It’s 2013, and while I am happy with who and where I am, there are things I want to change. That mentality itself is a huge departure for me. Traditionally I have been my own worst critic. This year I have fired that inner critic, and instead decided to focus each day on the habits and attitudes of the person that I want everyone to see from the outside.
Yesterday marked day 8 in a row of returning to my traditional training regimen. This time around, it’s for fitness and fun. I don’t have any huge events on the horizon to pressure me, although I will undoubtedly run the Publix Marathon this March. I have run that marathon every year they have held it and am in their “Streaker” category – I think that is a distinction I want to keep up in my home town race.
I have already been in the pool 4 times this year, and it’s only the 15th day of January! Yesterday I cranked out 2500 meters at the Cumming Aquatic Center. It’s a fantastic facility, and features a long course pool four months each year. I also signed up for Strava, which will serve as the public version of my training log for the foreseeable future. I’m still a fan of Training Peaks, and have paid accounts with both services. But TP is more for my planning and tracking, whereas Strava is for my accountability. You can follow me here -> Mike Schubert’s Strava. There is good and bad to using Strava, but in all I like the concept of competition outlined in the “How Strava is Changing…” article. I will give it a full review later against Training Peaks, Garmin Connect and Daily Mile.
Totals for the week:
Swim: 4000 meters / 3 days
Bike: 16.2 miles / 1 day
Run: 16.5 miles / 3 days
I have lost over 65 pounds over the past 7 years. Most of that was lost in the first year or two. This was accomplished by burning more calories than what I put in my mouth. One assertion that I hear repeatedly is that you need to do lots of weight lifting to build muscle mass because muscle burns more calories than fat. A recent Time magazine online article called Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin sheds light on the mental rub that I had against that assertion in my mind. The article says “after you work out hard enough to convert, say, 10 lb. of fat to muscle—a major achievement—you would be able to eat only an extra 40 calories per day, about the amount in a teaspoon of butter, before beginning to gain weight.”
Another piece of the article also says
The basic problem is that while it’s true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn’t necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.
This anecdote rings fairly true. Even on weekends where I train for 6 hours, riding 70+ miles and running 15+ miles I still have the tendency to take in more calories than I burned. My trick, and maybe this will work for you, is to eat my meals more slowly so that I feel fuller quicker. The other half of this trick is that I eat a small snack (e.g. an apple) about 30 minutes before a main meal – this gives me a head start on getting full.
Read More: Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin
This quote caught my eye:
Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s 2,430-calorie spaghetti and meatballs is a truly lethal plate of pasta
I love Macaroni Grill. So, what am I eating? I reached a point several months ago where my vigilance slipped. I continued eating at a pace to fuel an Ironman in training when I was really just recovering and maintaining fitness. Unfortunately, a few extra pounds around the waist caused a loss of fitness when my portions did not scale back. If you have reached a plateau (or like I have put on a few pounds), check out the article I linked to. It’s sobering to see the calorie and fat content of some delicious foods.
Read more – Men’s Health – Eat This, Not That – 20 Worst Foods of 2009
Yesterday I talked about my foray into what I will refer to as the modern era of my athletic endeavors. In that I mentioned that I dropped about 30 pounds in the course of 3 months back in early 2004. Some of you may wonder my secret and I will tell you that it was a product called Diet Power 4.0.
Diet Power was a product that someone like me could really get used to. I can wrap my brain around things that can be measured, tracked, and influenced. I put in my height, weight, sex, and dietary concerns and it would figure out a base metabolic rate for me. As I ate something, I logged it. If I worked out, I logged it. Every day I weighed in and logged it. With Diet Power, I could tell whether I was eating more than I was burning.
The real key is being honest with yourself and eating things that you can log and logging them accurately. This did three things for me. First, I had to look up the things that I was eating when I ate out. There were things that I thought were healthy that I found were cooked in all kinds of butter and were calorie laden. Through this self-discovery process, I found foods that I had to enjoy in moderation. Second, it made me prepare meals at home more. Third, I became concious of everything I put in my mouth. I’m surprised I didn’t try to log the toothpaste I brush my teeth with.
Diet Power would then figure out based on how much I ate, excercised, and weighed, roughly what my metabolic rate was. As long as I ended up burning more calories than I took in, I lost weight. 265 to 235 went pretty quick. The next 30 pounds have taken 3 years.
Now I know it sounds strange that a marathoner and triathlete has trouble dropping weight. At the end of the day, I have to fuel my workouts. If you’re going to do a 20 mile training run or a 70 mile ride, you have to replenish your glycogen stores or you will bonk. So I continue to log my excercise and my nutrition. I try to stay even or a little under, but sometimes hunger gets the best of me. Hey – I’m human.
Let me leave you today with this in mind – eating 100 calories more than you burn each day for a year will result in an overage of 36500 calories. 3500 calories = 1 pound. You’d gain over 10 pounds that year.
What does 100 calories look like? How about 4 Jolly Rancher candies (1 serving = 3 pieces = 70 calories). Or even 2/3 of a 12 oz. can of Coke (1 serving = 8 oz. = 100 calories).
You can try DietPower FREE for 15 Days and see for yourself.
Here’s an easy first step for those of you looking to lose some weight in the coming new year – don’t eat (or take in calories) after 8pm. That means no Coke, popcorn, peanut butter sandwich, or whatever your favorite midnight snack is. Your body won’t be able to metabolize it since you’re going to bed, so don’t take it in. Drink some water – it is a remarkable appetite supressor.
Obvious exceptions – following illness, long day-missed meal, etc.
Of course, I’m not a doctor, nor am I offering medical advice. I’m just telling you about one technique that worked well for me. Consult your own physician before beginning any exercise or weight-loss regimen.