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Weight Loss by the numbers

Author: Pedro Zabala

  • Earlier this year, I on the verge of hitting 300 lbs and decided it was time to start losing weight and change my life. I planned out a roadmap of what my goal was and what I needed to get there. Now, 4 months later I have reached the halfway point to my goal, and now weight 245 lbs!

    So the big question always is: "Whats the secret?"

    The answer is actually quite simple, setting up a fail proof plan by numbers! Here is what I mean by that, and the formula for anyone to follow if they want to achieve similar results

    1. Willingness to lose weight: Might seem obvious but this is the most important part. In order to achieve your goal, you need to really want to do it and know that it won't always be easy but if you stick with it you will achieve the desired results.

    2. Know your BMR: Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) simply put is the average number of calories your body burns every day without any exercise. There are a few different formulas and sites you can use to help you determine your BMR, the on I used is this one. Most people would say that this is also about how many calories you should be eating per day

    It is important to note that this does change from person to person but it is good to know an ESTIMATE which will help with the next part of the process.

    3. Understand your weight loss options: Lets start by noting that a healthy weight loss rate is 1 or 2 pounds per week! Now, for our formula we will consider that 1 pound is about 3500 calories. This means that (depending on your plan) you will want to create a 3500 ~ 7000 calorie deficit per week in order to lose weight.

    This is where your BMR comes into play! Let's say your current BMR is 2000 calories, and your plan is to lose 1 pound per week. Here you now have 3 options on how to do it:

    Option 1 (No exercise): Do a diet that consists of eating 1500 calories per day. This means every day you will create a 500 calorie deficit which will grant you that 1 pound less per week. This is my least preferred option since it has the highest chance of failure if you don't consume enough calories per day you will often feel hungry and are more likely to give up.

    Option 2 (Light diet + heavy exercise): This option is basically doing a diet equal to your BMR and creating the calorie deficit purely out of exercise. You could eat 2000 calories per day, and burn 500 via exercise to achieve the goal of 1 pound per week. This is option is preferred over option 1 but also has a down side, doing this can make you feel tired every day if you are not used to this much exercise, specially if you are trying to do more than 1 pound per week.

    Option 3 (Balance): This is my favorite option because it is almost fail proof. Do a diet that you feel comfortable with, and base your exercise on the rest. You can test multiple diets around until you find one you like (this could be as simple as counting the calories you normally eat) and leave the rest for exercise. If you find you are doing a diet of about 1800 calories per day, then you know that there is only 300 calories missing that need to be burned via exercise!

    4. Setting your goal: Now this piece is pretty simple but it is also very important to know. Losing weight is not something that will happen from one day to the next, so it is important to set realistic goals. Grab a calendar and count the weeks: If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by losing 1 pound per week, that means in most cases you are looking at about 2 and a half months. Write down your current weight and date on the calendar and then on the same day of the following week, write down where you should be. This will help you see if you are reaching your goals. Simple!

    One thing that is important to note about this, especially if you are planning on doing a long term commitment like I did, is that you may have some good weeks and some bad weeks but over time this can serve as a guideline of your overall progress. If one week you end up gaining 1 pound but the following week you go down 3 then you know in the overall road map you are still doing good progress! Also note that in the beginning, the first week or two you might lose a lot more weight than planned. This is normal! just think of it as getting a head start on your scheduled plan

    5. Break your diet: Okay, this is not what you expected right? Why should step 5 in our plan be to break the diet? The answer is simple: For this to work, you need to feel comfortable and not restrained. Going out with some friends for dinner, drinks or a BBQ is fine to do once a week or every other week. This will not make you lose all the progress, it is simply a small bump in your overall plan! Constantly denying your cravings is the easiest way to lose motivation and giving up on any diet.

    6. Tracking your weight: Be consistent of when you track your weight every week. Make sure that every week, when you want to check your progress on the scale you are doing it around the same time and same conditions. For example, I like to weight myself on wednesday evenings right before I go to bed. This is important because our body weight very often changes multiple times during the day and even from day to day. More common on people with a lot more extra weight, it is common to wake up at a certain weight, then be 2 pounds heavier that same day at night and 3 pounds lighter the following morning. This is why checking your weight every day is not a good idea, it will easily frustrate you to see the numbers change every day constantly going up and down.

    7. Eat often: Best way to survive a diet is to eat often in small portions. I think this is one of the keys I've found work best to achieve success. If you plan on eating small meals and snacks, you could for example chose to eat every 3 hours x 5 times per day. You won't ever fill completely full after you eat, but you will be able to stop the hunger and know that in 3 hours you get to eat again! You could have breakfast at 8am, snack at 11, lunch at 2, snack at 5 and dinner at 8! or if you are not much of a morning person, breakfast at 9, lunch at noon, snack at 3, dinner at 6 and another snack at 9. The times are not really important but you get the point. It is important however to try and have breakfast shortly after waking up and your final meal of the day at least an hour or 2 before going to bed.

    8. Find help: Sure most of us can plan on doing all of this on our own without a problem, but having help is always good. Whether it is getting a personal trainer to help you exercise, getting a friend to join you for jogs or having your mom cook healthier meals for you. Any bit of help is always good to not feel like you are on this alone! In my case, one of the things I used to help me was the Nutrisystem diet. They offer great options of small meals that only take about 2 minutes to prepare and are perfectly portioned for weight loss and the best part is you can chose to have brownies and cookies every day as part of your diet if you have a sweet tooth like me!

    I hope this helps you reach your goals like it has been helping me!

    Disclaimer: I am not a specialist for weight loss nor am I paid to say any of this, I'm simply explaining the formula that worked for me and helped me understand and achieve my goals

Introduction to the world of eSports

Author: Pedro Zabala

  • Whether you have heard of professional gaming leagues or not, electronic sports (eSports) leagues have been around for a very long time and have gone mostly undetected by most.  Since all the way back in 1972, video games have been played competitive! That's since before I was born which is pretty crazy to think about when considering that most people are completely unaware.

    Now lets take a step back and look at what is competitive gaming? Because there are a few definitions out there. One of the earliest versions of competitive gaming is when individuals play a game such as Pac-man, Donkey Kong and Galaga and try to reach the best possible score on them. Billy Mitchell and Steve Wiebe are prime examples of this and if you have no idea who they are I would recommend watching the documentary film The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters which is honestly a great one.

    As companies began making more complex video games, the competitive scene has changed as well. Many companies such as Nintendo and Microsoft begin hosting small bracket type tournaments as well as worldwide competitions with DOOM being one of the first to make first person shooters a competitive eSport genre.

    But where are we today? eSports leagues have continued to grow and separate into different categories:

    First-Person Shooters (FPS):
    I'm sure you have seen these games around and probably heard the names Counter-Strike, Halo , Quake or Call of Duty. These games are simple to understand, you participate as an individual or as a team and try to eliminate the competition using a number of different guns or other weapons. They require a great deal of awareness of your surrounding, timing and precision.

    Real-Time Strategy (RTS):
    As the name says, these are strategy games where individuals face off against each other in order to complete an objective. These games are often represented as some sort of war or battle which include managing time, resources, map control and being able to out scale or and out play your opponent. A good way to see it is, image a Chess game where you not only control 1 piece per turn, but rather control all your pieces constantly as the playing board changes. Examples of this genre include StarCraft and Warcraft III.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA):
    These are a spin off of real time strategy game, but differ in the sense that these are generally team focused games often of 5 players facing against other teams. Popular examples of this genre include League of Legends, DotA, and Smite. This genre of eSport is in my opinion the one that resembles normal sports the most, in fact as of July of 2013 the US Government Recognized League of Legends LCS as a Sport. Like typical sports, these teams often have members from different countries, they have different leagues in multiple regions of the world and once a year the best teams face off on a world championship stage for a grand prize cash reward. In case you are curious exactly how much? $1,000,000 for first place.

    Here is a short video from NFL player Chris Kluwe talking about eSports: