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Mark's Skweight Management

skatey-mark's picture

Okay, I just thought I'd consolidate some of the information I have in various places, and add a bit to it here, regarding my recent diet... Back on March 1st, I decided enough was enough after gaining about 30 pounds from the previous summer. About 10 of that was gained before the end of the skating season, and the other 20 pounds were afterward. I attribute much of that to moving, and having my schedule all screwed up for about 6 months. (3 months living with a friend after selling my old house & before closing on the new house... Then 3 months of unpacking and getting settled in the new house...)


Anyway, as you'll see later, I'm no stranger to dieting, my problem is keeping the weight off after I lose it. I had vowed last year that I would not fal into the same trap as previous years, but alas - moving really screwed it up for me by playing havoc with my workout schedule (or lack thereof.) My diet is pretty simple really -- eat less, exercise more. I shoot for an average daily calorie deficit of 1000 calories. Sometimes it's more, sometimes less -- but that equates to roughly 2 pounds per week of weight loss, which is about the maximum they say is safe to lose.


Cutting 1000 calories a day sounds like a lot, but when you add in exercise, it's pretty easy. Skating burns between 600-900 calories per hour (for me), depending on how how I'm skating. I try to work out 5 days a week, either skating or something else. This winter, my crosstraining exercise of choice was playing a "Dance Dance Revolution" clone called "StepMania", which I found burned between 500-600 calories per hour. Not as efficient as skating, but not bad for losing weight while playing "a game"... I'd play that maybe twice a week for 1.5-2 hours at a time. So figure 1500 calories from that, and about 8 hours of skating per week gets to be around 7000 calories, or 2 pounds...


Now, time is a bit of a factor, so I didn't always get everything from just exercising. So I cut calories from my daily diet as well. I'd estimate that I was eating about 500 calories less, on average each day. That by itself should equate to one pound a week... So, allowing for inaccurate calorie estimation, and the fact that the hrm probably isn't all that accurate for measuring burned calories, the calorie cutting plus exercise did end up being about 2 pounds per week.


Here are two graphs that show my weight. The first one is a bit embarrassing, since it shows the huge fluctuation in my weight since I started tracking it. The second graph shows the progress of this year's diet, which started on March 1st... The blue line represents the actual weight data points. The red line is a "smoothed" moving average of the data.




I had decided that, at the middle-end of May, I would try to reduce the rate of weight loss from 2 pounds/week to 1 pound/week. The result was that in June, I didn't lose any weight really... But it has started coming off again now, so I think that was just a bit of a "plateau" that I had to get past. One thing that did decrease in June, though, was my body fat percentage. So even though my weight was more or less the same, my body fat was dropping, according to the calipers I was using to measure it.


These are similar to the calipers I'm using (maybe a newer version?)... http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/acc/fattrack.html I like them because they do the calculation for you automatically, I'm not sure how accurate they are, but they do seem to give fairly repeatable measurements once you get the hang of it.


In March, the calipers said I was over 15% body fat. Now, they say around 6.5%. I have an appointment at Meredith College's "Human Performance Lab" on Tuesday to get it measured there, so that I can know what it really is. As I posted in another entry, too little fat can be bad, so I want to make sure I don't go too low. Of course, judging by the still-persistant love handles, I don't think I'm really at 6.5% We'll see. I've signed up for both the 7-site skinfold test and the hydrostatic weighing. Mostly to satisfy my own curiosity -- the 7-site test ought to be accurate enough for my needs. I just thought being weighed in a tank of water would be cool... :)


During the diet, I started drinking caffeine quite a bit... Diet Mt Dew and I became fast friends. I find that when I'm cutting calories, I tend to get headaches, and the caffeine helped with that. And, being a stimulant, caffeine has a slight hunger suppressant effect. Now that I'm nearing my target weight, I'm weaning myself off it again. In general, I've tried to limit my caffeine consumption ever since getting out of college. (I was a huge caffeine junkie in college...) It's much healthier to just drink water during the day, which is what I'm trying to go back to doing.


Training while on a calorie-restricted diet is a bit of a challenge. I think I probably would have a bit more endurance if I ate more. And I am eating more now, and I think my endurance has improved in some of the longer skates. It's tricky to eat just enough to get through a skate without bonking. But I think I have found a pretty good balance now. Of course, it's much less critical now that I'm easing up on the calorie restriction, so I can eat more before and during a skate than I was in the spring.


The diet is a success at this point... I'm determined to learn how to fine-tune my eating so that my weight doesn't fluctuate as much. The last 6 weeks seem to suggest that I'm getting a handle on that. They key will be diligent monitoring until it becomes second nature, which may be never. But spending a minute each day to weigh myself and record it is easy compared to trying to lose the weigh after it gets out of hand... I'll post more updates later, and if I think of any other useful tidbits, I'll post those too.


- SM -


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