Posts Tagged: ‘food’

Week 06 – What is a Calorie?

September 13, 2015 Posted by The Weight Equation

TWEScale2What is a calorie? Since I’ve already repeated numerous times that calories are the most important factor in The Weight Equation, it is pivotal that you understand what a calorie actually is. If you’ve ever looked into nutrition at all you’ve no doubt heard of calories but have you ever thought about what a calorie is? A calorie is a way to measure energy. 1 calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius. If you’ re a Physics nerd you may be interested to know that 1 calorie also equals 4.19 Joules.

Many people don’t realize that calorie contents you find on food labels are actually kilocalories. When you drink a can of soda, you may think it has 150 calories in it, but in reality it has 150 kilocalories or 150,000 calories. That can of soda has enough energy in it to raise the temperature of 150,000 grams of water 1 degree Celsius or raise the temperature of 150 kilograms of water 1 degree Celsius. For the purposes of this blog I will use the term calorie but keep in mind that in reality it is a kilocalorie.

I’m sure you’ve read the calorie content on a food label before but have you ever wondered how the amount of calories in different foods are determined? The foods are actually burned in a laboratory and water is heated up. The calorie content of the particular food in question is determined by how many degrees the water was heated up.

In this You Tube video high school students are demonstrating how to determine the calorie content of a nut:

Now that you know what a calorie is let’s find out what four sources your body can extract calories from to use for energy.

Please enjoy the powerful information I am sharing in this blog but remember that I am NOT a nutritionist or a professional. I am simply passionate about the subject. Please consult with your doctor and nutritionist before implementing any diet

Week 04 – Types of People

August 30, 2015 Posted by The Weight Equation

TWEScale2I strongly believe 99% of people that struggle with their weight fall into one of three categories:

1) Misinformed and Undisciplined
2) Informed and Undisciplined
3) Misinformed and Disciplined

Unfortunately this blog won’t help you if you are in group 1 or 2. Discipline is absolutely required to control your weight. This should be common sense but I need to throw it out there. If you know you are very undisciplined you can stop reading now because this blog isn’t magic. It was created to help out people in group 3. I am certain the great majority of people have enough self discipline to control their weight they just need the knowledge. Hopefully after finishing this blog you will move into the 4th group of people who doesn’t struggle controlling their weight:

4) Informed and Disciplined

Group 1: Misinformed and Undisciplined

These people are truly lost souls. It’s the worst of both worlds. Members of this group typically have the highest body fat percentages of the four groups and are the least happy with their bodies. This group will tend to make great strides over a short period of time just to see their results and their confidence plummet shortly after. These are the people who pack the gym for two weeks following New Years and never show up again, while letting the gym continue to bill their credit card. Regulars at the gym hate the first month or so after New Years because the group 1 people are hogging all the equipment. Not surprisingly, gyms love these people because they pay membership fees but leave plenty of room in the gym so more memberships can be sold. It’s not just the gym either, all different aspects of the weight loss industry have a vested interest in keeping you uninformed and undisciplined in order to maximize the dollars they can squeeze from you. If you find yourself in this group there is hope. Discipline can be acquired and just like flat results can kill your spirits, having some success can help breed further discipline.

Group 2: Informed and Undisciplined

This group will benefit the least from the blog. Along with the folks in group 1, people in group 2 tend to go all out on a weight loss plan for a short period of time just to lose focus and see all their results disappear. This group is headed in the right direction they just can’t stay on the path very long. Group 2 people tend to overvalue exercise and undervalue eating properly when they start their plans. There’s just no good excuse to struggle with your weight if you understand how food works and can see through the common misconceptions. Many people think they are in group 2 but really they are in group 1. If you find yourself in this group I would recommend looking elsewhere for self help books or seminars to promote discipline. Once you have the discipline part figured out this blog can help you stay informed on how food works. Combine both and you will not struggle with your weight anymore.

