Calories In vs. Calories Out

October 31, 2008

Calorie counting back in vogue? From the NY Times.


Sodium and high blood pressure

October 31, 2008

Here’s the article from The Economist. I eat too much salt, but it isn’t hurting my blood pressure right now (I’m normotensive).  I don’t add any to the food I cook, but it’s present in large quantities in the processed foods I often eat.  What do you do about salt in your diet?

Sunday Oct 26th Progress Update

October 26, 2008

Bodyweight today is 185.6 lbs.

Resistance exercise is on track, not seeing magnificent strength increases at this point, not that I expect them on a reduced calorie eating plan.  This week is the 6th formal week I have been focusing on strength training.  After this week, I will change the exercises up for the next 6 weeks.

Pedometer update: It looks like I am fairly active during my workdays, with between 8000-11000 steps per day. I tried not to do anything extra while getting this baseline.  If I’m not working it looks like I am around 2500-3000 steps, typical for a sedentary person.  I’m happy that I’m fairly active at work.  I need to add some activity to my schedule, especially on weekends. It’s getting too cold and dark to walk outside at night here. I’ll think about this during the week while I collect more data.

Calories are at 1500-1600 a day, without much cheating. Progress is rapid, and I like the results. I have been focusing more on healthy eating, as defined by Walter Willet’s Healthy Eating Pyramid. So, I have been eating rolled oatmeal with almonds, ground flaxseed and raisins for my daily breakfast, and making the egg meal 1-2 times per week. Calories the same. Switched to the dry and grainy, but still tasty Ezekiel bread for lunch, to vary my whole grain intake. More cooking quick low-calorie meals at night (rather than frozen) to minimize sodium and increase vegetable intake. I am 5-a-day minimum now, usually more.

I’ll do a write up on this soon to detail what it all looks like, a Winter Program to replace the Fall.

If you are visiting regularly, leave some comments. I’m getting a fair number of page views now, and if you are doing something similar, I would love to read your blog or hear your ideas.

Slowfit Progress Update for Sun Oct 19

October 19, 2008

Weight today 190.0 lbs., waist measurement 31″ relaxed, 30″ with abdominals drawn in.

I’ve been experimenting with my Digiwalker SW-200 pedometer, one of the best pedometers for accurately counting steps. I’ll have more on that when I have used it for a while longer.

If you are following my diet, it still looks about the same.  Breakfast: oatmeal, 2 omega three eggs, applesauce, skim milk in coffee.  Lunch: 2 slices whole wheat bread, 3.5 oz. turkey breast, 1 oz. light Swiss, mustard (alternatively 3 oz. light tuna in water, 1 T low calorie canola mayo, 1 T relish as the filling), Snack: 2 pieces low fat string cheese, 1 apple or pear. Dinner: 400 calories, often a frozen entree, or whole wheat pasta or cous cous with chicken, and now always about 2 cups of frozen vegetables along with dinnertime.  Desert is an orange or other fruit, if I’m hungry.  Around 1500-1600 calories still.  Not major hunger, feel good, look great.  Somewhere around 180-185 lbs. I will be re-evaluating everything, probably going up on calories, adding in some nuts.

Mon 10/13

October 13, 2008

Weight today 191.4 lbs.  Had 4 large slices of pizza with everything and 2 glasses of wine on Friday night. Otherwise, holding the course with diet and workouts.


October 12, 2008

Some visitors end up here by searching for the Italian fitness fad Slowfit.  Sorry about that. When I came up with the name for this blog I didn’t know it existed.  Like the fitness company from Italy, I was inspired by the Slow Movement.  If you don’t know about Slow Food yet, it started as a reaction to a McDonald’s hamburger restaurant opening in Rome.  There is no central body governing the Slow Movement, and no really clear definition of what it’s all about.  The movement seems to center around a return to traditional values in areas like food production, cooking, and food consumption. It’s tied in with the popular locavore and organic movements often talked about today. That seems like a good thing, and the quality of restaurants I have eaten in that subscribe to the Slow Food philosophy has been high.

What about Slowfit?  Slow Fitness, to me, means not following fads and trends, but making instead incremental improvements, encouraging safe and productive physical activity, focusing on what is achievable and sustainable in terms of fitness and exercise.  What I don’t care for about the Italian movement, also known as the Fausto di Giulio method, is that it appears to be yet another marketing based fitness method. This time focusing on a stuffed triangle that the exerciser sits or lies on while performing movements.  It’s like the physio-ball or yoga ball idea, but with a triangle instead of a circle under you.  I’m not sure how that relates to slowing down, moving back to basics or back to traditional patterns of exercise and movement.

So, if you have arrived here looking for the Italian Slowfit site, you will be dissapointed in the lack of photos of pretty models stretching and moving on triangle bean bags.  But, take a look around and you might find something helpful in the archives.  Take a minute to reflect on what Slow Fitness really might mean to you, before you move on to check out the name-branded method.

10000 Steps to Fitness Walking

October 11, 2008

How much physical activity do you need

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate activity every week, along with twice weekly strength training sessions, for healthy adults. That comes out to a thirty minute walk, five times per week.  If you engage in more vigirous activity, only 1.25 accumulated hours are needed each week, or less than three 30 minute sessions.

The American College of Sports Medicine, which echos the recommendation of the American Heart Association recommends adults under 65 get moderate activity for at least 30 minutes 5 days per week, or vigorous activity for three 20 minute sessions, along with the resistance training.

You can see where this is going. While exercise fads come and go, the minimum recommendations for health have clearly emerged and been consistent for some time now.  While more exercise may be better to a point (5 hours of moderate activity is better for you than 2.5 hours), there is a minimum amount of physical activity needed to achieve health and longevity benefits.

Making the recommendations work for you

Meeting the minimum recommendations requires only two circuits of strength training weekly, which could be performed inexpensively at the closest fitness club or gym to your home or workplace. A single set of 8-12 repetitions of 8-10 exercises might take only 20 minutes, but could be rounded out with some stationary cycling to keep the heart rate elevated for 30 minutes.  Some may prefer three resistance training sessions per week.  Adding in a 30 minute walk each night after dinner would make out the remainder of the program minimum.

Using a pedometer

Getting in the habit of clipping a pedometer to your belt every day has been proven to be a motivational tool for people who want to increase their level of physical activity. If you walk a lot during the day at school or work, or in the course of running errands, that activity can count towards your daily totals.  Actually, only sessions of activity that last at least 10 minutes should count, but there is some evidence that all activity accumulates and has benefit.

10000 Steps Per Day

10000 Steps Per Day was started in the 1960’s in Japan.  The number seems to represent the equivalent of 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per day, according to the Cooper Institute.  To start using a pedometer to measure steps and meet your minimum physical activity needs, buy a simple pedometer, and start to wear it daily for a week.  You can see where you are at for a baseline of physical activity.  Next, try to add little bits of activity where ever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and park further from the entrace to the grocery store. Try to build the habit of the evening “constitutional” walk, with a partner or spouse, the dog, or alone with your iPod.  If it’s bad weather, hit the treadmill at the health club where you do your strength training.