Here I go again talking all about myself and my journey to a healthier me. I apologize for the self-centeredness, but posts like this are effective methods of reaffirming my commitment to myself. Hopefully, I'm also providing encouragement and inspiration to anyone else on a journey to a leaner, healthier self. :)
Exactly one year ago today I wrote a post called New Beginnings in which I made a commitment to myself to make changes in my eating habits in order to become the healthy and fit me that I want to be.
I had already been exercising almost every day already at that time, but I knew the final steps to reaching a healthier weight were to make permanent changes to my diet. Those changes were pretty simple-- in theory, anyway. I basically started counting calories. Every single calorie. For a whole year. I won't lie and say this is not driving me crazy at this point, but it works, so I don't want to stop. Anyway, I counted calories by using the Lose It app on my iPhone almost every single day in the last year. I relearned portion sizes by counting and measuring and weighing foods and I reduced and eliminated a lot of snacks and desserts. I found great incentive in exercising every single day so that I could 'earn' those calories back into my daily budget. Believe me, there were many days that I wouldn't have had enough calories in my daily budget for dinner if I hadn't gone on that 20 minute run or that 10 mile bike ride.
I had a lot of success with the Lose It app and lost 37 pounds between April 1 and November 1 last year. I feel great --both physically and emotionally being where I am now and am never going back to that weight ever again. I just know it.
But, I'm not done yet! I hit that dreaded weight loss plateau last November and haven't been able to break it until very recently and even then, it's slow going. In truth, I gained about 8 pounds between late November and early March of this year. It baffles me as I've been counting calories all this time with the exception of several days around the holidays. And while I indulged a little bit over the holidays, I didn't go crazy pigging out and partying and I was still working out during that time, too. I started strength training two times regularly starting in October, so it is likely that I've gained some muscle mass and we all know that muscle weighs more than fat per volume, but not 8 pounds worth! Two different fitness professionals have suggested that I may have gained some weight back because I am not getting enough calories. You read that right. The argument is that you can actually slow your metabolism down by not getting enough calories to sustain your activity level. So your body sort of goes into conservation mode and stores the calories you consume instead of using your reserves, i.e., burning the fat you already have on your body. It just feels so counter-intuitive to actually eat more to break the plateau and start losing weight again, but I thought I'd try it. So I adjusted my program in Lose It so that my calorie budget was higher each day by about 250 calories, and guess what? I've lost 2 pounds over the last three weeks. Slow, but at least it's budging. I also think I'm at the point where what I eat is as important as the number of calories I eat. I'm going to start reducing the frequency of "white" foods--i.e., simple carbs such as white flours and simple sugars, etc. in my diet. I know it's going to be a lot easier said than done, but I'm going to make a conscious effort to do so and hopefully see some results.
I have 25 pounds more to lose to get to my target weight. I know I look healthy now and most importantly, I feel it, too... but why settle for looking and feeling good when I know with some dedication and discipline I can look and feel amazing, right? It's what I want, so I'm going to do it.
Maybe it'll take a little less than 25 pounds to get there. I'm not exactly sure of the numbers. I figure I'll know when I get there. :)
As always, thank you for your continued support and encouragement as I made many self-absorbed posts like this one throughout the last year and I'm sure will continue to do so in the future as well. I've got the best team of personal cheerleaders right here in you guys.
Thank you!! xo
You can download the FREE Lose It app to your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad at the iTunes store.
You can also sign up to use Lose It on your computer at http://loseit.com.
In my experience, the calories burned for the exercises in the Lose It app database are often largely inflated. I recommend using the calories burned calculator at fitday.com for a more accurate estimate of calories burned for the activities you do and then creating a custom exercise for each activity in the Lose It app. Or purchase a heart rate monitor that has a calorie counting feature for even more accuracy.