Our goal is to eat and blog. We've posted 15 times. Last one was 1880 days ago.

Eat this.

May 2nd, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Most weight management sites use a simplified equation based on age, gender, height, weight and activity level to calculate the number of calories we should eat to lose or maintain our weight.

For example, I recently visited a popular calorie calculator, entered an age of (38), male, height (5’ 9”), my weight (213 pounds) and chose the “Active” activity level.

I provided the age and weight I was prior to the losing the 50 pounds I lost a few years back as I wanted to see what the calculator would have suggested to me back then. I’m 43 now.

I hit the calculate button and it suggested that to maintain my current weight I should eat 2619 calories per day, but if I wanted to lose approximately one pound per week, I should eat 2119 calories per day.

I wanted to lose one pound per week.

Flash back to 2008. I lost my excess 50 pounds by eating no more than 2200 calories per day. That was the magic number that worked for me (however, I arrived at that number quite a bit differently than by the logic of a calorie calculator).
 
It took me about 10 months to lose the weight for good, but it was a challenge to stick to that number day in and day out.
 
Prior to discovering I could eat 2200 calories and be both satisfied while still losing weight at the same time, I was unconsciously averaging 3400 calories per day and getting heavier and heavier by the meal.

Ok back to the calorie calculator results I received. Their suggestion of eating 2119 to lose a pound a week is slightly lower than the calorie goal of 2200 I used to drop my excess weight, but not by too much. The main issue I have with calorie calculators, other than the fact they merely provide “a general guideline for information purposes only”, is the real missed opportunity to invest the time to get to know our current eating habits; to first take into consideration what isn’t working (how much food am I currently eating). They’re unable to personalize initial recommendations for each individual eater.

We’ve got to know where we’ve been to know where we’re going. Everyone is different. Now, I’ll be the first to agree that following a general guideline has got to be better than continuing to over eat, but easier said than done.

To greatly improve our chances of long-term success we must slowly transition (over a month or two) how much we eat now (usually too much) to how much we should be eating (each week) to trigger excess pounds to automatically skid-addle on weigh-in day.

It’s a metamorphosis that retrains our eyes, our stomachs and our minds allowing our bodies to get used to the whole idea of eating less.

The kicker is that it takes that month or two to arrive at an eating goal that’s personalized just for you.  The only way to arrive at that number, and make it stick, is to have patience (let it happen) and be consistent (don’t quit).

It’s taken years to master our over-eating habits. We make the same mistakes so frequently it has become second nature. It’s how we eat.

It’s gonna take at least a few months of initial time investment to break those habits in a way that fricken works. Had I tried to go from averaging 3400 calories per day directly down to 2200 (in one shot) it would have been like telling myself to only breathe for 18 out of the 24 hours available in the day. I wouldn’t have lasted long.

» Bryan

Here’s to you Steve Jobs.

October 7th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

I wanted to say thank you Steve Jobs for inventing such a revolutionary creative tool which has been an important part of my life since I was first introduced to it in back in the late 80’s.

Without my Mac work food out would not have been possible. You are an inspiration.  » Bryan

I ate, I said, I did.

July 12th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I’m working on some mockups to be able to include additional meaningful stuff to everyone’s food log. It’d be cool to be able to add thoughts and activities amongst all of the delicious foods we eat.

The i ate: option would be for adding food (it would always default to i ate), the i said: option would display thoughts (in blue) and the i did: option could display workouts or other activities (in purple).

Food tab with thoughts, workouts, links, etc.

I’m also playing around with adding links to our favorite stores, restaurants, food products, etc. » Bryan

Thanks for the inspiration Windy.

What’s the combo?

July 8th, 2011 at 10:58 am

When we don’t know the combination to our internal lock (how to unlock the best versions of ourselves), we tend to stop trying to open it.

If you are anything like me, you wait until things get so uncomfortable that you have no other choice but to get up and do something about it, or you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Of course, I am referring to being out of shape. The problem is once we get off our butts and decide to hit the gym (a minimum of three times a week), or change the way we eat, we do it for a few weeks or months and taper off for lack of instant results. The same pattern often applies to making more money or getting things done.

I have always been my worst enemy when it comes to patience, consistency and biting off more than I can chew.

We get used to how we are now as if it were normal. We think this is who we really are and who we are meant to be. No.

When I was carrying around an extra 50 pounds, most days I just felt blah… I seemed to always feel like crap, but I masked it well. It was either through humor or by trying to look cooler than I was. I was one of those thick Dudes you see out there dressed like a skateboard punk sporting a Van Dyke or Goatee. I still kind of dress that way.