Group 3: Misinformed and Disciplined

This is the target audience for The Weight Equation. People in group 3 will benefit the most from reading the entries found here. These people tend to be in the best shape of the three groups but are often the most frustrated. They put in the work and show the self restraint necessary but can’t achieve their goals. They are usually the “gym rats” that consistently show up to work out but have trouble losing that “last five pounds”. It can be very deflating to be in this group because a lot of the effort you put into your body goes unrewarded. If you’re in this group you can stay on the path a long time but you’re just pointed in the wrong direction, maybe even just slightly, and you’ll never reach the correct destination no matter how long your stay on the path.

Which group are you in?

Week 03 – Case Study Introduction

August 23, 2015 Posted by The Weight Equation

As I mentioned in the Week 01 – Introduction, each month there will be a blog entry dedicated to a case study following The Weight Equation principles. To start with, I am going to use myself as the case study subject. I originally was not planning on being the subject myself but shortly after I started this writing this blog in 2011 I realized it would be quite difficult to find a willing and committed participant. In 2011 and again in 2012 I found people who were very interested in being part of the case study but for different reasons neither of them made it very far. For this reason I put the blog’s launch on the backburner until just recently deciding that I would be the subject of the case study for the first few case study entries(and maybe longer). I would still love to find someone that has struggled achieving their weight loss goals and is willing to be a participant in this blog. Please CLICK HERE to see what qualities I’m looking for in the perfect Weight Equation case study subject.

During my adult life I’ve weighed between 118 pounds(age 22) with a body fat percentage of 4% and 150 pounds(age 29) with a body fat percentage of 20%. I’m 32 right now and weigh 135 pounds with a body fat percentage of 14%. Although I’d love to weigh more than 135 pounds I was not content at 20% body fat when I weighed 150 pounds. Like most guys I store my excess body fat around my stomach and after being so thin for so long I was not thrilled about seeing a pooch every time I leaned over. Although I’m much lower now at 14% body fat I can only see a faint outline of my abs attempting to push through my belly fat. In my entire life I’ve never had well defined abs so I thought it might be fun to work towards that goal using the Weight Equation principles and document it as a case study. I have muscle down there I promise, it’s just hiding right now!

In order to see well defined abs I predict that I will need to drop my body fat percentage to 8%. If you’re curious why I picked 8% and how I am measuring my body fat percentage I will be going into a lot more depth on those subjects in Week 21 – Recommended Body Fat Ranges and Week 22 – Measuring Body Fat percentage. To accomplish the 6% drop in body fat percentage I will attempt to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. I initially plan on using a combination of 300 calories per day of exercise and a 200 calorie per day cut in my food intake to create the daily 500 calorie deficit. Although it is impossible to gain muscle mass on a calorie deficit I still don’t want to lose any of my existing muscle mass. Therefore part of my daily exercise goal will be simple weight lifting during work days. I will alternate upper body and lower body each day. The lower body days will consist of three sets of ten repetitions(3-10s) in the squat cage along with 3-10s of single arm bent over rows. The upper body day will consist of 3-10s of bench press along with 3-10s of full supination curls and 3-10s of overhead triceps extensions. I will also run one mile each workday and complete Ab Ripper X. On the weekends I will take one day off and just attempt to be active in some way on the other day whether it’s a hike or an afternoon of wakeboarding.

Ab Ripper X is a popular abdominal workout video that is part of P90X. I could not post a video of the actual P90X workout video due to copyright reasons but here is a YouTube video of a couple performing the workout I will be doing daily.

I will go into more detail on how I arrived at these numbers in Week 17 – Measuring Your Metabolism but below is the breakdown of what my calorie goals will be at each stage. If my calculations are correct and I stay committed I am hoping to lose around 9 pounds of body fat and only 1 pound of muscle in the next ten weeks. This should leave me at a weight of 125 pounds and 8% body fat(and hopefully very nice abs!). I’m also going to attempt to keep my calorie intake at 25% fat, 40% complex carbohydrates, 10% sugars and alcohol, and 25% protein throughout this case study.


After the first month I will have a pretty good idea how close I got to calculating my metabolism and will adjust this table as needed. Below you can see my “Before” Pictures. Hopefully my “After” pictures will look much better!


