Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fitness and Caloric Consumption (Part 3)

objects-front-placematPortion size.  Portion control.  Is a medium apple truly a medium apple?  How do we know how much we are really eating?  My wife and I have been using MyFitnessPal for the last year to track what we eat while we learn a new lifestyle of healthy habits.  If you read back through my earlier posts, in Part 1 we delved into how to determine the number of calories in we should be aiming for.  In Part 2, I dove into the ratio of Fats, Carbs and Proteins.  And here, in Part 3 I am going to look at portion control.  Though I dislike the term, and there as many opinions and studies as there are stars in the universe (or so it seems to me), There is something to be said about knowing how much you eat.  Without it, you will never truly understand how many calories you are consuming.

Step 1 – Tracking Our Calories (using one tool)

We started this journey armed with one application – MyFitnessPal (MFP).  We input our stats, set our goals and used the foods as found in the database.  A month ago, we got our Fitbits and very quickly realized MFP may not be 100% accurate.  Last week I added a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) to the mix and hooked it up via Endomondo.  This really started hitting home that MFP was more a generalization of calories burned than it was an accurate measure of calories burned.  This, in turn, started us thinking that maybe our intake was not accurate either.  For the last week we pulled out our food scale and started measuring, mostly in grams, what we ate.  We were taking aback at how far off we were in measuring our intake.

For example, a medium apple is listed in MFP as having 72 calories.  When we weighed the apple, then subtracted the portion we did not eat we found we ate 173 gms.  This is 90 calories, or 18 calories more than just selecting a medium apple!  After measuring each meal and inputting the gms weight we ate, we discovered that in most cases we were eating less calories than what MFP reported with just portion sizes.  Granted, it was only 150-200 calories, but as we discovered in our last post, eating too few calories can be almost as bad as eating too many.

Step 2 - Tracking Our Calories (using multiple tools)

Now that we are using a scale, and using more tools to track our workouts, we feel more confident in the numbers we are tracking.  Adding a HRM via Endomondo has shown me that I am burning *more* calories per workout than what MFP would report when I entered an activity and time.  I need another week or so of numbers before I do another adjustment in our calories in vs. out.  After making the adjustments (see Part 1 & 2), we have started losing weight again.  Not quickly, but so far steadily. 

Step 3 – Results

Both of us feel we are getting results though neither of us are excited looking at our charts for weight loss.  We feel the difference in our clothes as all of our clothes keep getting bigger and bigger.  Our weight is staying steady (maybe a maintenance mode?) but, if our Fitbit Aria Scale is to be believed, we are each gaining lean mass and losing fat mass.  I will leave this post with a couple of my charts.


The above graph is via Fitbit and the use of the Fitbit Aria Scale which also measures the percentage fat.  As you can see, we’ve only been using it for about 3 weeks so no data before the tail end of Feb 2014.  What you can see though (blue line) is a downward trend before we increased our calorie intake and then an uptrend after that point.  As far as weight (green line) you can see a steady loss from Dec to Feb, a plateau, then our calorie adjustment and finally a small downward trend again.


This is my measurements over the last year.  While many are staying pretty constant, the one I am most excited about is my waist measurement!  We take a measure every two weeks now.  I’ve tightened up two notches on my belt and all of my pants look like I am swimming in them.  If I looked at just my weight progress I probably would have quit last month.  I just need to remember that I am no longer swimming in hormones like a twenty-something, need to work consistently and I will get to where I want to go.

I think my next post will be exploring Heart Rates during workouts…

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fitness and Caloric Consumption (Part 2)

2013-04-13_1310_003Well over a year ago my wife and I had some genetic testing done to determine the best ranges for Fat/Protein/Carb consumption.  While no test will allow us to get to an exact percentage breakdown, these DNA tests will get you into 1 of the 6 major categories.  The 3 eating types are Carb Reducer, Fat Trimmer and Better Balancer.  Each group is further broken down to requiring either a High MET or Moderate MET workout plan.  As luck would have it, my wife and I both tested as the same DNA profile for weight management: Carb Reducer + High MET.

