Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Week 6 weigh-in and calorie counting check-in

Well, I made it through six whole weeks of calorie counting! When I first started this experiment, I honestly wasn't sure that I'd make it through the whole thing. I like doing little experiments for short periods of time (six weeks is about perfect) to see if I like it and if it works for me. I'd counted calories in the past, so it wasn't new to me; but I was feeling desperate to get back to my goal, and I was willing to give it 100% effort for six weeks.

Today's weigh-in was the best one yet, believe it or not:


My weight was 144.5, meaning I lost 2.5 pounds this week! My body fat was down by 0.7%, and my waist measurement was down nearly half an inch from last week. I felt a big change in my clothes this week, also, fitting into some jeans I couldn't wear just a couple of weeks ago. I didn't do anything differently this week (average daily calories were 1527); but I was super excited to see that my BMI is now in the "normal" range again.

For my six week totals:
I lost 11.5 pounds.
(I didn't take my body fat or waist measurement from Day 1, unfortunately; but from the weigh in after the first week, my body fat is down by 2.8% and my waist is down by 2 inches.)

As far as calories go, I basically tried to keep my calories under 1500, except for one day a week, where I would have a lot more (typically about 2,500). I like having the high calorie day, because then I can fit in things that may not fit in otherwise--like pizza Friday with the family, or a restaurant meal.

One thing that really helped me to stay on track is that I didn't actually have a "target" number of calories. I usually wound up eating about 1400-1500 per day (except for the high calorie day), but I wasn't actually aiming for that number. I just ate three meals and one snack a day, with "normal" sized portions, and that's what the calories usually ended up being. By not having a target, I never felt like I went "off plan" when my calories came in over 1500. And even on my high calorie day, I didn't pig out all day--I still had three meals and one snack, but they were higher calorie choices.

I find it easier to think of the calorie counts per meal rather than per day. Breakfast ended up being about 300-400 calories; lunch and dinner are approximately 400-500 calories; and then snack is typically 200-300. This helped, because when logging my lunch, for example, if it was 600 calories, I knew I should probably plan a lighter dinner. Or, if my lunch only ended up being 300 calories, I knew I could eat a heavier dinner.

As far as exercise goes, I haven't been following a routine. I've just been trying to find opportunities to stay active. I've been riding my bike, which I've written about, and I've been walking quite a bit. I've also done the stair stepper about once a week when I want to do something quickly. Sunday will mark six weeks since my last run, and I think I may start to incorporate some running again next week. I still feel twinges in my ankle, but my physical therapist says it's normal to feel odd twinges (not pain, like I'd experienced six weeks ago). To be safe, I may give it another week or two, since stress fractures usually heal in 6-8 weeks.

Anyway, like I said, I'm going to continue to count calories so that I can get back down to my goal weight. I really like having just ONE number to worry about when choosing what to eat (going out to eat is much easier, because a lot of places list the calories on the menu). A few people have asked if I'm tracking macros, and I'm not. The calorie counting appealed to me because it's just one number to think about, rather than trying to hit several numbers (carbs, fat, protein). I'm not saying that one way is better than the other--but for me, personally, I prefer to just keep it simple with the calories. And it's working well for me :)

I know there were several readers who mentioned they were going to try a six week challenge as well... anyone else want to check in with your progress?

32 comments:

  1. wow! amazing progress!

    question: how does counting calories work with paying attention to hunger and fullness cues? do you have to ignore your hunger? i never really understood that aspect of calorie counting.

    and do you think you will have to count calories forever to stay at goal weight?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've actually found that it has helped me a lot with my hunger and fullness cues! My meals are filling enough that they carry me to the next meal--where I'm hungry, but not FAMISHED. Unless I am super busy and have to postpone a meal, I'm never starving while calorie counting. Also, because I don't have a particular target each day, I give myself some leeway. If I am truly hungry between meals (which I think has only happened twice in six weeks) then I'll have a little something to hold me over (like a Chia Bar). I find that being in a routine with my meals has totally regulated my hunger.

