Flustered and ready to burst!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

I come from a family of large barrel chested men. I'm 5'11 and 247 lbs. According to most charts, tables, doctors, etc. I should weigh around 180 lbs. If I did that, my neck would be the size of a pencil. I would be very happy to weigh between 200-220.

Two years ago I had a heart attack. I went straight into cardiac rehabilitation. There I worked out with an EKG machine, a nurse, a physical therapist, and a dietician/nutritionist. I had to sit down with all three and go over why I had a heart attack.

This brings me to GENETICS SUCK! My father had 3 heart attacks, a quintuple bypass, and two strokes before he hit 55. Because of this I gave up soda, red meat, pork, and fatty foods (a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet). I have done this for the past 10 years.

Bouncing back to meeting with the dietician, she asked what I ate and I told her my version of a low fat diet and that I tried to eat around 2,000 calories. She was shocked how good my diet is/was and still had the heart attack. She plugged my stats into a formula and told me with my activity level, I should be burning around 2,800 calories per day. This was if I didn’t work out more than my usual daily routine. In order to lose 1 lb per week, she told me to keep a 500 calorie/day deficit.

I picked up a gym membership and started working out about 3-5 times per week. After a year with no results, I signed up with Sparkpeople. My nutrition tracker informs me that I should be burning around 2,700 calories per day. This is in the ball park and confirmed what my nutritionist told me. When I work out, the equipment told me that I was burning around 500-900 calories per hour depending on the machine and workout. This would put my calorie burn at around 3,200-3,600 calories per day.

Two months at working out at a 1,000-1,200 calorie per day deficit, I fluctuated water weight at best. A trainer started pushing the Bodybugg. I got a better deal on a Bodymedia through Costco, so figured hey, scientific data to disprove my dietician and Sparkpeople.

Now a constant tattle tale hangs on my as a constant reminder of how much I work out or slack off. It claims to be scientifically proven, yadda yadda. Guess what. It confirms what Sparkpeople, my dietician, and about half a dozen websites tell me… my calorie burn is about 3,200 to 3,400 on a monthly average. So I continue eating 2,200 calories trying to lose weight. Hurray consensus! Booo no weight loss in 6 months other than 2 lbs.

Monday I see my doctor. I show him the printout from Sparkpeople and from Bodymedia to show him how hard I have been working, my calorie deficit, and my lack of weight loss. You’ll never believe what he tells me. Everything that I am listening to contradicts what he was trained. There’s no way I generate that much of a calorie burn, and if I want to lose weight, I need to drop down to 1,700 calories per day to achieve a 1 lb per week loss.

Forget Sparkpeople, forget the Bodymedia, and forget what my cardiac rehabilitation nutritionist told me… they’re all wrong! I was dumbfounded. As it is, if I drop below a 1,500 calorie a day deficit (going off my Bodymedia estimated calorie burn), I get light headed and weak. Also keep in mind, when I hike, I’m getting around a 5,000 to 6,000 calorie per day burn estimate. So the million dollar question is, do I try to put faith in what a doctor who was trained in nutrition 20-30 years ago tells me, or things that are more up to date (more updated dietician, Bodymedia, and Sparkpeople). Grrrrrrrr!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You're truth- genetics suck -struck home like no other. You're right, I've been there. But, don't give up. Generally, give your body what it NEEDS most often, what it wants ON OCCASION, and do what YOU know is best. All the experts in the world are operating on knowledge culled from an AVERAGE of people. WE as individuals know our own bodies best. Thirty years of diabetes, a quintuple bypass, three stents and repeated throat surgery to open a stenosis just so I can breathe (not to mention being over weight my entire life) has lead me to study and learn the way to best control my blood sugars, YEAH!, not have to see my cardiologist but twice a year and lose over seventy pounds. You can do it.
    2509 days ago
    I would take some information from all sources. Knowledge is power and there are many things that have not changed in 20 to 30 years and biology is one of the constant things. Everyone says the same thing you have to burn more calories then you eat. You have to eat enough so you are not going into starvation or mal-nutrition mode, you have to work out in this heart rate zone, there are so many things that it can be over a little much at times. But the best person to listen to is you. How is your body feeling. What is your body telling you. When you eat this amount you are good, that amount not so good. If you go to the gym and work out and get in a good work out sweating and leave and feel like you had a good work out that is all that matters. Your quality of life is another way to see how you are doing. If you are out hiking a good trail at a good pace with a pack and you are not dying doing it why let a number on a wall chart tell you that you are not at a healthy weight the BMI is a guild but it is not 100% as no one has the same bone density it is only a tool something to help people set a rough goal but to say that x amount of weight is the healthy weight for everyone is not possible. You are eating a healthy diet you are getting in exercise and you are happy you are in control of all aspects that you have control over the genetics there just the cards you were dealt but like poker it is how you play the game and it seems like you are playing good.
    2509 days ago
    Frustrating for sure!
    My thyroid doctor told me that in order to lose weight, I had to drop to 1000 calories a day or under. I balked....didn't believe..etc etc...then I dropped my calories, and the scale is moving again! I say you shake things up- not only how much you eat, but WHAT and WHEN....there has to be something you can tweak to see if you can make an impact. You just need to sit down and look at what you are doing and figure out how to change it- little pieces at a time- to see what works.

    But, it is just really frustrating- and it sounds like you are really working at it! Do NOT give up...I am two year in and am finally having moderate success!
    Good luck!
    2509 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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