If I had to go somewhere, attend a meeting or go out to dinner with the friends we only see once every six months, I’d want nothing more than to just stay home. My discontent was especially apparent when I had to do something requiring me to dress up, like having to attend a wedding. There’s nothing worse than feeling buck-bloated while trying to find something nice to wear that doesn’t fit any longer, especially when your signature look is baggy shorts, an oversized t-shirt and slip-on vans.

I thought it was normal for a guy like me, headed into his 40’s, to be husky, thick, heavy, whatever you want to call it.

Stumbling upon my local nutritionist, he showed me the effectiveness of documenting my daily eating habits, and for the first time, allowed me to see the invisible. Writing down everything I was putting into my mouth and assigning a caloric value to it gave me a baseline to start working on changing all of the little eating mistakes I was making (and repeating) causing me to feel like sh!t.

The funny thing is that we didn’t instantly change what I was eating, avoid this, don’t eat that… or start hitting the gym for an hour a day to start to melt away those extra pounds… Instead we just focused on one thing. Eating less food.

Focusing on food-portions initially (as opposed to lumping in food choices all at once) was cool because I got to eat all the stuff I was used to eating and because I was documenting it for the first time, we were able to look at all my grub each week and make little adjustments to slowly reduce the amount I was eating. If I was eating 3400 calories in my first week, we lowered it to 3200 for the next and 3000 the week after that.

The process was training me to get good at estimating the number of calories contained in the foods I was eating and it was teaching me a lesson in patience and consistency. I had to patiently log all my food, look at it, lower it slightly (each week) and be consistent week in and week out so my body didn’t even see the change coming. It was slowly becoming habit. My new eating lifestyle.

As I was lowering my intake week by week, some weeks holding steady trying to figure out the magic number of calories I could eat to be both full while shedding excess weight more often than not, I started to become more aware of my food choices. I started to see which items were actually satisfying my hunger versus just being eaten for yum factor (sweet, creamy, doughy, etc.). It was a side effect of getting good at logging everything I ate. My realizations (and some solid tips from my nutritionist) gave me the ok to start to swap out my normal eats for things that did a better job of warding off my hunger, or keeping me energized when I was riding motocross or working out.

We are all a bunch of know-it-alls when it comes to who we are, what we like, how we like it, etc.

Reality is often based on self centeredness, so naturally “my way is the best way.” If we surrender to trying something new, like going through the extra effort of writing down everything we eat, we suddenly have the potential to sculpt our likes and dislikes into decisions that can prove to be more useful for us in the long run than what we originally thought was best for us in the first place.

It’s ironic how the things we like are often the things that are causing us the most pain.

The key is starting slow, focusing on one thing at a time, get good at it, learn from it, so you can make the necessary changes required to maximize your results over time. Once you are in control of one area of your life, teach what you’ve discovered to others, it gives you the confidence to start to go out and master the next item on your list, and so on.

Marco from Leanbymarco.com gave me much more than the assignment of writing down everything I eat, he provided patience when I wanted to derail myself because I wasn’t seeing the big picture. He offered a fresh perspective regarding things I was experiencing in my everyday life that were affecting my eating. Most importantly, he showed me the combination to my inner lock allowing me to finally feel in complete control of food and not the other way around.

Go and say hello to your local nutritionist. Heck, visit a handful and start hanging out with the one that best kicks your ass. » Bryan

Learn to fix it yourself.

June 2nd, 2011 at 8:19 am

A few years ago, my wife and I decided to invest in a higher-end Precor for our home. We were kind of sick of the whole gym scene and thought it would be cool to get our cardio in at home. It’s proven to be a wise investment as we’ve easily put close to 1500 miles on it since purchasing the floor model unit.

Taylor Biggest Loser Scale

As the machine has been used more and more, I’ve noticed the belt slowly shifting to the left. It’s only about a quarter inch off, but off none the less. I’ve also noticed, in recent months, that the belt has started to make more noise than normal.

I recall reading either in the owners manual, or online, that Precor recommends having their treadmills serviced by a professional. Reading that stuck in my head and sent me on a search for a suitable service technician in my area to come out and service my unit. The only problem is, Precor doesn’t recommend who’s best to service their products and it’s been difficult to find a service company that’s not vague in the descriptions of the services they provide.

