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Cycling, walking and calorie burn

Discussion in 'Fitness, Exercise and Sport' started by AdamJames, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    According to a quick Google, a 200lb person cycling at a modest pace will burn 64 calories per mile. I'm 220lb so possibly I'll be burning even more.

    It seems hard to believe. I've just cycled to a hill, spent just 40 minutes on a walk up and down the hill there, then cycled back. The walking up hill 'felt' more strenuous than the cycling, but according to calorie estimators I burned about 300 calories walking, and 700 calories on the 11 mile bike ride.

    A total of 1,000 calories and, while I sweated a bit, I presumed that was because it was a hot day. I don't feel I've done anything particularly taxing. If I had to wildly guess I'd say I felt like I had burned half that.

    I'm not a fitness freak and don't really have a feel for 'calorie burn' but I'm guessing people will have more experience, and possibly have used monitors that measure their own calorie burn. Do these numbers seem realistic?
     
  2. Scott-C

    Scott-C Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't trust any of these devices at all, @AdamJames .

    I've got a Fossil Q Explorist smartwatch which is linked up to libre, blucon and xdrip+, so I get to see bg on the watch, and it purports to tell me health data from the watch when available. It's telling me I'm walking about five miles a day, which is patently not true, seeing as I generally just get up in the morning, walk 100 metres to a tram, walk 100 metres to the office, walk about a bit, then go home.

    I'm T1, so am looking at this from a slightly different perspective, but here's my take on it. I used to go cycle touring a lot - tent on the back of the bike, 50 to 80 miles a day, paced at about 12 mph.

    That's fairly low intensity. I reckon that what was happening was that my body was saying this is low intensity stuff, so there's no major need to start using stored glucose as a fast source, so start burning fat instead as a slow source. I often lost several pounds on a one or two week trip.

    That's just my take on it as a T1, but I think it's a point worth making. Intensive exercise makes the body think, whoah, here we go, some hardcore stuff going on here, let's start using the glucose. Whereas lower intensity exercise tells the body, ok, we're fine here, it's just a bit of walking or slow cycling, don't need to burn up limited carbs, start burning some fat.
     
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  3. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    Sorry but I remain unconvinced about CICO, on a personal experience level and because this theory hasn't worked in reducing the levels of obesity that we see today.

    Here is the King of the analogy himself on the laws of thermodynamics. Zoe Harcombe also talks on this subject.

     
  4. NicoleC1971

    NicoleC1971 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Agree with Guzzler that although we do obey the law of thermodynamics, it isn't useful because unless you are in a university sports science lab with someone measuring your Co2 output etc. the calorie burn estimates are just that. We are not perfect machines and even machines would have variability.
    Your actual calorie burn would depend on stuff like body composition - more muscles = more calorie burn, weather conditions (burn more in cold weather) and gender/age/metabolic health.
    Are you trying to lose fat or gain muscle btw? Just wondered why it is important to you to know what you've 'burned'!
     
  5. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm not wedded to the idea of CICO by a long stretch. But I do need to lose weight, and have found that by hugely upping my walking at the weekends, if I ignore calories in the following days and eat an amount of food that 'feels right', I gain weight and my blood sugar goes up. I've been struggling with this for months. Spot checks have confirmed that I have indeed been eating well over an estimate of maintenance calories.

    I see counting carbs as the same as counting calories - I've proven that it's silly for me not to do either. Everyone is going to have a different metabolism and so a generic equation for CICO is of no use, and everyone has a different reaction to carbs to a blanket figure for carbs is of no use. But both are of great use when applied to ourselves as individuals. And just as our carb tolerance may increase / worsen, we also need to be aware that as we lose weight, our resting metabolism are almost sure to lower.

    So I'd like to get a rough feel for things, to make sure I'm always in a deficit. I've discovered that whenever I stop being in a deficit and things take a while to get back on track. I presume it's as simple as that my liver starts filling up with fat again. Everything seems to go much better when I'm constantly losing weight, but there will be days when I get very hungry as a result of the exercise so I need to start logging things and getting a feel.

    Re CICO, I've been reading/watching Fung quit a bit recently. Even he says it's not a bad basis, but what people almost deliberately overlook is that we know full well, that once a person has been overweight, if they then lose weight, Calories Out reduces, and often quite remarkably.

    So I'm expecting that if and when I reach a weight I'm comfortable with, I'll be needing to eat far less than someone of the same age, size and gender as I am who has never been overweight. If I can eat 1600 calories a day and not gain weight I'll be pleased, even though the same-sized man next to me will be able to eat 2,200 for example.

    I did consider fasting in order to lose weight, but I can't do it as often as I want so I'm going to just get on with it in the normal way.

    Also, while I did briefly get very excited by the short-term studies involving things like alternate day fasting, which show that's a much better strategy for losing weight while preserving metabolism, it seems the long-term results are not so great in actual practice:

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/osp4.52

    It's a bit like LCHF - short term studies say it's better for losing weight than HCLF, but after a year it all evens out.

    Even studies on the speed of weight loss show that rapid vs slow has pros and cons. Slow results in a lot of metabolic slowdown, and fast results in a little bit more. But fast results in better improvements in insulin levels and glucose control.

    It's swings and roundabouts. To be honest, I just need to lose weight, and what with upping the exercise, I want to get a feel for things, so even on days when I get very hungry, I can eat enough but not too much.

    Here's the way I think of things after some recent reading around:

    * Weight loss, rapid or otherwise, is not the problem that causes a slowed metabolism. Being obese is the problem. Once you've been obese, any method of losing weight is going to slow your metabolism in the long run. No study has found a way to lose weight without slowing your metabolism in the long run.

    * A slowed metabolism is not a wrecked metabolism. It's still ticking along fine. You could even argue it's an improved, more efficient metabolism.

    * Constant moderate calorie restriction is not evil. It actually makes almost all bio markers for health and life expectancy increase every time it has been tested on any species.

    * One thing nobody argues with is that it seems there is a time limit before weight loss stops working to help improve pancreatic function in people with T2. I'd rather not carry on letting what's happen to my weight happen again. I lost a lot of weight last year, then stopped counting calories, and sure enough verified I was over-eating, and now my weight has increased and my blood sugar has been dangerous for a while. Even on very low carbs.

    * The vast majority of the time I've read T2 people on this forum talking about their experiences with improving their blood sugars, they talk of weight loss, and weight loss stalls. Doesn't matter whether they are LCHF, keto, fasting, whatever. So their metabolism has slowed. That's just what happens, and once we've been overweight, we need to expect this to happen if we want to lose weight.

    Sorry this sounds like a rant when I've just re-read it before posting, it's just a mind-spew of my current thinking. I was actually going to start a thread on this but it seemed appropriate in this context.
     
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  6. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    As you say, our metabolic rate is as individual as everything else about us. I beleive that even after a great weight loss the mr eventually returns to 'normal for you' so diet must be watched carefully ever after.

    As I have the polar opposite problem to you but have a different starting point I am interested in how you deal with your problem. i.e. if the law of thermodynamics was absolute why then have I personally never been overweight? To clarify, I have been a wheelchair user for over a decade, by the very nature of things I am the ultimate couch potato. I should have gained weight slowly and steadily over that time. My eating habits did not change until the last couple of years before diagnosis of T2 when I will admit that the amount of very high calorie and high carb foods increased. Still no weight gain.
    Presently I am struggling to maintain my weight and to stop further weight loss as tbh I do not feel well at my current weight. I have raised the amount of calories in my diet with even more fats and a little more protein to no avail.

    So, we may have be opposites with the same problem?
     
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  7. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I wish there was a clear answer for your situation. I'd guess that my case is very typical of the population, and yours is very atypical.

    I think thermodynamics, as in the physical laws, are on pretty solid ground - at least as much as Newton's laws - i.e. it took someone very clever like Einstein to point out their flaws but that doesn't stop them being very useful, at least on planet Earth. The problem is the human body is so complicated, and so varied from one individual to another that we can't properly measure / predict all the energy transfers going on inside. I think if things are pushed to extremes then 'calories win', i.e. nobody gets out of a concentration camp without looking like a skeleton, and there will always be a rate of calorie intake which can cause weight gain. The extremes will be different for different people and of course one could easily die trying to discover them, and will certainly die at some point of increase / decrease.

    One thing which comes to mind in your case, and I know you've mentioned it yourself, is of course that people can have very large differences in visceral fat and that does seem to play a huge role in T2. Someone can have 8 times the amount of visceral fat as someone else with the same waist circumference. Not only that but it's been shown fairly clearly that obese people with T2 have more pancreatic fat than similarly obese people without T2, so in many cases it could be said that people with T2 are genetically predisposed to gain pancreatic fat. I guess this applies even to people who are thin.

    Which seems to put you in an impossibly unfair situation. Much as I like to think that focusing on losing weight may help me, I hate to think that someone in your position has less options. Then again I may find myself in a similar situation - my glucose tolerance hasn't improved at all after weight loss, and I need to be in a constant state of weight loss in order to get reasonable fasting levels, and of course weight loss must stop at some point.

    I like Jason Fung's disparaging acronym '****' - Calorie Reduction as Primary, and take it to mean exactly what it says - not that calorie reduction is rubbish for overweight people, but there are less clever, and more clever ways to go about it so simple maths shouldn't be the primary focus. I'm not as convinced as he is that any amount of cleverness will have drastically better results in the long term however.

