Wednesday, February 25, 2009

reverse lent? anti-lent?

Today's the first day of Lent.  I'm not Catholic anymore (I got better, thanks for asking) but I started thinking about the whole concept of Lent, which I always found rather stupid as a child.
You give up something you like that's usually bad for you, in support of religion.
I decided to turn it around and force myself to do something I don't like that's good for me in support of my health. 
For my anti-lent, I am going to eat a salad or some kind of vegetable side dish with every meal.  I had a salad today.  It was full of iceberg lettuce, really and truly horrible.  I only forced down about a third of it.  My friend said it was awful because I didn't put dressing on it.  Well if I wanted to eat fat/grease then I'd just have a buttered bun; what is the point of dressing?  Oily crap, all of it.  The same friend is then trying to tell me to eat all kinds of crazy high-calorie salads, full of mayo and meat and cheese.  That's not the point. The point is to eat veggies.  Not to replace a meal with a yucky salad.
I'll see if I can last the however many weeks that Lent does.  Perhaps watching You Are What You Eat twice a day (on DVR) is sinking in?
I'm still doing 90 minutes a day 5x a week in the pool.  Monday I only did 60 cuz I had to pee so bad, yesterday I did 95 and today I did 90.  Didn't lose any more weight so far but it seems to go in clumps.  My husband survived two layoffs at work (good reviews, plus some of the higher-ups are fond of him) and got a raise and his yearly bonus.  My unemployment ran out last week, but they said I could get a 3 month extension. I called yesterday to sign up for the extension and the woman said I am actually eligible for a full 6 month course of unemployment.  Not that it equals anything near what I need to make, it just keeps the wolf from the door a little longer.  I'm using this time "off" to work out as much as my body can take.  Maybe if I look/feel healthier and even skinnier it will be easier for me to get hired (assuming I can get an interview--hasn't happened since December).
(image source)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

570lb drug dealer brought to court in a U-Haul

Came across this short'n'sweet article while browsing prior to today's marathon pool outing. (Yesterday I only did 60 minutes because I had to pee, bad Rosie! Today I will be back to 90, I promise.)
The article itself is just a summary: accused of dealing pot and pills ...was ordered to appear in ...Court after missing his last hearing because he's too large to fit in a normal-size car. (Stephen) Turo, who tops the scales at 570 pounds, was transported to the trial in the back of the U-Haul, which was backed up to the courthouse loading dock, where his arraignment was held.
I cannot imagine how humiliated I would feel having to be brought ANYWHERE in a U-haul, much less to court.
Imagine what happens when he's found guilty and won't fit in his cell? I'm sure we'll be hearing about this guy again...
(image source=article source; screenprint)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Weight loss by the numbers, or why it seems impossible to lose weight

I was fooling around with BMR (base metabolic rate) and exercise calculators because I am a a geek like that and I realized that the more weight a person loses, the harder it is, until it becomes almost impossible.
Using the calculators on this site, I started with a 5'6" woman in her mid-30's weighing 400 lbs.  Her starting BMI is 64.55 and her BMR is 2540 calories a day.  I put her on a 1500 calorie a day diet and walked her 30 minutes a day at 3 mph which seemed reasonable.  She will burn 1339 calories a day and in 67 days she will have lost 25 lbs and weigh 375.  Good for her, right?
If she stays on this exact regime of exercise and diet, the next 25 lbs will take her 74 days (350), the next 25 83 days (325), then 94 days to finally get down to 300 lbs.  That's 318 days, or just shy of a year, to lose 100 lbs.  She's now at a BMI of 48.42 and her BMR is down to 2105 per day.
She stays at 1500 calories a day because it's really not healthy to fall below that, and she's only got 30 minutes a day to spare for exercise, so she keeps her half hour 3 mph walk going.  It takes her 108 days to get to 275, 129 to 250, 158 days to 225 and 103 days to 200.  That's 598 days to lose the next 100 lbs, or a year and 8 months.
Now she's happy, nearing her goal weight of 150, although it's taken her 3 years.  Her  BMI is 32.28 and her BMR is 1661.3.  She sticks to her routine.  It takes her 289 days to get down another 25 lbs to 175, and that final 25 lbs to 150 takes her 490 days.   Her BMI is now 24.21 and her BMR is 1449.1.  Her last 50 lbs took 779 days, or a year and 2 months, to lose.  Her total time losing 250 lbs is 4 years, 8 months (1695 days).
Obviously that's not acceptable, especially the last hundred pounds or so taking so many years.  So if she wants to keep losing as fast as she did when she weighed 400, she has to keep bumping up her exercise every time she loses 25 lbs. (Which is an arbitrary number I picked to make the math easier for me. Obviously there's a small change in your BMR and how many calories you burn with every pound you lose/gain.)
So at 400 lbs, she's burning 299 calories a day in exercise, plus her BMR, for a total of 1339 calories burned per day.  When she gets down to 375, her BMR drops & so does the amount she burns exercising.  To keep her "out" level at 1339 per day, now she has to walk 46 minutes instead of 30.  Another 25 lbs, to 350, and now she's up to 55 minutes a day, and her speed is up to 3.5 mph.  At 325, 1:12 at 3.5 mph; at 300, 1:11 at 4.0 mph; at 275, 1:30 @ 4 mph.  She's doing three times the amount of hours she wanted to devote to exercise, and going faster--to get the same returns.
She's still got 125 pounds to lose, though, so she soldiers on, cuts out watching TV and reading books and now at 250 she's walking 1:53 at 4 mph.  225, 2:21 still at 4 mph, at 200 she walks faster, 4.5 mph, for 2:21.  50 pounds to go.  At 175, she walks 4.5 mp for 2:55 and finally she hits her goal of 150 lbs.
Instead of taking her almost 5 years, it takes a year and 10 months.
Still, to have a life, job, etc and commit to almost 3 hours of exercise a day, 7 days a week, is daunting to think of.  I have no job right now, I'm doing 90 minutes a day, 5 days a week (and losing NOTHING--my frustration is boundless).  I can't imagine having to jack it up to double that, even if I weighed 100 lbs less at the time.
I know I didn't take into account things like increased muscle mass burning more calories (although I've seen no evidence of this in me), or that as you weigh less you are likely to be naturally more active.  I didn't figure in plateaus, or overeating on special occasions, or being sick/injured and unable to exercise.  This is best case, perfect world scenario--no such thing, of course.
If you are interested in seeing how I calculated these figures, I have my notes online here.  My math skills aren't the highest, but I think I got everything right.  If you find a grievous error, let me know.
The one other interesting thing I came up with was that it takes 90,000 calories burned to lose 25 lbs (and therefore almost a million to lose 250 lbs).  That is one hell of a daunting number.
(image source)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

