FP7 Demons

How Many Calories Do You Actually Have to Burn to Lose One Pound?

By K. Aleisha Fetters for GQ.

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(Getty Images)

Years ago, scientists played around with a pound of squishy, slimy human fat and found that it contained 3,500 calories of energy.
But–sorry to break it to you–burning a pound of fat isn’t as simple as burning through 3,500 calories.

Consider the following and infuriating (at least for thin guys) scenario: Two men go on an exercise and eating plan so that they consume 3,500 fewer calories per week than they burn. One man has five pounds to lose; the other has 50. At the end of one week, the leaner guy might lose about half a pound–and a third of the weight will be from muscle. Meanwhile, the obese guy will have lost more than three pounds, mostly from fat and water.
From the Editors of Details

“There’s tremendous variability in how a 3,500 caloric deficit affects different people,” says Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., senior science adviser at Elements Behavioral Health and author of The Hunger Fix.

Why’s that? Well, one huge factor determining the results of our dieters is body composition. “The more fat a person has to give, the quicker he will lose weight and weight from fat,” Peeke explains. Meanwhile, when you get closer to your body weight, your body holds on to fat stores for dear life and sacrifices muscle over fat, she says. The body is perpetually afraid that it will starve; it’s perhaps biology’s least-sexy-ever survival mechanism.

Meanwhile, how you try to hit your caloric deficit (which is a necessity to lose weight) has a huge impact on whether you lose weight from muscle, fat, or just water.

Read more: How to Get Six Pack Abs (Without a Single Sit-Up)

The faster you try to achieve a deficit, the more weight you will lose from muscle as opposed to fat. As will be the case if you diet alone, she says. However, exercise–and most markedly, strength training–and protein consumption promote muscle growth so that you will not lose as much muscle. In fact, if you consume an adequate amount of protein (the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends getting 20 to 30 grams, four times a day and after exercise), you could potentially increase your lean-muscle mass while reducing your body-fat percentage.
What’s more, if you are cutting calories from carbs, you will also lose water weight. In the body, every gram of glycogen (carbohydrates) in your body is stored with a few grams of water. So when you go low-carb, your metabolism breaks down those glycogen reserves for energy, and you end up peeing out the accompanying water. That’s another reason why, calorie per calorie, obese people tend to drop weight drastically: They have a lot of water to lose.

You also need to realize that your calorie-cutting strategy does alter your metabolism–and what it takes to take in fewer calories than you’re consuming over the long haul. Contrary to popular opinion, people’s metabolic rates slightly decrease as they lose weight. That’s because it takes more energy (a.k.a. calories) to fuel a 280-pound human than a 180-pound one, she says. And if you lose most of your weight from muscle, your metabolism will plummet–which is one more reason why extreme diets suck.

CALORIE MATH
Now that all that’s settled, if you want to determine roughly how many calories your body burns a day, check out the Mayo Clinic’s calorie calculator. Aim to take in 300 to 500 fewer calories per day to lose weight.

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In Ken Burns' New Documentary, Rachel Robinson Finally Gets Her Due

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There’s a wonderful scene in Ken Burns’ new documentary, Jackie Robinson, where Barack and Michelle Obama explain the important role that Rachel Robinson played in her husband’s success on and off the baseball field.

“I think anytime you’re involved in an endeavor that involves enormous stress, finding yourself questioned in terms of whether you should be where you are, to be able to go back and have refuge with someone who you know loves you and you know has your back, that’s priceless,” the President says. The First Lady adds: “There’s nothing more important than family – than a real partnership. Which is probably what made him such a great man.”

One-upped, the president nods in agreement, with a knowing smile on his face. Then the First Lady completes her thought: “It’s a sign of his character that he chose a woman who was his equal. I don’t think you would’ve had Jackie Robinson without Rachel.”

