The Morning Weigh-In

Posts tagged “calorie counting

Arrrrgh, Frustration in The City

I haven’t posted in a while because I moved to New York City a few weeks ago and have been very busy.  That said, I’ve also been dieting my ass off.  Unfortunately I can’t claim that literally.  Well, not that I want to lose my ass, but you know.

Basically I’ve been dieting 5 days per week now instead of 4, and I’ve been only consuming about 1500 calories on each diet day.  This doesn’t seem to be working well.  Unless it’s the fact that I’ve run out of multivitamins and 5 HTP pills.  I’ve also been working at this one vegetarian restaurant and eating most of my meals from there.  And while I have been counting calories and eating mostly vegetables from there, some of it has been fried, so I’m going on a nothing fried diet for at least a week (yes, even on off diet days), and then I think I’ll make “nothing fried” a rule for all “on diet” days after that.

I’m going to buy more of those pills too, but I also think I’ll change my calorie totals to this:

Wednesday: Off diet day, Strength Training, cardio: 300

Thursday: Off diet day, Cardio: 500

Friday = 1800 – ST, and c: 200

Saturday = 1500 – Cardio: 400

Sunday = 1800 – ST, c: 200

Monday = 1600 – C: 400

Tuesday = 1500 – off work out

Because I think I must be going into starvation mode sometimes.  This is going to work, folks, it’s. going. to. work.


Goddammit

Okay, so a few weeks ago I was frustrated that my crappy scale kept showing me at 137.4 every day, despite all my dieting and exercise.  I hadn’t used it in weeks until this morning, and now I’m at 141.4.  I guess I knew it would be this way, I can tell looking at my body naked or clothed that I’ve put on a few pounds, but I supposed there was still hope for a prettier number.  And that scale is generous. Generously low, that is.  I’m fairly certain of that anyway, and I’ve ordered a better one, which should arrive tomorrow.  Anyway I did have a really excellent poop later this morning, so maybe that weigh in number was inflated…

I will try my best not to weight myself daily as has been my habit for most of the last 8 years.  The morning after my new scale comes in, I’ll weigh myself (after peeing of course) on both scales, just to see how that compares, and then I’ll start weighing in only on Sunday mornings before I do my weekly blog update.

I’m really trying to give the Abs Diet a fair shake here since it all sounds reasonable, logical, and scientific, and a lot of the stuff I’ve done  in the past has been, well, open to criticism (i.e. dried peanut butter mixed with sugar free maple syrup for dessert).  Maybe I have to let my body have enough of all these good calories and refrain from doing so much potentially muscle burning cardio for long enough to get into a good system, but I’m afraid of gaining more weight.  I think maybe part of the problem could be that the strength training program just isn’t tough enough for me, so I’m trying to find ways to make it more challenging without spending too much extra time since that’s one of my goals for this diet: not having to spend 10 hours or more per week in the gym.  I plan to buy 12 lb weights when I next get to Target or Wal-Mart (yes, Wal-Mart, you hippies).  At my apartment complex’s dinky little gym, all we have are two 8 lb weights and one 10 lb weight, so I’ve been switching one 8 lb and one 10 lb between hands for each exercise.  A neighbor of mine donated 2 adjustable dumbbells, but some jackass has subsequently stolen the clips to keep the weights on from one of them.

Here’s what let’s do.  I will continue the Abs Diet as I have been doing it, with interval cardio only thrice per week until Sunday.  If I weigh in at the same or more (“god” forbid), I will add more cardio next week.  I really don’t want to start counting calories again since my friends will not stop ridiculing me for it, giving me a hard time if I don’t want to go out to restaurants or have a drink or two any ol’ day of the week.

Speaking of which!  I have done well this week on alcohol.  I had three glasses of champagne on Thursday night for my sister’s birthday, and that is all I’ve had for the week.  The goal is only 2-3 per week, but I can have them any time, so I’m doing well there.  This shit’d better start translating into weight loss, goddammit.