Date: 7/9/15
Weight: 135
Body Fat: 14%
Waist at Naval: 30.5”

I will be using the spreadsheet below(which I created and am very proud of). You can download the spreadsheet for free on the Products tab. There are tons of great software programs and phone apps that can track calories but I suggest you only use them as a tool to help populate this spreadsheet if you want to use The Weight Equation principles to reach your goals. I am going to allow you to download and peruse the actual spreadsheet I fill out each month as part of the case study. This way you can see exactly what I’m eating during this case study and how much of it. I’m also going to attempt to create an instructional video on how to use the spreadsheet. Hopefully it’s pretty intuitive but there are some cool tricks I’ve built into it.


Last but not least you can get updates on the blog as well as progress I’m making and see pictures of my meals by “liking” The Weight Equation page on Facebook and following The Weight Equation on Twitter and Instagram. Please don’t be shy about sharing The Weight Equation with your friends!

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Week 2 – Biographies

August 16, 2015 Posted by The Weight Equation

Author Bio:

My name is Doug and I started this blog because I am super passionate about nutrition. I was born on Williams Air Force Base in what is now Mesa, Arizona. My dad was in the Uniformed Services so we moved around the country a lot when I was younger but he retired in Arizona and that’s the state I’ve called home for the majority of my life. I received a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona and am an avid U of A football and basketball fan with season tickets for both. I also consider myself a die hard Diamondbacks fan and when it comes time for the NFL playoffs, you’ll find me rooting for the Green Bay Packers. Since this is a nutrition blog I have to tell you about the foods I like right? I LOVE In-N-Out Burger! My go to meal is a Double-Double with grilled onions and no spread along with a side of fries. My sincere apologies for those of you that don’t live in states that have In-N-Out Burger. I’m also a huge fan of a good steak burrito at Chipotle and I’ll mix in a Whopper from Burger King from time to time for good measure. Sadly, my current place of employment is quite a ways away from any of those options so I’ve had to learn to cook for myself during the week. My weekday staples are grilled ribeye steaks and Chilaquiles. Maybe not the diet you were expecting from a guy that’s writing a nutrition blog? That’s exactly why I think this blog will offer a refreshing and hopefully helpful view of nutrition.

I’m incredibly passionate about nutrition because I’ve struggled with my body weight my entire life though it’s been the opposite problem of most people. I have always been very thin and very self conscious about it. Most people have never given it much thought but I’d saying being a “skinny guy” is looked at more negatively by society than being an overweight guy(although probably a close call) or skinny girl. I would say that according to society, being an overweight girl is the only thing worse that being a skinny guy. For some reason though it’s socially acceptable to make fun of people if they are skinny but not if they are overweight. Combine the negative perception with the fact that it’s difficult to compete athletically without muscle mass and it can make growing up difficult. In recent years a concerning trend has started in the United States. I call this trend the “fat acceptance movement”. I think the trend started as a well-intended movement(no pun intended) to ensure people have a positive body image but in reality all it’s accomplishing is making the overweight majority feel better about their bad choices by making thin people feel self-conscious. This is commonly known as “skinny shaming” and examples of skinny shaming are disturbingly common in recent years.

When I tell you I was thin growing up I’m not kidding around. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, when I graduated college, I was a touch over 5’-10” tall and weighed 118 lbs. That equates to a BMI of 16.9. In 2006 Spain banned female runway models from working if they had BMI’s under 18! I would also estimate that my body fat percentage was around 4% at that time. There isn’t much advice available for people who have trouble gaining weight so over the last 15 years I have educated myself about nutrition to understand how to gain weight. In doing so, I have come to realize that the exact same principles apply to losing weight. The information I’ve come across over the years is spread out and difficult to find so I decided to put this blog together to bring everything people need to know about nutrition and their weight into one place. The Weight Equation, It’s not rocket science but it is science.

Case Study Bio:

To Be Determined…

Please enjoy the powerful information I am sharing in this blog but remember that I am NOT a nutritionist or a professional. I am simply passionate about the subject. Please consult with your doctor and nutritionist before implementing any diet.

