Weight Loss

Weight Tracker: 218

Down 37 since January 5th 2014. 

13 more to go.



Diets, pills and potions have an abysmal track record. I have tried several looking for the right formula. I am convinced of two things, 1) you have to match the diet to the lifestyle and character of the dieter, and 2) you need discipline. For me, I need a non weight loss goal, a feedback mechanism, and a tracking vehicle. I do not need a contest, an association, feedback from other people or pills. Some people need boot camps, organizations, external accountability, kudos from others, encouragement, running partners and host of other things. The important thing is to know what you need and choose the diet circumstances that will bring success.

For me, My Fitness Pal is what has been missing. It forces good decision making in what I eat and how I work out. I will break out my strategy into Food and Exercise.

Exercise 



I can't imagine losing weight without working out. I rest on Sunday's and have a terrible time staying within my 1740 calorie limit. In fact, I have had to call it a cheat day because I inevitably cheat. If I had to do the same every day, my weight loss would fail. If you read my post about My Fitness Pal, you will see that I allow for a cheat day once per week.

My workout regime is quite serious. Three days per week, I wake up three days a week at 4:40 to do 90 - 110 minutes of a spin class. This usually burns around 1000 calories which gives me that much more to eat later in the day. I run at least three days per week and mountain bike about two days per week. That is a lot of burn. 

Aerobic Theory


I have a theory of aerobic activity. I believe that whatever time, up to one hour, you put into rigorous aerobic activity you get back in better sleep, better brain work, mood enhancement, less pain, better food choices (trust me, your body will want less junk) and more energy throughout the day. It takes about 30 days to see all of the benefits from consistent aerobic activity, but they come. Think about that. It is one free hour each day that you can use to either exercise or sleep worse, feel worse, eat worse, and have less energy. Duh!

Non weight loss goal

I need a non weight loss goal to accompany my weight loss. It doesn't matter much what it is. For me, it could be an event like a 100 or 200 mile bike race, a marathon, a triathlon, a mountain bike race or something else. I may set a goal to get to the top of Puke Hill with something left in the tank or to PR some trail segment.

Feedback mechanism

Strava and My Fitness Pal work great for receiving feedback.

Benefits


Sleep

For me, the better sleep happened partially because my apnea went away. My wife can no longer hear my breathing in the night, let alone snoring. I sleep more soundly and wake up more rested. The added productivity that comes from better sleep is amazing.

Brain food

Exercise, especially aerobic exercise is brain food. The author of Brain Rules points this out HERE. He gives a summary video below. The web site and book are worth the effort. 




My employees will occasionally see me heading out for a run at 3:00 in the afternoon. Some of them understand that a primary reason to run is that I am trying to solve a difficult problem, and I have to feed my brain. If I add to the run a dose of Neal A Maxwell, I become a formidable problem solver when I return 30 - 45 minutes later.

Dope

Three of my sons were arguing with me one morning. I had denied them something, I don't remember what, and they seemed to think that more argument might get me to change my mind. I wasn't budging. It was then that my very perceptive daughter said, "haven't you guys figured it out? All you have to do is wait for dad to come home from a long bike ride and you will get whatever you ask for." I hadn't realized just how much my mood was improved by biking until she said that. It was true. Hard, but not too hard, physical exercise is euphoric for me, and the euphoria lasts for several hours. I mentioned my 5:00 AM spin class. The buzz I get from 90 minutes of spin lasts until about lunch time. It is amazing.

Some of my more perceptive coworkers have figured this out as well. I am usually quite steady, but if they want to discuss something sensitive or difficult, they may wait until morning or after they have seen me come back from a ride before we tackle the problem.

Dopamine, endorphin and saratonin all contribute to the wonderful brain chemistry reward system that encourages rigorous aerobic and anaerobic activity. Still have doubts? Go to the end of a marathon and watch as the finisher that come in after 3.5 hours. They will hobble, bleed, and may smell of vomit and excrement. They are blistered, have black toenails, bleeding nipples, unimaginable aches and pains and yet they do this. Although all of the productive brain chemistry decreases with over-exertion, they got to marathon day because of all of the amazing runs that happened days, weeks and months prior where the full chemical cocktail rewarded them handsomely.

Running as an anti-depressant 

A friend's wife came to my church one morning in tears and without her husband. I asked where he was, and she said that he had stayed home and was in a deep funk. I left church and went to his house to see if I could help. We went for a drive and he opened up about prior abuse that had left him depressed to the point of contemplating suicide for most of his life. I will skip to the end here. He took up running. We ran a half marathon together. He did it in baggy basketball shorts and high top basketball shoes. Since then he has run several marathons and is able to manage his depression quite well with natural brain chemical signals. He now runs in running shoes but still insists on baggy basketball shorts.

Here are several links that discuss brain chemistry and exercise:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/exercise-happiness2.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

http://www.livestrong.com/article/197569-seratonin-endorphins-exercise/

Pain management

It seems counter intuitive to suggest that pain can be managed by adding pain, but it is true. Fitness, weight loss and brain chemicals secreted during and after exercise decrease pain of other kinds. 

Better food choices 

Aerobic activity helps me crave higher quality food. It is not a 100% of the time, sure thing, but it is helpful. I still crave caramel corn in a bad way, but the craving is at least more controllable. When I do get cravings for naughty food items, I create a rule that I can consume my craving, but I have to give it a 3x penalty. If I consume 100 calories of caramel corn, I give it a 300 calorie value in My Fitness Pal.

Food


I love food, and I am not hung up on exactness in carb, protein, fat ratios, whether or not something is organic, how much saturated fat is in it, or what some study said about this or that artificial sweeteners. I eat hormone enhanced beef and chicken. Sometimes I boil instead of steam my asparagus. I will even eat fries on occasion. and on some Wednesdays I go for the Two Piece Chicken and Corn from KFC (It's only $2.99 and comes with mashed potatoes and gravy). I do have guidelines. Here is a partial list.

Good better best


Fresh is better than processed

Vegetables are better than fruits and fruits are better than meat

Fish is better than chicken and chicken is better than beef

There is nothing more culturally, psychologically and gastronomically more satisfying than homemade bread

Favor protein because the carbs and fat will take care of themselves

Favor protein after a big bike/run

Favor carbs before a big bike/run

Don't be a jerk at parties
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