Losin’ it

Kind of makes me miss Fuddrucker's.I’m overweight. I’ve had a couple of recent epiphanies regarding that fact, and I haven’t been comfortable with how I look (or what size pants I have to buy) for quite a long time. Finally, I’ve decided to do something about it, and I wish I’d made the decision–or rather, the commitment–earlier. So I’ve looked up some decent science-based nutrition sites, followed Greta Christina’s advice, and downloaded a couple of calorie-counting apps. I also walked close to three miles today on a whim (it’s shocking how short a trip that actually is), even though the exercise plan I developed on DailyBurn doesn’t have me exercising on Mondays.

I’ve thrown myself into this pretty wholeheartedly, and I’m fairly confident that I’ll be successful. I owe that confidence to my skeptical, scientific mindset. First, I’m going to be seeking out solutions and practices supported by evidence. That’s going to require the second thing: lots of research. I’ve already been hitting the websites of some of my favorite restaurants for nutrition information, and I’ve gotten calorie recommendations from three or four different sources (haven’t talked to a doctor yet, but that’s on my agenda). Finally, I’ll be collecting and recording data regularly and diligently, so I have some objective idea of how well I’m doing. I’ve set reasonable goals and I have a reasonable attitude about what I can (and am likely to) achieve, and I’m not starting on a crash diet that I know won’t work in the long term.

Unfortunately, I have already hit a couple of stumbling blocks. First, the estimates for my healthy weight are all over the damn map (I can’t imagine what I’d look like at 6′ and 138 lbs, but I suspect I wouldn’t have all my limbs), which means the numbers I’ve gotten for a daily calorie intake are similarly widespread. I’ve settled on the DailyBurn recommendation of 2458-2708, though I think I’d like to keep it closer to 2200, which was the ballpark of another program’s estimate. So far it seems more than doable.

The other big problem I’ve hit is a lack of data. Sure, I can find nutrition information for a huge number of things, but the milkshake I got tonight to round out my calorie count (and in hopes of increasing my protein intake)? Not a nutrition pamphlet in sight. I used a reasonable facsimile in my count, but I think the solution is going to have to be avoiding some of those little mom-and-pop places with food of unknown value. I hate this whole dearth of information thing, and I really hate guessing–it goes against my instincts.

I don’t have any kind of conclusion (talk to me in a few months). I’m just sharing one more way that a healthy skeptical, rational attitude can help you out, and hoping that anyone with more/better information, estimates, and so forth can share their findings as well. Yay science!

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11 Responses to Losin’ it

  1. Flavin says:

    My wife has been counting calories lately as well. I did it for about a week, then I got bored. It mostly just means we have to eat at chains.We do make a lot of our own food, though. Many cookbooks list calorie values, as well as the recipes on Spark Recipes.Best of luck.

  2. Techskeptic says:

    I've recently done the same thing with the same attitude. Shortly there after Greta christina wrote that awesome post. I used the livestrong iphone app. It has a large data base for calories, but you still have to pay attention to see if you think it is correct.Honestly your daily caloric intake seems quite high to me unless you are getting a lot of exercise. I'm working with 1750 calories a day (i'm also 6' tall). and I am currently shooting for 185 lbs (I started at 200). Eventually I want to get in the 170s. Its actually quite doable. Small meals and then waiting to see if you are actually still hungry work pretty damn well.I lost 10 pounds in 7 weeks or so. The hunger pangs which I am quite used to simply satiating is a habit that is hard to break.Oh i'm also using a wii fit.Anyway, good for you fatso. I hope this does well for you and I'm happy to hear you do something about it.

