View Full Version : An Interactive Tool for Weight Control

2010-01-26, 09:44
An Interactive Tool for Weight Control

Developed by: atraildreamer
(© 2010 by E. F. Brown, Jr.)

Based on material initially published by:
Jim Wood
In his article:
"Backpacking and Weight Loss"
(April 14, 2005)

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This article and the accompanying spreadsheets and charts provided are AS IS, without any representations, express or implied.

I make no guarantees as to the success of any weight modification regimen you may
embark upon while utilizing these spreadsheets and charts.

Nothing in this article or the accompanying spreadsheets and charts, constitute, or are meant to constitute medical advice of any kind.

If you are pregnant you should not use these spreadsheets.

If you require medical advice in relation to any health matter you should consult an appropriately qualified physician.

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(Note: Blue underlined texts are hyperlinks to source material.)

We live in a modern society that provides us with a vast variety of abundant foods. Unfortunately, many of our food choices are not the best for achieving and maintaining optimal weight and health. Many foods are highly processed, high fat, high carbohydrate and loaded with salt, while appealing to our taste buds, do nothing but help us to get fatter.

I have been battling a weight problem most of my life, and judging from the posts found at Whiteblaze, and many other hiking and backpacking forums, I am not alone in this situation. This article, and the accompanying spreadsheets, is the product of an extensive search for a method of weight loss that would work for me. I would like to share my results with the outdoor community.

I have tried many types of weight loss programs and diets, among them, Weight Watchers (http://www.weightwatchers.com/Index.aspx), Opti-Fast (http://www.optifast.com/Pages/optifast_home.aspx) (a.k.a. The “Oprah” diet), high-carbohydrate, low-fat (The Rice Diet (http://www.optifast.com/Pages/optifast_home.aspx), Dr. Mirkin’s Low Fat Diet (http://www.drmirkin.com/)), hi-fat, low-carbohydrate (The Atkins Diet (http://www.atkins.com/Homepage.aspx)), skipping breakfast, skipping lunch, skipping dinner, skipping all meals (fasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting)), and on and on…

While all of these diets initially seem to work and may allow for a dramatic loss of weight (usually water weight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-carbohydrate_diet#Water-related_weight_loss)), they are often quite difficult to stay on due to a variety of reasons. Among them, lack of variety, expense of certain “necessary” foods required by some diets, nutritional unbalance, boredom, and stress-induced eating “binges (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binge_eating)”. Many of these diets offer little, or no, training in modification of poor eating habits (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutrition). Sometimes you feel like you are on a hamster wheel, getting nowhere fast, as the weight comes back!

I concluded that the best diet for my circumstances would incorporate familiar foods, be adaptable to different eating situations, and based on counting calories. I also wanted a method that would make me aware of appropriate portion size, and the percentage content of five basic food values: Calories (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_energy), Carbohydrates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbohydrates), Proteins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_%28nutrient%29), Fats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat) and Sodium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt) (Salt). This would be very useful in changing my eating habits.

That is why I started listing the nutritional values of my food choices in a separate spreadsheet (FoodList.xls). (Most of the values came directly off of the nutritional labels found on almost every food item sold today. If you want a comprehensive food listing, you can download the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 22 (http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=8964). You can look up the nutrient content of 7,538 different foods {BTW, this is the “short” version } If you prefer a more compact listing, I recommend Corinne Netzer’s The Complete Book of Food Counts (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Food-Counts/dp/1567312136).)

The next question is determining how to achieve a specific weight loss goal and one source that put together all the required criteria for determining how many calories would be needed to maintain that goal weight was Jim Wood.

Jim, an avid backpacker and accomplished outdoorsman, is probably best known for his invention of a backpacking favorite…the Super Cat Stove (http://www.jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/index.html). But his website and discussion forum jwbasecamp.com (http://www.jwbasecamp.com/) is a bonanza of useful backpacking information and projects. His article, "Backpacking and Weight Loss (http://www.jwbasecamp.com/Articles/Weight_Loss/Weight_Loss.html)", lists several equations (which he refers to as “The Simple Math” :ahhhhh:) which determine Basal Metabolism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_metabolism), Thermic Effect Metabolism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermic_effect_of_food) and Activity-related metabolism. With his permission, I used his original material as a basis for the spreadsheets. I also added several other criteria that I wished to track: the percentage of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in my diet, and Body Mass Index (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_Mass_Index) (BMI), daily water required (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_metabolism) for a specific weight and the amount of time needed to meet a specific goal weight.

The spreadsheet(s) incorporate the formulas of the Harris-Benedict equations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harris-Benedict_equation) for determining daily basal calories for an adult male (or adult female), current BMI, calories/day/pound needed to maintain current weight, and your daily water requirement. (Since there are varying opinions as to how much water that you should drink, I picked a figure of ½ liquid ounce per pound of actual body weight per day. This is adjusted to 80 % of the calculated amount on the assumption that 20 % of your the will come from the metabolism of food consumed.)

