The Pie Hole Matrix

DAY 185 / 1260 MILES

This week I stumbled past another milestone, a small one, but gratifying in equal measure. I finished walking all the spokes to the hub…meaning I completed walking the state highways and county roads that connect each of the 11 outlying communities to the county seat.

One of the bio-data measures kept by the two apps I track my walks on (but rarely pay any attention to) is the recorded number of steps I’ve taken during each day’s walk. When starting this pilgrimage last year it seemed logical that, cumulatively, I’d probably burn a big bowl of calories each week. Such a calorie burn could mean I might finally loose the pony express mail bags I’ve been carrying around the waist like an Ichetucknee inner tube for 60 years. I noted that yesterday’s walk required 25,222 steps which made me curious about how many steps are typically taken in other walks. The average is just under 20,000 steps for each walk. On top of that I, like most people, easily take 10,000 steps a day just living our lives, without really trying to rack up steps. So, taking just under 30,000 steps a day, six days a week (yes only six, ya gotta do laundry some time) piqued my curiosity. How many calories am I consuming each day by walking? Obi-Wan says one hour of “moderate” (3 miles an hour) walking for a person weighing 180lbs (I weigh 175, if you must know) consumes ~269 calories. My daily walks vary from 90 minutes to 4 hours, but rarely last less than 2 hours. How many calories does it take to burn one pound of mail (blubber) from the saddle bags you ask? 3500 calories. So, if 2 hours is a conservative estimate of time spent walking each day -and- excludes the 10,000 steps taken outside of each walk, 538 calories burned during each walk 6 days a week is, likewise, a conservative estimate. If we do the blubber math (that’s an academic term): 3500 calories (to dispatch 1 lb. of fat), divided by 538 calories (used each day), equals 6.5 days to dissolve one pound of goo. That means I should be shedding a pound a week. After more than 52 weeks, I should’ve winnowed way down past my high school freshman weight (and, of course, added the corresponding Atlas physique). The puzzling thing is, I ain’t shed an ounce in 18 months. Now, the obvious default is to think that daily banana split might have something to do with it. But actually I consume only two meals a day (the first being granola, plain yogurt, and fruit) and don’t really snack throughout the day. The evenings are when the calorie load occurs by grazing on salt vehicles during cocktail hour, followed by whatever our gourmet chef has prepared. (I’ve learned that while residing in the fertile valley, life’s too short to live like a Bedouin in a food desert). My sweet wife says “It’s simple dear. You’re just replacing fat with muscle.” To which I point out that muscle doesn’t shimmy when you pat it.

So, the take-a-way from this whole exercise is a shift in my long held belief about diet & exercise, which was that a healthy balance of the two, logically translates to a healthy body weight. Some time later I learned that, when it comes to body weight, how much food goes -in- actually accounts for just a scosche more than how much we work   -out-. And now, I’ve reached the nutritionist’s mountain top (deserved of an honorary PhD) and I have seeen the promise land, where the svelte people live in tranquility. I’m pleased to report one thing I’ve learned and of which I’m certain. I call it the Pie Hole matrix (that’s also an academic term): 99% of our Body Mass Index is determined by how much we exercise the muscles of the pie hole, NOT by how much we exercise all the other muscles of the body. While exercising the body certainly does make us feel more youthful, it has very little bearing on the appearance of that fat old fart gazing back at us from the mirror.

This week’s quote:  “observing a city from a car window doesn’t seem to be much different than looking at photos of the same city.” Erling Kagge – Walking    One Step At A Time

Lets go for a walk.

**UPDATE** It was pointed out to me that the 10K avg. life steps taken per day (outside of the structured walks I do) that I cited are higher than the average person takes (according to MAYO clinic). While the daily quest walk step average is current (18,396), the 10K figure I stated for regular daily living is based on recollection from my fit bit watch, that broke a long time ago. (the last thing I want is to appear to be padding numbers. It would delegitimize all others in previous and future posts). So, I think getting a new fit bit is indicated and I’ll post an update when that data is in. The steps taken that are outside the scope of the structured walks, they were not factored in the “blubber math” calculus. The 6.5 days required to burn 1 lb. of fat is calculated on walking time, ~2 hrs.(plus) daily, not the number of steps.