The whole process made me lag on getting my treadmill serviced, and at the same time, made me feel like my machine is in dire straights because it’s taken me so long to get some one out to give her the once over.

Today I decided to break out my manual again and re-read the maintenance section and I discovered how easy it was to adjust the alignment. I figured since it hadn’t been serviced yet, the least I could do is give that a shot.

So I broke out my tools and followed the instructions and attempted to recenter the running belt. After a few attempts, I got the belt to line up exactly in the center. Right on! Not only did it feel good to look down and see my treadmill was back in perfect alignment, I noticed the belt noise reduced significantly, which made me feel much better about the condition of the machine.

My point is, don’t accept what you’ve got in your head as what you need to do in order to move forward. Revisit other potential solutions, try something else, learn how to do it yourself to see if you can cross that thing off your list that’s been on your mind for far too long.

Not only did I learn some basic maintenance for my home exercise unit, I fell in love with Precor 9.35 again because instead of waiting to find someone else more qualified than I to do the work, I accomplished it. All it took was teaching myself how to do it. » Bryan

How much food did I just eat?

May 23rd, 2011 at 2:50 pm

We all want to be in control of our food (and not the other way around). The more often we weigh our food (especially when eating at home) the less likely we are to over-eat.

You may think that weighing something you’re about to eat sounds like a drag but it’s not. On weigh-in day, losing pounds and feeling good about it is no drag.

Using a food scale also gives us really good practice in visually confirming how much a portion really is. The more we do it the better we get at spotting too much food.

How many calories is a serving of french bread, almond butter or dark chocolate? When we figure it out it opens our eyes.

With so many foods packaged with multiple servings all mixed in together or recipes that contain lots and lots of different ingredients, it’s often times difficult to know how much we just ate.

Taylor makes an affordable “Biggest Loser” scale available at Bed, Bath & Beyond for about $19 bucks. It’s nice and roomy so you can fit large bowls or medium plates and still see the display. It weighs up to six pounds of food and can measure in both 1 gram and .1 ounce increments so it’s pretty much got you covered. Another plus is that it uses lithium batteries which last longer than traditional alkalines.

Taylor Biggest Loser Scale

Scale (noun) The relative size or weight of something.

Here’s how I use my Biggest Loser scale to quickly figure out how much food i’m about to eat.

1) I’m about to eat some almond butter. I turned the scale on and toggled the units from ounces to grams (left button). I put my almond butter jar (with no lid) on the platform and it weighs 439 grams.

Weigh the whole jar.

Reset scale to zero.
2) Once I had an accurate weight, I pressed the power button again (right button) to tare out the weight (set it back to zero). This is important because whatever I eat out of the jar will display as being minus this much. Like this:

This is what I scooped out of the jar.
3) I scooped out 30 grams of almond butter for my sandwich and the scale just totally helped me see how much gooey deliciousness I’m about to eat. Pretty cool huh?

Look at serving size and calories.
4) Lets take a closer look at the nutrition label* to translate my 30 grams of almond butter into an accurate amount of calories.

The most generally useful items to look for on a nutrition label (aside from healthy, unprocessed ingredients) are Serving Size and Calories. Since I’m using a gram/ounce scale I chose to use 32g instead of 2 Tbsp for my measurement. Turns out my 30 grams of almond butter was slightly less than a full serving (32g).

[ Fats, sodium, carbs, sugars and proteins are also important macro-nutrients, but I'm not particularly concerned with them in this example. ]

Now that we know how much a full serving is and how much my scoop weighed, here is a cool way to use some basic math to figure out the calories.

Much like a spreadsheet, you can type in a little equation into the calories field and work food out will do the math for you.

Using math makes it really quick and easy to log food items you eat regularly (no matter how much you ate).

The numbers with a gray box indicate math was used to come up with the calories. Rolling your mouse over food items with math will reveal the equation.

You can do math in the calories field.

As you can see for my “30 g almond butter” entry, I took 190 calories and divided it by 32 grams (a full serving) using the (/) symbol. I then used the (*) symbol to multiple it by 30 to help me figure out how many calories of almond butter that is. The result of 190/32 is the number of calories in each gram (6 calories). When I then multiplied by 30 it told me how much I ate.

The math I entered was 190/32*30 and work food out automatically tallied it up for me.

That scoop of almond butter ended up being 178 calories. It turned out that eating 30g instead of 32g was 12 calories less than had I eaten a full serving (190). This method can apply to any labeled food product whether its serving size is in grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups, etc.