In Burns’ two-part PBS documentary Jackie Robinson — which airs Monday and Tuesday nights and which was co-directed with Sarah Burns and David McMahon — Rachel Robinson finally gets her due. Through much of the film, we see Jackie — who broke Major League Baseball’s color line in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers — through her eyes. Nearing 94 years old, Rachel has a remarkable memory for details, including the travails and triumphs that she and Jackie shared during and after his playing days.

Until now, much of what Americans know about Rachel Robinson is what they’ve seen in the two major Hollywood films about Jackie. She was portrayed by Ruby Dee in the 1950 film, The Jackie Robinson Story, and by Nicole Beharie in the 2013 hit movie, 42. Both films depict Rachel as Jackie’s supporter, cheerleader, and helpmate, the person who comforted him when he faced abuse, and encouraged him when he was feeling discouraged.

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This is all true, but it is an incomplete picture of this remarkable woman. Rachel Robinson was not only Jackie’s partner, she is also the person who has kept his legacy alive. Since his death in 1972, Rachel has continued Jackie’s commitment to pushing Major League Baseball to hire more people of color as managers and as executives.

In 1997, when the entire country was celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jackie’s triumph in breaking baseball’s color line, Rachel made sure that the celebration did not divert attention from ongoing problems.

When a Los Angeles Times reporter asked her if Jackie would be pleased with the status of race relations today, Rachel didn’t pull her punches. She said:

“No, I think he’d be very disturbed about it. We’re seeing a great deal of divisiveness, a lot of hatred, a lot of tension between ethnic groups, and I think he’d be disappointed.”

Thanks to her efforts, most of today’s Major League players, managers, and executives know that they stand on the shoulders of those, like Jackie, who came before them and opened doors for them.

In 2014, the Baseball Reliquary inducted Rachel into its Shrine of the Eternals, an alternative Hall of Fame that celebrates baseball’s rebels and renegades. By doing so, the group (which is coincidentally based in Pasadena, Jackie’s hometown) was acknowledging that although she didn’t own a team, cover the game as a reporter, or play the game herself, she was one of the most important woman in baseball history.

But outside of the baseball world, too, Rachel Robinson has been, in her own right, a pioneer for social justice on several fronts, using her celebrity as a platform to fight for a more equal society.

Rachel Isum was born in 1922. She grew up in a house on 36th Place on LA’s west side.

In the early 1920s, Los Angeles was racially segregated. It still had restrictive covenants, prohibiting the sale of houses to African Americans in certain neighborhoods. To get around that obstacle, Rachel’s parents — Charles and Zellee — arranged for a light-skinned black man to buy the house and then re-sell it to them. This was a risky and courageous thing to do at a time when the Ku Klux Klan had a presence in LA.

In 1940, African Americans comprised only four percent of Los Angeles’ population of 1.5 million. Growing up in LA’s predominantly white west side, Rachel faced bigotry on a regular basis. For example, when Rachel and her friends went to the movies, they were regularly directed to the balcony in the movie theater.

Rachel’s father had served in World War One. On his last day of active service, he was gassed, leaving him permanently disabled and with a chronic heart condition. By the time Rachel was in high school, her father had to quit his job as a bookbinder for the Los Angeles Times, where he’d worked for 25 years.

As a result, Rachel’s mother had to support the family. She took classes in baking and cake decorating and had her own business catering luncheons and dinner parties for wealthy families in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Hollywood.

Rachel worked, too. She helped her mother with her catering business, worked on Saturdays at the concession stand in the public library, and sewed baby clothes for the National Youth Administration, part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program.

Rachel graduated from Manual Arts High School in June 1940. That fall, she entered UCLA’s highly selective and competitive five-year nursing program. In 1940, only five percent of all women — and less than two percent of black women — earned a college degree. But Rachel didn’t let those odds get in her way.

She met Jackie in 1941 when they were both students at UCLA. They were introduced by Ray Bartlett, one of Jackie’s friends from Pasadena who also went to UCLA.

