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?