  3. Akusai says:

    It's even harder to find good, science-based information on weight training. So much of it is just protein powder and hype, and the recommendations seem to change with every issue of every damn weightlifting magazine. I'm not actually entirely sure that there's any sound science surrounding weight training; if there is, it's hidden itself well inside the much more prominent noise.I hope it works out for you. I know I'm still (slowly) dropping since I started my workout regimen in the fall of 2007. All I did was add in some weightlifting, supplemented these days with cardio, and I'm down 35 pounds. If I could somehow be brought to change my diet (a hard thing to do when you work third shift), I would likely lose more quickly. Since I've gained muscle over the years, I've definitely lost more than 35 pounds worth of fat, but I didn't do a body fat percentage before I started so I don't really know how much I've actually lost.And the recommended weights are really pretty useless, as far as I can tell. I remember reading one recommendation and thinking "I couldn't lose that much if I got rid of all the fat on my body." Another one would have had me at obese even if I got as trim and cut as a slow-mo Spartan soldier. Basically I'm just shooting not to be a fatty anymore and my scale is the mirror: do I look better than I have in the past? Okay, good.It helps that I'm not anorexic and I don't have body dysmorphic disorder.

  4. Mythnam says:

    Good for you, man. When I got to college, I lost a little weight because I actually had to walk everywhere. Also, I discovered that stir-fry is a great way to eat vegetables that is also delicious. I've probably eaten more veggies here over the course of two semesters than I did for the entire 18 years before I came here…Hope it works out!

  5. Bronze Dog says:

    Good luck.I'm 5'11" and been down to 135 during a summer college semester that involved a rather long walk from the commuter parking lot to class every M-F. Still had all my bits.I've gone up from that, though. May need to get back on DDR or borrow my parents' Wii Fit.

  6. Limiting caloric intake seems to be the best method. When I dropped 1200 calories a day I lost 20 lbs.I had to lose weight once when our manager told me I was too fat. 5'11" 190? I agreed. I ate nothing but slices of turkey for a month.

  7. DaveMcRae says:

    I do like your post – tyI'm in similar circumstances. I got off my ass and gave blood yesterday and the lady told me off – it had been 13 months and I'd packed on 7kg since then to come in at 110kg (242lbs) yikes.I'm also 6' (or 182cm as they may say in some parts)I think I will have to do what you say – keep the dairy – nothing else will suffice sadlyBut I must say – bullcrap – 138lbs, that's 63kg – when I was buffed from ages ~17-30ish I consistently came in at 85kg (187lbs) and if I could hit there again that would be good – I certainly do not want to go under that.Good luck – I think I'll be trying the same tactics – move more, eat less – and the diary will demonstrate where and gow to do the later.

  8. Jimmy Blue says:

    Seems like we're all at it then, this might turn into our own skeptical weight watchers."My name's Jimmy, and I'm really tubby."I've been working on losing weight for a couple of years now and doing so in a way that it stays off – so you lose weight slower than the ridiculous fad diets but it doesn't come back in the well known yo-yo fashion. I've lost about 30 pounds in two years and need to lose about the same again. The biggest thing for me was adding exercise and setting achievable goals. If you can afford it, get a bike. Riding to work for me has pretty much put me in the best shape I have been for years even though I am still way overweight, so if you can do it I highly recommend it – its even fun and much more interesting and effective than going to the gym.I also recently had a warning on my cholesterol so I've switched eating habits considerably so watch the kinds of fats you're eating not just the calories and portion sizes. And if you hit the sodas then cutting down on them helps to.

  9. Akusai says:

    Dude…What happened to our favorite April 1st creationist? I was really looking forward to hearing from him again.

  10. The truly wack thing in all of this is that in almost everything they do, Christians want to rely on methods that are scientifically verified and more or less proven in their ability to accomplish whatever it is they set out to do. However, that's not to say that a few misfits out there don't still just pray to lose weight and do nothing about it.What really grinds my gears is when they pray to lose weight, then they work out and eat more healthfully and credit jeebus for their weight loss.

  11. GDad says:

    Best of luck. I started a quest to lose 40 lbs. by the time I turn 40 at the end of August. I'm sorta on target.My verification word is "bedubl," as in "I will bedubl my effort to lose 40 lbs."

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