Mar 7, 2007

sub-1000 calorie day?

Upon reflection of my eating yesterday, I realized that I may have had a sub-1000 calorie day.

I don't count calories too closely, so I don't know for sure. But consider:
in the morning, I had my regular morning shake. It consists of frozen fruit and supplements, and when added up, it is between 500 and 600 calories.
at lunch, I had two peaches.
dinner, a small helping of ma po tofu, without the pork.
before bed, a couple of dozen grape tomatoes.

Details.. the morning shake usually has a banana, a handful each of blueberries and strawberries, metrx shake powder worth 150 calories, a greens supplement worth 60 calories, and a fiber supplement of about 20 calories. I also take 20 calories worth of fish oil pills in the morning.

Ma Po Tofu is a tasty but not-so-well-known dish that you can get a most chinese take-out places. It traditionally contains pork, but in this society, people see tofu and automatically think vegetarian - so you have to ask for meat if you want it. According to online recipes, a pork version has about 450 calories, turkey 250 calories. I had it without the meat yesterday, so I'm guessing that it might have been under 200 calories - just tofu in the sauce, which is based on black beans, spiced up, and thickened with corn or tapioca starch. Usually some vegetables are added. Healthy, and low in calories.

And that was it!

They say that, for every 3500 calories you burn but don't eat, you lose 1 pound. So if you cut out 500 calories a day (the french fries with your hamburger), and you do that every day, and you burn the calories at the same rate as you did when you were eating those 500 calories, then you would save 3500 calories every 7 days and therefore lose one lb. I have made a few estimates based on my personal experience - that at my size and activity level, I gain weight when I eat more than 5000 calories in a day, maintain weight when I eat 4000-5000, and lose weight when I eat less than 4000. If I'm eating 1000 calories a day, then my caloric deficit yesterday was 3000-4000 calories! Time for some 3rd grade math..

Let's take the low end of that range, 3000 calories, and estimate how much weight I'll lose if I keep up meal plans like yesterday's. We'll assume that my metabolism has slowed down by 500 calories, so I really have a deficit of 2500 calories a day. There are 130 days between now and July 15. 130*2500 = 325,000 calories that I won't eat. 325k/3500 calories per pound of fat = almost 93 lbs! That would put me at about 230 lbs. Not bad. The higher end of that range, 3500 (4000 minus 500 for metabolism correction), is even more dramatic - 130 lbs.

So much for the fantasy world. If only real life were so simple!! Yes, I am oversimplifying a very complicated subject. And assuming that I'll eat just 1000 calories a day for 130 days. The fact of the matter is that 1000 calories/day is not enough, particularly since I want to rock-climb, ski, and run during this period. That's ok, though - because I'll burn a bunch of calories doing that. My goal will be to consume less than 2000 calories per day - and burn 500-1000 extra calories through exercise. At the end of the day, I'm aiming for a number between 75 and 100 in terms of pounds lost between last tuesday and July 15th.

This strategy of avoiding high-calorie-density foods is pretty cool. Makes meeting calorie goals much easier.. cravings can be tough, especially for macaroni, but they've been manageable so far.