July 21, 2006

Dieting, Eating Strategies, Fat Loss

I may just have accidentally stumbled on an article I had always wanted to write.

As a health/wellness writer, I’ve published pieces on stress, the fat-and-forty syndrome, backpacking, and other focused topics, but never one that can serve as a comprehensive guide to health and fitness. I planned on writing a simple bulleted guide that covers nutrition, weight maintenance, aerobics, and resistance training – the essential elements of a healthy lifestyle. But the most I’ve done is scribble pieces of a draft that gets shuffled around in a deep drawer marked “One of These Days” (oh, that’s a step up from being in the thick folder labeled, “You think?”)

Today, while surfing the ‘Net looking for the formula for how many calories a person burns at rest (don’t ask), I ended up here:

How Dieting Works by Marshall Brain of HowStuffWorks.com

Mr. Brain had the information I was looking for. And I quote:

“At rest (for example, while sitting and watching television), the human body burns only about 12 calories per pound of body weight per day (26 calories per kilogram). That means that if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg), your body uses only about: 150 X 12 = 1,800 calories per day.

“Those 1,800 calories are used to do everything you need to stay alive:
- They keep your heart beating and lungs breathing.
- They keep your internal organs operating properly.
- They keep your brain running.
- They keep your body warm. “

The part I enjoyed best about Mr. Brain’s article was the section on weight loss myths:

“The myth that you can lose 54 pounds in 6 weeks - Despite what the ads say (I LOST 54 POUNDS IN 6 WEEKS WITHOUT DIETS OR EXERCISE!!! or LOSE 10 POUNDS THIS WEEKEND!), you cannot lose a pound of fat unless you burn off 3,500 calories. To lose 54 pounds in 6 weeks, you would need to lose 9 pounds in 7 days, or 1.3 pounds per day. That 1.3 pounds of fat is equal to 4,500 calories, so you would have to burn off 4,500 calories per day. The only way to do that would be to eat nothing AND run a marathon every day for 42 days. That's impossible. The only way to lose that much weight that quickly is either through dehydration or amputation. The ads are lying.”

With nothing better to do, I continued surfing until I found myself reading what I previously mentioned as the article I had always wanted to write. Obviously, someone already beat me to it. In 2002.

Eating Strategies for Permanent Fat Loss

It’s actually a handout created by Sheri Barke, MPH, RD, of the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center. To learn more, explore the UCLA site she developed: Student Nutrition (& Body Image) Action Committee.

So, I can rest easy. The piece had been written. All I have to do now is bookmark and send the URL to my trainees. Thank you, Sheri Barke.

3 comments:

Beachwriter said...

Good Information. I do my best to maintain a healthy diet, but I have to say that there are some things I cannot live without and will not live without:

1. Chocolate
2. Pasta
3. French Fries
4. Margaritas

As long as I "moderate" these things, I should be fine:-)

Beachwriter said...

Oh, My fifth thing:

5. Coffee drinks:-)

ruby said...

I don't think there is anything we should totally eliminate from our usual diet. Yes, moderation is key. Eliminating food we've grown to love would result in deprivation, and that's never a good thing. Ice cream is something I'll never give up... but now I only have it on weekends. :)