Quantification before Pontification

84.3 kilograms at the start of the 100 days, and 74.3 at the end. It’s not going to happen just on its own. The final goal is known. What’s required is a logical and quantifiable plan to get there. So let’s try and work that out!

I am well aware that weight is a complex entity, dependent on a wide range of factors all interlinked in one way or another. But at a very simplistic level the equation is straightforward: Consume more calories than you burn, and you will put on weight; burn more than you consume and you will lose weight; and, if consumption and burn are more or less equivalent, weight will be maintained at a steady level.

You’ve probably heard of Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the amount of energy you require per day just to stay alive. Here’s a good calculator for BMR. My BMR is 1740. Of course one needs to add in calories for the various regular activities done every day to arrive at an approximation of total calories burnt every day. I’ve calculated mine to be 2800.

It has been established that one pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. That’s 7700 calories for a kilogram. So to lose one kilo in ten days, one would have to burn 770 calories more than what is consumed each day. This is theoretical of course, because the body reacts to reduced calorific intake by slowing down the BMR and conserving what it gets, thus confounding the mathematical equations. The solution is to expend the calories by a combination of moderate intensity exercise and some sensible reduction in food intake. [There are other factors like type of foods consumed, meal sizes, alcohol intake, etc, etc, which have a bearing on weight control; I will touch upon these in future posts].

Which brings us to 100 for 100!

My assumption is that I was in a state of equilibrium with respect to calorific intake and burn, prior to the start of the programme. So, I have to knock off approximate 800 calories per day from the daily quota of 2800, if I am to lose weight at the rate of one kilo every 10 days. In other words, 8000 calories saved have to go into the calorie bank every 10 days, through a combination of increased physical activity and some adjustments to diet. Let’s see where these reductions can come from.

Walking

First up is the walking. My target is a minimum of 55 kms in each of the ten 10-day periods in 100 for 100. My “exercise walking” speed is approximately 5.5 kms per hour (11 minutes to the kilometre). At this level, it is estimated that the number of calories burned per hour is about 350. So that’s 3500 in my calorie bank!

Sucralose

Now on to the foods. About six teaspoons of sugar go into the tea and coffee I consume every day, adding up to 100 calories. Instead of sugar, I now use an artificial sweetener called sucralose, which is made from sugar but has zero calories. My calorie bank account is now richer by 1000! [I intend to revert back to natural sugar after 100 for 100, just in case sucralose has unknown side-effects.]

Snacking

I’m addicted to junk snacks like potato chips (crisps/wafers) and other Indian fried snacks known as farsan or namkeen. These are delicious, but also extremely unhealthy, as they are invariably deep fried and highly salted as well. Ten grams of any of these snacks contribute about 50 calories. I estimate that I consume an average of 100 grams a day, all told. So that’s 5000 calories in 10 days! In fact, I’m not a really big eater otherwise, so it’s really these snacks that have contributed much to my weight gain over the years. If I could give them up entirely, I’d have to do little else to maintain a trim figure. But 100 for 100 is supposed to be without suffering or grief, remember? So instead of giving up something I like, I’ll only reduce it — to half, in this case. Yay! That’s 2500 calories more in the bank!

Hic!

That brings us finally to the booze sessions with friends, professional functions, family parties, etc. My estimate is that an evening out with friends accounts for about 1500 calories, conservatively. I intend to reduce one such session in each 10-day period of the programme. Subtracting 500 calories of overlap with the aforementioned snacking, I can still deposit 1000 calories in the bank.

That adds up to the target 8000 calories saved. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?!! Well, the next 4-5 weeks will tell if my logic is sound or not. If not, I’ll have to look at other areas for adjustment. I still have quite a few aces up my sleeve — to be used if and when required.

So that kind of sets the stage for an exciting few weeks ahead. Stay tuned to share in the excitement!

- Val Souza

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6 comments to Quantification before Pontification

  • [...] In 100 for 100 I’m working backwards. I’ve estimated that I need to cut back 800 calories per day (either by decreasing consumption or increasing burn), so I don’t really need to keep a Food Diary. But I’m doing it anyway. I discovered a great website on which I can maintain my Food Diary online. The site is called FitDay, and it has several nifty features in addition to the food diary. [...]

  • valsouza

    Thank you for your comment and encouragement, Kalyani. Did check out http://mittaipink.wordpress.com – great stuff!
    - Val Souza

  • Im really inspired by your goal, scientific program and the fact that it is working! Way to go for me. Thanks!

  • Val Souza

    50 for 50 — very smart, Cecil! But cool. Now that we have participants on three continents, there’s no way we’re gonna fail!
    - Val

  • Nice one, Val.. Keep at it, as they say, nothing ventured..nothing er, lost… If only I could pay heed to what they said, I’d have all my weight issues well under control. However, thanks to this inspirational concept, am going to give it a go myself, with a tweak though, i.e. am going to ape the concept and replace the numbers. 50 for 50…I’m here!!
    Cecil

  • Val Souza

    People who know me might be aware that I attempted 100 for 100 once before. Unfortunately I had to abandon it because of certain serious professional and personal exigencies (unconnected with the programme itself).

    This time however, I am determined to stick with 100 for 100 right through to the end. Whether I achieve the weight targets or not remains to be seen, but I’ll keep at it and write about it regardless. – Val

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