On May 7th 2019, I decided to go on a diet mainly because I wanted to start running but I was too overweight for it. In fact right before I start my diet, I had three 10K runs on April 29 2019 , April 30 2019 and May 7 2019 and my corresponding running time for each of them was 1:10:08 , 1:08:48 and 1:07:05 respectively. The running times were as disappointing as I even didn’t think about starting a 10K training plan.
In fact the slowest 10K training plan in one of my favorite books “Running: The Complete Guide to Building Your Running Program” By “John Stanton” was 10K 60 minutes training plan and in my case I wasn’t sure if that training plan is applicable to me or not because I was too slow at that time.
Later on, I noticed that the American Olympian “Jeff Galloway” in his book “Galloway’s 5K and 10K Running” has even introduced a 10K 1:19′:00” training plan but anyways I wasn’t interested to start such a slow training plan. As an alternative, I decided to first reduce my weight and then start my running through an appropriate training plan.
I was 65-67 kg when I was in my running prime in 2016 and on May 7 2019 I was 83.3 kg. Therefore as my diet goal, I decided to drop 16 kg of my weight. I have to mention this was my first ever diet and therefore I had no idea about weight loss and anything related to it. Therefore as my first question, I asked myself how long would it take to achieve my ideal goal, so I started doing the math.
As it is well known like in this article, the average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day and the average man needs to eat about 2,500 calories per day to maintain weight, if you consume anything less than that you would start losing weight.
Now the question is how many calories you need to burn to lose one pound of fat. As you can find in another article of healthline.com available here, one pound of body fat contains about 3500 calories.
As we all know, exercise can be a lot helpful in losing weight. As a former runner, I had two favorite options for my exercises: running and walking. I have been reading in several articles in past, that when you are running you shouldn’t expect to lose weight that much. Even now that I googled “running and lose weight”, I found some articles like this , where they explain why running is not the best option for losing weight.
On the other hand, I can remember when I was training in 2016, I took certain breaks during my training to lose more weight through diet and walking. In general, I had the impression that walking works better for me for losing weight compared to running. Therefore I chose walking for my exercise in my weight loss journey.
The immediate question that appears here is how many calories do you burn in each walk. As it is mentioned in this article and it’s somehow obvious, your weight, pace ,terrain and genetics would impact on your burning calories. I start with pace and terrain.
I decided to have my daily walks starting from home approximately in Yonge and Sheppard in North York Toronto, walking all the way down to south in the Yonge street. I also decided to have my daily walks with an average of at least 2 hours a day. Having that in my mind, I measured a very long 16K walk , in that path at my regular pace (or a little bit faster) with my Garmin Fenix 3 HR watch.
My watch already considered my weight, and the terrain, pace and genetics factors in this walk was approximately the same as my other walks. The duration of this walk was 2:41′:36” and the burned calories calculated by my watch was 626 C. Therefore it was a safe estimate to assume during a 2 hours walk in the same path I would burn as much as 2.0/(2+41/60)*626=465 calories.
I also decided to be tough on myself and just consume around 1000 calories a day which means starving during my diet time. Now lets calculate how long would it take with that plan to lose 16 Kg of my body weight. My body approximately requires 2500 calories a day for maintaining my weight plus 465 calories for my 2 hours walk which is 2965 calories per day. I was eating approximately 1000 calories a day and therefore burning the rest of 1965 calories in each day.
Since one pound (454 gr) of fat is 3500 calories, in each day I was burning 1965/3500*454gr =254 gr of my body fat and therefore in each week I was burning 7*0.254=1.784~1.8 kg of my body fat. Therefore to be on the safe side, one can estimate my weekly burning body fat by 1.5 Kg. and therefore it would take me 11 weeks to lose 16 Kg of my weight.
That was my initial calculation for the duration of my diet but in practice, it never came true. As you can find it in Summary of My 2019 Diet in Google Sheets , in the first 6 weeks of my diet, I was getting the best results and my weight loss rate in that period was equal with almost 1 kg/week . After that because I was so tough on myself during my diet, I couldn’t continue and I decided to have 8 days of rest.
After that 8 days, I again got good results for the next 3 weeks and I had the same weight loss average of 1 kg/week . That was up to the end of week 11 where I lost 9.6 kg during that time period. From week 12 up to the end of week 15, I got very poor results and I just lost 1.0 kg however I worked very hard. The 18’645 daily average steps during that 4 weeks thoroughly indicates my hard effort during that time period.
In the next two weeks (weeks 16-17) my average weight loss was again 1 kg/week and in the last week i.e. week 18, I didn’t lose anything at all. At this point I decided to stop my diet. That was a complete summary of my 18 weeks weight loss journey.