Exercise and Why I do it.
I want to take some time to talk about exercise and the program I've adopted. Because I decided early on that I wanted to lose a lot of weight in a hurry I knew that I would have to exercise a lot in order to reach my goal.
I've told a lot of people that walking is not an efficient way to lose weight and I believe that completely. But it is cheap and available and it has helped me get to where I am today. As I began to understand the math involved in losing weight I knew I clearly needed to do something to burn calories. At my starting weight of 330 I calculated my basal calorie load plus my minimal activity usage at about 3900 calories a day. Fitday shows this to be about 3707 but at the time I didn't know about Fitday.com so I worked with the numbers I had. And a good ballpark number for me has proven to be my weight*12.
I reasoned that if I could burn 1000 calories a day in exercise that added to the 3900 I was burning by just being alive would come to 4900 and I was eating about 1500 on an average day. This works out to a 3400/day calorie deficit and that is just about a pound a day.
What really happened is that for the first 95 days I lost an average of eight-tenths of a pound a day. That took me to the 10th of May, which is the day I started using the Bowflex machine for strength training. From that day on I've averaged 3.4 pounds/week instead of 5.6. I understand that I was building muscle both with the Bowflex machine and with the increased walking and that muscle has helped me burn fat. And I've sure enjoyed the increased strength and the better body tone but I still had to deal with the slower weight loss.
To make up that impact I continued to add to the distance I walked each day. Since I'm retired and have made losing weight my full time job time has not been a factor. The file attached at the bottom of this post shows my exercise calorie usage and my weekly totals for both time and distance since I started tracking in February. As you can see my time has gone from 4.5 hours a week to over 30 and now back down to the mid 20's. As I became more able to walk more distance I increased the time. In the beginning since I couldn't walk very far or very fast I was actually walking three times a day. By mid May I was finally able to walk far enough to cut that back to twice a day. Again my real goal was to walk far enough to burn 1000-1500 calories a day. And by June I was able to do that.
The challenge here is the fact that the lighter I get the farther I have to walk to get the same effect. The formula I use is (body-weight*2)/3.5=calories per mile. What that really means is that at 300 pounds I could walk 5.8 miles and burn 1000 calories and now today at 169 I have to walk 10.4 miles to use up the same number of calories. So somewhere about September I peaked at 13.5 miles a day and decided to settle for slower weight loss.
During February and March since I couldn't walk far enough to burn the calories I used a Fitness Flyer (glider machine) as a way to burn more calories. But I never really liked the Fitness Flyer and as soon as I could walk far enough to use up the calories that way I put the machine away.
As of today I've lost a total of 161 pounds and my calculations tell me that 91 of those are because of the exercise. I would not be near as happy with a 70 pound loss in 9.5 months as I am with 161 pounds lost.
Other fringe benefits of the exercise program I've put myself on are.
Lower blood pressure. Now normal without meds.
Almost no loose skin anywhere on my body. ( I find this to be amazing considering how much I've lost and the rate I've lost it.)
Overall better health. (I don't know if it's the exercise or the supplements, but I have had no illness of any kind since I started this program in February. Not even a runny nose. And I'm convinced that the exercise has been a big part of that.)
From time to time I see people complain about having to exercise. I went for fifteen years unable to exercise because of the meds I was taking and I feel like I've been let out of jail. What I'm pretty sure of is that our bodies are made to be used and if we don't use them they wither and die. As I said in an earlier post, I'm convinced that if I had not started walking with I did I would not have a left leg by now. The circulation in that leg was really messed up and it took me more than three months to get it to work normally. In fact it's now been almost 10 months and I'm just now beginning to get my legs back up to full strength.
So I guess the bottom line for me is this. One of the major keys to my success with this diet has been exercise. I think it is at least as important as the change in eating habits.