Friday, March 19, 2004


One of the staffers asked the scanning room if anyone wanted to go to dinner with her. A freelancer said she was trying to lose weight. A different staffer said, "Everyone here is trying to lose weight." So, they all went to eat Tex-Mex.

The last staffer nailed it. Everyone on staff and most of the freelancers (the 30+ year olds at least) are trying to lose weight.

Why? This job makes people fat.

Why? Because we spend most of our time sitting on our butts driving through traffic jams from one shoot to the next. Meanwhile, we only have time for fast food, and there's no way to keep a healthy meal fresh in a 140-degree car.

This is all exasperated because when we work, we work hard, sweat and burn a lot of calories – we think. PJs run, climb anything available and carry very heavy equipment each day – but not all day.

Those of us who stopped smoking (I still want them), have replaced the stress-related nicotine cravings with food cravings (they feel the same).

So, my dear PJs, here's how fat works and how to combat it. Even if you're a young, sexy PJ at the moment, one day you might find yourself as a pudgy, middle-aged PJ and remember my advice.

The rule touted on talk shows and by government officials is "eat less and exercise more." Ok. We all like this plan. Instead of two-dozen Boston cream donuts, I'll only eat 20. I'll also take the stairs to the 2nd floor today instead of the elevator.

This is one step in the correct direction, but the following might be a little more substantial.

First, calculate your body fat index. Weightlossforgood has a reasonable calculator (as opposed to those designed for 14-year-old supermodels). If you're in the safe zones, have a beer and go enjoy life.

If you need a little help, then you can calculate your daily caloric requirement . This number is based on each person's height, weight, age and physical activity level.

To actually lose fat, a person needs to eat less calories than s/he burns.

Next, understand that one pound of fat is 3500 calories.

For comparison, my calorie requirement is 2907. If I eat 2900 calories (a huge amount), then I'd stay the same weight. If I eat fewer calories per day or workout more, I'll lose weight. If I can keep my intake under 1452 calories per day and don't workout at all, I could still lose one pound each two days.

However, exercise builds muscle mass, which is heavier than fat. So, don't obsess about weight as much as how it feels and how comfortable you are inside your own skin.

Better Homes and Gardens online magazine has a thorough list of foods, drinks, and such along with their calories. Diet Data has a food and diet data search engine . Otherwise, check the package or go to the product's Web site.

First, record your weight each day. This creates the baseline to measure variables against.

Next, record everything consumed each day. Then convert what was consumed into calories. Deduct this amount of calories from your caloric requirement.

If the net calories are lower than the daily caloric requirement, fat was burned. If not, fat was gained.

My example:
2907-1440 = 1467 (net loss in calories after 1440 calorie intake {food})
3500-1467 = 2033 (remaining calories to lose one pound of fat)
2033/3500 = 0.58 pounds lost

Weight can shift around several pounds per day depending on how much roughage has been eaten and not expelled (think about it) or how much salt was eaten (salt makes the body hold water – each gallon weighs 8 pounds).

Lastly, I'm going to suggest something a little controversial. Feel free to direct me toward contrary evidence, and I'll delete this section (soda company representatives excluded from my offer).

From my biology class years ago, I remember fat is comprised of layers and layers of phospholipids. A phospholipid is a hydrocarbon chain attached to a phosphate. I mentally pictured it as a tape worm to pass a test (which is probably why I still remember it). So, the phosphate is the head and the hydrocarbon chain is the body.

All sodas contain carbonated water. This means carbon and hydrogen and oxygen (to use as energy). Most diet sodas – as well as some regular sodas – contain phosphoric acid to give beverages a bite. The diet sodas have 0 calories, but they contain the building blocks of fat (ie. Phosphates, carbon and hydrogen – potential phospholipids).

Furthermore, hydrogenated oil becomes a solid form of fat (transfatty acid). Now, what should be a liquid fat molecule (oil), has the potential to become a solid transfatty acid molecule.

Consequently, I stopped drinking sodas a while back and found it easier to lose fat. It would seem logical to turn oil into water (add oxygen to hydrocarbon chains to break them up and make carbon and H2O byproducts) is easier than to turn a solid form of fat into oil and then into water – which would take more calories as well.
I think most people will find the same to be true. This might explain why the Army provided milk or fruit punch with meals instead of carbonated drinks.

Enough for now,

UPDATE: A study stated carbonated drinks containing phosphates makes women (not men) lose calcium in their bones. A different study suggests calcium will dramatically assist in weight loss. However, magnesium needs to be taken with any significant calcium intake.
Additionally, I have found the inclusion of a daily multi-vitamin reduces the natural hunger for missing vitamins and minerals.

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