Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Fitness Pal is My Fitness Pal

My wife read to me the conclusion of a weight loss article recently. The author matched personality types to weight loss methods. Dieters had found success with South Beach, Weight Watchers, Adkins, and HCG as long as the diet matched their lifestyle and personality choices. If there is any truth to that, I have found my perfect match. Here is how it works:



In my profile on My Fitness Pal I indicated that I wanted to lose 1.5 lbs per week. My normal calorie burn for my desk job lifestyle for a guy who weighed 255 was 2600 calories per day. Since one pound = 3500 calories, to lose 1.5 lbs per week, I would need a 750 calorie per day deficit to meet the goal. My daily allotment was 1850 calories.

At 1850 calories, I am hungry throughout the day. The only way to increase the allotment is to work out. The harder I work out, the more I get to eat. Although exercise certainly increases my appetite, it seems to do so at about a 70% rate. Meaning that if I burn 1000 calories during a workout, the exercise increases my hunger by 700 calories. That is really cool and makes sense. During a good workout, the majority of the energy I consume comes from glycogen which comes from the food I ate hours or days ago. The other portion of the energy consumed is from fat stores. It seems that my body is anxious to replenish the glycogen, hence the hunger, and not as interested in replenishing the fat stores.

I have had big days where I have burned 3500 calories. I have been able to go to bed with a 1500 calorie deficit on top of my 750 calorie deficit built into the system. Those are good days. If every day were like that, I would be able to safely drop four + lbs per week (2250 calories per day for 7 days/3500 calories), but by muscles, joints, skin and other organs need recovery time.

I had a short road run yesterday morning and a long trail run in the afternoon. The results are shown below.

Food



My breakfast this morning was a mostly egg white omelet with a little cheese and a thin slice of ham and a killer green smoothie. I could eat a package of Oreos. The only restriction I have is to be under my calorie allotment at the end of the day. Experience has taught me that if I choose the Oreos, I will be hungry a lot sooner and my workouts will suffer. In 73 days, the only unhealthy things I have eaten are two donuts and a batch of carmel popcorn (my great weakness). I will also eat Swedish Fish on long runs, but I am not counting those as junk.

Logging food takes about five minutes per day. The app displays my common food choices and has an enormous database of common branded and homemade foods. It also comes with a barcode reader that allows for quick input of packaged goods.  

Exercise



Because I do not incorporated weight lifting into my regimen, I do not know how it works. Last Saturday I needed to run 12 miles for marathon preparation (more on that later). Because the course is mostly down hill, I needed to run mostly down hill. Early in the morning I drove my car to the top of a local canyon (South Fork), ran 12 miles to my house then rode my bike up to get my car. I averaged just under a 10 minute mile during the run. Using a combination of Strava and my wife's Garmin Forerunner 305, I came up with a calorie burned number (I take the lower of the Strava and the Garmin reading. More on Strava and Garmin later). I input that number into My Fitness Pal, did the same for the bike ride and enjoyed adding on over 3500 calories to my possible daily consumption. 

My current calorie allotment prior to workouts is 1740. My weight loss has caused my overall calorie requirement to decrease.

Progress




My Fitness Pal comes with reporting. The top graph is my weight loss since January 5th. The sharp initial decline is typical for me. It represents less stuff in my system and other factors. I am more excited about the consistency after the initial drop. The bottom graph shows my net calories consumed for one month. You can see that I had four bad days, four really good days and a bunch of good days. 

Rules

  1. Always record everything
  2. Come in under your allotment six days per week
My Fitness Pal takes a minimal amount of discipline to use the app and a lot more to obey it. I give it five stars as a tool for fitness and weight loss.

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