Jackie was already a multi-sport campus hero by the time he met Rachel. For their first date, Jackie took Rachel to a Bruin football dinner at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown LA. But much of their courtship took place at Kerckhoff Hall, the student union, where the small number of UCLA’s African American students gathered in-between classes. Rachel and Jackie got engaged later that year.

While at UCLA, Rachel lived at home and commuted to the campus each day.

She also worked at night. This was during World War Two, and local industries were hiring women to do what had previously been considered “men’s” jobs.

Rachel was hired as a riveter at the Lockheed Aircraft factory in LA, where they made airplanes for the war effort. She worked the night shift, drove to UCLA at dawn, changed clothes in the parking lot, and then went to class.

Rachel and Jackie promised their parents that they wouldn’t get married until Rachel had completed her degree. She earned her nursing degree in June 1945. They were married the following February.

By then, Jackie had already served in the military (where he was court-martialed, and acquitted , for refusing to move to the back of a segregated bus near a military base in Texas), played in the Negro Leagues, and signed a contract to play with the Dodgers’ minor league team in Montreal.

Two weeks after their marriage, Rachel and Jackie left for spring training in Daytona, Florida with the Montreal Royals. Burns’ documentary portrays, through Rachel’s voice, the ordeal they faced dealing with the Southern Jim Crow system, including the segregated trains, buses, restaurants, and stadiums, and the hostility of many white Southerners.

To get to Daytona, they flew from LA to New Orleans. At the New Orleans airport, they were told they were being “bumped” from the plane to Florida. Jackie protested this obvious racist act to the airline attendant behind the counter.

Meanwhile, Rachel escaped to the Ladies Room. But there were two Ladies Rooms in the airport, right next to each other. One said “Colored Women.” The other said “White Women.” Rachel went into the one that said “White Women.” People stared at her, but nobody stopped her.

Nine years before Rosa Parks triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rachel Robinson had performed her first act of civil disobedience.

For the next 11 years — until Jackie retired from Major League Baseball in 1957 — Rachel and Jackie together endured the humiliations and bigotry, and celebrated the triumphs and accolades, of being civil rights pioneers.

Roger Wilkins, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote this about Rachel:

She was not simply the dutiful little wife. She was Jack’s co-pioneer. She had to live through the death threats, endure the vile screams of the fans and watch her husband get knocked down by pitch after pitch. And because he was under the strictest discipline not to fight, spike, curse or spit back, she was the one who had to absorb everything he brought home. She was beautiful and wise and replenished his strength and courage.

In addition, she was primarily responsible for raising their three children — Jackie Junior, Sharon, and David.

While Jackie played for the Dodgers, they first lived in Brooklyn, and then in Long Island. Then they tried to buy a home in suburban Purchase, New York. After Rachel offered the asking price, the house was taken off the market, and she knew why.

In 1955, they found a plot of land they liked in Stamford, Connecticut and built a new home in that suburban community. When the news had spread that the Robinsons had bought the property, several families on the block sold their homes.

The Robinsons settled in, made friends, became active in the community. But they couldn’t escape the racism.

When a white friend attempted to sponsor Jackie at the local country club, he was rejected by a majority vote. Jackie was already a bona fide national celebrity who had won the MVP award, but the white country clubbers didn’t think he was good enough to play golf with them.

After Jackie retired from baseball in 1957, he began a new career in business, and expanded his involvement with the NAACP and other civil rights groups.

At that time, Rachel decided to resume her professional career. This was five years before Betty Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique, ignited the women’s movement. Rachel was an early feminist.

Jackie was upset by Rachel’s decision to go back to school and back to work, but Rachel insisted that it was something she needed to do. Eventually, Jackie came around.

In 1959 — at age 37 — Rachel was admitted to the graduate program in psychiatric nursing at New York University.

After earning her master’s degree, Rachel worked as a nurse-therapist and researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

In 1965, she was hired as a professor at Yale’s School of Nursing and as the nursing director at the Connecticut Mental Health Center.

When Rachel was teaching at Yale, the university asked her to join its board of trustees. Rachel said no. She told Yale: “Not unless you put another black or another woman on the board. You won’t get a two-fer from me.”