Week 1 – Introduction

August 10, 2015 Posted by The Weight Equation

Why do skinny people have SLOW metabolisms? Why is fast food healthier than food you prepare at home? Why doesn’t your metabolism slow down because of older age?

The Weight Equation is a blog dedicated to helping you understand your body weight. I bet you’ve heard and read thousands of different “facts” about what affects your body weight. If you’re like most people, the information overload has you more confused than ever! It doesn’t help that half of the information you hear seems to contradict the other half. One week a Stanford study will tell you how a high protein diet will help you lose weight and the next week a study out of Princeton will tell you rats in a lab lost the most weight on an all fruit diet.

Over the next 52 weeks, The Weight Equation will cut through the madness and give you all the information you will ever need to control your body weight. Most of you reading this are probably interested in losing weight but you may be very surprised to learn that there are many people interested in gaining weight. The principles you will learn while following this blog will help you accomplish your goals regardless of what they are.

Everyone’s body follows a quite simple mass balance equation and once you understand that equation the proverbial door is open for you and the sky is the limit! What is a mass balance equation you ask? It’s a fancy term scientists use to describe the relationship between something entering a system and something leaving. In The Weight Equation, the “system” is your body and calories are the “something” entering and leaving. In any mass balance equation there are only three possibilities. The rate at which something enters a system can be greater than, less than, or equal to the rate at which it leaves. This blog is going to try to go very light on the math but it is absolutely pivotal that you understand the concept of mass balance. This entire blog revolves around the three possible outcomes of The Weight Equation:

If Calories In > Calories Out THEN you gain weight
If Calories In < Calories Out THEN you lose weight
If Calories In = Calories Out THEN your weight stays constant

I started this blog because I am extremely passionate about nutrition and its effects on body weight, composition, and athletics. Every day I see people struggle to make sense of all the information about nutrition that is constantly shot at them from every conceivable direction. A lot of the information is completely false or taken out of context, and it is repeated so often, by so many people, it is eventually taken as truth. I hear these nutritional fallacies propagated every day and it really sets me off. I’m well known for turning an innocent comment like: “well vegetables are really healthy for you”, into an hour long nutritional lecture. I just can’t help myself, when I hear these nutritional fallacies it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. I decided to put everything down in one place, in a blog, so I can avoid this urge to educate everybody I meet on nutrition. Now I can just point them to this blog and the world should be a better place!

This blog will have four different types of entries. The first series of entries will be informational in nature. In these early entries I will describe different types of food and how your body processes each. This part of the blog may seem like more of a college lecture than anything else but stick with it because once you understand the basics of nutrition you will have all the building blocks you need to construct the exact body you desire. Everything else in this blog will build off of these principals and reference the earlier entries.

The next series of entries is where this blog will get really fun! This is where you get to apply the information you learned earlier to the real world. You will see conventional nutrition wisdom in a whole new light. I will explain why skinny people have a tougher time losing weight than heavy people. You will read about why a lot of fat in your diet is a good thing and how you could lose 25 lbs in one week! I will be constantly referring back to concepts from the first series of informational entries so make sure you understand those entries before skipping to this series, it will be worth it.

In the final series of entries I will help you build a plan to achieve whatever goals you may have for your body weight. This will occur after the 52 entries are presented and the case study has concluded. I will share the tips I’ve learned throughout the years and point you towards some great resources. If you stuck with it for the whole year and continue to read this series you will have all the information you will ever need to obtain the body you want. Up until that point you could have claimed ignorance but now discipline is the only thing standing in your way!

Didn’t I say there were four different types of entries in this blog? Why did I only mention three? The fourth type of blog entry will be a live case study and it will be mixed into the rest of the entries. I go through the process of using the Weight Equation to help an individual who has struggled with weight their entire life. You will be able to follow her accomplishments and setbacks live and see her work towards the goals we establish.

Please enjoy the powerful information I am sharing in this blog but remember that I am NOT a nutritionist or a professional. I am simply passionate about the subject. Please consult with your doctor and nutritionist before implementing any diet.