SEPPIESUSAN   33,005
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I hope it's true that there's no such thing as a dumb question...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

...because I feel dumb for having to ask this. A few days ago Breigh asked me if I calculate my calories burned, and I answered that no, I don't. I know a lot of people do calculate this, but I simply don't know how. I have looked into it a few times, but seriously... how am I supposed to know how many minutes each day I've spent walking around vs. sitting vs. standing vs. lying down....etc. So my question is this: How do you calculate the calories you've burned in a day??? What do you do, exactly, and how accurate do you think your method is? And then, what do you do with that information? Do you subtract the calories you ate to see what your calorie deficit is? I've never really understood the whole thing about a 3,500-calorie deficit bringing one pound of weight loss. How can that possibly be true in all situations???

OK, so that was a lot of questions. But if you just answer my first one - how do you calculate the calories you've burned in a day - I'll be happy.

BIG thanks in advance!

  
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CATERPILLAR85 9/24/2008 7:22AM

    I really don't understand all of this and i think it would drive me crazy even trying to....

what i don't get is the amount of calories the elliptical/bike/etc machines at the gym say I burn vs. the number that spark fitness says i burn. that confuses me but as long as the scale goes down then i'm doing something right, right?

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SARAH_VW 9/23/2008 11:26PM

    Briegh did a really good job of explaining it.

The formula for BMR for women is:

BMR = 655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7x height in inches) (4.7 x age)

As Briegh said, this just gives you the number of calories your body needs if you sat in the dark all day and did absolutely nothing. To get the total number of calories your body needs in a day you multiply your BMR by 1.2 (this is the standard that most use unless you have a super physically demanding job). Then voila, you have the total # of calories it takes to maintain your current weight, or the # of calories you body burns just by being alive and walking around throughout the day. If you exercise, those calories burned get added to this total.

I don't really worry about these numbers either. As long as your calories burned goal on your start page accurately reflects how many calories you're burning through exercise each week, eating within the range SP gives you will be enough to lose weight. Hope that made sense and was somewhat helpful!

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FITGIRL15 9/23/2008 11:22PM

    I have spent a few weeks deficit tracking, but MAN OH MAN it was time consuming! It was INTERESTING though to see that it REALLY DOES WORK, but to input all the variables into the spreadsheet every DAY to find out your deficit is just way too much work!

Honestly... the scale will tell you if you've accomplished your deficit goal! And this is why we track... so we can remind ourselves of WHAT we did the week of a weight loss (3500 calorie deficit) so we can do it again next week and continue seeing results!

I have a whole spreadhseet created for deficit tracking, if you are interested!
~jessica






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BRUIN2 9/23/2008 11:06PM

    Soooo....

There are many schools of thought on this...

The most common I see on here is:

(BMR+calories burned through exercise) - calories consumed = daily deficit/surplus

Your BMR is what you burn in a day by just living - there are many "multipliers" that say multiply by X if you sit all day long, or multiply by Z if you work in construction, etc. (Google BMR to calculate yours).

Then, for calories burned, you can go by what Sparks estimates for you, or, you can get a little more precise by getting a HRM that calculates your calories burned. So, for you, you'd wear your HRM to the gym for your three hour session, then see what the calories burned was at the end.

I don't look at my deficit - the numbers drive me crazy. But I aim to eat within my range, and to burn at least 3000 calories a week through exercise...

I hope some of this helps... Hopefully someone else will be able to explain this a little more eloquently!

I think that Smurfette has a bunch of info on this concept on her page...

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Ups and Downs

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I just watched my Sox clinch a spot in the playoffs! Remmy said something about their ups and downs over the season just as I was coming up with a title for this blog.

The thing that has been up and down for me lately is my motivation. I was in such a good place mentally/emotionally for so long...and then work started getting stressful, I stopped having time for full nights of sleep, and I had a couple non-routine days of eating over the weekend. I didn't lose my usual one pound this week (still at 145.0 today) and I've been tired and tempted to skip workouts, laze on the couch, and binge eat. I haven't done it, but the thought has crossed my mind! Danger territory!!!

I must never get complacent about weight management. It will ALWAYS take hard work. My mom and I were emailing each other today and she's really frustrated because after losing LOTS of weight four years ago, it's been slowly creeping back up and she can't figure out why. I told her that weight management, for me, seems to require CONSTANT vigilance, and that what takes weeks of hard work and consistency to accomplish can be undone much more quickly. It's so hard to constantly be on top of this! But it certainly helps to get a full night's sleep every night and to try to make time for myself and eliminate stressors. Easier said than done.

