150 Calories

I’ve been told that I can get a little carried away talking about this weight loss thing that I’ve been working on, so I’ve tried to keep that in check on the various social media sites you might find me on. But I read something today that I just have to say something about.

Each day, and sometimes multiple times a day, I visit the Fitness and Loseit sub-reddits for encouragement and support as I continue this journey. It’s not an easy thing and seeing everyone’s progress inspires me to keep going. So many people have made some amazing transformations, it’s just remarkable.

Today I came across this post wherein a woman that is trying to make a healthy change was at the gym and she “heard the girl next to me turn to her friend and say ‘this girl is 300 pounds, oh my god’ with a look of disgust”. She showed amazing restraint with her reaction: “I turned to her and smiled and said ‘I would love to see you do what I am about to do with 200 pounds of weight strapped to your arms, legs, and stomach.’

I’ll have to admit that before I started trying to lose weight, I wondered how it was possible to reach such extreme levels of weight, but the more I learned, the more I realized how a relatively small difference in calories can have such a drastic change on your weight over time. For example, when I started (this time), I weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 225. For a 6 foot tall sedentary guy that works out to a BMR of roughly 2500 calories a day. I set a goal for myself of 184 and was shocked to see that if I maintained the same level of activity, which was basically none, I would eventually settle in at a BMR of 2200 calories a day. So basically what this was saying was that I was overeating by the equivalent of like 2 sodas a day. That’s it. 2 extra sodas a day equals about 40 extra pounds of weight.

Another thing I discovered as I’ve gone through this process is that the weight I would imagine would look good for me is probably far short of reality, so I’m looking at revising my goals. I’m thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 175. So let’s look at the numbers again. If I become a lightly active (1-3 days of exercise per week) 6 foot tall guy, my BMR should settle in around 2450 calories a day. That only about 50 calories less than my original calorie consumption! Now imagine I fall back into my old lifestyle and also start eating an extra 150 calories a day. I’d probably eventually settle around 237 pounds. That’s over sixty pounds and a difference between being well into the obese range with a BMI of 32.1 kg/m2 versus a normal BMI of 23.7 kg/m2.

150 calories. One soda. One beer. One cookie. A serving of potato chips. A handful of almonds. That’s all it takes and next thing you know you’re overweight if not obese. It’s not like you have to sit around all day eating buckets of fried chicken. Just a 600 calorie increase (basically one plain hamburger, no cheese, no bacon, no mayo) and next thing you know, you’re looking at 300 pounds.

So getting back to my original point, it really doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference positively or negatively. Although those changes will not happen overnight… sadly. And going back to the 300 pound woman at the gym. I know something of what it takes to make a commitment to a healthier lifestyle and I applaud you. When see really heavy people at the gym sweating on the treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike, etc., I’m not disgusted. Far from it. I’m inspired. Seriously.

And speaking of inspiration, can I just mention this commercial by Nike? I think of this commercial some mornings as I run and I think about easing up, or taking a shortcut, skipping a day, etc. I think about Nathan and the change he is trying to make and it inspires me to keep pushing. Good luck Nathan!