Abs Diet

Okay, so I’ve made some new decisions.  My Abs Diet book arrived from the Amazon.com seller, and I’ve read it all the way through again.  I hope that even if I don’t technically lose weight, I can at least lose fat in my stomach.  To that end, I have switched to the Abs’ exercise program, though at a more advanced level than the one at which it suggests one starts out.  I’ve been working out hard for years though, so doing the minimum doesn’t seem advisable, and anyway I’m sticking to the basic outline.

Mondays: Ab workout, circuit training prescribed by the book

Tuesdays: Interval running: 5 minute warm up, 16 minutes of alternating between high intensity running and lower intensity walking, 5 minute cool down

Wednesday: Ab workout, circuit training

Thursday: Interval running

Friday: Circuit Training with extra leg exercises the other days’ program doesn’t include

Saturday: Ab workout, interval running

Sunday: Off

Changes to my diet:

1. I am going to try to not count calories!

2. Oh, yeah, I also stopped smoking cigarettes.  Before I usually smoked a few when I drank alcohol.

3. I’m going to try to limit myself to 2-3 drinks per week, which can be consumed any days, but I know myself well enough that I should probably try to save them up for Friday or Saturday night.  I’ve also purchased some stuff that should make it easier to stick to this.

4. Per the Abs diet instructions, I am supposed to include more protein in my diet.  As always I will try to limit simple carbs, especially high fructose corn syrup, of which I try not to consume any, and saturated fats.  And obviously I will try to avoid all trans fats/hydrogenated oil.

5. Also, I will be having 3 meals and 3 snacks each day, spaced out like so:

Breakfast

3 hours later

Snack

2 hours later

Lunch

3 hours later

Snack (almost always a protein shake, before my workout regimen)

2 hours later

Dinner

2 hours later

Snack

Each of the meals should have two of the Abs diet “super foods”, and each of the snacks should include at least 1 of them.  The “super foods” are basically veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, whey protein, beans, low/non fat dairy, lean meat, eggs, and healthful oils like olive and canola.

The meals I’ll have will be roughly 400 calories and the snacks roughly 200 each, so a calorie counting will be built in, without me painstakingly and neurotically counting them.  There will also inherently be some variation between days in how many calories I have, probably ranging from 1700 to 2000, which is good since I was wondering if having the exact same amount every day made my body less vigilant about depleting its fat stores.

With last week’s holiday and travelling, I wasn’t really vigilant myself about following the diet, so this week I’ll be starting in earnest.  Call it a New Year’s Resolution if you want, though it’s not like ‘m not always resolving something about weight loss.


The Story of My Life

I have struggled with weight all my life.  Maybe talking about it here will help (you? me? either way!).  I was a pudgy girl throughout my entire childhood and finally got hot for a little less than a year when I was 15 when I weighed 130 lbs. (I’m 5’8″).  I did this by dieting Monday through Thursday and having the weekends off. I’m a glutton, so it seemed this was the only way for a diet to work (i.e. I have to be able to pig out sometimes).  My approach was not what most “experts” would refer to as healthy.  Monday through Thursday I consumed 700-900 calories.  I’d have fruit, Slimfast shakes, and Pria bars, stuff like that.  Every day of the week I went to the gym for 2-3 hours, burning off 500 calories on the elliptical as well as doing weight lifting and playing basketball. I actually enjoyed this quite a bit, and let me tell you, food tastes really, really good when you’re starving.

On the weekends I would binge.  And I mean BINGE.  Throughout the dieting week I would save up any treats offered to me (cookies, kolaches, etc.) and eat them Friday morning, pretty much asap.  I was raised a Mormon, so before high school I had a one hour class on the scriptures.  My teacher the year I was following this diet plan loved to cook lavish breakfasts for us, usually on Fridays.  So I started out most Fridays with thick chocolate milk and 5-6 homemade kolaches.  I’d save the Snickers and Reese’s for later, too sugary for the morning!

For lunch I’d eat a huge football player sized portion of cafeteria food (which I loved), usually something like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, fried okra with ranch, a roll, chocolate milk, and maybe a cookie or cinnamon roll for good measure.

After school and my subsequent work out, I would head straight for an enormous bowl of ice cream, topped with peanut butter, chocolate sauce, and any other toppings we had around, such as bananas, nuts, M&Ms, you name it.  Then I’d scarf this down while listening to Les Miserables and playing Final Fantasy 3 on the computer.  Yes, I was a loser.

