Welcome to my journey to lose weight! I’m really glad to have this opportunity to “speak” to you again. One of the reasons I’m excited is because I’ve actually lost weight, so I get to report that! I’ve lost 4 pounds since I last posted on my blog, two weeks ago. This may not seem like much and you may be thinking to yourself, “he’s excited over a four pound weight loss in two weeks?”. One thing that I can assure you from my own previous experience and from observing patients lose weight over my career, is that a fast weight loss is usually followed by a rapid weight gain.
Hopefully, the next question you are asking yourself is, “how is he losing this weight?”. Great question! Thanks for asking! I am counting calories. One of the things that is confusing to most people is the concept of calories and especially when combined with the idea of good nutrition. I want to explore those concepts a bit today and try to simplify them as well as point out their pitfalls.
Let’s start with good nutrition. Those of you that know me know that I like to repeat a quote from a chiropractor, Dr. Brandon Steele, who is fond of saying that he would rather try to change someone’s religion than change their diet. I agree wholeheartedly. We all have our food preferences, likes, and addictions. I have found that trying to uproot that entire way of thinking is just too difficult for most of us to stick with for very long. (You may have to click out of the ads……do it…it’s worth the click)
I would also point out that most of us instinctively know good foods to eat from not so good foods for us to eat. Pop quiz time! Which is a better source of carbohydrates (sugars), an apple or a Snickers bar? I picked carbohydrates to illustrate my point because they are so vilified in weight loss circles. The thing is, we need some carbohydrates in our diet in order to remain healthy. We just need to stave off that idea that we can compromise our diets by eating a Snickers bar as our carbohydrate source of calories for the day.
Since I am using calories, let’s define those as well, so we can all be talking about the same thing. A calorie is simply a unit of energy. It is the amount of energy released from a metabolized (a fancy word for burned) amount of food. A calorie is the amount of energy that is needed to raise the temperature of one cubic centimeter of water (one of the cubes in the picture below) about 34 degrees (1 degree Celsius). In normal English, this is a very small amount of any food, because a cubic centimeter of water is not very big.
So, how can I apply watching calories to losing weight? I can look up how many calories, on average, a man my height, weight, and age will need to do a moderate level of work all day and stay alive. I chose a moderate level of work because I am not a couch potato, I am not doing a sedentary job, but I am certainly not doing heavy labor either. Once I know what that number of calories is, I also need to know how many calories it would take to be subtracted from my diet to lose one pound. In other words, how many calories per pound? A pound is approximately 3,500 calories. Therefore, every 3,500 calories I cut from my daily intake will knock off one pound. Hey! This is pretty simple, right?
Well, now things get a bit complicated. A 67 year old man my height and weight needs to consume 3,600 calories per day to stay alive and do my job. That kind of sucks. I am not going to be able to eliminate 3,500 calories (one pound) from a 3,600 calorie diet every day for 25 or 30 days to reach my weight goal, so what can I do? I did an assessment of what I was consuming in calories before I started my weight loss journey. I was at an average of about 4,500 to 5,000 calories per day!! Now we can see why I was gaining weight. You can also see that cutting back to the base level of calories for me will only serve to maintain the weight that I am currently at. The 3,600 calorie diet will not help me lose weight, it will only keep me at the starting weight.
My choices then become eating less per day, exercising more per day, or some combination of each of those. I just want to say right now that I am a huge fan of eating. I love to eat. I am not so big of a fan of exercising. It was at about the time I discovered this that I wanted to give up this whole weight loss idea. Somehow, I managed to keep a more clear mind and decided that I would eat less and exercise more in order to reach my goal. I decided to start eating 3,000 calories per day and trying to exercise one or two days per week. The cutting back calories and exercise helped, but not too much. I was still not too excited about the exercise, so I decided to cut way back on my favorite foods. This meant that the foods that we all know we should not be eating were slowly being cut way back in my diet.
This helped a little bit more as some weight was starting to come off a little faster. Finally, I broke down and started to do more exercise and the weight really started to move off more quickly.
Here is one bit of advice for you. This is a great way of working to lose weight. It costs nothing to do (I walk for my exercise). It requires a lot of discipline and you must be very careful about making calorie swaps and compromises with yourself. It is so easy to allow yourself that mocha frappe with all the whipped cream and then promise yourself you will cut other calories later. My experience is that does not work so well.
The last thing I want to make you aware of if you decide to try this method of weight loss is to remember that your body will adapt to a change in caloric intake. Your body adapts to the amount of exercise you do. This adaptation occurs in about two weeks. This means that about every two weeks you will need to adjust downward the amount of calories you take in and adjust upward the amount of exercise you do. You will no longer be able to tell yourself that you worked hard today and don’t need to exercise.
Look for more content about my journey to be coming your way soon. I will be posting a podcast and I will announce it when it drops. You will be able to actually see that podcast as a video on my You Tube channel as well. Please help me help others by sharing this content any way you can, by asking people to follow me on Facebook at
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