Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Twotown, BMR, and Magical Cures

Finally, it happened. I have left that first fifty in the dust. I am 3 pounds past it! The next little moment of win will be my arrival in Twotown. I am very excited for Twotown. My weight hasn't started with a "2" in a a Very Long Time. I actually do not remember when I made the leap to Threeville... But,I can tell you that this fat bus isn't stopping until I am deep into Onederland.

Okay, enough of the silly names for weight levels. Today's post revisits my favorite obsession: basal metabolic rate. I know I've gone on and on about this whole BMR issue before, but I just can't leave it alone. I weigh a LOT, and I exercise a LOT. One would assume that I would be losing a LOT. But I haven't lost much in the past month and a half. That's what led to this caloric nosh-fest. I have been eating increasing amounts for days now. No matter how I calculate it, my BMR is just over 2000 calories a day. Minimum. That is the amount that I need to keep my body healthy.There is just no way I can justify eating less than my BMR, especially given the amount of cardio I do in a week.

All of this fretting about BMR led me to the library to read what the experts have to say. First of all, let me tell you that I am a researcher by nature. My education required many hundreds of hours of research, and I got rather good at it. Second, I am also a born skeptic. I take nothing at face value, and try always to think critically and to evaluate before buying into a theory.  Add these two traits together and you get a library bag with a stack of different "diet" books. I read about fat as the evil to avoid, sugar as the evil to avoid, jump starting my metabolism, debunking diet myths, eating this or that magic food, balancing my hormones, and taking a cognitive approach to weight loss. The authors have a variety of backgrounds: 
  • one physician
  • one PhD
  • two celebrity fitness gurus
  • one formerly Fat person
  • one always-been-thin person
  • one average size person
  • one person who lost-20-lbs-once
  • two people who said "this worked for all my friends and clients so it must be true"
  • one said "cut back on your calories and exercise and you will look like me in no time"
  • one said "balance your hormones and the pounds will melt away"
  • one said "eat more and exercise less and you will become a superstar"
  • one said "you will never look like the fitness experts so do not bother trying"
  • one talked about drastic solutions at length before discounting each of them
Are you sensing a trend here? It is actually very easy to publish a non-fiction self-help book. All you need to do is come up with a new approach to whatever subject you wish to write about. If your book promises an easy solution to a difficult problem, many people will buy it before they realize you are not really helping them at all. Out of more than thirty "weight loss" books in the library, I found only one that seemed to have a truly sensible attitude about food, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle. The author is Judith Beck, and her plan is the Beck Diet Solution. I would not ordinarily recommend any "diet plan" except for the fact that the Beck plan focuses on developing the cognitive skills that are necessary to have a good relationship with food. Beck also emphasizes the need to eat enough food. Ironically, I incorporated many of her suggestions into my own plan long before I had even heard of her. I will admit that not all of her suggestions are ones that I would use, but there is enough good information in her ideas to make her plan recommended reading. The bottom line is, if you are having a difficult time with cravings, saying no, staying on track, etc, look up the Beck plan. It is definitely worth taking some time to read.


I am not, nor have I ever been, compensated in any way, shape, or form for recommending the Beck solution or any other book, method, idea, theory, product, or magical notion. Of course, if Dr. Beck ever hears of my endorsement and wants to send me a book, I wouldn't refuse. That would actually be pretty cool. I really just wanted to share information about something sensible in a sea of magical cures and wacky solutions.

1 comment:

  1. In no way am I a medical expert but from what I've read, 1200 calories is okay for you to eat. Even though you exercise, your body has a lot of fat to draw on the calories you need so you should be fine. And if you do want to stick around 2000, you can always vary your calories from 1500 to 1800 to 2000 to 2300 to 2500 or whatever during the week which might help you lose more.