Now that the first week is under our belt, we should have some interesting data. Remember that this first week I wasn’t exercising at all, just going about my normal routine and cataloging it to gain some insight into how I got into this pudgy predicament.
I Eat Too Much Food
This seems obvious enough, but I figured it was worth stating. Over the course of the week I ate 21,562.4 calories. That breaks down to 3,080.34 calories per day. You may recall from the calorie counting post that I only need somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,256.43 calories to maintain my current weight. That means at the rate of eating I’ve been going at, I’ll gain about 1.65 pounds per week. Of course, that number assumes I’m not getting any exercise at all. In actuality I did do some walking and rearranging of furniture during the week that probably burned some of the calories. Still, I’m taking in more energy than I’m burning up and that is a recipe for a fatty.
I Don’t Eat Good Food
A lot of the food that I eat is highly processed. For example the Burger King Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich meal, or the Chocolate Marshmallow Mateys cereal. When I do eat something that’s close to natural like a handful of walnuts or a cup of yogurt, I tend to add chocolate to make it more palatable. I don’t eat a wide variety of vegetables, and the vegetables that I do eat are often starchy. I eat out a lot, which makes it difficult to control portions and to know what’s in the food I’m eating. When I eat out, I usually go for the tastiest thing I see rather than the food that may be the most healthy. Fat caloires accounted for 34.41% of the total calories I ate over the course of the week. The recommendation is no more than 30%.
I Eat a Lot all at Once
Rather than having small meals throughout the day, I tend to go several hours without eating anything and then cram a ton of food in over the span of an hour. I generally don’t feel hungry until I start eating. Once the seal is broken I can’t get enough. Sometimes even after my stomach feels full I still have a mental or emotonial craving to eat more. I feel a though I won’t be satisfied until I eat just one more thing; usually something sweet. This causes me to add an unecessary desserts on top of otherwise satisfying meals or grab seconds after I’m already feeling kind of full.
I Don’t Drink Water
This is pretty straightforward. Overall it looks like I don’t drink enough of anything. I’m surprised I’m not dehydrated all the time. Maybe I am and I don’t realize it. A lot of what I drink contains either caffine or alchohol. From what I’ve gathered both are fine in moderation, but when your diet doesn’t include much in the way of water or juice to offset it, I guess you have to call the consumption immoderate. Pretty much every source of diet advice reccomends at least 8 glasses of water a day. I barely get 8 glasses in a week.
I Don’t Exercise
I’m not completely sedentary. I do walk about a mile or more on average each day and I do some routine chores around the house. But I’m not engaging in regular exercise that gets my heart rate up or contributes to muscle development. From everything I’ve read so far, the benefits of exercise seem pretty clear, and the risks of inactivity seem equally apparent. Being a couch potato is linked to just about every health problem you can imagine, while being active is associated with a portfolio of benefits from mood alteration to cancer prevention. Some of the claims may be hokum, but regardless the bottom line is proven to improve your health, it carries little risk, and it doesn’t cost anything. That’s a pretty compelling case for exercise.
My Sleep Pattern is Erratic
Some days I’ll only sleep for 4-6 hours (or less), other days I’ll sleep for 12 -14 hours. At either extreme I wake up still feeling tired. The happy medium is 8 – 10 hours. There’s evidence that suggests that lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain. There’s also the simple fact that lack of sleep leaves you with less energy and less motivation to exercise. I also find that when I’m tired I have less willpower. So even if I know I shouldn’t eat a delicious ice cream cookie sandwich, I find it harder to resist if I’m tired and fussy.
Just a few other observations in no particular order:
- I eat a lot of chicken, usually fried. It’s my main protein.
- My total calories breakdown is 61% Carbs / 19% Protein / 31% Fat.
- I get about 21 grams of fiber per day.
- Silly sources of calories include alcohol and chocolate.
- I consider a package to be one serving, no matter how big or small.
- I crave the taste of chocolate if I go too long without it.
- I tend to snack right before dinner.
- I will eat out of boredom, or to procrastinate.
- I eat fast and don’t pay attention to what I’m eating.
- I will choose something that is easy to prepare over something that tastes better or is healthier.
Based on this week of examining my relationship with food, I think the following should be my guiding principles:
Eat Good Food
- Lay off the processed stuff.
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit.
- Eat whole grains.
- Avoid added sugar or fat.
- Chocolate is a sometimes food.
Eat Reasonable Portions
- A portion does not equal a whole package of a given food.
- Stop eating before you feel stuffed.
- Wait awhile after eating before going for more food.
- Eat slowly, taste what you’re eating, try to enjoy it.
- You don’t have to finish everything on your plate.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Choose water rather than soda or coffee when given the choice.
- Bring water when traveling.
- Do 30 – 90 minutes of exercise per day.
- Get heart rate up into the target zone.
- Add strength training to burn calories more efficiently.
Have Fun (without alcohol)
- Stay motivated with fun activities (Wii)
- Lay off the booze.
- Get outdoors as much as possible.
- Look to others for support and encouragement.
There aren’t any Earth shattering revelations in the points above. Just some straightforward guidelines based on the advice that I’ve been reading and my own weaknesses. Hopefully I can start putting these principles into practice right away and start improving my health and moving toward my goal.
Weekly Nutrition Facts:
Total Calories: 21,562.4
Calories from Fat: 7,418.746
Fat: 836.779 grams
Carbohydrates: 2475.88 grams
Fiber: 146.37 grams
Protein: 761.24 grams