Jerry (offers a hot dog to Miss Rhode Island): Hot Dog?
Miss Rhode Island: No, thanks… I'm watching my weight.
Jerry: Ah… I'm watching my height. My doctor doesn't want me to get any taller…
For those of us that are getting older and are more concerned about our weight rather than our height…it can be tough riding up and down the weight roller coaster every year. When hunting seasons roll around we get in top notch shape running, lifting, or hiking. After the seasons whine down and the holiday feasts come along we can pack it away for the winter. It can be especially hard for us to maintain our weight if we have kids, travel for work, or just plain old slow down and get complacent. As I’m sure many of you have started or are planning on starting gearing up for this fall (in most states we are under 90 days!!!) I hope this will help you get through many of the weight loss “strategies” or “diets” out there that can muddle the basic principle of weight loss (or gain for that matter).
Calories In vs. Calories Out
Think back to middle school science class when you used a triple beam balance to measure the mass of an object. As you placed the object on the scale it tipped to one side and you had to add mass to the other end of the balance to measure the mass correctly. If it teetered too far to one side it was out of balance. Weight loss or gain follows the same principle teetering and tottering back and forth. If you consume more calories than you burn your bathroom scale will show that you are gaining weight. If you consume less than you burn you will lose weight. If you take in the same amount as you burn your weight will stay the same. It is simple; right?
Weight Loss Basics
Keeping the basic principle of the balance in mind, these are the ways you can lose some lbs.
Idea #1: Simply Take in Fewer Calories…a.k.a. “put the fork down!” One pound of body weight is equal to 3,500 calories. If you can take in just 100 fewer calories a day, at the end of a year you will have lost 10 pounds. That’s right just 100 calories a day! For some of us that could simply mean skipping one can of soda a day or using lite syrup on our waffles in the morning. Many people might not think about the calories we get from what we drink. A 32 oz soda has anywhere from 400 – 500 calories!! Next time you’re at the convenience store or restaurant get water…it hydrates you better and has zero calories. Don’t get me wrong, I like my groceries as much as the next guy but if you can cut back even a little bit that can make a huge difference. On another note, don’t cut back too much! You shouldn’t pass out or feel dizzy in the middle of your day. Be smart, even cutting back a little can go a long way.
Idea #2: Start Moving Around…a.k.a. “get off your duff!” I know this can be a challenge sometimes. When we get home from work we are tired, worn down, and that couch and T.V. are very inviting. When the weather is bad during winter or a late spring it becomes that much harder to find the desire to move around. The quicker you can change your mindset to focus on that ridge between you and a bugling bull this coming fall the better. Keep thinking about what you want to achieve during hunting season and it will make things that much easier to keep yourself moving.
As stated earlier 1lb = 3,500 calories so if you burn an extra 3,500 calories you will lose a pound. This unfortunately is not as easy and immediate as we would like; let’s discuss why.
How many calories you burn during exercise depends on your muscle mass and frame but let’s say you weigh 205 pounds. I know, I know, many of us haven’t seen this number since high school but you will get the point. If you were to cycle at a moderate pace for an hour you could burn around 745 calories; run a ten minute mile pace for an hour burn about 931 calories; a slow swim for around an hour burn about 651 calories, or go on a hike for about an hour you will burn around 600 calories. Now most of us don’t have time to cycle, run, swim, or hike for an hour a day, so the point is, it will take you awhile to lose some weight by only exercising (five days in a row of running for an hour straight to lose a whopping one pound!). Many people get discouraged because we have worked hard for a week or so and the bathroom scale seems to be stuck or worse yet we actually gained weight. Don’t throw the scale through the bathroom window!…keep moving, your weight gain may be from an increase in muscle mass from using muscles you haven’t used in a while. Bottom line, keep moving! Also studies show a combination of weight training and aerobic training is best for weight loss…the more lean muscle mass the more efficiently you can burn fat as you run, swim, cycle, or hike. For a TREMENDOUS resource from Rocky Mountain Athlete’s Clint Whiting checkout the Fit2Hunt workouts at http://rockymountainathlete.
Idea #3: Do Both!…a.k.a. “put the fork down and get off your duff! The most effective way to lose weight is to watch your calories AND get moving; this will tip the weight loss balance even steeper to your favor. It doesn’t take much once you start doing both to lose some weight. You can have the jelly donut or chocolate cake but remember moderation is key. Just don’t make it into a habit, how many of us have fallen off the wagon because that one bowl of ice cream turns into a bowl every night for a month? Watch your calorie intake AND move around!
If you have struggled (as I have) with the weight roller coaster and are sick of the ride, keep these simple concepts in mind as you think about losing some lbs. The more we can remind ourselves to “keep it simple stupid” and that it all comes down to the basic principle of “Calories In vs. Calories Out” the more focused we can be to achieve our goals. Don’t get bogged down in the fitness craze, and remember you don’t have to train like a marathon runner to lose weight. It might take some time to see your results but KEEP AT IT! Shortcuts may be out there but often aren’t healthy and won’t last. There definitely is no substitute for sweat equity. Your body will thank you once you’re climbing those ridgelines; it’s coming quick and I don’t know about you but I CANNOT WAIT!