Monday, November 23, 2009

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for November '09 Cycling #11

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for
November '09 Cycling #11

No Excuses!

A quick but worthwhile read. I will have some new posts up soon! Keep counting those calories. I will tell you what to do with them in the next few posts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Colorado Health News

Here is an interesting article about a study that says Colorado will be the only state to have less than a 30% obesity rate by 2018. While it is great news for my home state, it is quite scary for everywhere else. Obesity rates will definitely be another front in the health care debate.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other. ~Joseph Addison

Ok, if you are still reading, this is where your homework begins! For this first assignment: Begin tracking your calories. It is vital! Do not skip anything or cheat. It does not help you reach your goals to lie to yourself. It is OK to have slips, but it is not OK to deceive yourself. Don't worry about the fat content or anything like that, just calories for right now. If you need to buy a notebook and carry it with you to keep an accurate count, do that. If you need to post your calorie count on your fridge, do that. No excuses!

Calories are based off of a serving size. Serving sizes can be tricky depending on the product and can require you to do a little math. For example, most bags of chips may say something like the serving size is 1 oz. How the hell are you supposed to know how much 1 oz. of chips are? Well, some companies are kind enough to also say about how many chips make 1 oz. (usually about 10), but other times you have to look at the front of the bag or the ‘servings per container’ in the nutrition label and do some math. For example if it is a 4 oz. ‘grab-bag’ of chips, then eating the whole bag is 4 servings so you would have to multiply the calories for one serving by 4 (usually about 100 calories per serving so 400 calories for the whole bag of chips). Even a simple bottle of coke can be tricky. Those 20 oz. coke bottles are often split into 2 servings! So be sure to pay attention to the serving size to get an accurate count.

Keep track of your calorie count everyday for a week without changing your eating habits. After a week, analyze it to see if you are above or below 2,000 on average—daily amounts tend to fluctuate so it is better to look at weekly averages. Then, you can make the necessary adjustments to meet the goals I will discuss in the next post. Here is a website that you can use to find the calories for any food so when you go out to eat or if something does not have a nutritional label on it, you can still get a fairly accurate count of your calories. Just type the food into the yellow box, then specify your choice as much as possible.

Don’t start dieting yet! First you have to analyze your situation. You have to know what your habits are first and then you can make corrections. Don’t start with corrections because you won’t know what needs fixing. Just spend the next couple of days taking an inventory of your calorie intake. Remember not to cheat! We will discuss what to do with that count tomorrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Nuts and Bolts of Weight Loss

“A man's health can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs.”~Joan Welsh

Weight loss is not the only criteria for health, but it is one of the most important. While some may say it is possible to be overweight and healthy, no one will say it is better than being fit and healthy for many reasons, from increased quality of life to lower health risks overall (and all the other reasons I discussed previously).

There is no secret to weight loss and fitness. I can (and will) give you hints to make losing weight easier and to help you keep motivated in future posts, but there is only one thing that goes on in your body that creates these changes and there is not much that can alter the process. It is the same for all of us. It is calorie intake and calorie burning. Simple as that.

Here is the explanation:
1 pound = 3,500 calories

If you can remember that equation, then you understand all there is to know about weight loss. The goal is to have a deficit of about 500 calories a day. In a week, you will lose about a pound (500 X 7 = 3,500 calories). I actually advocate about 2,600 calories a week which is about 2/3 of a pound so you do not get burnt out. I will explain a relatively simple plan to meet this weekly 2,600 calorie reduction in future posts.

Here is a silly analogy to help explain how calorie deficits works:
Pretend you are a car. Your owner (maybe your brain, hands, and mouth working in conjunction) fills you full of gas (food/calories) to keep you running. When you put too much gas in, your body saves that extra gas for later (fat). When you use up all the gas you put in and you still need more fuel, the car starts to eat itself and shrinks. If you are a big truck, you will become a little festiva. The faster you go during the day (activity), the faster you burn through your gas. Now obviously cars do not shrink, but we do and that is the remarkable thing about the human body.

It can go in both directions, and unfortunately it is very easy to shove a pound in our mouths (one fast food meal can easily exceed 3,500 calories and be eaten in 5 to 10 minutes), but it can take two days to burn that amount of calories. Let's leave that for a later discussion though.

