My Diet

A lot of people have been asking how I went from this (250lbs./113.4Kg.) to this (180lbs./81.6Kg.). The answer is, understanding what science knows about the body and changing lifestyles accordingly.

Anyone who knows me probably knows that I used to run a lot. These days I can't really do that, since I'm too lazy and because a knee injury I sustained while practicing Aikido makes running fairly painful and bad on my body in the long-term. My lifestyle upon coming to Illinois was not good, food wise. I found myself at the dark end of a pizza box at 250 lbs. and feeling not good about myself. I decided that I wanted to find a way to lose weight without exercising, but still allowing me to enjoy foods that are, "Bad For You" as they say. I will warn you right now that this works for me especially well because I'm male and tall. If one of those words doesn't describe you then you will have to exercise or change eating habits a little more drastically than I did but this method is the science that will put you on your way to at least understanding how your body works

We know that the body works like any other system in nature: Things put into the body either stay in the body or they come out. Simple logic says this is true. What goes in either comes out or stays in, comes out in the form of energy or waste and stays in in the form of fats, sugars, and the very stuff we're made of. Our bodies were crafted in the fires of evolution, and thus our bodies act the way they do to help us survive. To survive we store the food we eat and don't use in the form of fat and sugar. Sugar burns quickly and is used for times of boosted energy use and daily running of the body. Fat is a slow burn, high yield energy source. The body burns this when it runs out of sugar and also in daily "keeping you alive" functions. In modern societies where food is plentiful, this survival machinery is actually killing us in the long run because we store food we don't need.

Anyway, it stands to reason that if we want to lose weight without exercising, we must find out how much energy our body burns without us doing anything. That is, the energy used just to keep us alive and warm. It turns out that this is based upon four things, your sex, your height, your weight, and your metabolic rate (Note: Genetic factors also contribute, but it can't be calculated, you'll get used to how your body works in time). First things first, let's calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate. This is a calculator that I built for the site. At the time I wanted to lose weight, I weighed 250 lbs. If I enter that into the calculator (along with height of 73 inches and age of 27), I find that I was eating at least 2380 calories per day.

The question we need to ask is how much should I weigh, to be more healthy and add time onto my life. The answer can be found in this chart. This is the Body Mass Index. It tells you based on height where abouts your weight should be. A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. If we look at the chart we will find that from someone 73 inches tall I should be between 140 and 185 lbs. That's a very large range and I would question if 140 would be healthy since I know from personal experience that when I weighed 175 I looked like I was on crack. I set my sights for 180lbs.

Back at our calculator let's put in the body weight I want to achieve. 180lbs. in the calc gives me a BMR of 1930 calories per day. I can eat this amount per day, and gain no weight even if I do nothing and consequently LOSE weight if I eat this and weigh more than 180. It might sound like a lot of calories, but it's not.

So how do you lose weight? A lot of that is up to you. If the calories get too low you should do some exercise which will give you more daily calories to eat. I should actually be exercising as well, and I plan to in the future simply because it's good for you, and for your heart. There are tons of "calories burned per minute of exercise" charts on the net. Find one and use it! But here are some ways that I used to get my diet under control.

I followed two major rules for starters.

1. Eat breakfast every single day.
2. Weigh yourself every single day.

Two years after starting my diet, I still follow these rules. And then, I should also say, this is not a diet. When you think about it, think about it as the way things are, not something you're doing. I'm not on a diet, this is how I eat, how I live. I don't even think about it anymore. I weigh myself to make sure I'm in my range, and I eat accordingly. If I'm going to eat out or let's say have a big heaping bowl of chili (or two) at my friend Jim's place, I either look online to see nutritional information at a restaurant or I only eat two meals that day. (Taco Bell, Chili's, and all the info over at 3FatChicks) Eat smaller portions. After a while you'll start to get a feel for how much a particular thing is going to cost you in terms of calories. When you eat, your calorie burn rate actually goes up, so eat a little, many times a day if you can. This never worked so well for me so I came up with the two meals a day concept. Keep in mind however that your body is a survival machine. If you go too long without eating, your body starts to get frugal and notches down into this "I'm not burning anything then dumbass" mode where your BMR drops into the basement. Try eating a little healthy snack, like a light salad or some fruit. Eat fruit, don't drink fruit juice. There is a psychological effect when we eat, it helps our brain make us think we're full.

Exercise burns calories, and builds muscles. The more muscles you have the more calories you burn all day. STOP DRINKING SODAS! Once you start watching your calories you will see that sodas can be up to 120 calories PER CAN. That's a lot of energy that you don't need but your body will turn it into fat for you. Drink teas or coffee (sugar or cream add calories) to get caffeine if you need it. Caffeine is an appetite suppressant and a stimulant which increases your calorie burn as well. Use the scale as a tool not a form of punishment. Note that your weight goes up and down because of a ton of factors, if you've crapped or not, if you drank three gallons of water, whatever. Use it over time to chart your course.

This is not the only way to lose weight. It might not even be a good way to lose weight, but it worked for me. Now I'm offering the tools to you. Also, make sure you talk to your doctor about dieting. For some people diets aren't helpful or healthy. Make sure you know what you're doing before going on a diet. (That last bit is to cover my ass, if one of you dumbasses on the web does something stupid and tries to blame me for it).

Changing your eating habits is hard at first but very rewarding. Have fun with it, and challenge yourself. Give yourself a goal (I get to have a if I could get off my ass and do it) at a certain point, but don't make that goal food related. If you are keeping within the calories you should still be able to eat a lot of the stuff you like. Good luck!

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