So what is a Carb Reducer’s consumption of Fat/Protein/Carb supposed to like?  For my wife and I, it looks like this:

  Type Recommendation   Our Target
  Fat 40% or less   30%
  Protein 15% or more   35%
  Carbs 30% – 45%   35%

Since we both use http://MyFitnessPal.com on both the desktop as well as our Android devices, we are only allowed to put in a singular number for our goal in each of the nutrition values (Our Target above).  We more than doubled the protein consumption to help support our work out regimen.  I also discovered something called the Thermic Effect of Food or TEF.  I found out that protein has a high TEF while fats have a low TEF.  This means that it takes more energy to digest protein than it does fats.  How much more, I don’t know, but I’ll take every calorie burned that I can.  Also, extra protein helps with muscle development.

Percentages vs. Grams (Fat/Protein/Carbs)

While proteins and carbs provide the same caloric value, fats do not.  This is something I did not know until I wanted to figure out how to calculate percentages for myself.  To calculate how many calories are in each component, here are the equations:

  Multiply by Calories
Fat (in grams) 9 calories = gm x 9
Protein (in grams) 4 calories = gm x 4
Carbs (in grams) 4 calories = gm x 4

You can then add up the 3 sets of calories, 1 each for fat, protein and carbs, to get your total calorie intake for that item you just put in your mouth.  Once you have the total for a meal, or for the day, take the total for fat and divide by the total to get your percentage fat for the day.  In an ideal world, my food intake should look something like this:

78.0 gm of fat + 204.5 gm of protein + 204.5 gm of carbs.  Doing the math comes out to 702 calories in fats + 818 calories in protein and 818 calories in carbs for a total of 2,338 calories of intake.  This gives me the almost perfect F:30% / P:35% / C:35% ratio I am looking for.

My Little World

2014-03-12_15492014-03-12_1547Now, the hardest part lies ahead of me: balancing my daily consumption of calories!  If I use a spreadsheet and then chart out my daily intake, it appears my fats are pretty near the zone most of the time but my proteins are lower and my carbs higher than my target zones for those two items.  NOTE:  On my spreadsheet to the left I color coded too high (red), too low (blue) and in the zone (green).  Also note that while I have several “in the green” items, I do not have a single day yet where the balance was all in the zone!  My monthly average is within parameters for my DNA type but I like striving for better than yesterday, every day.

Nobody ever said learning a new lifestyle would be easy.  Sometimes I feel like I am making this up as I go.  Every time I dive into more research I find more information and suddenly my uncertainty seems to evaporate.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fitness and Caloric Consumption (Part 1)

A look at my personal BMR and weight loss.

14 - 1 (1)

My wife and I have been working out since the 2nd week of January, once she got clearance after a foot and ankle surgery late last year.  For awhile, we were both making good gains but for the last 4 weeks our weight has slowly been going back up, even with an increase of working out from 4 days/week to 5 days/week.  Frustrating!  So, I’ve embarked on a deeper understanding of calories in vs. calories out.

The first aspect of figuring out how many calories you should be taking in is something called the BMR.  BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate, is the rate that your body burns calories throughout a 24 hour day.  I am not intending to go into depth about BMR or why the formulae are different for men and women.  To get into that you need to understand what a metabolism is.  In simple terms, your metabolism is every hormone your body produces, and when in balance, how it burns and/or stores energy.  (One of the sources I am using is the book Mastering your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels.)  For now I will simplify and urge a life long habit of eating clean; meaning cut out the processed foods, high fructose corn syrup foods, endocrine inhibitors, and try to eat from local producers and/or certified organic producers.

