Rest Week and Nutrition

Today’s plan is to go out for an easy, short jog in preparation of Sunday’s race. Last night, I roped another friend into joining me for the LIVESTRONG Challenge, and I’m excited to be coming near to this event that I’ve been training for. I have a $125 challenge on the line, so if I break 30 min for 5K, LIVESTRONG gets another $125. Pretty fantastic!

I’ve been playing a lot with Calorie Count the past couple days. They just released their iPhone app, and I’m loving the app. Their UI for the app beats the site, but I’m willing to forgive a lot of my little issues with the site for what the overall functions are. Tracking online and via smartphone isn’t new to me, as that I’ve been doing it for the past 2.5 years through Weight Watchers, but I’m getting to a point where my weightloss is slowing, and I’m feeling a need to get a true lay of the land. I’ve made huge leaps and bounds in changing my lifestyle, now I need to work on my nutrition.

What Calorie Count is allowing me to do is help me track my ratios of carbs, proteins and fats in my day and even week+, as well as key nutrients like iron, potassium, vit c, vit a, etc. What I’ve learned from tracking the past week is that I’m not getting enough protein, and am getting too much carbs and fats. I think that I often replace proteins with fats (due to the fact that I try to keep my meat and soy consumption low for ethical/medical reasons). I can’t help but wonder how this is impacting my training. I’m also not getting much iron in my day to day, which is something I hope to remedy first through leafy greans, and second by a vitamin supplement.

All this being said, the outcome calorically is also pretty stunning. To lose weight, I should be averaging about 1200 calories per day, but what I’m actually doing is 1500 calories per day. It’s a 200 calorie deficit per day from what I need to just maintain my weight, which is good, but means that might weight loss is at a snails pace.

This next week I’m going to strive for balance in my diet – something that Weight Watchers, unfortunately, doesn’t help you really track. Which is OK, considering that their big plus is the ease of their system, and that they DO encourage eating lean meats, whole foods, etc – but they leave you a bit in the dark on how to get all your nutrients in, and if you’re actually doing so.

I guess, with dieting, the one truth is the math. It doesn’t matter what system you use – all grapefruit, all frozen, prepared dinners, 2/3 meals out of milkshakes, etc. The heart of all of it is that if you put in less energy than you use, you will lose weight (barring medical/pharmaceutical interference.) You might not lose weight where you want it (lose muscle, lose all from your breasts and not your hips/thighs, etc,) but you will lose it. And in my case, no matter how much I lose, my naked body will NEVER look like a supermodels.

This is what I’m working on in my rest week. Now to get moving towards that short run I was talking about.

(BTW – still achey from Sunday’s run! Wow!)

Yesterday’s Run and My Weightloss Journey

Yesterday’s race was such a triumph for me. I never thought I would be a runner, let alone, run in a race, even a fun race. I took the challenge to try to run faster than 30 minutes for a 5K, not really believing I could do it. It looks completely possible after yesterday, even this morning with my achy calves.

For those wondering, I raced in the FiveFingers Sprints, which got me at least one question before the race. As far as I could tell, I was the only person there running in minimalist shoes. I definitely think they make me look rather odd, having seen my race-day picture, but I’m definitely loving them. I look forward to next weekend when I run the 5K.

One of the main reasons my running is so amazing to me is because I have lost 100+lbs, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been my entire life. I’m still not near goal, but when I take a step back and look at where I’ve come from, and where I’m headed, it’s a bit amazing to me.

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, I’ve just been trying to lose weight for more than 20 years (I’m in my 30s!). I’ve been on multiple diet plans, read books, seen nutritionists and read a lot of the current news/research on weight loss and obesity and have formulated my own ideas on the subject. Always consult a nutritionist, MD or ND before making radical changes to your life/lifestyle. Seriously. I may even disagree with some of their beliefs, but this is what has worked for me.

Just for the heck of it, I used the Tools at Calorie Count to get an idea of where I’ve come from, and where I’m going. To be honest, I don’t use Calorie Count (I use Weight Watchers, which does the same basic thing, but offers meetings and a handy formula to simplify tracking) for my day-to-day tracking, but it is an excellent, free, weightloss resource. There are other similar resources available – Livestrong, Daily Plate, Spark People – just to name a few. The basic idea is to figure out what your normal calorie burn is for your usual day, this is your Base Metabolic Rate. Next is to figure out how many calories you should reduce (and/or how much exercise you should add) to lose up to 2 lbs per week.

Personal facts and Weight Loss Stuff:

  • At my heaviest, my BMR was around 2750 calories per day.
  • My current BMR (to maintain current weight) is 1700 calories.
  • The BMR of the weight I’m shooting for is 1580 calories.

1 lb = 3500 calories, to lose 1 lb/wk, that’s a reduction of 500 calories per day.

I usually exercise daily, in the form of walking or running, and for a burn of between 100 – 400 extra calories per day. On those days, I might eat more.

I eat roughly 1200-1400 calories per day, which means that I’ve gradually reduced my daily caloric intake almost by half over the past few years. It should be noted, though, I started by reducing my daily intake gradually (about 500 cals/day). The biggest change in the past 25 lbs is having to incorporate more whole foods in my diet to keep me from getting hungry. I could eat my daily calories in doughnuts (that’s about 3 doughnuts in a day). Or I could eat an abundant variety of food all through the day for the same calories. Doughnuts give me a nasty simple-carb hangover. Whole wheat pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce does not. In a way, I actually eat MORE food – but it’s the variety that I eat that makes the difference, and where I choose to say “No.” Scone at a coffee shop for breakfast = “No.” A cupcake at Cupcake Royale = an occasional after-dinner decadence worth waiting for.

And for the record, I don’t deny myself occasional beer, mixed drinks, chocolate, ice cream, bacon, cheese, burgers, french fries, pizza, etc. I just don’t eat them all in one day. I eat real food with real ingredients (hopefully, the fewer required to make the food tasty, the better).

It’s been a long road. I still have a ways to go.