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Monday, April 18, 2011

Diet Research

Just 531 days to go :-(

I weighed in this morning: 261. Per the USDA, for my height 6'0", that's a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35, or obese.

I want to weigh 185 when I'm done. That's a loss of 76 pounds.

From the USDA: A calorie deicit of 500 calories or more per day is a common initial goal for weight loss for adults.

Assuming that is correct, and that I can quantify my current caloric needs (which is different than what I consume), then since 1 pound of fat represents 3500 calories, in order to lose 76 pounds, I need to lose (76 * 3500 calories) 266,000 calories. At a loss of 500 calories per day, then I'm talking about 532 days. Since there are 365 days in a year, then 532 / 365 is 1.45 years, or about 1.5 years.

Let me see - since this is about 1/3 of a year today on 4/18, then that would mean I can add back 500 calories per day beginning about Thanksgiving, 2012!

Yeah! Looking forward to Thanksgiving, 2012!

Per the USDA, since I'm in the 51+ age category, and am retired, I would say that I'm in the Sedentary group. They give the estimated calories needed to balance weight (no gain, no loss) as being 2,000 - 2,200 calories per day. So let's assume I'm at the bottom end of that, at 2000 calories per day. That means my caloric intake per day, in order to produce a 500 calorie deficit, should be 2,000 - 500 => 1,500 per day.

I'm reading the USDA's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in order to see what our governments research on diet might yield.

One new term I have recently come across (originally from Alton Brown regarding his loss of 50 pounds), from the USDA: Nutrient-dense foods and beverages provide vitamins, minerals, and other substances that may have positive health effects with relatively few calories. The term “nutrient dense” indicates that the nutrients and other beneicial substances in a food have not been “diluted” by the addition of calories from added solid fats, added sugars, or added reined starches, or by the solid fats naturally present in the food. Nutrient-dense foods and beverages are lean or low in solid fats, and minimize or exclude added solid fats, sugars, starches, and sodium. Ideally, they also are in forms that retain naturally occurring components, uch as dietary iber. All vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, and lean meats and poultry—when prepared without adding solid fats or sugars—are nutrient-dense foods.

I can really see that I'm going to have to reduce my intake of alcohol. Alton Brown has a good approach - about 2 servings once per week. Think I'll try that approach. Since being retired, I've noted that my intake of alcohol has increased considerably, so a reduction was probably in order anyway. Not really sure why it had increased, guess it was just the increase in leisure time.

Fast Food
Since we don't eat much fast food, that's not really a problem. We typically eat a Chic-Filet sausage biscuit about once every 3 weeks, and a chicken sandwich about once per week. Think I'll cut those out except for an occasional treat of the chicken sandwich. So that's the biggest fast food change.

Dining Out
That's going to be a bigger problem on what to choose, but it's manageable, so I'll just have to be be more careful on what I choose, what I eat, and how much of it I eat.

I've been eating breakfast with a neighbor once every other week. Think I'll continue with that since I enjoy it, but will change what I'm eating. Have been having 2 eggs, 2 pieces of buttered toast, 1 serving of grits with butter. Will switch to egg omelette with cheese. Since I don't really know how the local cafe prepares their omelettes, I'll just have to go with some research I found for averages - about 500 calories.

Diet Guidelines
From the USDA: One aspect of these patterns that has been researched is the concept of calorie density, or the amount of calories provided per unit of food weight. Foods high in water and/or dietary iber typically have fewer calories per gram and are lower in calorie density, while foods higher in fat are generally higher in calorie density. A dietary pattern low in calorie density is characterized by a relatively high intake of vegetables, fruit, and dietary iber and a relatively low intake of total fat, saturated fat, and added sugars. Strong evidence shows that eating patterns that are low in calorie density improve weight loss and weight maintenance, and also may be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.

So, it looks like 'caloric low density' foods actually help make a diet that is trying to result in a weight loss is an important component. So, need to avoid things like alcohol and fat for sure, as those are high calorie items: alcohol is 7 calories per gram, and fat is 9 calories per gram (a gram is about the weight of a regular asperin tablet), while high carb items are just 4 calories per gram! From an energy punch, nothing appears to beat fat at 9 calories per gram, not even sugar at 4 calories per gram! So, from a caloric density viewpoint, fat is BIG!

Physical Activity
While on vacation at Edisto Beach SC, we walked at least 1 hour every day (weather permitting). I did this at a very leisurely pace, probably lower than most people. It averaged about 2 miles per hour.

At least while I'm so obese, I'm going to just keep it at that level - walk one hour per day. However, there's a big difference here where I live vs the beach - we have a lot of steep hills! So I won't be able to walk as far, but I can walk for as long. In other words, I won't be able to maintain 2 mph for 1 hour; it will be much slower for 1 hour. Hopefully, after I've dumped some weight it will be much easier to do and I can go further and faster.

Per the USDA, for ages 18 - 64:
For substantial health beneits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week. Also, Adults should also include muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.

Not sure where walking comes into play with the above, but I'm going to stick with my walking. Assuming some interruptions from weather and other conflicts, I'm going to assume 1 hour 4 times a week, for a total of about 4 hours or 240 minutes. It also looks like I've got to add something for my upper torso, so guess I'll need to lift some weights a couple of times per week.

Weight Monitoring
In the past, I weighed myself daily when trying to lose weight. I think this backfired - when I went several days with no weight loss, I got discouraged. I think I'll go with a weekly weight monitoring to start with, and if no real change, I'll go to monthly. If I don't see something on monthly, than somethings wrong with the diet.

When I do weigh, I will do it at the same time each day, dressed the same way in order to be consistent. So, for me, that will be first thing in the morning after rising, after a fast trip to the bathroom, wearing undercloths only. I'll record that weight, and it will be consistent with respect to samples.

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