April 10, 2006

Counting Down

In the last shotgun post, Jeremy asks how I arrived at my target calories form the day. I promise I won’t turn this into a diet blog, but I found something helpful that other people might be interested in.

Truth is, I just guessed at my target calories. I knew about how many calories I was eating a day to sustain my weight and I subtracted about 500 off of that, which is probably the most you should cut your calories by or else it starts to get hard to keep your metabolism from slowing down and burning off muscle and such.

However, you can get better guidance than that from a website I found over the weekend.

Calorie-Count.com appears to be a free site which will help you determine what your goal weight ought to be, how many calories you should eat a day to attain that goal and how long it will take you to get there.

For me, it chose a goal weight of about 156 lb. Ha! No thanks, I’m aiming a little above that at 165. I’m not going crazy with this, I just want to lose about 13 pounds if I can.

It judges you by height, weight and frame size (with the fingers-around-the-wrist ballpark method). Not very exact, but I figure it’s good enough for free. And it judged my BMI to be about what other more time-consuming methods also came up with.

The site not only helps you set your target, it also will keep track of your weight and your eating. They’ve got a pretty good database of foods in there, including specific restaurant food, so it takes some of the pain out of figuring out how much you’ve eaten (calorie-wise).

If you can keep up with it, eating fewer calories is the most effective way to lose weight, because you can’t gain what you don’t eat, and as long as you keep that metabolism going, you’re burning your body’s reserves. If this site helps you do that, then you can lose those extra 10 lbs or whatever you’ve got.

For more details and better instruction about calculating your targets, plus a completely practical approach to weight loss, read The Hacker’s Diet. It’s online, and it’s free. It’s where I got an idea about how many calories (generally) I would burn in a day. It’s where I learned that exercise doesn’t do much directly to cause weight loss, though exercise is important in the long run and for many other reasons. The Hacker’s Diet may be easier than plain counting, because it focuses on determining your body’s needs more precisely and then planning your meals around your daily intake requirements. It comes with Excel spreadsheets to do the heavy lifting for you, for things like the weighted moving averages and such.

Posted by James at April 10, 2006 9:06 AM
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Thanks, James. I had seen the Hacker's Diet before, probably linked from one of your entries.

The calorie-count.com site looks to be pretty nice, especially for a free site. Interestingly enough (or maybe not), we must be the same size as it lists my goal weight as 156 lbs, as well. I think that is a bit excessive.

5-10/165 is more like it.

Posted by: jeremy at April 10, 2006 3:55 PM

Yep - I'm 5' 10" and medium build.

I was 156 lb just after college. But I was also really skinny and not very muscular. So, it's no wonder I was that light.

If I were a marathon runner, that would probably be my weight. But that's never happening. (marathon running)

Posted by: James at April 10, 2006 4:18 PM

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