Thoughts on Weight-loss
Shocking stats, laws of thermodynamics and
You want to know what is so cool about being a triathlete? It's the
ability to eat whatever and how much of virtually anything and still stay
relatively thin! How do we do it? No, we do not have a strict
diet...absolutely not. The only thing we have to worry about is not enough
to eat! To lose weight, there is only one equation that can work without
violating the First Law of Thermodynamics:
Calories in = Calories out
Now go one step further...
Calories in - Calories out = Weight gain or
Why don't people see this? Any of the 'quick' weight
loss programs are just that...quick. The side effect is that it is usually
temporary and you end up gaining back all of your lost weight plus
more. "Lean, active people are successful eating larger amounts
of food while remaining skinny, but it's not because of there 'unaturally
high metabolism' Really, genetics is not really the difference between the
overweight person and the lean one; it's the calorie in/calorie out balance working
to those active peoples favor."1
A recent study indicates that genetics only
plays, on average, 30% of body size variability in humans...that means that we
are in control of the other 70%!!!
IT IS UP TO YOU WHETHER OR NOT YOU
WANT TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!
No Excuses. No Whining. If you are
unhappy about the way you look or feel, then you better stop complaining about it and
really do something about it. FOCUS, PUT SOME BACK INTO IT!
If you don't want to put 110% into making
change, then you have already failed. You won't get far from the starting
In the words of
Sally Edwards, Ironman competitor "...set aside a certain
time of day, 3-6 days per week, and call that an appointment, an appointment
with your workout. It is just as important as an appointment
with your banker, doctor or hair stylist."
How about me for an example. I am super active
(triathlons/weightlifting) and I weigh 170 pounds. I am burning around
4000 calories around the height of my training program. The only weight I
am gaining is the slow-growing muscle mass from lifting. The triathlon
training keeps me slim. There is really no weight gain or loss for me
during tri season. So, that can only mean I am consuming about 3-4000
calories each day. Obviously if I were sedentary at 170 pound this would
be the death of me as a 170 pound sedentary man only uses 2000 calories.
So the key to losing weight is to count your calories. You only lose
weight if you burn more than you take in. So that leaves two
options. One, reduce your caloric intake if you plan to maintain your
current activity level or, two, continue eating like a pig and become a
triathlete - burn them calories! I like the second option. I enjoy
physical activity and I love to eat - especially like a pig!
Want to know exactly what happens to your body
between meals, when you eat and when you exercise? This is the KEY
to understanding weightloss.
How about some cool calculators...
Here is a shocking fact from Triathlons for Fun:
'What Americans are most prone to suffer from, however, is
"creeping " fat. In the California Diet, by Stanford
University's Dr. Peter Wood, a very clear explanation is offered: "the
typical overweight American at age 50 has put on two pounds of fat each year
since he/she was 20 years old. So, at 50, he/she is 30-60 pounds
overweight - and it shows. But a gain of one to two pounds of fat each
year means eating only 10-20 calories too much each day on average, or no more
than a quarter of a small banana.'
This creeping fat syndrome can be explained in another
way. When we hit our 20's to 30's, our lives become more sedentary...no
more sports during or after school, family life, we are not growing anymore,
etc,...we do stay busy BUT we are not using much energy. When we use our
muscles less and less, that is telling our bodies to get rid of them.
Consequently we experience muscle loss. IF we are maintaining the same diet,
we are actually consuming more calories than we need (since we got rid of some
muscle). These unused calories get turned into fat. Fat takes much
less energy to maintain than muscle. Make sense?
The following links are tables taken out of Trathlons for
Fun by Sally Edwards, Triathlete Magazine, 1992. These are
interesting tables showing the calories expended for various activities.
The first is
Per Minute Describes the amount of calories expended for various daily
The second table is
Daily Activities Calories
Per Minute Describes the calories burned for biking, swimming and
The final table
Daily Calorie Allowance
Table Describes the calories burned per day based on your activity
level and weight.
The following table is from Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals
by Steven Jonas, M.D. W.W Norton and Company, 1999
This chart gives one their ideal weight based on age and height.
If you know your basal metabolic rate, you can use these
tables to get a ballpark figure on the amount of calories you burn during the
course of a day. This will allow you to tailor your diet to slowly lose
weight (if you are overweight) or maybe to gain weight if you want to
1 Triathlons for Fun by Sally Edwards, Triathlete