Thursday, February 10, 2011

Step by Step

So I've been toying with the idea of getting a Bodybugg. A girl in my office has one and tells me I should get it. I, of course, took to the internet to read as many reviews as I could about it. My main concern was that it calculates your RMR based on what's normal for your weight and height and I know that my RMR is not normal.

I found examples of people who, like me, had a lower than normal RMR and they said you just had to mentally be aware of it and make the necessary changes because you can't actually set your own personal number even if you have had it tested. I don't know. I figure if I spend a couple hundred bucks on something I want it to be able to just do what it's supposed to without any fiddling from me. Also, I don't know how I feel about wearing something on my arm all the time. On one hand, it would be a constant reminder to make good choices. On the other hand, it would be a constant reminder and would probably create a monster. I would probably obsess over the numbers and the logging. Not that that's a bad thing but sometimes I already think I think too much about everything.

Along with the Bodybugg there are many other products out there that do sort of the same thing (GoWear, Exerspy, FitBit, etc.). Again, I'm hesitant because everything is mathematically set for individuals who fall within that normal metabolic range. If I was +/- 5% I think I'd go for it but at -18% it's just too big of a stretch for me to toy with.

So after long consideration I chose to go the old fashioned route. I've kept a food diary for years. I have little notebooks strewn about that have several years worth of my calorie intake, my exercise/calories burned and my weigh in numbers. I'm meticulous like that. Sometimes I go back through them just to get ideas of foods to make. When I feel like I've cooked everything in existence, I go back and usually find a recipe or two that I've forgotten about. It's nice actually.

Last week I took out some of my notebooks. I think I took about a year and half worth and I made an excel spreadsheet with all the data. I added, I subtracted, I averaged and I saw patterns. At one long stretch in the data, I was in heavy exercise mode. I was in the midst of training for a big road race so I was running tons and cross training even more. I would do two workouts a day at times. And I noticed that even though I was burning more calories than ever, I was losing only about a .5 pound a MONTH. The one piece of information that was missing was that I had yet to get my RMR tested. So when I ran the data, I realized that even though I was eating within a calorie range that was completely appropriate by normal standards, it was way too much for me.

Month after month, I ran the numbers and they all told me the same thing. I finally found my number. I found that 1450-1500 calories is what I can eat to maintain my weight. I have no idea why I never thought to do this before. So, now that I had the number, I had to find a way to create a deficit. Well, there are 2 options: eat less and exercise more. In the end, I opted to eat in the 1200-1300 range and exercise enough to burn 500 calories a day. If my math is correct, I should ideally lose between 1 - 1.5 pounds a week. Well, I SHOULD lose that but we all know that the body has a mind of it's own.

So now it's a matter of being honest about calorie intake (measure, measure, measure).

**Oh and fun fact, don't trust nutrition labels. It's horrible I know. But if you buy one of those digital food scales and measure a food item (do it on grams) and compare it to the nutrition label on the packaging, it's different. For instance, a label may say a serving of one slice of bread equals 90 calories. Well, at the top it tells you that a serving is 46 grams. If you actually weigh that slice of bread, chances are it's not going to say 46 grams. I've done it and one slice weighed more by a couple of grams. So, when you think that you're eating 90 calories, you could really be eating 98 calories. I know 8 calories isn't much but if you add up all your food intake for a month, it could potentially throw you off.

End rant.

And counting my calories burned. For my exercise calories I've always used a Heart Rate Monitor when I exercise so I use that information for calories burned.

Also, I recently went out and bought the most fantastic thing ever. I bought a pedometer. I had no idea how much I would love this little thing that cost me $10. I wear it all the time. Even after I get home and change into my PJs, I clip it back on. It's a game now. I want to get in as many steps as possible. I used to think that I moved around a lot at work. I actually don't. I realize that I like to use my assistant to do most of my walking for me. Now, I do it myself because it adds up. I aim for 10,000 steps/day which is actually pretty hard to reach. In any case, I love my pedometer. I'm already on my second one. The first I lost at the gym. It was very frustrating. I had just finished a really, really good run/walk and I had made a point not to look at it so I would be surprised by my progress. But by the time I got to the locker room and reached to take it off - POOF - it was gone. I went back and scanned the area but to no avail. It's ok because by the end of the night I had pedometer #2 in my hot little hands. Hey, it was $10 I wasn't that crushed. In fact, I like my second pedometer much better because it's smaller.

So yeah, instead of the fancy device, I'm going to try it old school and see what happens. I'm going to give it a couple of months on my plan and then run some numbers again and see what happens.

In the meantime, I'm only at 645 steps for the day so I better get crackin'.

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30 Days to ... by JH is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.