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Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

 

Eat this.

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

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

What’s the combo?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

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

What time is dinner?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

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

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

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

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

Friday, February 5th, 2010

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

Shut-up self.

Monday, January 11th, 2010

While learning the importance of logging what I eat, one of the things I was so grateful for was the unrelenting patience of my Nutritionist, Marco. Having someone to hold me accountable, whose job was to not jump the gun, was an extremely powerful lesson.

One of the reasons I often found it difficult to stick to managing my food portions (for long periods of time) is my mind and body would play tricks on me. When I didn’t see results fast enough, I’d start thinking stuff like, What am I doing wrong? or This isn’t working, or Why am I doing this?

I’d make a drastic change (trying to eat too little, exercise too much or avoid eating something all together).

Typically, it’s those reactive changes that throw us off course and kill our ability to achieve consistency. While drastic changes can sometimes provide instantaneous results, consistency builds context, experience and habit.

Often times, I’ve found my quick decisions about what to do next we’re wrong.

Some weeks I’d feel fit and think “I dropped some pounds this week for sure,” and end up weighing exactly the same or having gained weight. The same went for weeks I felt like a bag of sand and I’d be sure I was heavier. Those often ended up being weeks I’d surprisingly shed pounds. Go figure!

The best thing I have learned counting my calories with the guidance of a professional is staying power. If I gain some weight this week, I don’t get all crazy for that magic change agent that will guarantee results next week. I stay the course, repeat exactly what I did the previous week, only I do it a little better, with a little more purpose.

Sometimes what we need to improve our situation, is to do NOTHING AT ALL… Just keep do’in what we’re do’in. » Bryan