Weight loss is mathematical

I hope the title does not throw you off! Two dangerous words – ‘weight loss’ and ‘mathematical’ except of course for Pattu the maths professor!

A plate of samosa – takes about 10 minutes to eat, and 65 minutes to burn off. Did not like the equation? welcome to the cruel world of mathematics. The world of maths and excel sheet are both unemotional and therefore cruel. They show you things exactly as it is.

The day I run say 21 km and happen to visit a friend over a meal, the will invariably say ‘arre Subra you have run 21 km today, so you can eat one EXTRA plate of kulfi’.

This is emotionally right, but mathematically it sucks. Running 21 kms I burn about 1200 calories. This is about 4 samosas, that is all.

So to reduce weight what do you have to do? You need to create a calorie ‘deficit’ of about 9000 calories. How do you create this? Well if you run for say 5km you will end up burning say 450 calories. If you run 20 days in a month (food held constant) you will end up losing about 1kg a month.

Or you could eat less – assuming you burn about 1500 calories for your day to day activities your INTAKE has to be about 1000 calories per day. Over a 20 day period you will reduce your weight by 1kg.

Obviously if you run more / play more aggressive a sport for a longer period of time you will burn more. If you cut down your food intake by 500 calories a month, and run for 20 days in a month, you will lose 1kg a week.

Just eating less may not be a great solution – eating right is a super solution. If you replace your rice and wheat with fresh uncooked salads – almost all green vegetables – can be eaten uncooked. This fills your stomach without the calories.

However if you are at a stage when you do not know how much you eat and how much you burn, you need to start keeping track of that. So step ONE (like any project) is to keep accounts. I know people who are very happy using www.myfitnesspal.com – and it also calculates the ‘calorie deficit’ that you need to create. Of course you need to write down everything that you do – eat or burn. This tool will then tell you whether you are headed towards your goal or not!

The question is ‘Do I need to be so scientific in my weight reduction program?’. Frankly the question to ask is ‘what is a post on weight loss doing in a financial blog’?

The answer is simple – if you are serious you need to measure, have a target and do a continuous comparison of actual with the budgeted results. This is called tracking. Big and huge projects hardly get done well without MONITORING…I hope you agree.

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12 Responses to “Weight loss is mathematical”

  1. Some people never gain weight even after eating junk food, extra food. Infact some I know are underweight. What are the reasons behind that? Are they lucky to have such kind of metabolism or is it some other hidden problem in long run.

  2. ‘what is a post on weight loss doing in a financial blog’?

    Physical and fiscal well-being share a key common trait: discipline

  3. Too Good Subra!!!!!

  4. What a turn in the last paragraph excellent,
    Somehow both Financial health & personal health are very difficult to achieve without extreme concentration & tracking..

  5. At 30 years of age and a BMI of 20.8 despite having a desk job, I know what you mean Subra when you refer to the mathematical cruelty of losing weight. It does take huge commitment to show up in the gym after a hard days work.
    65 mins on a treadmill to balance off 10 mins of eating a samosa is no joke. But it does pay off handsomely everytime your fitness level is tested, or your physical shape complimented.

  6. Subra Sir,

    Mathematics somehow does not work on human (especially Indian) metabolism better suited for periodic starvation.
    Your plan of action is correct, but it will not get expected results. You reduce your intake, your BMI will fall to compensate for the famine situation.
    You exercise too much, rest of the day you will be reluctant to move a muscle which will offset any gain by the exercise.

    For a disciplined person like you, who is financially and physically disciplined, the mathematics will work.

    For many, non-disciplined persons mathematics turns into chaos midway – both financially and physically.

    Discipline is the key.
    Wish I had it!

  7. agree with sachin.it simply isnt calories in -calories out anymore. there is good research these days which supports the paleo diet.ie caveman diet. the wheat/rice of our industrial age is very different from those of our forefathers and therefore its action on our metabolism is not as expected in the past.
    runners have been told to eat carbs and avoid fats. all that is being challenged now.

  8. I always tell my friends that in financial health the inflow should be more than the outflow. For maintaining your personal health it is the opposite i.e. your intake should be less than the outflow. There lies the relevance of this topic in this blog.

  9. On eating right, I found this book by rujuta diwekar very helpful: “Dont lose your mind, lose your weight”
    Good post Subraji

  10. Made a start today ,with help of myfitnesspal . Its a lovely monitor. Thanks !!

  11. good analogy, enjoyed reading

  12. I just go to your site, after reading your rediff article..
    I like what you wrote there & here…. my tidbits….

    I’m yet to get these tested, so only this is a hunch.

    1) Obese folks don’t chew well… So, drinking their food & eating their water… could reduce weight.

    2) I’ve seen people eat ghee-rice, butter & what not, but still manage to stay shapely. Seems like eating on-time and regularly thrice a day, holds the key. Frankly, I am uncomfortable with this healthy-snacking & eat 6 small-meals a day.

    Fat or excess weight can go out from our body using sweat, urine, stool & semen/cum.

    Exercise uses sweat.
    Water & Chewing-well uses Urine & Stool
    & ahem…

    So, using one or more of these optimally should help us all to cut fat.

    After all, Staying healthy is the best investment we can make.

    Plz fill in, your thoughts.

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