I’m in a really good mood today. I just feel like I’m in a better place- and what a difference a few days makes. Setting this up, and thinking/writing about where I started and where I am now has given me a bit of perspective. Sometimes it’s way too easy to get caught up in yourself and forget the big picture. Seeing numbers go up made me feel really out of control, but it helped me reevaluate things. And I know I’m going back in the right direction.
Pictures help. As much as sometimes I don’t like looking at them, I know I need to remember that. See that? That’s me in the Fall of 2010 around my highest (316). On the right, that’s this past summer. And don’t mind the ridiculous face- it’s camp. That automatically makes anything acceptable. But I remember the first time I saw pictures from that day and being like “wow- that’s what I look like?” I remember trying on that dress in Forever 21 and not believing it fit. It’s an XL (11-12) which is probably a generously cut XL, but that is less than half of what I started at. I owned some size 26 skirts. I own a size 8 pair of jeans now.
So when I’m frustrated at myself or my lack of progress, I need to remember where I started, why I started and what I’m working towards.
The biggest thing I’ve struggled with lately was figuring out my calories. For nearly two years I ate 1200-1300 calories a day(I considered myself in range as long as it started with a 12_ _ that was my wiggle room), but even as I started working out more- I wasn’t losing any weight.
I really didn’t know how many calories I was burning (I used the estimates on the machines at the gym- which suck by the way!) and still ate the same number of calories. And when I had more time over winter break I’d put in almost 2 hours at the gym sometimes- so there were some serious calorie deficits I was running. And as I’ve learned from Jillian Michaels’ podcasts (love these/her, by the way) when you run a deficit that’s too high, you force your body into starvation mode and it thinks it needs to hold onto fat to survive.
I think this was a really hard concept to come to terms with- to lose weight you need to eat more. So letting go of that 1200-1300 range was hard. I had this conversation with BFF and answered my own question basically as soon as I asked it, because I knew the answer. Mostly because she’s told me numerous times before. She’s usually spot on with stuff like that.
I do track my calories, but admittedly have switched trackers for the first time in 8 years (obviously haven’t tracked consistently in 8 years, otherwise I’d be in a whole other-much lighter- boat). The very first time I delved into online calorie tracking in 2005, I began with FitDay, which was a very bare bones version of its current incarnation. In reading through the message boards, someone recommended SparkPeople. And for the longest time I was a SparkPeople purist. But lately, I had a hard time reconciling the fact that I was “going over” my calories every day when I was trying to balance out the amount of exercise I was doing. So recently I’ve switched to MyFitnessPal, which at this time I think better suits my needs. It focuses on the overall calorie deficit (which SP does as well, just not as overtly) instead of focusing on calories in.
So my calories are still between 1200-1300, but days when I exercise- I eat more. And days when I don’t, I eat within that 1200-1300 range. For instance, I ate about 1700 the other day (which would have made me really anxious previously to see I was 500 calories “over” my range), but I went for a 75-minute walk run and burned 500 calories. So I knew I was reasonably where I was supposed to be.
So that’s where I’ll leave you for now, but I hope your day is off to a good start too.