Healthcare Reform

Originally written Feb 20, 2011:

Ever tried to lose 70 pounds? It’s tough. I’m sure everyone has heard of The Biggest Looser by now. Every week – with a few exceptions –  the contestants inspire me.  At my worst in 2009, I tipped the scale at right about 300 pounds. In 2010 I worked my way down to 257 but then events in my life overcame my resolve to exercise and I gave up. I slowly worked my way back up to 277.

Enter 2011. Two hundred seventy seven pounds  is a long way from where I need to be.  So… For the last month I have walked a 5K every day on my treadmill. In addition I have being doing weight training every day. Additionally I have reduced my caloric intake to about 2250 calories a day. The net result: thus far I have lost about three pounds each week.  As I write this I currently weigh 265lbs.

Weight loss is about one thing: Using more calories than you consume (“types” of calories is a topic best left for a conversation on health- this post is about intake vs. consumption). Here’s my  math. Someone my starting size (277lbs, 6′ 4″) has a resting (basal) metabolic rate of about 2200. And during the course of my day (7 hours sleeping, 17 awake, super light activity) I burn about 1000 additional calories. Therefore,  my total daily burn is probably somewhere around 3200 (that’s to maintain my current weight). To lose a pound you need to burn roughly 3500 calories. So, over the course of each day I eat (on average) 2250 calories, burn about 700 (exercise) and I have a deficit of 1650. Over the course of a week my deficit total is somewhere around 11,000 and 11,000/3500 = 3-ish lbs lost each week.

There are obvious cardio benefits too. I timed myself in the beginning of my journey. It took me more than 11 mins to puff my way through a mile. Now I can run a mile in under 9 mins (sans puffing). My 5K time was 39 mins and now I can run it just shy of 32 mins. My goal for my birthday is a sub 8 minute mile and a sub 30 min 5K. The body’s ability to heal itself is fantastic.

Update written March 15, 2011:

By the beginning of March I was down to 257 again. I ran a mile in 8 mins 10 seconds and a 5K in 29 mins. I had high hopes for reaching the 240’s by my birthday (March 22nd).

And then the shin splints came. I’m not exactly certain why they started. Possibly bad running form, the increased workout intensity or the fact that I changed shoes (wore my other pair out!). The pain got so bad I could barely walk, let alone run.

But I was determined not to give up this time. I changed my walking technique to compensate for the pain and I adjusted the treadmill incline to maintain the workout intensity. There were days I simply had to skip. Around the same time work and home life got particularly stressful (sorry, no juicy details) and I compromised my diet at times. While there was no further weight loss, I was able to maintain my progress.

Fast forward two weeks. Today I was finally able to run again without pain. I jogged about six miles while I watched the part of the bachelor finale on Hulu. It felt so good to run again! I don’t have any residual pain after my run, so I’m feeling hopeful. It’s back to my diet and regular workout now.

I’ll post another update sometime in April. My new goal is to hit the 240’s by April 10th, since my original plan hit a snag. Wish me luck!