Thursday, October 30, 2008

Guest Writer Carl Tries Out CR For a Day

My friend Carl wanted to be supportive of my strict-counting week and decided to eat 1670 calories yesterday and I was thrilled to have a friend join me for a day in the CR quest!
He was hungry (as he reported to me) and most probably because he was at least 300 calories under an appropriate CR prescription for a man. Although- I do remember my first day, and it was miserable, even with a valid CR prescription. But regardless of any hunger induced misery, his insights were impressive and will truly help me stay motivated and focused on getting back on track. In addition to all of the factors that Carl lists as being critical in maintaining a CR diet, having an amazing support group of family and friends has really helped me with my success on CR.

If anyone is interested in estimating how many calories you burn in a day (either to eat close to that amount or figure out a CR prescription) here is a website that I found to be very close to my experimentally derived energy expenditure:

--First you need to figure out your BMR which is the calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all day.
--Then you take that number and multiply it by an "activity factor" based on how active you are, the number I got, when I started CR, was within 125 calories of my actual energy expenditure.

So without further ado, here is Carl's insight into a day in the life of CR!

I’ve known about the calorie restriction diet, through Liz, for some time now. I had always thought that it couldn't be that tough; it’s just counting and stopping when you reach your magic number. I couldn't be further from reality. At its core, CR is about counting numbers but that’s just one part of it. The other parts include strategy, willpower and sacrifice. Each of these elements builds of each other and feed back into one another. Strategy solidifies your willpower. Willpower enables you to make sacrifices. Sacrifices help you build and execute your strategy.

Strategy comes into play when planning out each meal and snack through the day. CR requires forward thinking about the choices you will make even 12 to 15 hours later. An example I ran into was if I wanted to have a beer or two with dinner. How will my food selections leading up until then affect if I can afford this in my CR count.

Willpower gives you the ability to stick to your CR plan throughout the day and resist the temptations that pop up. I was on the CR for one day and I had to remind myself multiples times that even the slightest indulgence can throw off my hard work and planning.

Sacrifice is when you must cut out some of your favorite items in order to stick to your CR plan. Leaving out the chips at lunch, a snack mid afternoon or a dessert after dinner can be a tough thing to do. Sometimes, the sacrifices that must be made can be the hardest part of calorie restriction.

My limited, first-hand experience with CR was an experience, one that led me to find that there is more to CR then just counting numbers. I give credit to all those that must strategize, sacrifice and maintain great willpower each and everyday for months and years while living a calorie restriction lifestyle.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

I live with the "guest writer" and it was interesting to see him planning everything out. I would have to suggest that we both try CR for a week, because I think the weekends would be 10x harder than a weekday. I always have trouble making sacrifices on special occasions, or if someone baked/cooked/slaved over a stove to make something I have no will power. Most social events (at least the ones I plan) revolve around food.
So I can imagine it's normal for you to be having a tough time staying on track right now. I imagine that's why the study is for two years, because you are truly altering your lifestyle and I know that if you want something to last it's usually best to take the slow and steady pace to the finish line!

You can do it, don't get down on yourself. :)