9.6 Calories a Day

I’m feeling fat these days. Maybe fat is the wrong word. Pudgy? Rotund? Obese?

Over the past few years, my weight has kind of yo-yo’d. It’s gone as low as 167 pounds (thanks, South Beach Diet) to a high of around 194 pounds (my Fat Bastard phase). I seem to have settled somewhere in the middle of that range, which isn’t too bad. However, when you factor in my embarrassing lack of musculature, I’m actually approaching Kirstie Alley-esque proportions.

Being mathematically inclined, I wanted to calculate the cause of this weight gain. Here are the key facts:

·   I am 10 pounds over my ideal weight
·   10 pounds of fat equals 35,000 calories
·   I’ve gained this additional 10 pounds over the past decade, so my net annual caloric overage is 3,500 calories
·   The resulting net daily caloric overage during this period is 9.6 calories

WTF? I’m fat because of an extra 9.6 calories per day? That doesn’t sound like much. That’s like, what, one potato chip? Two Smarties? Three grapes? Put another way, it’s the equivalent of one old-fashioned glazed Timbit every week for the past 10 years.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to give up my weekly Timbit, so perhaps I should just do a bit more exercise to burn off the extra few calories I’m consuming each day. I wonder what I’d have to do to burn 20 calories?

According to this handy on-line calorie calculator, I’d have to spend:

·   5 minutes fixing a car or playing miniature golf
·   4 minutes playing my drums or sweeping the floor
·   3 minutes playing cricket or milking a cow
·   1 minute playing water polo or boxing

Wow, I’m exhausted just looking at this list of strenuous physical activities. I mean, where am I going to find 3 minutes per day to milk a cow?

This is the maddening thing about weight gain. If you do the math, it’s this tiny differential between calories consumed and calories burned that can have a big impact over time.

I’m not a patient man, so I’m going to drop ten years of accumulated fat as quickly as possible. Given my daily caloric intake of 2,500 calories per day, I just have to go 14 days without eating to make up for the 35,000 additional calories. It’s widely accepted that the longest most humans can go without food is 60 days, so 14 days should be a walk in the park. It also means I will still have a few weeks of summer left to show off my new physique on the beach.

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