Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I you asked someone "Which former juvenile delinquent and NBA player went by the nickname 'The Answer'?", the answer would be Allen Iverson. If you asked someone "How many calories are in a pound?", the answer used to be 3500 calories. But according to a recent email that I got from the Livestrong Foundation, that answer maybe as ineffectual as Iverson.
It used to be that one could set their weight loss plans on the idea that one pound was 3500 calories. If one wanted to lose any weight, one must either burn extra calories from exercise or consume fewer calories in their diet, or usually some combination of the two. I subscribe to this theory wholeheartedly; faithfully tracking my calories consumed and calories burned. After my fitness evaluation, I adjusted my calorie deficits to include a higher than estimated basal rate. I wrote a whole spreadsheet to calculate my needed and burned calories that included how many grams should be protein and how many should be carbs. Now that I read this article that it takes different calorie deficits to equal one pound for different people, it kind of flies in the face of everything that I have been doing. But you want to know something? I am alright with it. In fact, I believe that I am a shining example of the differences discussed in the article.
I have been very good with calorie counting and lost almost no weight at all. There are weeks where I can show a 3500-4000 calories deficit and have actually not changed weight on the scale at all. Then there can be other weeks where I splurge and show no calorie deficit, but I lose 2 pounds on the scale. It makes absolutely no sense if you use the theory of 3500 calories to 1 pound.
The biggest thing that I can take from the article is that you have got to find what works for you. I ate low/no carb for a long time and lost a lot of weight in the process, but eventually I started eating carbs again. I gained a couple of pounds back, but not nearly as much as I lost. I run and bike to burn extra calories, but I also drink beer and have dessert. I feel confident that I have found the answer. I will work hard and be disciplined, but I will never forget to have fun and enjoy all the things that life has to offer. Somewhere in that answer is the balance that will help me to get fit, stay healthy, be happy!