HomeathleteFoodFood: My Fitness Nemesis

Food: My Fitness Nemesis

Food is my nemesis. I can beat my body half to death running or riding a bike. I will put my time in (and then some) exercising. But food can defeat me without lifting a finger.

My Nemesis - Food

An opponent that cannot be beaten or overcome.

I love food. I’ve always loved food. And I have a ridiculous capacity for it. I can eat a lot. That’s how I ended up 100 pounds overweight in the first place.

I have friends that aren’t like me. My friend Andrew has always been very thin. He eats moderately and he just doesn’t care that much about food. HOW CAN YOU NOT CARE ABOUT FOOD VERY MUCH! His relationship with food is healthy. I have a lot of friends like Andrew.

I’ve always wanted to over consume all kinds of food.

The Math

When I started losing weight I weighed a hefty 260 pounds. It takes about 3500 calories a day to maintain that weight. That’s a lot of food. You aren’t feeling at all deprived at that quanity of food.

It takes 3500 calories to gain or lose a pound. So when you are taking in 3500 calories a day it is fairly easy to:

a. burn 500 extra calories


b. eat 500 calories less.

At that rate you lose one pound a week. If you can do both you lose two pounds a week.

That’s a lifestyle change but one you can make happen with a little work. So I did that. And it worked.

The problem is that as you lose weight you reduce the number of calories you can eat and maintain your weight. This makes sense in theory but I don’t know that we realize the true impact. I used to think “If I get down to ________ I’ll be able to eat like a ‘normal’ person.”

That’s true. But a normal person has to eat a lot less than my old “normal.”

In rough numbers for men: at 260 pounds you need 3500 calories to maintain your weight. At 240 pounds you need 3300 calories to maintain. At 220 pounds you need 3100 calories to maintain. At 200 pounds you need 2900 calories to maintain. At 180 pounds you need 2700 calories to maintain. At 160 pounds you need 2500 calories to maintain.

So the more you lose the harder it is to lose and the easier it is to gain. At least for me. I hate that. There are a couple of other factors like muscle mass and natural metabolic rate that effect these formulas but the math is pretty accurate for most people.

Why it matters

There are a couple of reasons why weight matters to me. The first and most important is health. There are all kinds of issues related to being overweight and health. It’s well documented with research that weight seems to be the important factor when it comes to being “healthy.” Yada yada yada. We all know that. I did my own research and development regarding health impact so I have first hand experience on this front. I’m a believer: weight has a huge impact on health.

Since I dipped below the 190 pound mark (roughly a year ago) I’ve been happy with the status of my health. My blood work shows all my numbers are good. I feel good. And I’m able to live the life I want to in terms of activity. The health issues that were eminent in my life are gone. I’m a satisfied person on the health front.

The second reason that weight matters so much to me is performance. Extra body weight is the enemy of speed when it comes to running and riding a bike. I’ve got plenty of muscle and endurance to ride a bike and run the distances I want. In fact I excel at doing either for a long time. But I have a long way to go to get faster.

When you are carrying extra weight you can only improve on speed so much without getting lighter. Carrying an extra 20 pounds probably won’t hurt you in a lot of sports but for running and especially riding it makes a world of difference.

Thus you have “weight weenies” who try to shave pounds off their bodies and their bikes in order to go faster. So now I’m a weight weenie. I swore a year ago I would never be a weight weenie. Here I stand: weight weenie Greg.

The Plan

So here’s my plan:

I’m going to eat a net of 1200 calories maximum a day no matter what until I reach 165 lbs (I’m hovering between 175-180 right now). Net means that I can eat more calories if I burn more but my calories after burning will be no more than 1200. So if I eat 2,000 and burn 800 then I’m fine. But I can’t eat 2,500 and only burn 800. I’d be over by 500.

When I get to 165 my goal is to maintain that weight. Period.

I will be posting my weight every morning on the sidebar of this site until I get there. Every morning. Period.

I am going to de-nemesize this nemesis.

Keep moving forward,


Written by

I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

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