The formulae for figuring out your BMR is simply:

  • Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
  • Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )

This, unto itself, is only half of the way to your caloric needs.  To figure that out you need to figure out your activity level, or use something like a Fitbit to track your activity level.  Since I’ve been logging all of my workouts for the last 8 weeks and recently purchased a Fitbit Flex, I have data I can go back over to figure out my daily caloric burn.  I ended up using the Harris Benedict Formula for calculating caloric burn.

To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:

  1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  3. If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

For weight loss I have discovered that 1 pound of fat is pretty much 3500 calories.  If you want to lose 1 pound each week your calories in (food) should be 3500 calories lower than your total calories out (daily activity plus exercise).  Since I currently weigh about 220 pounds and have a target weight of 195 pounds I channeled the inner engineer in me and came up with the following chart:


Now, looking back for the last several weeks through my tracking of calories burned I am averaging 2,400 on a non-workout day and 3,150 on a workout day.  So, my average week is pretty close to (2 x 2400) + (5 x 3150) or 20,550 calories burned each week.  If I wanted to maintain my weight I would need to eat this many calories every week.  If I wanted to lose 2 pounds a week, I would need to eat 7,000 calories less than this each week.  And for me, I believe it needs to be consistent each day, not 3,000 calories in today and 1,000 calories in tomorrow.  And having lived the sedentary lifestyle for so many years, I can say with absolute certainty that exercise is required to lose weight.  And please note on my chart (left chart) where I ended up while currently weighing 220 pounds.  Between lightly and moderately active!  But doesn’t it say if you work out 3-5 times a week you are moderately active?  Yes, as a (very) general rule.  But everybody (and every body) is different.

Now, why did I do all of this math stuff?  I did it because following an software application’s advice I was not losing weight!  And I wanted to figure out why.  When punching all of this into MyFitnessPal and Fitbit it was recommended that I should be eating just aver 1,400 calories a day.  Well, that is a lot lower than 2,000 calories a day that I just figured out I should be eating to lose weight.  That means I should be losing weight even faster, right?  From everything I’ve researched, the answer is not only no, but hell no!  Not enough calories will force the body into a different state and it will hold on to every calorie it can.  Starvation mode over time does not work.  In fact, it is highly suggested that you don’t have a deficit of more than 20% of your maintenance level unless you are obese.  Then, maybe 30% might be good to start.  The right hand part of the chart (above) is a 20% reduction in calories.  Half way between 15,523 and 17,499 is about 16,500 calories a week.  This is a 4,000 calorie deficit each week which would equate to about 1.1 pounds lost each week.  16,500 divided by 7 days would put me right around 2,357 calories each day to eat. 

Well holy hand grenades of Antioch!  That is nearly a 1,000 calories more than both MyFitnessPal and Fitbit put me at!  Does that explain why for the last 3 weeks I’ve been getting more and more sore, more and more tired, rundown and worn out?  Maybe.  For the next 3-4 weeks I will be working on an input of about 2,300 calories a day instead of 1,400 a day and see if things start changing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Welcome to the Thursday edition of the #significanceseries Today's recipient hails from Texas. He...

Welcome to the Thursday edition of the #significanceseries  

Today's recipient hails from Texas. He is always promoting, building or highlighting others works and posts on Google+. He is just a another plusser who exemplifies what kind and nice are. If you don't have +Jeff Sieh in your circles your missing out. Also he does the best videos and trailers in Google+. They are simply awesome. Here is a link to one of the many he has made. Manly Pinterest Tips 2

Thanks Jeff for making others significant!

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4 Must-Read Books to Improve Your Social Media Skills in 2014 How are you going to kick it up a notch...

4 Must-Read Books to Improve Your Social Media Skills in 2014

How are you going to kick it up a notch in 2014?

Boosting your social media skills is a constant process. I’ve been asked how I learned social media marketing and one of my favorite ways that I’ve learned is by reading books. Hosting a book club on Twitter for several years with a focus on social media and marketing books was a master class for me and the people who participated. I wanted to share four books that you should pick up to boost your skills for 2014.