While working full-time, Rachel remained deeply involved in her children’s education and in community activities. Beginning in 1963, Jackie and Rachel hosted their legendary jazz concerts at their home as fundraisers for jailed civil rights activists.

Rachel taught at Yale and ran the state mental health center for seven years, until 1972, the year that Jackie died at age 53 of diabetes and heart disease.

After Jackie’s death, she took charge of running the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation. During her ten years as its president, it built more than 1,300 units of affordable housing.

In 1973, she created the Jackie Robinson Foundation. The foundation is Jackie’s living legacy and Rachel was its hands-on chair and inspiring leader.

In its 43 year existence, the foundation has provided scholarships to 1,400 college students. Each one gets $6,000 a year for four years, plus mentoring, summer jobs and internships. The foundation’s goal is to help them become leaders in changing society.

Most of these students are the first in their families to attend college. Most are students of color. They have a remarkable graduation rate of 97 percent. They’ve gone to Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, UCLA, and many other colleges.

Rachel has received numerous awards for her activism as well as honorary degrees from eight universities. She has been invited to the White House by five presidents.

Like Jackie, she has enormous physical courage and moral integrity.

In 1997, for her 75th birthday, Rachel and a dozen family members climbed to 10,000 feet on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

Rachel and Jackie Robinson were partners for 31 years, from the time they met in 1941 until Jackie’s death 1972. Burns’ documentary will help remind Americans about Rachel’s resilience, courage, and remarkable achievements during Jackie’s lifetime and in the 44 years since his passing.

Peter Dreier teaches Politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His most recent book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books). Jackie Robinson is one of the people profiled in the book.

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7 Things Parents Can Say and Do at the End of a Sports Season

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The conclusion of a sports season can be a time of excitement, relief, and suffering for parents of athletes. The excitement comes when your young athletes have just concluded a season that exceeded their (and your) expectations. The sense of pride and satisfaction can be palatable and reinforces why you have your children involved in sports.

The relief is in simply having the long season finally over with. For many parents, this means no more schlepping to practice and competitions, sitting in interminable traffic, staying in cheap hotels, or separating from your spouse (and maybe your other children) on Fridays. It now means having some time to just hang around the house after school and on weekends and pursue your other interests.

The suffering comes if your children didn’t have as successful a season as they (or you) had hoped. They may be frustrated, discouraged, and sad. As their parents, you, at best, feel their disappointment acutely and want to alleviate their pain (and your own). At worst, your disappointment and frustration is palatable and only adds to your children’s misery (not a healthy thing, by the way).

Here are seven things you can say and do that will help your children through this difficult period and actually enable them to emerge more inspired and motivated than ever to pursue their sport dreams.

#1: Don’t Express Your Disappointment to Them

Perhaps the best thing you can do is actually something you don’t do, namely, show your own disappointment. Your young competitor is feeling bad enough coming to grips with their own disheartening season. You add insult to injury when they feel your disappointment in their season. That burden will not only place an even heavier weight on their shoulders, but may also have a long-term and more damaging impact on their self-esteem, their motivation to continue sport, and their feelings toward you.

#2: Allow Them to Feel Bad

As parents, you hate to see your children suffering, so it’s natural for you to want to ease their ill feelings after a poor performance or a disappointing season by assuaging, placating, or distracting them from their decidedly unpleasant emotions. But, though offering short-term benefit, namely, your kids don’t feel so bad for very long (which means you don’t feel so bad), such efforts undermine their long-term emotional development and achievement efforts.

My advice to you is: Let your children feel bad. Though far from a pleasant experience for either them or you, giving them the time and space for them to grapple with their own emotions can teach them many important lessons including how to understand and react to their unpleasant emotions, how to respond to and overcome failure, and how maintain a positive attitude and motivation in the face of setbacks.

