Monday, February 6, 2012

Working on my weight management - Month One

On the first day of this year I wrote about New Year's day resolutions and in particular about a very common one, weight loss. At that time I was 143 pounds and mentioned that I was looking to shed 15 pounds. I believe that at 5' 10" in height with a small frame that a good static weight for me is around 128 pounds. I anticipated getting to that weight by Spring.

In that earlier posting I advised about establishing a plan and then incrementally taking the steps towards gradually losing the weight. For those who are already physically active, such as myself, it is easier to just jump in and start going for the weight loss.

I no sooner got started then I decided to alter my target weight to 122 for the sole intent of getting to a weight of one pound less than my gal-pal whose target is 123. I will certainly make it but will then likely bump my weight back up to the high 120's.

If you have ever looked at those weight loss commercials or print advertisements that show the before and after photos you are likely impressed by the dramatic results. I don't want for you to be fooled though. The actors/models used to promote those gimmick plans are not typical of the general population. They are often people like myself who have the preexisting physiological and psychological acuity or training necessary to be an elite athlete. Often times they are injured athletes who, when resuming a training schedule, are able to shed the extra weight with ease.

So upon establishing my revised target weight I stepped up my weight loss efforts this first month. As I now begin February here I am at 133 pounds down from 143 a month ago. [I still have that muffin top going on] Integral to that accomplishment was a substantial increase in physical activity. One pound of fat contains about 3500 calories. So for the month I expended about 35,000 more calories than I took in. That's about 1200 per day. Significantly more than what I recommend for others which is a caloric deficit of about 500 per day resulting in a one pound loss per week. recommends limiting added sugars, saturated fats and alcohol as the healthiest way to reduce calories and shed unwanted pounds.

A significant difficulty for most people is the sensation of hunger. Hunger is one of the primary drives for survival. If you have ever studied Maslow then you are aware of his Hierarchy of Needs and how he postulated that those needs must be met first. Satisfying those needs should be undertaken before engaging in a serious weight loss endeavor as it is often failure to meet those needs that lead people to compensate through eating. Failure to meet those needs can also lead to the hopelessness or lethargy that results in a sedentary lifestyle. Weight loss must begin with the mind.

So onto hunger. The key to managing hunger is to realize that there is no pain from hunger. Again, if you have read much of what I write, you may be thinking that I am postulating the absurd again as you know you have felt hunger pain. I contend though that this "sensation" is no more a pain than the wind blowing across your skin. It is only your interpretation of the sensation as being a pain. It is the language that is used in our culture that has conditioned your mind to interpret that sensation as a pain.

MedlinePlus recommends that a man should consume no fewer than 1,500 calories per day, while the lowest level recommended for women is 1,200 calories per day. I estimate that my daily caloric needs are about 1400 just to maintain homeostasis and a regular casual routine. This doesn't mean that I only consumed 200 calories per day the past month. I estimate that I was consuming around 1000 per day on average. Some days being zero or 600 depending upon the particular type of fast I was on for that day. I did engage in various level of exercise for about four to five hours per day.

I also wrote about Abandoning my Automobile last month in which I detailed the benefits to no longer using a car. This has not been a significant impact for me as I was already using it very little. I have been walking or running trips of under 10 miles while riding my bicycle on those of up to around 100. Recently I made a 11 mile walk to a friend's house.

With two months and 11 pounds to go I am confident that I will have no problem reaching my goal weight of 122 pounds and just edging out my gal-pal. That is unless she latches onto my plan and subtends my goal. Later I will write about why men should weigh less than women.

On March First I should be back displaying my 127 pound body that still comes wrapped in a robust layer of fat.

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