There’s no fast track to learning social media. Time spent on the platforms using them is really the best way to learn but reading books can help you learn more quickly. Reading books doesn’t replace the time that you need to put in to build a social media platform but it does help you figure out what to do.

What are your book recommendations for 2014?

Read it now: http://ift.tt/1lu3DpV

Pin it for later: http://ift.tt/19CkILW

#socialmediatips #books #readinglist

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Are you ready for 2014? Parts of the world are already celebrating the start of the new year, which ...

Are you ready for 2014?
Parts of the world are already celebrating the start of the new year, which for some reason brings a renewed sense of courage and dedication to accomplish things we haven't accomplished yet.

I've been reading a lot of 2013 round-ups, and 2014 to-do posts, 'tis the season, and there's a trend emerging...

+David Amerland brought up "the attention economy" earlier this week in +The Mia Connect's HOA, and reinforced the point of finding ways to stand out, in this article (http://goo.gl/heE5V6).

David's article, the one I wrote below, as well as my review of David's book Google Semantic Search (http://goo.gl/LaOjzZ) all point us in a direction of telling our story and helping others. All tried-and-true business practices, which means if you run a good business, you are going to be heard online. Maybe it will take some professional help to find the right platform, maybe you'll need to take a leap of faith and realize your efforts may not pay off directly, nor in the short term, but if you look at all the developments over this past year, there's one true path to success: BE YOU.

#webstrategy   #semanticseo   #onlinemarketing  

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December 30, 2013 Quote of the Day "To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." – Bertrand Russell...

December 30, 2013
Quote of the Day

"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."
– Bertrand Russell

About Bertrand Russell
British philosopher Bertrand Russell was greatly responsible for the shift toward logical analysis among philosophers; he introduced rigorous scientific methodology to the field and was best known for his books Principia Mathematica and The Principles of Mathematics. He was born in 1872 to an aristocratic English family but raised by a strict paternal grandmother after his parents died young. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. Albert Einstein collaborated with him on a manifesto calling for nuclear disarmament. He died in 1970.

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It takes an awakening sol to understand this....

It takes an awakening sol to understand this....

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When Will We Become Interstellar? Exploring the Solar System is good and all, but what we really want...

When Will We Become Interstellar?

Exploring the Solar System is good and all, but what we really want to do is reach out and explore other stars. But what will it take for us to actually become an interstellar civilization? We posed this question to Dr. +Ian O'Neill, the producer for Discovery Space at #youtubespacela.

And here's what he had to say.

Co-pondered with +Jason Harmer 

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December 28, 2013 Quote of the Day "The moment of enlightenment is when a person's dreams of possibilities...

December 28, 2013
Quote of the Day

"The moment of enlightenment is when a person's dreams of possibilities become images of probabilities."
– Vic Braden

About Vic Braden
American tennis coach Vic Braden won the United States Tennis Association's award for Contributing Most to Tennis in America. He was born in 1929 in Michigan. He founded three tennis colleges that bear his name, which are in California, Utah, and Florida; wrote six books on the sport; and appeared on such TV shows as the Today show, Good Morning America, and 20/20. A clinical psychologist as well as a sports coach, he has spent the past decades exploring the mind-body connection.

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December 27, 2013 Quote of the Day "Man can only become what he is able to consciously imagine." – ...

December 27, 2013
Quote of the Day

"Man can only become what he is able to consciously imagine."
– Dane Rudhyar

About Dane Rudhyar
Dane Rudhyar was a respected modernist composer as well as a pioneering modern psychological astrologer. He was born in Paris in 1895 as Daniel Chennevière and immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's. His music utilizes dissonant harmony; he claimed to be inspired by the cadence of speech. His work influenced a group of composers known as the ultramodernists. He also wrote a number of astrology books, including the seminal Astrology of Personality. He died in 1985.

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