      Delete
  2. I'd be glad to do a check-in with you on Wednesdays. I actually weigh in on Sundays. You inspired me to count calories and I have been doing so for 2.5 weeks. I am 5'5" and started at 155. I am now 150.4 as of last Sunday. I think I've been right at the 1500 most days and then allowing myself 100 - 200 extra calories on run days. I think I might scale back a little and stick to 1400 - 1500 whether I exercise or not. I like your high calorie day idea too. It might be a good way for me to do this. You are right with the 3 meals and a snack idea. I'm doing that too and I don't feel like I am really starving myself in anyway. I'm just staying disciplined to not snack all day. I think that could work for me too. I hope to see any little loss next Sunday so that I can stay encouraged. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Great progress so far! I, too, always used to eat more on exercise days. This experiment with calorie counting has helped me to realize that I am not really any more hungry on those days (but I haven't been running, so that could change). Basically, I'm just using all those "extra" calories once a week on my high calorie day. The average each week works out to be about the same!

      Delete
    2. I would also jump in for another 6 weeks if that's what you're asking. What great progress Katie!!!

      Sorry...I couldn't figure out how to just comment and not reply.

      Delete
  3. Fantastic job! I agree that keeping track of one number is so much easier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I admire people that can find that very delicate balance of macros, but I am just not one of them ;)

      Delete
  4. Way to go Katie!!! I have been struggling with getting back on track since I got back from vacation 2 weeks ago. I have also had a few episodes of binge eating. You are such an inspiration. I am going to get back on MFP again. Thank you for your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting back on track after a vacation is SO hard! Our bodies get so out of routine on vacation, so I totally understand. Best wishes on MFP!

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Thank you! It feels so good to be back in control over my eating habits :)

      Delete
  6. Oh my gosh, yes pleeeeease can I join some kind of check in challenge?! I am struggling so bad and don't know how to re-gain control! I feel like I'm over-eating every day and just not getting enough activity in. I never used to be like this, I lost 50 pounds at one point but unfortunately, gained most of it back. I'm in a wedding last year and as shallow and maybe pathetic as it sounds, I really don't want to be the "fat bridesmaid" :( Are you just going to have us check every Wednesday on your blog??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, feel free to check in on Wednesdays as I post my weigh-ins :) I don't think it sounds shallow or pathetic to want to lose the weight before wearing a bridesmaid's dress. I was in a couple of wedding parties over the last few years, and the thought of not being able to fit into my dress kept me from overeating several times!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply :) I'm going to start checking in with you every Wednesday. Hopefully by the end of 6 weeks I'll have some good news to share and can submit a motivational Monday story! My husband tells me I'm beautiful no matter what my size and he'll always love me no matter what which I love to hear but sometimes it just makes me feel vain. Like, oh, he thinks I look good so maybe I really do. But I know I'm not at the weight that I'm most comfortable. I just want to do this for me this time around!

      Delete
  7. I have a question about the BMI calculator/reader. Is that part of your scale or a totally seperate thing? And are they expensive? Any help would be great! I have been a points person too and have been slack on counting points the last 8 weeks or so, so I may give this calorie counting thing a go. How did you get figure out your daily target?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The body fat monitor is something that I bought to solely measure my body fat percentage, but it also calculates your BMI. If you want to track your BMI, there are a ton of free online BMI calculators (just Google it). The BMI is just a ratio of your height and weight, and does not take body composition (fat, muscle, water, etc) into account. The body fat monitor, like I have, shows what percentage of my weight comes from body fat. I have it listed on my "Favorites" page, if you're looking for a link. I think they're about $40 on Amazon.
      Like I said, I don't really have a daily target. I just started eating three "normal" sized meals and one snack a day, and it worked out to be about 1500 calories. That was working well, so I just stuck with it!

      Delete
    2. Excellent! Thanks for the help! I have calculated BMI before online for free, but I like the idea of a body composition monitor so I will check that out! Thanks for the help :)

      Delete
  8. If you were running, how would you handle distributing extra calories earned from very long runs (12+ miles)? Can they be split over two days? I have a hard time using them all at once (1500 extra calories in a day? Whoa!) but feel that I need most of them to keep a healthy metabolism.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I was running right now, I would probably do my high calorie day on my long run day. I have no problem eating that many extra calories! ;) Three slices of pizza is about 1,000 calories, and if I add on a dessert or something, that's a total of about 1,500 right there (and still not a binge-fest, which is something I want to avoid even on high calorie days).
      But, in my opinion, you could probably split your exercise calories up however you want. On Weight Watchers, your activity points can be used anytime during that current week, so they don't have to be used on that day. Most people focus on weekly weight loss, so as long as you burn more calories than you eat in that week, you should lose weight, regardless of when they are eaten.