Using the Spreadsheet(s)

Download the spreadsheets.zip files, open either the MaleAdultDietLog.xls or the FemaleAdultDietLog.xls. Also, open the Averageweights.xls, the ExpandedNutribase.xls, and the FoodList.xls.

Go to the Male (or Female) Diet Log spreadsheet and scroll down to the outlined box labeled “Enter Your Current Weight” and enter your weight. Continue entering your Height in inches, your Age and your Ideal Weight in the appropriate boxes. (Consult the Averageweight.xls (http://www.eprintablecalendars.com/ideal-body-weight-chart/) chart to determine your ideal weight {This chart combines and averages three popular formulas [Devine, Robinson and Miller]}), or, just enter the target weight that you are trying to attain.

After you have entered this initial data, the spreadsheet will calculate:

how many pounds you are over, or under, your goal weight,
your Basic Daily Basal Calories requirement,
your Daily Water Required, (in ounces, glasses and liters).
the Calories/Day/Pound requirement for weight maintenance,
and your Current Body Mass Index.

Enter your Desired Weekly Weight Loss, or Gain, goal, and after consulting the ExpandedNutribaseTable.xls enter a figure that approximates the number of calories that you will expend in exercise-related activity during the week. (I have taken the original Nutribase table (http://www.nutribase.com/exercala.htm) and using the charting capabilities of the Excel spreadsheet program, I increased the weight ranges and highlighted several of the categories: Backpacking, Cross Country Skiing, Hiking, Running, and Walking.)

The spreadsheet will then generate the time, in weeks, that is will take to reach your desired weight, and the Daily & Weekly Goal Calories that you will be allowed to eat to attain your diet goals. (This figure is adjusted upward by 10% to allow for the thermic effect of metabolizing the food consumed.) (If you enter “0” as your weekly weight loss goal, meaning that you want to maintain your current weight, you will see a row of xxxxxxxxx’s appear in the “It will take” box of the table.)

Enter the number of Goal Grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat that you would like to eat daily. The spreadsheet will then calculate the percentage that the goal grams represent in your desired eating plan, and will also represent those percentages as calorie amounts of Carbs (Carbohydrates), Protein and Fat. The figure for Sodium intake is based on the recommended maximum of 2,500 mg/day, and is not adjustable by the user.

You are now ready to entering data into your Daily Food Log sections of the spreadsheet.

Scroll down to the Day 1 section of the Daily Food Log and enter the date and your weight. There is also a section for Diet Notes to record your observations, etc.

To record your Food Item(s), I have found it easiest to construct my own FoodList.xls. You can directly enter the food values or just highlight the food item that you are eating off of the food list and copy and paste it over to the diet log spreadsheet. You can then specify the number of portions consumed either as a whole number (1 being the default), or as a decimal (e.g.: 0.5, 0.334, 1.4, etc.), or as whole number fractions (1/2, ¾. 1 ½, etc.). You can then record When you ate the particular item, either as the time of day, or as a meal category. I use B for breakfast, L for lunch, S for supper and SN for snacks.

Feel free to modify the FoodList.xls as you see fit. This particular list reflects my food choices. Most of the values came directly off of the nutritional labels found on almost every food item sold today. The unprotect code for the FoodList.xls is: 12345 (Clever…eh?:rolleyes:)

As the week progresses, your diet entries will appear in the Weekly Diet Progress Re-Cap section of the spreadsheet. Any quantities within the allowable diet goals will appear as a black value number. Any quantities over the allowable diet goals (e.g.: a weight gain) will appear as a (red) value.

At the end of the week, save the spreadsheet under a different name such as Week1.xls, Week2.xls, etc. You can print it out as the spreadsheet is formatted to print on 3 sheets of paper. You can start another blank spreadsheet for the next week of your diet.

In wish you much success in your quest to attain your ideal weight!

(BTW, I am 31 pounds lighter since I started this project! :biggrin: )

Why Backpackers Lose Weight

Take the example of a 180-pound man, 40 years old and 5’ 10” (70") tall. He is planning a weeklong hike of 7-hour days carrying a 35 pound pack. The spreadsheet calculates his daily basal calorie requirement at 1,831 calories. The ExpandedNutribase.xls chart gives a figure of approximately 446 calories/hour x 7 hours/day x 7 days for a total of 21,830 calories to be expended in exercise. To this figure add the basal calorie requirement of 1,831 calories x 7 days (21,830 + 12,817=34,647 total weekly calories. This equals a requirement of 4,950 calories per day and factoring in the 10% thermic effect, 4,950 x 1.1= 5,444 calories needed per day. Since the typical backpacker carries and consumes around 3,500 calories/day (according to many posts on the forums), we see that there will be a calorie deficit of 5,444 - 3,500 = 1,944 calories/day, or 7 x 1,944 = 13,608 calories for the week. This results in a weight loss of 13,608/3,500 = 3.89 pounds for the week. Multiply this through a 4, 5 or 6-month thru-hike and you can see why backpackers experience large weight losses. :eek: