Friday, May 01, 2015

Discovering the Source of My Little Roll

I only average between 8,000 and 9,000 steps a day, even with a two mile walk seven mornings a week.  It shows how sedentary I was until adopting that regimen in retirement.

Fitbit, which is a pioneer in wearable tracking devices, did an interesting survey of users who average more than 10,000 steps a day, including a breakdown by occupation.

A quarter (24%) are teachers, followed by health care professionals, software developers/programmers, administrative/clerical workers and sales people, all averaging over 12,000 steps a day.

The average American racks up about 5,100 steps per day.  My two mile walk each morning involves about 3,651 steps.  Depending on the day, that can be around 47% or less of my daily count.

In early 2010, when I began using one of the first Fitbits on the market , I was just a few months into retirement.  I was lucky to do 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day back then.

I was under the misimpression a lot of us are, that a calorie is a calorie, no matter the source.  I try to stick to a 30-40-30 ratio, 30 grams of fat, 40 grams of protein and 30 grams of “good” carbs.

But according to dieticians fat provides about 9 calories per gram, protein about 4 calories per gram and carbs in general provide about 4 per gram.

I stay away from bad carbs except for two glasses of red wine at dinner.  But they alone total about 250 calories, about 13% of my entire daily intake.

I didn’t really shift gears until my doctor tapped my little belly roll, after some film was found in one of my carotid arteries, and told me to get serious about daily exercise to bring my triglycerides down.

The Fitbit survey of 10,000+ steppers found that 82% exercise outside of work, even though more than a fourth (26%) spent more than 2/3rds of their day on their feet.

For the last 9 weeks, my significant other and I have added two hours of strength training a week to our regimen after first losing about 30 pounds each.

In my case, those came off not just through exercise but by keeping track of what I eat.  I’ve always been a low and healthy carb-high protein guy because I’ve been hypoglycemic since I was a teenager.

But I quickly learned when religiously using the MyFitnessPal app, that while the carbs I was eating were healthy, in particular, I had been routinely snacking on mixed nuts without realizing it was gradually building up that belly roll.

I learned that what I had been eating as a snack each night with an apple together represented nearly 2,000 calories alone, 77% from fat, 10% protein and 13% carbs from the nuts alone.

It is a little healthier (and safer) than what would be drinking the equivalent of 10 glasses of red wine but I truly only need a little more than 1500-1800 calories a day total.

I’m lean now but not exactly buff.  The type of weight training we do is to regain balance and build strength.

I can feel the difference when I ride my Harley Cross Bones including no leg cramps.

FYI, we use a trainer who follows the Maitland Method in a tiny place here in Durham on Broad Street.

I know one thing for sure.  I wouldn’t have sustained this daily exercise without a good friend to do it with nor would we be doing weights to my best advantage without a trainer.

My doctor now jokes with me that I am turning back the clock.  I don’t know about that but reading the just published book entitled, The Gene Therapy Plan by Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, who knows, I just might be.

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