Back to reality   Leave a comment

Back to the here and then.

Wednesday was back to work. Fortunately it was a fairly quiet day, so the important business of resting, recuperating and buying milk could be got on with.

That was pretty much it, as Wednesday went. Dinner and catching up with the world after three days away was in the evening.

Happily, now I’m back home these posts can once more be shorter and not need pictures. Those holiday posts were quite hard work. And, it doesn’t escape me, they were of no interest to most of humanity (unlike every other post I’ve written, obviously); but, this is a diary, and that is what happened, so that is what I wrote.

I did decide to do one thing on Wednesday. I’d been wondering why the effects, on my weight, of massive quantities of biscuits and cake, and going to the gym, were not as you might expect. Also, despite most of me being fairly slim, I still have an annoying flobby belly. When in doubt, mathematics; and so I thought: let’s work out how many calories I actually eat, and actually need.

The first part’s not so hard; nutritional information is easy to find, and I’ve got a set of scales. The second part is more difficult: I found various estimates ranging from about 2,400 kCal to just shy of 3,000, per day. The what-you-do-for-how-long calculator at www.caloriesperhour.com claimed I used about 2,874. I decided to round this to 2,750 to take into account being lazy, and add any non-trivial exercise I did onto the top.

The surprising thing is, even being slightly generous, how few calories I consume. You may find this hard to believe after my visiting Cornwall as a swarm of locusts, but it’s true. Only two days of seven so far have I eaten more than 1,900 kCal, and that includes such ideal fodder for a calorie-controlled diet as Twixes, Wagon Wheels and caramel slices. This would explain how I can frequently scoff packs of biscuits without getting fat.

It also shows the answer to a question I’m often asked when pigging out in public: “How can you eat like that and stay so skinny?” Partly, it’s that long, slender limbs hide fatness; I’m not as skinny as I look. Partly it’s because I’m significantly taller – hence larger – than average, so need more food. Partly it’s because most of the time I don’t pig out, and so really I’m just catching up with myself. It all averages out in the end.

And what use is this information? Well, I decided I wanted rid of my annoying flobby belly. One problem to overcome – and I suspect a lot of people fall foul of this – is the information available. There are so many fads and diets and “diets” and companies marketing this and that and scams and snake-oil and contradictory information and plain old bollocks. No two sources will give you the same data, unless one copied the other. It doesn’t help that it seems the amount of actual, proper research into nutrition is surprisingly low, considering how much of a fuss is made about it. The absolute, guaranteed and known fact is pretty much: eat fewer calories than you use and you will get lighter, regardless of those calories being lettuce or lard. Beyond that, what causes you to burn fat versus muscle or whatever? Buggered if I know.

So I decided that the consensus was, after poking around haphazardly, that a 1,000ish calorie defecit per day was fine, and that would mean losing about 1kg per week. That could mean I would be at 0% body fat in maybe twenty weeks! And also dead, so we’ll not do that, but – if my maths based on guesswork and estimation is correct – six or seven weeks should be about right, assuming I stay on target.

Which I’ve only managed two days so far. Only one day was I over, however; the others I’ve been at -1,300 or below (for a few of those I was using the 2,440 kCal/day estimate, though). Who would’ve thought I could have needed to eat more?!

So much for shorter and more interesting, huh?

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