, we need a certain minimum amount of cholestorol, we need a certain minimum amount of carbohydrates, we need a certain minimum amount of a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Without enough foods balanced to provide those minimums, our body has to scramble to function properly and repair itself.
Sure, we're putting in enough "gas" to make the car go, but we're failing to keep the radiator full or the oil changed or the transmission fluid clean. The car will run and run for a while, but eventually it's going to give up and stop ... even with a full tank.
So while we can eat "what we want" in moderation, we DO need to make sure we also eat what we need. Without it, we aren't slim and attractive at the end of the journey - we're malnourished and physically failing slowly.
Friday, November 11, 2011
... tracking my food is a piece of cake.
== Flee now if computer talk makes your head spin ==
My computer is getting on the too slow side of old. It has been for a while, but some things lately have been really making it show its age.
I built it about ... oh ... maybe 7 years ago. It's had a few upgrades, like more memory, a DVD drive to replace the CD drive, and a larger hard-drive. But it also had one significant downgrade a while back - the better video card fried at a time when I had no spare cash at all, and was replaced with a card stripped from an even older throw-away computer.
Leading to now. In a day when I can walk into Fry's (local computer/electronics store) and see 2 TERAbyte drives for a little over $100, I have a computer with a 20GB hard-drive and a 200GB hard-drive. In a day of dual and quad-core processors, I have one of the earliest 64-bit processors. I do have 2GB of RAM, but compared to the base of 8GB that a lot of computers have today ... well ... yeah.
Oh, and worst, I'm a gamer. Every one of those older, slower pieces affects how my game plays. WoW (World of Warcraft) still runs, though it gets slower and harder to play. Newer games that I'd like to try out, even ones that aren't particularly flashy, squawk that my graphics card isn't supported. A new beta I got an invite to? Says my CPU is too old.
So the time has come to build anew.
And I enter a world far worse than trying to find the right match of nutritional info and the balance to remain in my calorie budget - a world filled with mishmashes of letters and numbers. SSD or HD? ATI or NVidia? Intel or AMD? 2TB or 800GB? 450W or 600W? And so on and so forth.
It's been quite a few years since I could shop the goodies and save up for my "budget dream machine". I haven't been on slashdot or techreport in ages. And my bestest friend, who will help if he can, has a tendency to jump to what he already knows he wants or sidestep to saying I could buy his old computer (better than mine) so he can upgrade to a better laptop. =P And before that he linked me a pre-made computer while I was talking about components to build my own. So I have to stick to precise questions to get helpful answers or I wind up sidetracked all over the place.
I'm both looking forward to this "shopping" and dreading it. Clothes aren't the only thing I have trouble shopping for.
So wish me luck picking out the right combination of reasonably priced, quality, goodies and being able to squeeze it into my budget in the next few months. *crosses fingers*
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Question: If our body goes into starvation mode if we eat too little and starts cannibalizing our muscles ... wouldn't we see it as weight loss rather than a plateau? After all, muscle weighs more than fat.
So, I went looking for an answer to that and discovered that "starvation mode" is not directly about cannibalizing muscles. I'm not even sure where I heard that one.
Rather, it is a combination of two key things. The first is the obvious hormonal triggers to the brain that say "HUNGRY! FEED NOW!!!!". Way beyond cravings, this is literal starvation signals. The second is a decrease in the basal metabolic rate. The second is what is most important here.
See, basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the measure of how many calories we burn just by being alive. That 700 pound man fused with his couch who did nothing but sleep, eat, and watch TV? He still burned calories.
Living is a process of burning calories. Our heart beats? Calories burn. Our lungs pull in air and push it back out? Calories burn. Lift a handful of food to our mouth and chew? Calories burn. Sit down and digest that meal? Calories burn. Stand up? Hooeey, now all those muscles involved in maintaining our balance start burning calories.
What is called starvation mode is a point at which our body start using less calories for all of those basic activities we need to have happen to keep us alive.
While we're busily counting calories in (tracking our food) and calories out (our deliberately planned activities), our body is stealthily conserving as many calories as it can. Maybe we're more tired than usual, so instead of coming home and cooking, walking around the house getting things done, we crash on the sofa for four hours to watch TV. We call that normal activity. But it's not what we were normally doing before. And most of the conserving goes on out of our sight and control.