Always remember that one pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories and you can make small but important choices to slowly and safely lose weight. As stated above, I will tell you how to achieve a safe and slow but consistent calorie deficit in the next post.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Overview of My Thoughts on Health

“To wish to be well is a part of becoming well.”~Seneca

As I stated in the introduction, there is no easy fix. Although I would love to tell you that you can sit around eating ice cream and Big Macs and still lose weight, it is not going to happen. As a matter of fact, the idea of eating most of that stuff now grosses me out. I will explain why later.

It is hard work. I often sweat until I can feel the salt crust form on my face and I can pick salt pieces off of my cheeks, forehead, and eyebrows. Yes, gross. I am sore almost every day from over-exerting my muscles past their current limits. Just when I start to feel better (usually on the second day after exercise), it is time to do it again. When I am not sore, I am jittery. This is because my muscles are still in shock and have not had time to become sore yet. Although I never threw up, I hear it is common during and after exercise. I’ve had joint problems that I never thought I would have until I was collecting my social security check (which is ‘never’ for my generation). You get the idea.

So why do I do it? Because it is worth it. I feel so much better now physically (it does get easier, but it takes a long, long time). I can climb, no, run up the three flights of stairs at my work and not feel winded while 19 year-olds next to me look like they are going to pass out from loss of breath as I pass them. I can play with my kids and not have to take a break after five minutes.

I also feel better mentally. I am not tired or mentally exhausted as much as I used to (though I still often am). I get more things done in the day because I have better focus and concentration. I think quicker on my feet, and seem to have better reading comprehension. There is evidence that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, so it makes you smarter in ways that I have not described here.

Maybe most importantly, I feel better about myself. I have always had fairly low self-esteem, and not being fit helped contribute to my poor body-image. I wouldn’t say I am vain and self-centered now, but I feel I have a better attitude about myself and life in general. There is evidence that exercise increases endorphins levels giving a natural high which helps one maintain a positive outlook and sense of happiness.

It took me about a year of ambitious focus, discipline, and attentiveness to accomplish my goals, so the changes I went through did not happen overnight. It was demanding and exhausting work. But as I stated, I am ecstatic about the results and know that anyone can do it. I hope I did not scare anyone away with my honesty above. I think capitalist society always makes us think that, by spending a few dollars, there is an immediate fix that we will see tomorrow whether that is a pill, liposuction, or stomach tightening. The problem with all of those, even if they did work which I am not sure they do, is that it does not change your habits or your lifestyle. You will go back to doing what you did before you got liposuction or took the pill and end up in the same position later with all of the adverse health consequences of surgery or experimental pills such as Metabolife/Ephedra which causes artificially and dangerously elevated heart rhythms and blood pressure.

I think most people know these things and have heard them before, but sometimes it takes a friend or relative (not a TV commercial) to say, “Hey, look at me! I’m a real-world example and going down this path works.” It can work for you too, if you are willing to put in the effort. Good luck!

In the next post, I will explain the basics of weight loss.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for November '09 Run #1

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for November '09 Run #1

Introduction to Jeremy's Fitness Blog

In order to change we must be sick and tired of being sick and tired. ~Author Unknown

A little more than a year ago, I smoked regularly (more than a pack a day at my peak), weighed 220 pounds, and, except a few afternoon walks and short bike rides to my job, lived a sedentary life. I felt miserable, had low self-esteem, and felt it was a chore to literally move.

Currently, I am at the lowest weight I've been since high school (150 pounds), I ran a half marathon, and I rode my bike to Denver and back in two days (145 miles round trip). I feel better than at any other time in my life since I was a child.

This blog will be a testament that there are some strategies that work to take weight off, become fit, and improve overall health, but the first things that must change are one's priorities and lifestyle. There simply is no easy fix in the form of a pill or a once a week thirty minute activity. It took me most of my adult lifetime to reach the unhealthy condition I was in; I am lucky it only took one year to change that.

I will detail my journey of how I met my goals, what kept me motivated, and what I have in plan for my future benchmarks. I will try to add a post every day (I wrote a few already, but I did not want to overwhelm anyone right away), and I will document my day's activities. I hope that my experiences will be a motivation to you and will help you reach your goals.