Last night I was tired and hungry by the time we left for the gym. We went too late (around 8:30!!) and I would have said "sure" if Jess had suggested skipping it. But thankfully we went (I had an extra snack first) and since I was too tired to run, I walked instead (4.2 mph with a 3 percent incline - for me this is not exactly slacking off....though it is easier than running) for a half hour. Then, since Jess wanted to bike for a while, I got on a bike next to him and ended up doing that for a half hour too. I can't seem to get my heart rate up very high when I use the recumbant bike - it was only around 90-110. But when I stood up, my legs felt like lead. I find the recumbant bike uncomfortable for my back, butt, and feet. :(

This afternoon the last thing I felt like doing was working out. I was tired and hungry again and just felt like going home and pigging out. I was frustrated about being so hungry even though I've been eating around 2,000 calories a day. I've been so hungry that I've eaten dinner around 3 p.m.!! But, I decided to buy a medium decaf coffee with skim milk on my way to the gym and between that and drinking a lot of water, I had a second wind. My workout actually ended up being great! It was my first time doing my old strength training routine in a while (I'd been going to Body Pump classes instead of strength training on my own for a few weeks) and I liked it. I did chest, back, and abs, and then I stretched and finished up with 20 minutes of interval running - 6.0mph/8.0mph, with my last TWO speed intervals being 8.5 instead of 8.0. I think next time my "rest" intervals should be 6.2 mph instead of 6.0.

When I left the gym I was feeling much more positive. I'm SO glad that I went and didn't get sucked into that horrible vortex of feeling sorry for myself, binge eating, and lying around watching TV. It would be really hard to get back into a positive mindset if I allowed that to happen. Even if I don't feel like going to the gym, I need to at least do a LITTLE workout just to FEEL like I'm still on track. If I'm hungry, I need to have just a LITTLE something, but I should NEVER just eat with abandon. I have had MAJOR problems with those behaviors many times in the past, and I must work to keep them permanently eliminated.

The other day, by the way, I came up with a new goal to work on after my 10K. There is a 5K race in December in the town where I work, and a teacher who runs it each year has been encouraging me to sign up. So my goal will be to really work on my 5K speed and try to get my time down significantly. It's too early to set a specific goal, but in my last 5K race, back in Oct. 2007, I finished in about 29:30. It would be cool to try for 27:00 or so...but I will certainly have to wait and set an appropriate goal once I really start working on it.

PS - I think I need to offically give up on trying to count my calories from the party Sunday. It would be a frustrating experience with just way too much guessing involved.

PPS - I knew I was forgetting something!! I've been meaning to ask you guys for help. (Though I wonder if anyone will actually read far enough to see this question....??? I think I'll put my question in another blog entry. To be continued!)

  
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CATERPILLAR85 9/24/2008 7:20AM

    i'm so proud of you for pushing yourself to the gym and not feeling sorry for yourself, lounging on the couch and binge eating! that was how i was last week and i was miserable....although im incredibly exhausted this week, pushing myself so hard at the gym and has helped me to focus on other things and not get so down. it's like instant therapy of sorts! you are amazing girl, keep your chin up!

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HRZ2UMZROBINSON 9/23/2008 11:01PM

    I know what you mean about just the thought of slacking off being enough to alter your mood. Sometimes I'll think about skipping my run and grabbing a giant burrito and just chilling out while watching The Office, and even if I wind up doing my workout and eating healthy instead, a part of me feels panicky and out of control. Weight will always be a constant battle for me as well, but it seems like we're both getting better at it and we've definitely come a looong way :-)
PS- I don't really keep track of how many cals I burn total per day. http://www.freedieting.com/tools/ca
lorie_calculator.htm# calculates it for you based on your activity level, weight, age and gender, but I've found that when I get too caught up in the mathematics of weight loss I get frustrated and discouraged. Numbers have never been my friend :-/

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Not enough weekend

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Sunday was incredibly busy, just like my Saturday. There was so little time for exercise that I literally got out of my boyfriend's car to do some running while he was having breakfast at Dunkin Donuts. He picked me up on the side of the road 15 minutes later!! And then he dropped me off near home so I could run 25 more minutes the rest of the way. I still haven't had time to figure out my mileage/speed on mapmyrun.