Most people have heard how girls with anorexia stop having periods. That's an extreme point, but earlier than that the body's glands do conserve and produce less testosterone or estrogen. That sort of behavior happens all through the body. Maybe, for example, our ability to fight a virus or bacteria is reduced, so we get sick more easily. Or perhaps we feel more stressed, less able to deal with changes and challenges around us. We have a little more trouble waking up in the mornings.
It doesn't even have to be much, just enough to attempt to reduce the body's needs to the balance of calories in that aren't burned. If successful, our weight loss can seem to slow down or come to a screeching halt. (I say "seem" because it's not necessarily the ONLY thing that causes weight variations. We want an easy answer, and there isn't one.)
So I did pretty much answer my question, though I remain curious where I got the "cannibalize our muscles" concept from. I do know that our bodies have to constantly repair cells of all sorts, and without sufficient nutrition they can't. But that's not the same thing. Something to do more research on another night.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Daughter visited today, I walked her home, then walked me home - first stretch at brutal pace. Not smart when I'm fighting something, but home and warm and tired now.
Short and sweet for tonight.
I know, I know. It's not the usual me. =P
Monday, November 07, 2011
I touched on this briefly last time, but a couple of other things had me thinking on it again today.
Most of us know the basic rule of thumb:
If Calories In > Calories Out, we gain weight. If Calories Out > Calories In, we lose weight.
In money, it could be said similary:
If Money In (Income) > Money Out (Expenses), we gain savings or net worth. If Money Out (Expenses) > Money In, we lose savings or net worth.
But it's a bit more complicated than those simple numbers. After all, how many times have people made up a monthly budget, been sure they considered all the expenses, and then watched their checking account balance dwindle?
Much as with money, few people track EVERY penny with exacting precision. Someone could pull out a $20 from the ATM, spend some here, lose some of the change in the couch, hand $2 to their son for bus money, drop what's left on the dresser which the spouse scoops up in the morning to grab some gas for the car. None of that gets precisely tracked - it goes to the monthly "CASH" budget.
Tracking calories burned isn't always precise either.
== Math ahead warning ==
Tonight I walked 1.67 miles in 28 minutes and 46 seconds. According to SparkPeople, if I count that mile as walked in 28 minutes, I burned 217 calories. If I count it as walked in 29 minutes, I burned 225 calories. I burn less by going faster? Why?
The reason is that they both work out to a 17 minute per mile pace. At 17 minutes per mile walking, we burn about 8 calories per minute. Since 29 minutes is more than 28 minutes, I must have burned 8 more calories if I took 1 minute longer to travel the same distance.
== End mind-bending math ==
Unless we are making all of our meals from scratch, weighing and measuring, and making sure even our sauces and toppings are exact, we also go by approximations.
For example, one of my "regular" dinners is a Subway 6" Cold Cut Combo. I get American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olives, easy on the mustard, regular mayo, oil+vinegar+salt/pepper on the salad side. From store to store, from day to day, I see the variations. They hand cut the bread in half. Some days I get the longer end, some days the shorter. Ditto for the meat. The cheese is pretty consistent. Veggies is definitely not measured out, just eyeballed. And every clerk's idea of easy on the mustard or regular amounts of mayo vary widely, as do the oil+vinegar splashes.
I try my best on those days I'm getting one of these to make sure I am not at the very top of my calorie range. (Not saying I succeed. But I do keep it in mind.)
To me these are the equivalent of the coins lost in the couch and the $2 to the son and the remainder to the spouse - they're amounts we don't necessarily account for, and probably can't 100%.
But they are why we need a little more fudge room - whether it's going up those stairs at work (22 steps, I've counted) every morning or parking the car at the back end of the lot and walking. All those little extras help us make up the difference.
== Reminder to myself: Something to think about tomorrow. Question: If our body goes into starvation mode if we eat too little and starts cannibalizing or muscles ... wouldn't we see it as weight loss rather than a plateau? After all, muscle weighs more than fat. ==
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