Friday, May 21, 2010

Examples of What 200 Calories Look Like

Ever wonder how much food is 200 calories? It can become very confusing fast since different foods condense those calories in different ways. This website gives a visual representation of what 200 calories look like. My only qualm about the information is that it is represented in ml and gram weights, but the pictures help as a guide to overcome the measurement confusion. These interesting comparisons go from greater quantities to fewer so it serves as a good guide marker of foods you can eat plenty of without adding too much to your total calorie count.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It all makes sense!

This video helps explain why Europe does not have the obesity problems we have here in the U.S. I suppose it also helps that they don't eat fast food . . .

Riding to work is one of the easiest way to improve your health and save money (and help the environment!). Men's Health has an easy read about the benefits of riding bikes to work. I usually take the long way to work, making my morning ride 7.3 miles instead of the 2.5 miles it could take me on the shorter route. I do take the shorter route home, but that makes 10 miles or about 35 minutes or so of exercise every work day. It wakes me up and makes me more productive in the morning.

I am glad Ray LaHood, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, said we will begin to invest in walking and bicycling infrastructure with the same priority we give automobiles. Hopefully, this improved infrastructure will motivate people to ditch the car. If we build it, they will come . . .

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to Beat the Blues

Here is an interesting read about the way exercise can influence your mood.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Restaurant and Frozen Meal Nutrition Labels Often Inaccurate

I always round up or add about 100 extra calories to my daily total to compensate for all the little snacks and extras I forgot to count during the day. Now, there is another reason to round up or add a bit extra to your daily total calorie count. It turns out that the food nutrition labels are often inaccurate. There are more calories than those the nutrition label states. Fast food meals are close to 20% off and frozen meals are close to 10% off. It is best to avoid these type of meals for your general health anyway, but if you do choose to eat them, be aware that you might want to add a few more calories to your daily total to compensate for these misleading labels.

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for January '10 Cycling #7

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for January '10 Cycling #7 Cold, snow, and ice but we will not make excuses! Here are some winter riding tips for those who brave these conditions.

How to lose weight and still be healthy: Diet vs. Exercise

Most diets fail because people think they can cheat physiology (the physics of the body) by following a fad diet—cutting carbs, South Beach, the celebrity starvation diet of the week, etc. It just doesn’t work that way. As I’ve said multiple times, weight loss and habit changes take time. To be successful, you have to be prepared to allow time for these slow changes. A few posts ago, I said there is only one thing to know about weight loss (or weight maintenance or weight gain): 1 pound = 3,500 calories. If you eat more than 3,500 calories than you burn, then you will gain a pound. If you burn more than 3,500 calories than you eat, you will lose a pound.

An adult body burns about 2,000 calories on a typical day without any additional exercise. So if you go about your normal routine, you will burn about 2,000 calories. That is why most nutrition labels—the little white square on the back of most foods—are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. If you eat less than 2,000 calories (I tend to favor low-balling numbers, so I would actually say 1,800) a day, you are bound to lose weight slowly. When you intentionally eat less than 2,000 calories, it is usually called dieting.

There are two problems to consider with just dieting. The first is that if you just diet with no exercise, your whole body withers away including muscle and bone. It can lead to a debilitating physical condition and a loss of energy and motivation which is not what you want, even if you are thinner. Thinner does not exactly equate with healthier. The second problem is this actually tends to take the longest amount of time unless you really starve yourself which, as explained previously, is not a healthy way to get the calorie deduction. The exaggerated time to see results will become so frustrating that you will most likely have slips by sneaking snacks and bad food. It becomes a cycle of yo-yo dieting which will lead to you becoming understandably discouraged and impatient with the lack of results and then cause you to quit. On the other hand, if you cut out too few calories, it takes even longer to lose weight and, again, people tend to give up because they lack visible results.

The other plan is to exercise. Several reports have come out stating that exercise does not lead to weight loss. This is a bit misleading because if you are a careful reader, it goes on to say exercise does lead to weight loss. It’s just that people see exercise as a reason to eat more and so they don’t lose weight. One of the frustrating things about exercise is that it is a lot of work for admittedly not a whole lot in return. I have to run for about 1.25 miles (which was just about my complete workout when I first began exercising and now still takes me about 10 to 12 minutes of running) just to get rid of the calories in one can of coke (about 140 calories in a 12oz. can). Let me repeat that, it takes about 10 to 12 minutes of running to get rid of one can of coke. Walking, it would take close to a half hour just to get rid of those calories. In other words, exercise alone won’t help you lose weight if you still eat junk, and dieting won’t necessarily help you lose weight either. So what do you do?

Both. I will discuss how and why in the next post as this one is already getting a bit too long.

For your homework: add up a week’s worth of calories keeping a daily food journal and then take the average (divide your total by 7) to see how your calorie intake compares to the 2,000 calorie recommended intake average for adults. Don’t forget to include the small but significant foods in your count such as coffee creamer, salad dressing, sodas, etc. Is your intake more than 2,000 calories? Less? Think about what foods are maybe unnecessary and high in calories.

Good luck and keep moving!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for January '10 Cycling #5

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for
January '10 Cycling #5

My new bike--well,I actually got it Oct. 30, but it is still new to me. It is called a Kona Jake the Snake (after the owner of Kona, not the wrestler).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for January '10 Run #1

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for
January '10 Run #1

Happy New Year!

Sorry for the unannounced vacation from the blog. My job and family require a lot of my time around the holidays, and so I had to take what I thought would be a brief break but turned out to be a bit longer. I hope to keep this blog updated at least a few times a week in the upcoming months, so keep posted.

I hope you set some challenging, but realistic, goals for the New Year. Most of us set health goals at the New Year, but then they seem to fall by the wayside by late January. Don't let a few stumbles bring you down. Here are a few tips to help keep you motivated when the weather seems too cold to get out or you missed a day or two of your goals and then feel like throwing in the towel. Remember, health and weight loss are long-term goals, and, as I stated in the previous posts, the changes don’t come over night. It takes about two months of consistent work to see and feel noticeable changes and to create the habits that will actually lead to results.

Just so you don’t feel alone in this battle, I set some health-related New Year’s resolutions for myself. One of my friends, Gary, set a goal almost a year ago to ride his bike for at least a half-hour per day. While I think my goals are a bit different than him (I want to run a marathon this year while he is more interested in bike races), I think the idea is admirable, so I plan to copy it with a few adjustments. My goal is to complete at least a consecutive half-hour of exercise per day for the entire year. This exercise can include running, biking, weight lifting, or hiking. So far I’ve kept my goal by riding my bike four days this month and then running today. As I just stated, my second goal is to run a marathon, the Chicago Marathon in October. Lastly, I plan to maintain the healthy eating habits I started last year. The goal of health is not to reach an ideal weight and then return to bad habits but to make healthy choices a life-long habit. Of course, we all are allowed a few fun days, but those should be treats and rare occasions, not daily or even weekly occurrences.

Well, since we are returning to normal routines after the holidays, now might be a good time to start your food calorie journal (see the previous posts) to begin documenting your calorie intake. Once you have that situated, you can begin to make the choices necessary to create the new you. I will further explain this process in upcoming posts. I will then branch out into other areas such as keeping motivated, other considerations regarding food and nutrition beyond calories, and other aspects of general health and fitness.

Good luck, and keep moving!