gastric condoms for weight loss?

When I saw the link for this, I thought it was going to be the gastric balloon that I wrote about a few years ago. But it's not; it's something completely different.  The gastric balloon is, well, a balloon that is inflated inside the stomach to reduce the capacity.  This condom thing is different.
The EndoBarrier, developed by GI Dynamics of Lexington, Massachusetts, is an impermeable sleeve that lines the first 60 centimetres of the small intestine. In animal experiments and preliminary human trials, it reduces weight and rapidly brings type II diabetes under control.
(T)he total cost of the EndoBarrier, including installation and removal, will be around $7500. This compares to $15,000 or more for inserting a gastric band, or at least $20,000 for a gastric bypass.
$7500? That's even a doable amount to raise, if insurance companies refuse to pay.
Insanely, you can lose the same amount of weight as getting a full gastric bypass...and you don't have to limit your food intake.  Did I say insane?  Yeah, sign me up....but is the weight loss permanent?  How long do they leave the sleeve in?
And I also am worried that there's no accountability.  Eat anything, still lose weight.  No dumping from sugar, no diarrhea from fat?
I wonder what the weight loss would be with a gastric balloon AND an intestinal condom?
(screenprint of article; image source=article source)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

100 minutes is too much! and possible PCOS

If there is a show on TV (BBC, TLC, Discovery Health) featuring morbidly obese people, you can be sure I'm watching it if I know about it.  And although I don't much like Biggest Loser or You Are What You Eat, I watch them also.  Anorexic people have thinspiration (possibly NSFW link), I have these shows.
I'm still unemployed so I decided that my part-time job will be working out.  This started a week ago.  Last Thursday I did 80 minutes, Friday I did 90, Monday I did 90, yesterday I did 80 (worried about snowstorm, which was underway when I got to the pool) and today I did 100 minutes.  Of full on, non-stop water pliometrics  (see end of post for information links to old posts)
I'm eating between 1200 & 1500 calories a day.  My fitness meter at Wellness 360 says that at my weight I need 4680 calories a day to SUSTAIN my weight. (Seems high to me; this site says it's 2321 which seems more reasonable).  I record my food intake and exercise and it tells me if I burned more calories than I ate.  Today for instance it says I burned 4905 calories (between exercise and BMR).  That's fairly typical for the last week.  That's almost 2 lbs!  Wow. 
Except that, since last Thursday, I've only lost ONE POUND. 
I feel absolutely insane over this.  I am killing myself working out.  Today, after doing 100 minutes, I felt faint. I was shaking for at least 2 hours after I left the pool and when I finally got home I felt like I was going to collapse.   
On Tuesday next, I am going back to the doctor for 1 more test to determine what is wrong with me. So far it looks like PCOS--side effects that I have are irregular periods, hair loss (started a year ago when my dad was dying; thought it was stress), facial hair (thought it was being Italian and hitting my mid-30's), difficulty losing weight and easy to gain weight--as well as others that I also have.  Bingo, we appear to have a winner.  PCOS also gives you a lovely pre-diabetic blood condition that adds to the weight gain thing.
So I guess, deep inside, I'm trying to jump-start myself.  When I go to the doctor next week, I want her to tell me I have this stupid PCOS, give me the one or two types of pills to control it, and then having my fucking weight loss program of diet and exercise actually WORK.  Is that too much to ask for?