Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gaining Health. Losing Pounds.

I want to lose twenty pounds. I have not set a time limit, because I don't want to lose twenty pounds very quickly. Whenever I lose weight quickly, I find that I gain it back just as quickly. My goals are to lose twenty pounds, to keep those twenty pounds off, and to continue the shift in my diet from food of convenience to food of health. Alas, the overabundance of information pertaining to nutrition makes this process difficult. 15 minutes a day. 10 minutes a day. 30 minutes a day. Three hours a week. These are all times advertised by folks who claim to be able to give you a foolproof method to a better body. I just want something that works. Here, then, is my plan. I am going to adapt Michael Pollan's Food Rules to my vision of the world. Mostly, I'm going to do as he says in rule #1 -- I'm going to eat food. That handles diet. Exercise is more difficult. I've no idea what to do. Weight lifting? Cardio? Both? How much of each? I need to do more research. This, my friends, is what an academic does when confronted by a problem. Research, research, research. I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. saw interesting thing on eating.
    they said, add 1 more vegetable to every meal. even if you think you have enough sides. since usually we all try everything on the table, unless one is icky, we'll be eating less of something and more of vegetables if we just add one.
    iono if it really works. im testing it on my family. they're appreciating the variety.

  2. Also, doing things that are exercise but actually accomplish other things are a good way to incorporate exercise into your day:

    Rearrange the apartment once a month. (Furniture and all.)
    Stairs: two at a time. Every time.
    I would also add biking to local stores for groceries, but your temperament and location may not suit that well.

    Et cetera!

  3. I recently read this:
    It's a very well-researched and has 100 pages of references to sources to back up it's claims. It's ideas are counter to the traditional wisdom of the last 50 years, but those same 50 years have brought an epidemic of obesity so perhaps it is time to re-evaluate our thoughts on the matter.
    As far as exercise is concerned - something to keep in mind is aerobic exercise uses different fuel depending on it's intensity. Somewhere around 50% of Vo2 max (the maximum oxygen usage rate for your muscles) your muscles switch from using fatty acids to using glycogen(carbs). Fatty acids (being straight carbon chains) are a cleaner-burning fuel and are abundant in the body. Carbohydrates' advantage is they contain oxygen in the molecule already so in an oxygen-limited environment you can burn more carbohydrates than fatty acids. It's be similar to comparing the burning of kerosine(jet fuel) and gunpowder - which you use depends on how fast you want it to burn.
    If you want to burn off some of the mashed potatoes from thanksgiving you'd want to do some intense aerobic activity(sprinting) as it's entering your bloodstream - a couple hours after the meal. If you want to burn some of your fat deposits, a lower-intensity workout like a stationary bike while watching a movie would do the trick. The trouble is, the body's energy stores are very tightly regulated so any increase in activity produces an equivalent increase in appetite. This shouldn't discourage you from pursuing physical activity for health benefits though - vigorous aerobic exercise is very good for your cardiovascular system and increasing your calories burned per day means you'll eat more food, letting you pack more nutrients into your body.
    Weight lifting can increase lean muscle mass - muscles use energy 24/7, even when not in use. Toned, large muscles also make you look good which is a plus for everyone involved.