As long as I made my weigh in on Friday morning, I earned this.  Making my weigh in meant weighing one pound less than I had the Friday before.  I always made it.

The rest of the weekend didn’t have that much script to the hedonism, but it was ridiculously indulgent.  Sunday nights usually found me scarfing down 11th hour helpings of Java Chip ice cream by myself upstairs, watching the episodes of  The Practice they played back to back for me on ABC.  I always felt disgustingly full and hated myself a lot of the time, always vowing to be more reasonable the next weekend.  I was never more reasonable.

This shit actually worked when I was 15.  I was thin after a few months of this diet, as I said 130 lbs. at 5’8″.  After a while though I stopped going to the gym every day, then it was every other day, then sometimes, then never.  I also stopped dieting.  I didn’t continue the weekend gorge fest in the same way of course, but my total weekly caloric intake was still way up from what it had been.

This continued from 16-19, when I eventually weighed in at 180 lbs.  I worked out off and on, sometimes very ardently, but dieting just didn’t happen very much.  During my freshman year of college I had a job at the University’s Chik Fila, so I had access to free food from a lot of places.  That didn’t help.

The funny thing about my college story is that I was still a loser with few and lame friends, so I didn’t drink.  That’s a bit tongue in cheek, but it’s also the truth.  It’s tempting to say it was the fact that I was still sort of a Mormon, and that’s what I said at the time, but that’s a load of crap.  I never went to church, and I wouldn’t have hesitated a moment had I been invited to try out the mysterious and enticing alcohol stuff.  The funny part is that it wasn’t until I started drinking that I started losing weight. I accidentally turned those italics on with my pinky, but I am going to leave it that way.  I had to lose weight now because I now had friends! And romantic potential!

Weighing probably 155 or so. I didn't exactly jump in to pictures when I weighed more.

Down to about 147 lbs. I'd been drinking. It was time to eat.

Down to about 143 lbs, still wearing baggy clothes, need to buy more!

140, bitches.

So the South Beach diet saw me through getting down 40 lbs. to 140. I loved it, and it worked. Here my memory gets a bit fuzzy ’cause I know I stayed at about 140 throughout years 20 and 21, and I drank a lot. A lot. Those italics were definitely intentional. There were times I was drinking 4 or 5 nights per week. And clinically these would have been termed “binges”, an item on the list of indications that one is an alcoholic. Now I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I was drinking 6-10 drinks (sometimes more) on each of these occasions. College was great. I worked 24 hours a week at a coffee shop, had a light load of schoolwork into which I had to put very little time and effort (psych degree, woot woot!), I worked out 2 hours each day, and then I drank. And no, I have never gotten drunk by myself. I was no longer a loser, I had friends, I went to parties, and I had a love life. Not the most impressive one, but a legitimate one. Finally.

Dating!

Actually I now remember I had kept the principles of South Beach in mind when it came to my diet, but I also started counting calories.  I had an excel sheet programmed to keep track of exactly how many calories I burned each day using somewhat complicated calculations, how many calories I could eat, how many I had eaten, how many I had left, how much I weighed each day, etc.  I tried sometimes to even count alcohol calories, though this invariably failed, so I just had to have off days.  Eventually I did calm down to drinking about 2 nights per week.

This is one of the weight calculators I was using for a while.

At 21 though I graduated from college and got into my first LTR (long term relationship), and my weight started edging up.  My workout regimen never flagged, but my diet sure did.  At the peak of this weight gain, the scale showed 157.  Blech.