      Delete
  9. SOOO awesome, and AWWWE inspiring.. your stamina, in commitments to yourself is AMAZING, and you are really an incredibly strong person, Im thankful for your willingness to share your day-to-days and insights into life/living.. Keep up the GREAT work

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congrats! That's an awesome loss! I hit a milestone this week...I weighed in under 130 yesterday at 129.8 :D I started at 150 in January, so I'm super excited to have made it this far. I use a similar flexible approach to you with the number. If I set a strict number then I eat up to it even if I could have done without and on the flip side I'll feel bad about myself if I go over. I have a kind of target range but am not worried about the red bar on MFP! I also try to get as much activity as I can, but don't worry about a strict routine. It's working a lot better than my (many) previous weight loss attempts. Awesome to see a similar approach work for you. Keep it up! You're doing great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jill, that's amazing--congrats on the big milestone! I can definitely echo what you said about setting strict numbers. That's how I've always done things in the past, and it works, but I feel like I'm being much kinder to myself this way. And it feels less like the "all or nothing" approach that I tend to fall into.

      Delete
  11. I'd love a to participate in a check in challenge :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations, Katie! I know after being stuck at a higher number for so long, it's got to feel great to see it coming down! I've been stuck at a higher number all year too. I've been counting calories diligently again finally this week, and I've already shed a couple of pounds. I know it's mostly water weight at the beginning, but I'll take the ego boost!

    I also agree that counting calories is so much easier. I'm sure the macro-tracking is helpful to some people, but I think if you just make good choices (obviously lower starch and higher protein is better than a bunch of refined carbs...calories from veggies are better than calories from ice cream), then the rest of it kind of falls in to place. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would love to do a Wednesday check-in. I've been reading your blog for a couple of years and really appreciate your openness to share what works, what doesn't, your successes and your struggles and how you adjust! Congratulations to you and thanks for your inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yay for you!!! How exciting!!! I am curious what types of things you are eating...sometimes I get very judge'y of myself if I don't choose a big salad full of vegetables with croutons and a little dressing over a sandwich and veggie straws (like chips) even when they work out to the same calories. Do you just give yourself permission to eat anything you want as long as it fits in the calories? I also find that I am always trying to eat under my calories and feel guilty when I eat all that I'm allotted for the day. I've been using myfitnesspal for almost 3 months and have had some fantastic success! But i'm just trying to give myself permission to stop being so rigid in my mind about it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have been following you for a couple years now and you are a huge inspiration for me. I love how real and personable you are thank you! I would LOVE to do a 6 week challenge and a Wednesday check in with everyone. I lost 90 lbs about 7 years ago eating 1200 calories and running but somehow I got complacent, stress,
    and a stress fracture and 35 lbs have crept back on. I feel pretty miserable. For the past few months I have been counting calories and eating between 1100-1300 a day with a few off track days here and there and exercising 4-6 times a week for 30-60 minutes and I am not having any success. At all. It's very discouraging. I hope that by joining you and the others I will feel motivated and have something to look forward to and hold me accountable. How did you choose your calorie goal? I am wondering if I somehow killed my metabolism :(

    ReplyDelete
  16. Congratulations on hitting the "normal" BMI zone! I'm still working on that goal, also calorie counting and finding it to be my preferred method too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congrats! What a wonderful change over the last six weeks! I hope your injury goes away quickly, but I have to say I have enjoyed reading your blog lately since I am also not running for the first time in 5 years due to my first running injury. It sucks! I have been walking a lot and going to both ART and PT each week so I am getting close to healing but I am almost scared to run again because I don't want to get hurt! I have some time before training again so I am just taking it easy and focusing on my weight/health instead.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Katie,
    Awesome job!
    Does your 1500 cal/day include the 2500 cal. ?
    I have been struggling with 10 pounds for years. It's so frustrating. I'm only 5' so it makes a big difference.
    I'm also a runner training for my 3rd marathon. I have so much trouble finding how many calories I need for weight loss. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)