Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Downton Abbey Will Make Me Fat*

I've decided to try and post about healthy things (i.e. weight, recipes, tips, troubles, etc....) regularly.  I'm hoping it will help keep me motivated.  I'm going to really embarrass myself and also keep track of my weight here.  I really hate flashing my weight, but I'm hoping it will help.  I keep telling myself that at least I'm not 356 pounds still.  I was 356 and then lost to 248.  Since 2008 I have gained 48 pounds.  That is really scary to me.

January 6th                                296
January 13th                              291

January 20th          290!

I know it isn't a huge loss, but I'm so happy I lost a pound last week.  And here is why...


...I started my period that morning.  Any woman will tell you that weighing oneself when "on the rag" and especially on day one can be traumatic.  I was already bloated and feeling gross. I entertained the notion of not weighing in.  I was sure that the 5lb loss from last week was a complete fluke and that I'd gained 20lbs. I made myself weigh-in and I was pleasantly surprised.

Okay, on to the rest of the update.  Each time I blog about my attempt at a healthier life I am going to try to identify one friend and one foe.  Something that I have succeeded at or is a useful tool and then something that I'm struggling with and then try to find a solution.

Friend:  My Fitness Pal app.
I have this neat-o app. on my phone that I use to keep my food diary and count calories and nutritional information.  It is called MyFitnessPal and it is a free app.  I have an Android, but it also is available for iPhone users. 

Basically I just entered in all of my information and the program calculated my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).  Essentially this is how many calories I burn daily doing nothing.  At the size I am now, my current BMR is 2,047.  Taking that information, along with how much I'd like to lose per week, MyFitnessPal calculates how many daily calories I need to lose weight.  Right now my daily target is 1,590 calories.

When I eat something I add it to the meal list either by searching for the food, blipping the barcode with my Android, or adding in the calories.  I just add in the calories when I make a recipe that has the caloric intake already figured.  Online, you can add in a recipe, put the number of servings, and MyFitnessPal calculates the calories per serving.

You can also add exercises from their exercise database (areas for cardio and strength training) and EARN your calories back (if you want).  I also use it to track water consumption.

With the app I get a full nutritional profile.  I can see if I'm consuming too little protein and too many carbs.  I can see which vitamins I'm deficient in and I can print progress reports.

The coolest bit is at the end of the day.  When I get in bed and I'm all done eating for the day I simply click that I'm done and the app. calculates -- based on that days consumption and exercise -- how much I would weigh in 5 weeks if everyday was like today.  AWESOME MOTIVATOR!  Last night I was a little -- 48 calories -- over and I was super bummed.  But when I finished closing out the day the app said that "if every day was like today you'd weigh 281.1 lbs in 5 weeks).  OMG.  Seriously!  That's awesome! 

Foe:  Fatigue
When I was in college I really started to pack on weight.  I think I gained about 40 pounds during my final year and a half of school. About 75% of this weight was from eating when I was tired.  I was a full-time honors student taking a maximum amount of hours, working three part-time jobs which totaled about 34 hours a week of work, and I was a single mother with a toddler.  Add to that my insanity in adding extracurricular activities; I was involved in several clubs and I was editor of our literary magazine.  What the hell was I thinking?  It ended up that the bulk of my homework and research occurred between 8pm (when Hope went to bed) and 3am.  And of course, I was back up at 6am for the day to begin again.

Coffee could only do so much.  I found that after 8pm I was eating to stay awake.  Entire boxes of Wheat Thins.  Popcorn.  Animal Crackers.  Ice Cream.  During the day I carried what I thought was a healthy snack (yogurt-covered raisins) and I would eat virtually the entire day.  I felt so hungry all the time.  What I was really feeling was fatigue.  I was exhausted, but I had to keep going.

I find I reach for food when I am tired more than anything else.  I also shovel it in.  There is no enjoying that doughnut, I'm cramming it down my throat as quickly as possible.  Even though I don't have the hellish schedule I did in college, my life feels very full:  work, parenting, housework, cooking, laundry, blogging, reading, friends, my 500 million hobbies...... My inclination is to stay up until 1am getting things done or doing something enjoyable and then wake back up at 5am.

Last night I started my fight with fatigue. I've decided by 9:30 I need to have my teeth brushed and be in the bed.  I can read for an hour, but I'm not to get out of bed unless it is to use the "facilities. ' This means I have had to give up or postpone some things.... like Downton Abbey.

I don't have TV, but I usually watch Downton Abbey online on Monday or Tuesday nights.  By the time the kids are in bed that puts me watching the hour-long program at 9pm.  And I like to eat while I watch.  AND, being the dork that I am, I find that I'm excited afterwards thinking about what will happen next and then I want to stay up and re-re-re-read Brideshead Revisited until 1am.  Of course, I'm sleepy and Atticus wakes at 5am, so I find myself reaching for carb-y snacks.  No more.  I'm waiting until the weekend or a night when Sam is home to help with the kiddos and THEN I will watch Downton Abbey.

My other key sleepy time is after work when I'm cooking dinner.  I'm normally cooking around 4:30 because we eat at 5:30 so Sam can go to the tattoo shop fairly early in the evening.  I've accepted the fact that I'm starving by 4 and I must eat something.  I usually go for a walk after work and then I come home and have a reasonable, protein-filled snack:  a fiber one bar with a cheese stick or a boiled egg on a small salad or some yogurt with fruit.  When I know what I'm going to eat I'm less liking to do that desperate grabbing for whatever carb/sugar I can shovel in. 

Alright, goals for next week:  keep logging in my food and watch-out for fatigue.  Fingers crossed that I'll see some results on Friday!

(*Hyperbolic, attention-grabbing title, CHECK)


Amanda said...

Sparkpeople has a phone app that does the same thing, so that's what I've been using, except I'm not counting calories at all anymore. It's made things worse for me at the moment, because insomnia (as talked about in today's post) is really messing with my metabolism. So I'm taking a bit of a break from weight loss to just maintain my current level of weight, health, cardio fitness, and strength.

Catherine said...

i'm so proud of you. it is such a struggle, especially for us bakers. and i totally relate to the eating when i'm tired. i gained about 10 pounds during finals last semester, and only have lost about 5 of it.

Giggly said...

I was going to tell you about My Fitness Pal, when I started reading this post and then...yay! Anyway, that site has kept me honest and has helped me on a daily basis since the first day I started, last April 2011. If you would like to add me as a friend there, here I am


Andi said...

Great ideas! I've been using Sparkpeople and will have to check out that app and compare to the one you mentioned. I also find that having a plan and a schedule that works keeps me from reaching for the bad snacks. I've also been heading to bet at 9:30 and reading on my phone until 10ish if I still feel awake. Yay for sleep!

Susan in TX said...

Good for you! I am constantly amazed at the "apps" that are out there. This one sounds like a must for anybody trying to diet. I have to give you a hearty "amen" about the bedtime thing. I struggle with getting enough sleep myself, mainly because I'm trying to find quiet time in the house. I read somewhere that the hours of sleep you get before midnight are twice as beneficial to your body as the hours after, so I figure if I can get lights out by 10:00, I can get up earlier in the morning and not have "lost" as much. ;)

Linda said...

I suck at entering in what I eat in Lose It. I wish there was a magically way to enter everything I ate.
Keep up the good work!

Amanda said...

Thanks for all the support folks. It makes me feel loved. {{{HUGS}}}