Starting to gain weight

It was time to revamp the good carb principles,  and I went vegetarian (helps cut calories among a long list of reasons why it’s healthful and much better for the planet/humanity).  I also decided it was time to count calories Monday through Thursday.  Now don’t panic, softies.  I started out allowing myself 2,000 calories per day, and lowered that number bit by bit as needed until I stopped at 1800 calories per day.  I refused to eat less than that, so I just had to exercise more as needed.  I can’t remember exactly, though I’m sure I have an excel sheet somewhere if I really cared, but I think I was working off what the machines (elliptical, stationary bike, treadmill) called 450 calories per day (I looked it up, it ended up getting up to 650 per day at the end), in addition to weight lifting and an hour long power yoga class twice a week.  I split that work out up between 2 sessions most days, and a lot of that cardio was on the bike because I loved reading on the bikes.  I started doing more elliptical once I found TED.com and put the MP4s on my video iPod.  I eventually quit yoga because I absolutely hated it, could never really relax during corpse pose (I almost never relax at all), just don’t seem to be capable of getting very flexible, my knees started hurting, and my back did not stop hurting.  I am just not a yoga person, and I don’t know what I was trying to prove with that crap, but I stopped trying.

Reasonably thin, learning how to look nicer

Really starting to learn how fun looking nice can be

I’ve gotten back down to 140.  Or 138 according to my new scale, but I think it’s just more generous than my last one, and I may actually be a bit fatter now.  I have been killing myself to lose a few more pounds, working harder and harder (more calories on the machines at the gym) but to no avail.  I was burning 800 calories per day, 7 days per week at the gym on the elliptical (the elliptical is pretty liberal with its count I can see clearly), and I was doing weight lifting every day.

This wasn’t working well, so I did some reading and decided maybe I wasn’t getting my heart rate high enough on the stupid elliptical at my new apartment complex’s gym and that maybe I needed to prolong the cardio to at least 30 minutes to really burn fat.  So I started a 10 minute warm up, 23 minute run, 5 minute cool down routine 6 days per weel, plus 100-200 calories on the elliptical or a jog around the lake.  I also changed my weight lifting to 4 times per week, 2 routines twice a week (the same amount as before but separated differently so that my muscles could have rest days.  I had been working out my abs every day, so I switched to every other day so they could have rest days.  I was also trying to help my back problems, though I have subsequently fixed that problem by buying an ergonomic keyboard for my laptop.  If only I could throw 30 bucks at my weight loss problem and get such results.

This hasn’t been helping me lose the last few pounds, and I think I’m actually gaining a little weight.  The scale I have is very rude.  Maybe I shouldn’t have bought it, but I was going crazy(er) without it.  I went to Barnes and Noble to read about alternate day diets since that makes a lot of evolutionary sense to me, but they didn’t seem to have any of those books in stock, so I ended up reading the Abs Diet.  It hasn’t arrived from Amazon.com yet, but I read enough of it and jotted down enough notes to have thrown out vegetarianism for now in favor of a higher protein count each day.  I may go back to vegetarianism now that I’ve realized the most efficient way to get protein is cottage cheese, better even than whey powder much less sliced meat.  Anyway, it was only one week, and I know daily weigh ins are considered bad by you softies, but I also know how scales usually treat me, and it wasn’t working this week.  I keep vowing to be more reasonable on my weekend off days as I know those aren’t helping, but here’s a hint at how that’s gone today:

Mmm.

I started to put it back in the freezer at this point but then realized that it might be embarrassing if someone were to take this out of the freezer and find it in this state.  My solution was to take the rest of the cookies that were affected, which amounted to about 3 more cookies, put them in a cup with a few tablespoons of peanut butter, and eat that little masterpiece like it was ice cream.

It’s hard not to eat like this when you had 6 or so beers last night.  It’s hard to stick to your 3 drinks only rule when you’re shy at a bar around a group of mostly new people and need liquid confidence, especially when once you get said confidence, guys start offering to buy you drinks.  I can’t pass up free drinks!  I can’t pass up free anything, much less free beer!

My new plan:

1. Most things will remain the same for now(my work out, calorie counting, protein counting, off days with perpetual and probably futile vows to reign them in).

2. I will only weigh in on Friday mornings.

3. I will document what I eat on the weekends, so I have to account “to somebody”.  That should help some.

4. I have become positive my current problem is due to a lack of sunlight.  My next blog will be about this (I have GOT to go take a shower and get ready to go to this Christmas shit with my sister and my parents who are in town), but suffice it to say I need to try to get one hour in the sun every day.  Fortunately I am about to spend a week at a beach house.