With work food out math you can add (+), subtract (-), multiply (*) and divide (/) etc. Try it.

Get used to using math (when applicable) when you log your food. It’s great for when you dip into the almond butter again the next day only to pull out 35 grams instead of 30. Just reuse your last almond butter entry and change the 30’s to 35’s and you’re good to go (190/32*35). Work food out will do the math for you. Here’s a little how-to video showing another way to use math.   » Bryan

What time is dinner?

January 7th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Have you ever thought about making a daily eating schedule? One that holds you accountable as to when and how much you can eat.

I used to eat when I was hungry or when I had forgotten to eat and was starving. Sounds simple enough, hungry = eat something. The problem was my eating habits were sporadic and out of balance. I’d eat breakfast sometimes and sometimes not. I’d eat lunch at lunchtime and sometimes not. When I would eat, my only goal was to satisfy my hunger and because I didn’t really know when I was full until it was too late, I tended to over-eat a lot.

Here is an example eating schedule that worked for me: (you’ll notice I break it down into six small meals throughout the day):

Bryan’s Daily Eating Schedule

6 am | breakfast 1 | 250 calories
9 am | breakfast 2 | 250 calories
12 pm | lunch 1 | 450 calories
3 pm | lunch 2 | 300 calories
6 pm | dinner | 700 calories
8 pm | dessert | 250 calories

Total daily calorie goal: 2200

By pre-planning how much to eat at each meal, I was able to make sure I stayed fueled up while staying within goal. This eliminated my skipping meals and throwing myself into starvation/binge mode and my consistent over-eating.

If you don’t know how many calories to set as a daily goal, make an eating schedule and write down how many calories you eat (at each meal) to learn something about yourself. When you know how much you eat, you control your food and not the other way around. » Bryan

Share your food.

August 31st, 2010 at 12:06 pm

We’re all conditioned to sit down at a restaurant, study the menu and choose whatever seems most delicious at the time. The fact we’re probably about to order twice the amount of food we require to be satisfied usually isn’t at the top of our agenda. Combine that with the usual mindset that more equals better, the idea of sharing a meal doesn’t sound all that good of a deal.

If you’ve got an eating buddy, splitting not only saves money, it helps eliminate that tired feeling we all get after eating too much. The more we limit our over-eating, the more time our bodies have to do other healthful stuff internally, other than trying to process all that extra food.

With the size of food portions these days, if you think about it, when you over order you start a chain reaction that goes something like this:

  • 1) You get too much food…
  • 2) Your guest(s) also get too much.
  • 3) Everyone’s more likely to over-eat causing top buttons to unsnap after the meal.
  • 4) Everyone pays for all the food they didn’t eat.
  • 5) Food gets thrown away or carried back with you to the car.
  • 6) The environment suffers because extra food needs disposable containers and bags to transport home.
  • 7) Oh and you gotta remember to put that doggie bag in the fridge when you get home or it was all for naught.

Taking food home with you is cool if it’s intentional. You order a full meal because you know you’re going to eat half now and the rest for lunch tomorrow. Which is not a bad thing to practice now and again.

Yes it can be awkward to order a starter, entree and dessert while letting the server know your plans to split all three, but once you do it a few times, it gets easier and easier to order perfectly for two (or more).

Even when the waiter/waitress throws you some ‘tude, as if you must not be able to afford two complete dinners… Just order it like you mean it. Like you know something nobody else knows and you have the edge because of it.

We feel so good after splitting the perfect meal, I’d almost rather pay more money not to have to walk out of the place feeling bloated and miserable.

Servers want you to over order because the larger the check, the bigger the tip. With the money we save by splitting, we usually tip a bit extra regardless (unless the service blows), but when staff go the extra mile to split our food for us (two plates) we really kick down good tippage.

When sharing food, we know we ordered perfectly when the meal is over and our plates are clean. When there’s food left over it usually means we over ate, so much so that we had to quit trying to finish (which usually doesn’t occur to us until we’ve already eaten too much).

If you’re still hungry after splitting your food, you can always order something else to split afterwards. But you’ll find by the time you order another goody to help you feel more satisfied, you’re already full.

If you can’t decide on something you’d both like to split, be the hero and give in to your guest’s preference. If they’re willing to share the meal with you, the least you can do is eat what sounds good to them. Who knows, maybe you’ll even like it too. And if it is not the healthiest choice on the menu… Eating only half might not be that bad.

