May 14, 2010

Weight Loss attempt - Take 2

So the last attempt at having a workout routine failed rather miserably. No shock there; I wasn't totally committed and was trying to introduce a new activity to the schedule during exam week.

This last visit back home was a wake up call. My weight went up by 3lbs, the first in 2+ years. 3 pounds sounds insignificant, but for me, it was the tipping point. I'm at a place where I am not happy with my body weight, size and shape. All of that must change. But how!? I've gotten all sorts of advice: cut the carbs, exercise more, go on a low cal diet, etc. The truth of it is, no one fad diet or out-of-the-ordinary effort is going to work (not in the long term, healthy way). In order to lose weight and keep it off, I'll have to incorporate bits and pieces from all sources.

As I'm doing research, it turns out that I almost never hit my target caloric intake. I'm usually either grossly below the mark, or above it (typically when I'm home for break). I'm not much into the whole low carb/high protein deal. I'd much rather eat my aloo paratha (which, incidentally, is only 290 cal) and work with the number of calories I'm taking in versus expending. The basic deal is, you should burn more than you consume in order to lose weight. If you consistently consume more than you use, you will end up gaining about 1lb/2weeks.

Honestly, so far, it's been quiet mind-boggling. I definitely can't figure it out for myself, so I'll be taking help from a friend who used to be a physical trainer. The goal here is to lose 20lb in the next 7 months. I'm hoping to greet 2011 with a leaner body, healthier lifestyle and still satisfied stomach (yes, I know the actual satisfaction is actually, only felt in the brain...).

First step in all of this is more research. I need to figure out where I can cut back and where I can add on, what foods are good for me and how many calories are in the 50+ pounds of frozen food I brought from home for this semester. Being Indian, it has been frustrating to figure out how many calories my daal-chawal, bhindi and chicken jalfrezi have. Recently, however, there's been an increased awareness from the public sector and people are finally doing the math and posting it online. Additionally, companies are becoming more health savvy and putting nutritional information on the maggis and frutis out there (doesn't stop me from eating that stuff!).

Second step is to adjust my eating habits as best I can (I'm eating Special K cereal with 1% milk - ew! - as I type this up). I'll also be keeping a food journal to keep track of my daily caloric intake - this will help in the adjustment part of things.

Lastly, I'll be adding more exercise and calorie-consuming activities to my routine. Did you know, you burn 11.4cals for every 4mts of brushing your teeth? Somebody's about to have really white teeth in 7 months ;) I'll also be cleaning my house more often, ironing more clothes and washing dishes for free for the entire neighborhood (just kidding!). It's amazing that the simplest things can burn a significant number of calories. Of course, those are just regular activities. I'll also be including about 1 hour of exercise into my routine. Yoga, Tae Kwon Do and jump roping for 20mts each burns about 430 calories. Add to that 45mts of (hard-core) dancing and you total a burn of 688 calories. Oh and I'll have to adjust the crunches and leg raises into that as well...I don't suppose they count as yoga? I'm suddenly starting to get concerned about the time limitations imposed by the little factor of attending medical school while I try to get my weight/size/shape under control. 24 hours just aren't enough!

The math is a little hard to work out since regular activities like putting on your clothes and shoes are part of the equation; the real trick is in figuring out how much goes towards keeping my body functioning throughout the day and how much "leftover" goes towards weight loss. I'm anticipating a second journal will be involved - hurray for Excel!

If I haven't confused you, you are amazing! For the moment, my cereal is finished, as is my brain's capacity to comprehend much more of this calorie in versus calorie out game. At 10-something, I'll call it an early night and get cracking on a fresh schedule on a fresh day =)