We went to his grandparents 65th wedding anniversary party. I overdid it with the food a bit, especially with the desserts - there was candy and three kinds of cake, and I had a normal-sized portion of each!! Not very smart at all. I wanted small pieces, but there weren't any - I should have just cut little pieces off and left the rest behind. Next time!

To make up for it, I didn't eat anything that night when we got home, and even though I really didn't have time, I went to the gym for an hour (where I completed 10K on the elliptical in 58:30 - that means I was working as hard as I possibly could). I ended up weighing in today at 145.2, so I don't think I did any major damage. And oh well, I've been working hard lately, if every once in a while I want cake, I should be able to eat cake! (Just not three pieces, haha.)

I have been a little stressed lately always feeling like there's no time for anything. I was up doing food prep/planning until 11:30 p.m. last night, which is WAY too late. I didn't have time to try to guesstimate my calories from yesterday, and I didn't have time to plan out all my food for the week, I only did Monday (will have to tweak a bit for the rest of the week.) Today school's been a little stressful too. I've been snapping at my boyfriend lately and really need to stop doing that. He is nothing but sweet to me and never gets moody - he doesn't deserve this. But when I'm rushing around without enough time to do what I need to do and see him having a few minutes to lie on the couch and watch football, I get jealous. It's not his fault though. I will work on being sweeter to him.

  
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HRZ2UMZROBINSON 9/22/2008 6:46PM

    Congrats on the size 4 jeans!! Yay!! And it's true, women's sizes are very odd, there's not consistency at all.
And also, great job on squeezing in workouts, I feel like i was a lazy bum this weekend after seeing how you managed to squeeze activity in ;-)

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CATERPILLAR85 9/22/2008 5:38PM

    you definitely deserve that cake every once in awhile! that's so awesome that you have such a supportive and caring boyfriend! i only hope to find someone as awesome! :)

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Heartburn :(

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ugh, last night I was plagued with heartburn. The two times I've had it in the past month were the two times I went out to eat! I bet that's probably the cause. However, I did have 4 coffees yesterday (please forgive me, it's my one vice these days) and 2 apples...I don't know, but yuck. Between the coffee, the heartburn, and people yelling and honking at each other after the nightclub next door closed at 2 a.m. last night (my boyfriend lives in an AWFUL neighborhood! hopefully he'll sell this place soon), I didn't get a great night's sleep.

This morning the scale read all kinds of different numbers, as high as 145.2 and as low as 143.8. But it said 143.8 the most, and that is the most pleasant (lowest it's been yet! well, THIS time) so I'm going with that. :)

Almost time for a run!!!!!!!!

  
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CATERPILLAR85 9/21/2008 12:22PM

    awesome on the weigh in, you are doing so well! :) i totally feel you with the heart burn....i still can't figure out if its heart burn, acid reflux or what with my chest pains. i've been taking the prilosec i got but when i read the acid reflux symptoms i dont have them all. im thinking i may need to just suck it up and go to the real doctor!

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FITGIRL15 9/21/2008 11:04AM

    When is your race? Sounds like you are right on with your training schedule!

Just a tip from the nurtition sessions I took yesterday... make sure you are eating 12-15grams of a simple carbohydrate ONLY between 15-20 minutes after exercise... this ensures your muscles get their glycogen stores replenished... if you forget or ignore this window or opportunity, your muscles will feel heavy and poorly recoverd the next day. Your subsequent raining days will suffer as you may not be able to perform up to par! (We've all been there! Right?)
Also, make sure you are getting a proper recovery MEAL after exercise (within 2 hour of completing your exercise. For an endurance athelete, you require 1/3 and 1/6 X your body weight of protein grams for the recovery meal... and your body weight and 1/2 your BW in protein:
EX) say you weigh 145 (for eas of the numbers)
Carbs required in recovery meal : 145/3 = 48, 145/6 = 24.
You require between 24-48g or carbs to recover.

Protein required in recovery meal : 145, 145/2 = 72.5
You require between 72.5 and 145 g of protein in your recovery meal.

The nutritionist also suggested for those who are trying to LOSE WEIGHT can stay closer to the low end of those ranges!


