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More Calories Required.

October 24th, 2009

I am trying to get back in to my walk routine after my unintentional mini break and it has been a mixed bag. Wednesday was very slow and I did feel a bit woozy on the last lap but I persevered and completed. Yesterday, I felt so much better that my last lap was in the realms of my average lap speed.

Today is a worry. On weekends, I tend to try and do four laps as opposed to the normal three as I have more time and it makes a nice round 6 km walk, excluding warm up and cool down stroll. On the third lap I felt so woozy and light headed I bought an energy drink to boost me up. Not much help, so I did a slow finish of the third lap and went home. Shower, breakfast of a cheese and vegetable omelette and a two hour lie down does not seemed to have energised me at all.

I thought I would take the opportunity to do some investigation in this blog entry. I may even need a chocolate bar after the effort!

Since I have had my cold, I have still been eating 3 times a day and even had fruit in between - and me not much of a fruit eater - but much smaller portions. I rarely eat junk food as in chocolate bars and crisps and the such like since my last diet. I am currently insisting in having my food being served in a dinner bowl rather than a plate. If you lived in my house, you would understand why. However, I will discount food intake for now.

Let's take my drink intake prior to my flu/cold or whatever I have. I was having some 6 to 8 drinks a day, so at 165 calories per 500ml (around 187 calories a pint), I was consuming some 990 to 1320 calories from lager a day. Alcohol itself contains 7 calories per gram but most alcoholic drinks also contain carbohydrates. By my calculations, lager contains 12 grams of carbohydrates per 500ml. This is where my calculations go a little wry, for according to Wikipedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbohydrate) carbohydrate contains 3.75 kilocalories per gram which gives me 45 calories for 500ml. In a 500ml can, 4% alcohol content would give me some 20 grams @ 7 calories per gram of alcohol making 140 calories, so in total 185 calories - some 20 more than what it says on the can! The problem of labeling was covered in a recent New Scientist article http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327173.300-the-burning-truth-about-calories.html.

According to some calculations on the internet (http://walking.about.com/cs/howtoloseweight/a/howcalburn.htm) I am only burning some 520 calories per walk leaving me with more than a 400 calories deficit! By these calculations, I should have been putting on weight. However, over the last 4 and half months, I have not put on weight though I have not lost any either hovering round the 113kg range all this time.

If I needed any proof of the fact that 'calories are not all created equally' (http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/02/25/the-science-of-fat-loss-why-a-calorie-isnt-always-a-calorie/), this is it.

Human body mechanism is such like that it processes, metabolises, alcohol before fats, proteins and carbohydrates. So, consumption of alcohol slows down the fat burning process, thereby slowing any weight loss program.

Alcohol is removed from the bloodstream by a combination of metabolism, excretion, and evaporation. Typically about 90 to 98% is metabolised and up to 10% can be excreted in urine. It is removed from the bloodstream at a fairly constant rate but this varies between individuals. Experienced male drinkers with a high body mass may process up to 30 grams per hour, but typically the figure is 10 grams per hour (approximately 100 to 200 mg/kg of body weight per hour). Women metabolise alcohol slower than men. I suspect my process rate to be around the 18 grams per hour as I do not seem to be effected consuming a 500ml can every 40 minutes or so. Any faster than that and I soon feel the effect of the alcohol. By this token, however, by the time I take my morning walk, I had no more alcohol energy to give!

So it boils down to food, doesn't it? My evening meals were being stored, since alcohol was energy source of choice at the time. I was trying to burn off that energy with my walk but I think I had got to stalemate, hence no weight loss.

Now, on the other hand, I am eating less and drinking considerably less. My walk still requires its 520 calories (if I can believe this figure) some of which I appear unable to produce at the requisite time on the third lap of my walk resulting im my apparent weakness and light headedness?

Assuming my diagnosis is correct, I now have some choices to be made. I otherwise increase my intake of quick energy - i.e. simple carbohydrates or I need to switch to getting some fat burning going on by following a 'low carb' or 'slow carb' diet.

Choices, choices.

Some links to follow:

May you find the balance.

[First published on my Talking2Myself blog on specified date]