Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dieting De-Bunked

I have lost a total of 7 pounds since the beginning of October! Pretty awesome. I have really benefitted from the Sparkpeople ( website. Just getting to see what I am really eating, being honest with myself, and learning some of my eating pitfalls has been instrumental.

Also, some of the mystery of losing weight has been de-bunked for me. My whole dieting life (since 15?) has been basically yo-yo, hit-or-miss, mostly unsuccessful attempts at losing weight. Which left me (not to sound like a commercial), discouraged, hungry, frustrated, disheartened, broke, frustrated and hungry! I didn't mention thinner because that was not one of the side-effects of all my dieting, pill-popping, or wishful thinking. Failure was the standard result of any weight-loss I attempted. I could cry or scream just from reading this paragraph!!!!!

But that is not my experience today. The de-bunking of the magical mystery of weight loss has been freeing. Honestly, I would focus focus focus and deprive myself, and go off sugar or desserts, or carbs, or whatever. Possibly I would lose a few pounds. Then the weight loss would mysteriously stop. Even if I continued in whatever program I was attempting religliously. Or maybe, suddently I would gain some weight - while still doing the same thing that caused me to lose weight 2 weeks earlier! Argh.

But now I learned from some friends a simple theoretical formula. One pound of body weight is equal to 3500 calories. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body needs to just lie in bed all day. So if you consume a total of 3500 calories more or less than your BMR, you gain or lose weight. Our bodies are able to keep a running total. So if you ate 100 calories less than your BMR requirement everyday, then in 35 days you will lose a pound. If you eat 200 less/day, then you will lose a pound in 18 days. If you burn calories while exercising, those calories get added to the total. Example: If for one week, you consumed 200 calories/day less than your BMR, AND exercised so that you burned a total of 1000 calories, you would have 'spent' 2400 calories, resulting in a 1/2 pound weight loss. If you do the same thing the following week, you will have a 2-week weight loss of about 1 1/2 pounds!

Some online computer programs suggested my BMR is about 2000 calories/day. (Sparkpeople figured my BMR at 1800 calories/day.) SO - if you combine the amount of calories burned during exercise, and the amount of calories under 2000/day and add them up - when they reach 3500 calories, you have essentially lost a pound. Does that make sense?

So Sparkpeople tracks calories eaten, and calories burned during exercise. So I can have a real count. And the theory is pretty much working. I have lost 7 pounds in about 7 weeks.


Do you know your BMR?  Find it here!

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