Calorie Restriction with Optimum Nutrition
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Calorie Conservation and "Activity Restriction"

by KH

Long-term CRONing has been a learning experience. However, the learning curve's slope is slowly starting to become less steep. One of the things that I've been tweaking is calorie conservation. That is, trying eliminate energy-wasting or INEFFICIENT lifestyle patterns. I think the term "ad-lib" (in an unrestrained manner; spontaneously) can be equally applicable to "activity restriction" ("AR") as it does to calorie restriction (CR). Indeed, up until I reached my current weight/body fat, I never really gave AR any thought. However, constantly running on a comparatively low "fuel tank" has forced me to completely re-evaluate and "re-engineer" ordinary lifestyle patterns. These include:

  • Religious use of daily and weekly planners to streamline activities
  • Mentally gauging walking distance for activities such as shopping and day-to-day errands: planning the most-efficient route thru a large supermarket; finding the closest parking spot or taking the elevator instead of the stairs. These short-cuts conserve calories
  • Use of calorie-counting tools, such as pedometers and nutrition and exercise software

Caloric intake is determined solely by the amount and type of food ingested. Caloric expenditure is more complex as it is determined by four factors. The number of calories used each day is a function of the minimum energy required to keep cells, tissues and organs alive at rest (the basal metabolism, analogous to the idling of an automobile engine); the energy required for digesting food; the energy required to heat the body; and the energy required for movement or physical activity. The number of calories required for the first three is generally fixed from day to day in our modern world. Consequently, an individual's level of skeletal muscle usage has the largest influence of the four factors on day-to-day caloric balance.

Calorie conservation or AR may seem trivial (even anal) at first. But, the sum of many inefficiently-conducted activities do add up. I don't have exact numbers for just how many calories I now conserve since implementing these changes. It helps if you have had your basal or resting metabolic rate* (RMR) tested (mine is 1200 kcal, tested in March 2003, at a weight of 115 lbs, height 5' 11"). This will give you an idea of how much energy your organs and tissues are using if you did nothing but lie on you back all day. You can also use portable pedometers (see below) to track how much your are walking/running every day.

Fortunately, these routines become second nature and the initial investment of time and effort -- proactively planning calorie conservation -- pays off. The energy conserved could be used for more quality-of-life-enhancing activities (biking, hiking, etc.) or, perhaps, a bit more strength or cardio exercise. If one already does these things and is content, then the extra (leftover) energy could truly be conserved by restricting one's calorie intake even further (my favorite option!).

*Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the rate at which you burn energy or calories at rest. How do I measure my RMR without special test equipment? You can't very accurately -- and this applies more to calorie-restricted individuals than the general, ad lib population. The formulas below give you a rough idea of RMR; the results are less accurate if you are calorie restricted. Males: 66+ (6.22 x weight (lbs)) + (12.7 x height (inches)) - (6.8 x age) Females: 655 + (4.36 x weight (lbs)) + (4.32 x height (inches)) - (4.7 x age)

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Fact: Every calorie eaten knocks several seconds off your life
Listen Up:
Talking Calorie Counting Pedometer
 Announces distance covered, calories burned and elapsed time you have walked or jogged according to preset intervals or announces at touch of button. Ignores false step counts, thus calculations based on actual walking. Auto scan FM radio lets you listen for FM radio while working out.

How many calories are you burning per day?
Omron Pedometer can count how many calories you burn  moving around day to day
Omron Pedometer can count how many calories you burn moving around day to day

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