#3: Offer Perspective

One of the challenges of being young is that children lack the wherewithal to see their lives beyond their immediate experiences. A difficult loss or a disappointing season can loom so large in their young psyches. This is where you can lighten their emotional load in a healthy way. Where they see only the bad of their just-concluded competition season, you can help them see their season in a more nuanced and, as a result, less awful way. In other words, you can provide your young competitors with perspective in which you offer a more balanced view of their season.

Definitely acknowledge the bad parts of the season; the poor results, the lost chances, the frustrations and disappointments. At the same time, help them recognize the good that came from the season. If their season was really bad, you may need to stretch quite a bit to find the silver lining, but I’m sure it is there. Help them to see the improvements they made, the small though infrequent successes, the fun they had, the friends they made, the places they went, the crazy adventures you shared as a family.

Finally, help them view the season from a long-term perspective. An analogy will help here. If you look at a bad year in the stock market, such as during the Great Recession, you would see a steady and steep downward trend line in stock valuations. It would be pretty darned discouraging if you invested in the stock market and you’d probably never want to invest in stocks again. That is what your young athlete may be seeing and feeling about their own disappointing season. But, if you look at the stock market over the last 60 years, you will see a jagged line that climbs steadily higher. This is the perspective you want your children to have about their sport: if they continue to invest in themselves and are patient, they can expect a very good return on investment in the future.

#4: Identify Lessons

After a few weeks with their sports gear stored away, as the disappointing season fades into memory and your children focus their attention on other pursuits (e.g., school), you can expect that their anguish will slowly recede as well. With the benefit of some emotional distance from the unsatisfying season, they may now be receptive to a gradual shift from the past to the future.

A key part of this transition is to help them analyze last season and gain valuable lessons that they can use to plan for next season. Questions to ask include:

  • What did I do well?
  • What areas held me back?
  • What do I need to work on to achieve my goals next season?

These lessons are important because they ensure that your children understand what caused their season to go as it did, whether good, bad, or really ugly, and give them guidance on how to learn from them and do better next season.

#5 Guide Them in Setting New Goals

With a clear understanding of what prevented your young athletes from having a successful season or knowing what worked really well this past season, you can now help them redirect their focus from the past to the future. They can use the information gained from their examination of the lessons learned to set new goals for next season.

These goals can begin with realistic outcome goals to strive for, in terms of results, rankings, or new levels of competition. They should then make an immediate shift to process goals that will alleviate the obstacles that resulted in their disappointing season or build on the benefits they gained from their outstanding season. These process goals should include any areas of their sport that they need to improve on to ensure that next season is better than their last, for example, physical conditioning, technique and tactics, and, of course, mental preparation.

This goal setting will, hopefully, close the door completely on the last season and provide them with the inspiration and incentive to begin working hard toward next season.

#6: Help Them Make a Plan

The final step in supporting your young athletes after the competition season is to help them develop a plan that will put their goals into action. This detailed plan, in collaboration with their coaches, should include a comprehensive physical conditioning program, ongoing practice opportunities to continue their technical and tactical development in their sport, and a comprehensive mental training program.

With clear goals to work toward and a plan for achieving them, your young athletes are now in a position to put last season in its entirely behind them and to direct their gaze toward a successful next season.

Bonus #7: Love Them and Support Their Dreams

Perhaps the most important thing you can do at the end of the season is to not make too big a deal about it, regardless of whether it was a breakthrough season, a stuck-in-neutral season, or a full-reverse season. If you keep your kids’ sport in perspective and focus on all of the wonderful things they get out of our crazy sport, they are more likely to as well.

Then, tell them you will continue to support them as long as they have dreams in their sport they want to pursue.

Next, send them the most powerful message of all, that will make them feel good whether their season was worthy of celebration or mourning. Give them a big hug and say “I love you.” When you’ve done that you know you’ve done your job as sport parents.

Finally, ask your children where they want to eat!

Note: To learn more about how you can be the best sport parent you can be, get my FREE Prime Sport Parenting: Raising Successful and Happy Athletes e-book.

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