Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Running for Weight Loss

At some point, I wrote that I was going to update in the evenings, Sunday thru Thursday, so there'd be a new entry each morning during the week.

I had planned to do some strength training today, but my arms are still sore. Plus, I took my car in cuz the engine light was on (boo hiss), and had a friend pick me up from there and drop me off at the grocery store. So I walked home from the grocery store, and mein gott my feet hurt. I'm taking a couple days off so that my feets have time to heal.

I only cheated a little bit today! I had two crackers with lunch. Breakfast was a carb-fest (halloween candy, a donut, and a can of pepsi), but lunch and dinner were 'sensible.'

And now to running for weight loss:

It's lame.

For a fatass like me, running burns 138 calories per mile, mostly regardless of speed. Walking burns 96 calories per mile, again mostly regardless of speed. Sitting on my ass typing this burns around 105 calories an hour. So a slow walk (2mph) burns an extra 87 calories an hour. There's 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so, assuming that calories are calories are calories, I'd have to spend 40 hours walking to burn off a pound of fat. Say I do my 80-minute walk three times a week -- or maybe a shorter, 40-minute walk six times a week. It'd take me 10 weeks to burn off one pound of fat. If I keep up this six-day-a-week walk cycle, I could lose five whole pounds in a year.

Feh. My "ideal weight" is around 153 pounds. I'd have to spend twenty years at that pace to get to my ideal weight. That's just silly. Alternately, instead of walking, I could cut my caloric intake by the same amount.

Calories aren't calories. In the "calories aren't calories" point of view (PoV), I'd have to starve myself for twenty years in order to be "healthy." Sounds kinda lame to me, given the research that shows that being obese is protective against heart attacks and strokes. More properly, that evidence shows that "ideal weight" isn't healthy.

There's an exercise researcher at UT-Austin whose name I don't recall, but I remember him saying that a half pound a day is about the limit of healthy weight loss. That's 1750 calories a day. On a pure calories-are-calories accounting, that means that one would have to eat nothing to lose that much. Or eat normally but walk for 20 hours a day, or running (12-minute pace) for 3 hours a day. Can you imagine running over 100 miles a week for a month, just to lose 15 pounds? Does that sound realistic to you?

Some people have lost 30 pounds in 30 days. Let's say they fast for the entire month, giving them a 1750 calorie daily deficit, and then run 15 miles. Every day. For an entire month. Crazy! Can you imagine running 15 miles while fasting? The medical establishment says that one has to do that -- or it's caloric equivalent -- in order to lose 30 pounds in a month.


There has to be a better way to lose weight than the math that mainstream media would have us believe.

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