The goal is to show your eating partner that splitting is cool and it works. After a few shared dinners, walking away from the table feeling light on your feet, with extra money in your pocket, I’ll bet your eating partner starts asking if you want to split something the next time you eat out. » Bryan

If you don’t stink, you’re not doing it right.

May 6th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Sometimes the thought of getting all sweating and stinky just isn’t all that appealing. You gotta take a shower and change your clothes let alone bust your ass in order to work up all that sweat in the first place. It’s hard work.

More often than not we tend to avoid the ritual of working out all together in favor of the road more traveled. I’m referring to doing nothing. Oh we might go shopping or work on our computer, we might walk the dog or clean the garage but if you think about it, how often does all that kind of stuff make you sweat? I mean really sweat. The kind of sweat that requires a towel to the brow about ten or twenty times in a row.

The problem with doing nothing is a lot. When we fool ourselves into thinking we don’t need to workout or we consistently stay in the habit of avoiding healthy physical activity we inadvertently cause ourselves more inconvenience than if we’d of just worked out in the first place.

When we don’t regularly get our sweat on, we slow down and stiffen up, which causes us to move less and less. We pack on extra pounds and feel uncomfortable in our clothes and sometimes we get depressed or just downright feel rotten. This is all a side effect of avoiding the ritual of getting sweaty.

I’ve found if you welcome the act of getting sweaty and stinky, you start to get used to it. You start to enjoy pushing yourself and the way a bath or shower feels after accomplishing a workout. I guess it’s like anytime you do something a lot, you get good at it, it becomes second nature.

As you embrace your inner stinky-ness you can start logging what you eat to make sure you’re not over eating (due to all that expended energy). When you strike a balance between regularly working out and managing food portions, your energy level will shoot up and you’ll crave more and more challenging activities. It’s a good viscous cycle.

Make a commitment to be active at least four or more days a week (you want to be active more days of the week than not). On workout day, if you really don’t feel like getting sweaty, go super easy on yourself (just don’t skip your workout). On days you’re into it, push harder and challenge yourself. You can do it.

Number of workout days.

For me it took committing to getting sweaty everyday which removed my having to keep track of days off (which always backfired for me because I’d tend to look forward to off days than workout days). Now I have good workouts and easy workouts instead of no workouts and I feel great, sweaty and stinky, but great. » Bryan

Yum Factor

February 5th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

When I first started counting my calories I really had no idea why I was doing it. All I knew was that my Nutritionist gave me the assignment of writing down everything I ate for the upcoming week. My job was to bring the completed record, to our next appointment.

If you’re anything like me, you like food a lot. The trouble was, when I’d go by yum factor alone, I’d get myself into trouble and more often than not, eat more than I should.

Yum factor is all about feel: “What do you feel like eating tonight?” It’s about texture. If it feels good going down, chances are you’re gonna down more of it.

But how much should one eat? When we pay little attention to our eating habits, it’s impossible to know where we’re at or what to do about it.

Everyone has a food number. When I started writing down everything that I put in my mouth, I was averaging around 3500 calories per day. More often than not, I’d eat over 4000.

To figure out your average, you add up all the calories you eat in a week and divide it by seven.

My nutritionist used 3500 as a starting point for what I was capable of eating in a day (my average), and using a weekly weigh-in, he’d lower my food number each week by only a few hundred calories, to slowly ease me into eating less and less. 3300, 3100, 2900, etc.

It took me 10 weeks to arrive at the number that worked for me (everyone’s number is different). At 2200 calories per day, I was both satisfied (hunger-wise) and still shed pounds more often than not (tracked by my weekly weigh-in).

Everyone gains a pound or two here and there, the goal is to have more downs than ups.

At my starting weight of 213 pounds, my target was 185. Once I hit my target, I reluctantly aimed for 170 (not ever believing I could weigh so little). I flew by 170 and at about the 50 week mark (almost a year) I hit my natural body weight of 160. I’ve been within 5% of that weight for over two years now.

wfo_bryan_before_after

It just goes to show you, we can always do better than what we often believe our best can be.

Knowing how much you can eat each day, what you’ve eaten and how much you’ve got left is pretty empowering. It gives you an edge. You can still eat all the foods that do it for you (yum factor), just less of ‘em. At the same time feel proud about how your clothes fit.

The catch… You gotta eat less of your favorite foods (which you can monitor using a food logbook) and as your energy level and metabolism increases, spend more days exercising and building up a sweat, than days you don’t.

The year’s gonna go by whether you like it or not. Might as well make it the best year of your life. » Bryan