After a leisurely summer and switching jobs I have switched gyms. From the old and pompous Pro Club I went to PureFitness which is on 2nd and Columbia. As it usually happens I got an evaluation from a Personal Trainer. It was a shocker! He measured whole 18.5% body fat percentage which is border line obese.
A lot of you might say that I am fine and I shouldn't be worried about this stuff. My response to that is that fitness takes discipline all the time. Once you are out of shape doing activities to get back into shape become boring and unsatisfying.
I started working out with a lot more vigor and started seeing a little bit of results, but not enough to make me happy. I needed to be at around 11-12% to feel good about myself. My problem was food. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and of course since one serving of fries negates about 40 minutes on a treadmill I was like a hamster running in a wheel.
I had to take control of this problem, but I wasn't sure what to do. Using the ancient Chinese wisdom the first thing is to start tracking things and looking for patterns. I started keeping a log on www.calorie-count.com . I entered every food I ate religiously and started seeing some patterns.
Pattern #1 - I drink 5-12 drinks a night when I go out and that could be as much as 1000 extra calories. What that means is that I can have a full work out and spend about two hours at the gym and still not make any progress because I went out that night. It also meant that even though I felt "good" about my diet really 3 times a week my calorie intake was over 3100 calories, sometimes even 4000 if you tack on a dinner with desert.
Pattern #2 - I ate some "snacks" during that day which supposedly raised my metabolism, but I also ate full meals. So I had extra 500-600 calories a day thinking that they "don't count." They do.
Pattern #3 - I loved my Starbucks. A Grande Latte is 260 calories. Drinking it with Fat-Free milk doesn't help much; it's still 160 calories. If you swing by Starbucks and get one non-fat Latte and a banana loaf bread you just took in 450 calories without really eating a meal.
I also read some articles about they way your body feels hungry and realized that the signals your stomach gives to your brain aren't always correct. A lot of times when you are low on liquids you might mistakenly feel hungry, but really your body is just signaling you to put something in your mouth.
Other little known facts are that breads and other foods add sugar for taste. You might be taking a table spoon of sugar with your tea in the morning, but what you don't know is that the toast you are eating might have the same amount.
So I made some adjustments:
- All snacks had to be light weigh fruit.
- Changed most of my lunches to be sandwiches.
- No fries, ever.
- Changed meals that have protein and carbs in the form potatoes or corn to protein and carbs in the form of salad.
- Stopped drinking till I didn't want to drink any more.
My target was about 2100/day which with burn rate of about 2700 + an hour of exercise a day. The result is a loss of close to 9lbs (or 4.5% of my overall mass) since November.