Extreme weight loss is possible, apparently

Tough Money Love was kind enough to stop by with a comment on my last post to tell me that I was making things too hard on myself.

He provided a lead to a guest post he did over at Lazy Man and Health. He lost 52 pounds in 136 days, and has kept them off for almost a year and a half. That's over 2 1/2 pounds per week for almost twenty weeks.

How did he do it?  He limited himself to 1,500 calories a day by eating several smallish meals spread throughout the day, and did moderate exercise in the morning.

His free website of choice for calorie-counting and was FitDay.com.  I went over there to sign up for an account, and by their calculations (using my height, weight, gender, and activity level) they said I was burning about 2,800 calories per day.  Since my weight has been relatively constant over the past few months, one could assume that I'm taking in that amount per day.

Taking in only 1,500 calories per day would mean cutting my intake nearly in half, but I'd be losing weight at about the same rate that Mr. Tough Money Love did.  These kinds of results would support the notion that the amount you eat is far more important than how much you exercise.  It's hard to argue with the results it can bring.

It gives me hope that I can achieve my weight loss goal, and also that NCN can hit his, too.

(But I'll still keep exercising, though:  I got my gold Wii Fit Bank for working out a total of 40 hours! 😉 )

Cracked out Wii Fit for the first time in a while

And it didn't even make a snide comment at me!  Probably was speechless because it thought I was dead.

Thirty-one minutes of Wiixercise:  11 minutes of Hula-Hoop® (no, there's no video), 13 minutes of rhythmic boxing, a couple games of soccer ball heading, one round of table tilting the balls down the holes, and one game of penguin slide.

Wii Fit wouldn't let me make a 2 1/2 month goal so I made a three-month goal to lose 14 pounds, which is about the same as my other short-term goal of getting down to 235 pounds by the end of the year.

Is the key to weight loss exercise or eating less?

Jim and I read this Time article at about the same time:

Why exercise won't make you thin

(A friend on Facebook pointed me to it.)  The article suggests that exercise has comparatively little to do with weight loss. What does make the difference is simply eating less.  The calorie-burning effect of exercise is marginalized or negated by a few things:

  • Replacing 10 pounds of fat with muscle only results in an extra 40 calories per day burned.
  • Exercising doesn't burn as many calories as you might think.
  • People tend to eat more than they should after exercise, and there are a number of reason why they do.

The article does not state that exercise is unimportant.  There are other health benefits to exercise, such as enhanced cognitive ability and cardiovascular health.

Just don't expect to get skinny without eating less, too.

Elliptic trainers are fun

I'm working out on them a couple times a week.  Four or five times a week would be better.

I prefer the ones that give an arm workout as well as the other parts.  Holding onto the railings on the other machines seems a little like cheating, but I'm not one to talk right now.

The machine says that I burn around 450 calories during my 35-minute workout.  (I weigh myself before I work out and enter that into the machine.  I probably actually burn no less than 350 calories; they're not too far off.) 

Through all this, I realized that people who lose two pounds a week are doing some serious dieting and some serious exercising.  It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose a pound.  Cutting back 500 calories a day should mean a net loss of one pound per week.  Burning another 500 calories each and every day would be another pound per week.

At the rate I'm working out, I'd lose one pound a month.  That's probably not fast enough.  It's better than gaining a pound a month, but I'll be fat for a looooong time at that rate.

Elliptic trainers are fun.  I'll use them more often. 😉

How to get a 403% burn rate on Wii Fit Basic Run

I've been a slacker on the pushups but I've been keeping on with Wii Fit, mainly with the aerobic workouts.  I enjoy the Basic Run Island Lap.  It doesn't use the Wii Balance Board but it does use the Wii remote: just hold it or stick it in your pocket and it registers your steps like a pedometer.

The metric they use to measure your progress on this exercise is "burn rate," which as far as I can tell is a measure of how consistent the run is.  If I'm just screwing around and shaking the remote up and down while I'm running and making my Mii fall, my burn rate will be in the 10-20% range.  If I give it a good try and do a reasonable job, the burn rate will be higher: 80% to 100%, or more.  When I'm running in place on the floor, I can get a burn rate anywhere from 150% to 250%.  I don't know how they calculate it but it's probably inversely related to the variance in the step rate:  the more the running speed changes, the lower the burn rate.  There's also a speed component: a slower speed seems to give a higher burn rate than a faster speed, even if that faster speed is steady.

I forgot to take a picture of my 403% burn rate Island Lap, but here's how I did it.  This might be cheating but my calves, ankles, and lower back tell me otherwise.  I bounced for 15 minutes on a trampoline we got at a yard sale.  Nice and steady!  And probably lower impact than running, anyway.

My three year old daughter is a great coach

She works me hard!

During dinner tonight she asked me to “do boxing” on Wii Fit. This is the Rhythm Boxing cardio workout. She really likes the fast punching at the end, and informs me that I'm “going to go fast later.”

Then, she wanted me to run the Island Lap. Ten minutes of jogging.

Following that, I walked the tightrope.

Finally, six minutes of Super Hula Hoop™. (Yes, it's pretty amusing to watch me do that.) She made sure I was all right a couple of times when I lost my balance, and threw in a few “go go go Daddy” shouts for good measure.

Thirty-two minutes later, I was spent, but I know that I got a good workout!

And my daughter coached me through that. 😉