It’s boring counting calories and it’s exciting eating. The point isn’t so much to count the calories themselves as much to remove the psychological control eating has over us. If we can’t control our appetites, how can we control our minds in other regards? If we can’t do anything to even limit our caloric intake from a basic moderation perspective, we lose. That’s where, whenever I’ve lost weight, it’s because I’ve been analyzing those numbers.
Remember, this is advice from Dr. Zombiepaper, with no clinical certifications.
If you, however, are responsible about your health, you can change your habits and learn to predict where your addictions to eating for the sake of flavor over the need for satiation occurs. Counting calories is the most controversial part of fitness for many people because it implies that health is a responsibility one must take for themselves, and if they’re not willing to admit that, hey, I’m overweight because I overeat, then everything else that follows will be more argumentative than helpful.
Let’s assume you’re alright with everything above.
I keep a regimented diet. I bring in four utilitarian sandwiches to work each day, prep them ideally a week ahead of time, so in the morning all I need to worry about is that I’ve removed the bag from the fridge, and put it into my work bag. Those sandwiches are tasty enough for me to enjoy, have a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. They are roughly 300 calories, so I can estimate 1,200 per shift. That gives me, with my estimated basil metabolic burn-rate, as advised by Doctor Internet, less than 1,000 calories to go. I need breakfast and I need dinner outside of work. I have a snack cracker that I enjoy dipping my coffee into, so that 260 calorie snack gets factored in, and depending on what I eat for an actual breakfast or dinner, I could tip the numbers into 2000 calories easily.
For me, exercise just drills down some of those numbers.
It’s far easier for me to not eat another sandwich than it is to row off all those calories. If I burn 50 calories in 5 minutes, I can burn a decent amount per hour, but what’s the cost of effort expended versus reward of burning off calories? If I manage my calories in, I don’t have to worry so much about the calories out – or exercise. I can do casual rowing sets to warm up my body and make sure I’m limber for the day or to unwind from work. I can still do more rigorous on my days off or if I have more time, but now I’m starting to see the benefits of not doing that so much. I don’t want to burn out mentally by burning out physically on what felt like a good set in the moment until the next morning.
Eating is all about pacing for me.
I’ll eat those four sandwiches throughout my shift. Since my commute isn’t as much as it used to be, I’ll eat my breakfast before going into work, sandwiches at first break, lunch (with no additional calories), and second break, with the fourth sandwich on my way out the door. That way I don’t feel hungry on my commute back home and feel refreshed to do more in my few hours before I go to sleep. Ideally, I’d prefer to have a constant drip-feed of calories in almost matching calories out, but since I’m not a machine, this format will do.
Whenever I’ve gained weight, as I did a few weeks ago, it was because I failed to control myself.
I will eat an extra sandwich or snack on something more if eating is inconsequential. If I have to count calories and hold myself accountable, where to be accurate means to count every 100 calories that are consumed just for fun, then I can’t just dump a whole bunch of crackers into my chili to have some additional crunch and flavor, I have to count the number of crackers, calculate the amount of calories that would be, and track that in my spreadsheet. At that point, it makes dealing with those humble hunger pangs less work than snacking on things endlessly. Even when I’m doing a profuse amount of physical work, there’s still no excuse for at least trying to manage what I eat. During my Moving Zeal days, I was exerting as many calories as I could imagine, yet I put on the most weight I have in years, only dropping it down after starting a new job and deciding that I would stop letting my stress dictate how many calories I would consume.
It’s a difficult process.
There are still spikes and peaks and valleys, as one would expect from these human meat machines we inhabit, however, there are certain things that I’ve considered. First is to set a good eating pace. I don’t like feeling hungry, and if most hunger is just an expression of thirst, then keeping hydrated is key. You can imagine about a minute of drinking water there because that’s what happened. Another sip and then I’ll let my body work through that first gulp or two of water while this third gulp works its way down.
Another interruption and another chance for more water to drink.
I forget to drink water in part because it’s difficult for me to step away mid-shift to go use the restroom, and sometimes holding it in is too stressful, but to manage that will provide rewards in better dividends since I’ll need to get back into a healthier weight soon. Controlling the urges to overeat is a start for me. It’s like discipline I can apply to all other aspects of my life. If I can manage my weight, I can manage my stress, and if I can manage my stress then I can control myself and my future. I won’t be weighed down by minor obligations or insignificant flavors.
Eat when you must, not because you lust.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 213.0
– Last week’s weight: 214.5
– Difference: My lowest weight yet! I think maybe because when I got home on Wednesday, I had to switch to days for a day from night shift, so I didn’t eat and slept like 16 hours, so that was probably the thing, rather than me powering through the day with a bunch of food. Still, there’s a lesson in that: If you’re tired, go to sleep, don’t eat a buncha food then go to sleep.
|Inspirations: Thinking about why I overeat, when, and how I can overcome that.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Photo: I’m beginning to write calorie counters on bags like this. I cleaned up the last digit a bit to make it readable, otherwise, this format works well for me because I’ll see the number, then calculate my calories, or if I don’t care, I’ll throw them away or donate them if they’re unopened or whatever.|
|Written On: October 29th, 2019 [24 [1+1+11+1+1+5+2+1+1] minutes. From 1am to “we lose” at 1:01am, from 1:02am to end of paragraph at 1:02am. From 1:03am to “this format will do” at 1:14am. From 1:19am until “it was because” at 1:19am. From 2:03am to “extra sand” at 2:03am. From 2:15am to “its way down” at 2:20am. From 2:32am to “healthier weight soon to 2:34am. From 2:36 to “manage my stress” at 2:36am. From 2:42am to outro at 2:42am. Wordcounter]|
|Last Edited: October 29th, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet]|