Thursday, June 11, 2009

Losing Some Weight

Yesterday I mentioned my evil snacking streak was causing me problems. I gotta come clean to everyone - I have a sweet tooth! My weakness is baked goods. Cakes, cookies, pies. And cheesecake. I will not set foot inside a Cheesecake Factory for fear of what is behind the display counter. I thought I would spend a little time today talking about how I got my weight under control and started working the pounds away.

To start out, weight was never a problem when I was growing up. Well - it was a problem - but the opposite way. I played basketball in high school for a couple of years, but a 5'11" frame carrying 133 pounds does not have much of a future in that sport. I was eating 5 to 6 meals a day to put weight on and couldn't. Through college, I enjoyed Las Vegas for buffets! Three, four sometimes five plates of food. I enjoyed eating! Bottom line is I was not an obese child that had always been fighting weight.

But, by the time I turned 50, I had expanded to a numbing 260 pounds. Not bad if I had also extended, but it was a problem on my 5'11" frame. Time to do something. Excercise seemed like a good thing to do. When I started exercising, the first 10 pounds just rolled off. After that though, it seemed that regardless how hard and long I worked out, I was not dropping weight. The problem was I didn't understand a pretty simple equation - to lose weight calories out > calories in. And to know how that equation was balancing, I had to understand the input side.

The first thing I learned about the input side of the equation is I really didn't understand the output side of things. Turned out that calories out was based on something I knew about (my first degree is in Biological Sciences) but hadn't really thought about since college days - Base Metabolic Rate or BMR. BMR is the number of calories burned to stay in bed all day. I found the easiest BMR calculator is at this website here. As a 5' 11", 51 year old, 215 pound male, my BMR is 1950 calories. That is what I would need to eat if I lived my dream life and watched baseball all day (what a life huh?).

But, we obviously don't stay in bed all day, so BMR needs to be adjusted for normal activity level. Well, I found the easiest way to approximate my daily caloric need was to find a website that did it for me. After experimenting for a while on various websites, I opted for Sparkpeople. (History of that decision is here.)

When setting up an account on Sparkpeople (totally free by the way), information critical to BMR and daily caloric needs are collected:

And your daily caloric needs are calculated:

Based on my input (age, gender, current weight, activity level) and my goals (drop an additional 15 pounds this year), I should be eating between 2410 and 2700 calories a day. Now, it's just a matter of keeping track of what I'm eating and making sure that I'm are getting enough of the right stuff to keep going while losing some of those pounds. That will be tomorrow's blog.

Oh - run? Yeah, just a measly, boring 5 mile recovery run. Man am I tired (more reason to start watching my diet again).


  1. This is a great post, very informative. I'm in a similar position that when i got serious about running I lost ten pounds pretty much right away (198 - 186) but I have kind of plateaued there. I need to be thinking much more seriously about my calories in and my calories out.

  2. This is a great post Glenn. We share our sweet tooth! :) I will have to look into spark people but thanks for all the information!

  3. I kind of had the same problem growing up. I could not put on weight for the life of me! As for a sweet tooth, I don't have that. I have what they call a fatty/salty tooth. You can bribe me to do just about anything with some beef jerky.

  4. I see it happen a lot with men who are athletic and thin -- your metabolism slows so much, plus, you're used to burning a lot of calories as well as eating a lot.

    I know what you mean about the sweet tooth!

  5. Love the post Glenn-- I am going to check that site out now.

    I SOOOO Miss those college days-- when I could eat whatever I wanted, drink as much beer as I wanted without gaining a pound-- How I would kill to have that luxury right now!

    thanks for the info.

    Remember your goal to increase the mileage!! That will help you shed the weight.

  6. Hi Glenn - thanks for sharing that. I also have a sweet tooth... and a savoury tooth! I'm looking forward to checking out that site. I wish I had some advice on how to combat the cheesecake, but alas I don't.

    What I have discovered though in years of dieting and exercising is that the most important thing in weightloss is what you put in your mouth. You can run all day, but if you're eating crap you won't lose weight. Well maybe if you run ALL DAY you will, but you know what I'm saying...

  7. I don't really share the sweet tooth thing; I'm a carb/fat girl...bread and butter, popcorn with butter...YUM!

    I'd love to be able to consume 2700 calories a day, but for a woman of (ahem) my age, I'd need to consume about 1500 to lose weight (even when I run). GAH!

  8. i think i have more sweet teeth than you though... :)

    i have been attacking the calorie/nutrition intake lately myself. first i focus on staying within the calorie range and then i zoom in on the nutrients. i can't handle a total clean-up at once!

    i do have issues with the calculators, some tell me i can only eat like 1200 and others well me i can eat 2200. i wish 2200 was right but i know it isn't...