    Hopefully in your case there is another meaning to '****' - Calorie Rise as Primary, i.e. blindly increasing calories may be rubbish, but you can find a clever way of increasing them to get to a comfortable weight while still maintaining healthy glucose control.

    I take heart that judging from our siglines we've made similar improvements so far, by whatever means, and long may that continue. I hope we can meet in the middle somewhere, with tolerable weights and tolerable blood glucose control!
     
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  8. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    Ah well. At least I know a way to solve my weight problem if not my Diabetes problem which leaves me with an afvantage I suppose. :)
     
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  9. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    It might be a whole different world of trickiness for you compared to me but you've come so far I have to believe if you can find out what is required, you'll make it work.

    One thought which occurred to me, is could it be that Metformin is making it hard for you to gain weight? I wondered that because some people say it helps with weight loss. I don't know what you are finding with your daily glucose control, but if it seems to be getting better with time, then maybe reducing Metformin could be an option.

    Or, and I know this is heresy, increasing carbs? Your weight could be even more influenced by carbs than a lot of people. If your carb tolerance has increased, could there be a balance whereby you can take advantage of that in a way you are comfortable with?

    I seem to remember you are on medication for other things so I imagine it's a minefield trying to balance things, but the Metformin-and-weight-loss things just came to me. I'm sure it's occurred to you as well but I thought I'd mention it.
     
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  10. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    Aye, raising my carb number may solve my weight problem, I do experiment from time to time and my numbers go high every time. I had not thought of the Metformin angle, though. Thank you, I might try tinkering with that as I have not changed the dosage for the best part of a year and still take three per day.
    The other non D tablets do impact on my numbers and as you say there is a lot of compromising going on with that. You have given me food for thought this morning.
     
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  11. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I've heard quite a few stories of these personal devices being rubbish!

    I think a reasonable place for me to start is some of the figures published online where the numbers seem to come from lab tests. I'm expecting my own results to be quite different, plus change over time. But I've got to start somewhere before I home in and get a feel for what I do vs the results I can expect.

    Thanks for taking the time to write your experiences up, since both fat loss and glucose control are my objectives, I'll be looking out for what type of exercise affects which of those things the most. I've certainly noticed there's a certain way of doing my local walk which seems to reliably give the best effect on blood glucose! Bike rides I much less of a feel for, cycling has never been as big a hobby as walking but I've really been enjoying it the last couple of days so may well do a lot more in the good weather.

    I still haven't timed my bike rides but I'm going to guess I'm only going at about 11 mph. Just got back from one now however and I tried to push it a bit. I think I was effectively doing interval training - I really pushed hard up some of the hills!

    I have to say I don't really want to turn my hobbies of walking and cycling into 'exercise' i.e. that's not why I do them, but it would be really great to get a good understanding of how they affect my weight, my glucose control and, most of all to solve my recent problem, how much food I should be eating in the days after any big walk / ride to ensure I don't start putting on weight again.
     
  12. AdamJames

    AdamJames Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I don't know how I missed this post.

    My main goal at the moment is to lose fat.

    The reason it's important to know what I've burned is because about a couple of months ago, I stopped counting calories for various reasons, not least because I was feeling fighting fit, not eating many carbs, and doing an absolute ton of walking in the mountains at weekends, so was hoping things would 'sort themselves out'. But I put on quite a bit of weight and my fasting glucose has been in the danger zone far more often than not.

    A general problem I seem to have is that I have no natural instinct for how much food is enough! If I let my appetite rule my intake, I gain weight. I've fallen foul of the apparently common problem that people tend to over-eat after a lot of exercise. I suspect I'm particularly prone to this given, even after no exercise, I rarely feel full.

    I've really been enjoying the last few days now that I am monitoring things and realising when I need to stop eating, or eating less now so I can eat more later just before a walk for example. My fasting glucose is in a much safer range, I feel really in control of my diet and I'm losing weight. Perhaps most of all, I'm feeling 'good' and this feels like something I can easily stick to.

    I still need to crack the big challenge - which is to somehow spend a good weekend in the hills, eating enough to be safe, and also enough to avoid being crazily hungry in the day or two after I get back, so that I don't keep fluctuating between weight loss and weight gain. I think I can do it, I just have to accept what I am, which is a bit of a robot who needs to rely on a bit of maths instead of his rubbish instincts!
     
  13. Scott-C

    Scott-C Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I overheard an amusing conversation on my tram to work recently. Couple of women were chatting about what seemed to be a competitive step-counting thing they were doing in the office where they worked.

    It went like this: "so, we were all on about 9000, and then she turns up flashing her fancy watch about saying, 'look, I did 40,000', no way she did that, she's making it up, she probably just shook her wrist a lot..."

    Etc. Etc. Office politics and smartwatches - I steer clear of them!
     
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