Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dept. of Weights & Measures: Live and Let Diet

Hello, I am on a diet. I realize that I am basically thin, but I pretty much put on six pounds in the three months after I figured out my happy weight. Which is not the biggest tragedy ever, I even get little boobs at that weight & that's fun; but my pants weren't fitting, and I'm invested in black leggings in sort of a big way.

I favor the do-the-math approach to weight loss. A pound is 3500 calories, which neatly (too neatly) divides over a week into 500 calories per day. So if you want to lose a pound in a week, you have to create a 500 calorie deficit per day. Which I break down again between eating and exercising: eat 250 calories less, exercise 250 calories more every day. It's like how B says you can do anything for 15 seconds, I can do anything for 250 calories & that's 250 calories relative to me. [ETA: I mean, do you know what I mean? This means not jumping into some triathlete's training regimen or falling back on the The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Couch Potato Workout for Dummies. It's about changing course two hundred and fifty degrees from where I am right here, right now. Did I ever tell you about the rice cakes? Rice cakes are low in calories; so I started eating them. Only before, I hadn't been eating snacks. Result, I gained weight on rice cakes.]

So what 250 calories can I lose from what I eat? Almost every day I have an apple with peanut butter, two tablespoons of peanut butter is 190 calories... that's more than halfway there. I guess half a cup of silk with my coffee every morning, 50 calories... that's 240 calories gone, and all I've done is cut out 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a 1/2 cup of silk. And I will throw out the bun from my weekly Choppers burger, because I'm not giving up my fries.

(But let's talk about what's really been behind my weight gain these past months: Oreo shakes, almost every week, as recently featured in Eat This, Not That: TWENTY-SIX HUNDRED CALORIES. I think that's pretty much where I left my "happy" weight behind. I was happy with the Oreo shakes, though!)

Now for adding 250 calories of exercise, a quick google of "exercise that burns 250 calories" tells me that's about an hour of any number of activities. I love a rule of thumb. Apart from skating, an additional hour of activity for me most days adds up to ...an hour of activity per day. I settled on walking home from work. It takes about an hour, it's just under three miles. And it takes a half hour to get home on the bus, anyway; so it's just an extra half hour for the hour's worth of exercise.

And that's it! As my JavaScript teacher used to say, as if it was the easiest thing in the world.

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