Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fuzzy math......

It's all about calories in vs. calories out. So simple, right???

There's so much more to this fat loss thing. When I first started, when I was 100 pounds overweight, just changing my eating habits (giving up fast food, eating as clean as possible - staying away from processed foods) and beginning a regular exercise program was all I needed to drop the first 20-25 lbs. Then I stalled. For three months no real change. Doctor told me not to worry, in his mind I'd just lost nearly 10% of my body weight, needed to give my body a chance to re-set.

But what I really needed was a better understanding of my calories in versus calories out - and then also an understanding that even doing that math; weight loss is not linear. I can't just assume that for every 3500 calories I don't eat versus what I burn, I will lose a pound, more specifically a pound of fat. Other factors can be at play...that at certain times I retain more water (hormonal, eating too many carbs, inflammation from a heavy strength training session, or even "cloaking" where your body fills the space of the empty fat cells with water temporarily). But over time it is a good guide, provided you really know what is going in and what is being burned. And that's why when I am succeeding at dropping pounds, I do it not just by upping the workouts. Those are a factor - hell, I sit on my butt in front of a computer most days. Without working out, I'm lucky to burn 2000 calories in a day. But it is not until I meticulously plan my food, weigh (yes, on a scale, not measure with cups) my portions, journal all food and activity that things really start happening.

Yes, that all sucks. Yes, it is time consuming. But most importantly, yes, it works.

This week's results and fancy graphs.

Weight down 2.2lbs. I'd been suspecting a little bit of cloaking because while I haven't been hitting my avg deficit goal of 750 calories a day, I have been in a deficit for nearly three weeks with zero scale movements. Had a little mini-whoosh (fancy weight loss term for the retained water suddenly going away). Glad to see today's number because it is the lowest I've been since before we started doing the Body for Life weight training - and means I've dropped below the start weight, even with the expected glycogen load of beginning a program. (and am back to a pre-holiday weight).

I've done better at hitting my burn targets, the activity goals and steps per day. But must really must get tighter on the diet. I know, sounds like a broken record from last week. The last two weeks deficit will probably only bring me a bit under a pound a week average loss. Hoping to pick that pace up a bit for the next few months. I want to be out of the suck of fat loss, and into the journey of maintenance, of body recomp, of training for endurance events.

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