Hope this info is useful!!! Just thought I'd SHARE :)

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Busy Saturday

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wow, what a busy day it's been! Please don't think I'm crazy - this morning I decided it would be really fun to try three classes at the gym in a row. 9 a.m. Zumba, 10 a.m. Body Pump (where I lift the lightest weights in the whole class, even lighter than the weights the old ladies use?!), and 11 a.m. Body Combat (kind of like cardio kickboxing). After that, I read a magazine on a recumbant bike for 15 minutes while waiting for my boyfriend to finish his workout (he had arrived while I was in class at 11:15).

Then we went shopping. I found a couple styles of jeans I wanted to try on. One I grabbed in a 9 and 7, the other I took in an 8 and 6. So first I tried on the 8s and they were too big. Then I tried on the 6 - and they were too big, too!! So I called out for my boyfriend to get me a 4, and even though they're very slightly tight, I got them. I think they'll fit perfectly when I lose two more pounds. I have bought size 4 pants before, but these are my first size 4 jeans. Anyway, after feeling all cool about that, I went and tried on the size 7 jeans and couldn't even get them on, and the 9s were tight. Women's sizes make no sense!! I get it that odds are juniors sizes, but shouldn't a 7 be bigger than a 4? Anyway, I didn't really even like them - they had huge bell bottoms. I like my size 4 jeans...they are the darkest jeans I've ever bought so they kinda look fancy for jeans. And I really like the tag inside that says "4" on it, heeheehee!! I have been singing the "I bought size 4 jeans" song ever since.

Anyway, after a few more errands we went out for dinner. I was soooooo hungry even after having a few extra snacks - an extra apple and a skim decaf latte. I had the grilled chicken and artichoke salad with the basil vinaigrette dressing on the side, and a Pelligrino (sp?) sparkling water. I didn't even consider eating any of the bread. Anyway, my salad was DELICIOUS but I wasn't expecting it to come drenched in parmesan cheese. I ate the whole thing, but slowly, putting down my fork between bites and taking sips of my water like they say you're supposed to. I guess I was pretty convincing with the fork down thing too, because the busboy tried to take my plate away at one point. I told him I wasn't done, but I keep wondering whether I should have just let him take it because by the time I finished the whole thing I was full. Not the most stuffed ever, but much more FULL than I'm used to feeling these days. I didn't like the feeling any more than I liked the feeling of being too hungry a few minutes earlier!! I am trying to figure out what I'd do next time because my boyfriend keeps saying I need to learn to manage my weight in the real world. Maybe I should have split the thing in two and eaten half tomorrow. It's really tough for me not knowing how many calories it had. Jess is telling me not to worry about it, but if I knew, I think I could figure out how much of it I should have eaten at once. Knowledge is power! We guessed it had 600-800 calories, but when I tried to choose the closest items off the SP nutrition database, it ended up being far fewer than that, so I really don't know. I'm sure my sodium was high though, and tomorrow's weigh-in might be affected. I usually look forward to my one weekend weigh-in on Jess' scale, because I weigh the lowest all week then. Oh well. It's just one meal.

Tomorrow, though, we're going to a catered party. I am actually glad it's going to be buffet, so I can take just what looks like a good amount for me. I know I will make healthy choices. I think I am beyond the point where I don't fully trust myself to make the right choice. I've worked too hard and come too far for to be tempted to mess it all up. But it'll be the second day in a row where I really will have no idea about my calorie count.

By the way, last night I played around with my goal weight and amount of exercise to see how my recommended calorie ranges would change. When I entered what I fully expect to happen - which is that I will reach 140 in a month - but kept my cardio at 60 minutes per day, my range went way down lower than I want it to be. When I entered that I wanted to reach 140 in a month but did 120 minutes of cardio a day, it went to 1,600-2,000. When I did 145 as a goal weight in a month (i.e. keeping my weight the same) and 120 minutes of cardio a day, my calorie range was too high, about 2,200-2,500. So in the end I did 145 as a goal and 60 minutes of cardio, and that kept my calorie range about the same as it was - about 1,900-2,200.

Today I weighed 144.6...

I finally bought a new HRM watch - my old one died over a month ago. My new one looks just like my old one but the box said it counts calories burned...haven't had time to investigate. I'm looking forward to using it for an hour-long run tomorrow morning before the party.

  
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CATERPILLAR85 9/21/2008 9:24AM

    that is so awesome about the size 4! i am super proud of you! :) i'm so glad you picked up my recommendation at the library, i've really fallen in love with the author and am currently reading another of her books. it's somewhat "bridget jones" type stuff, if you like that movie! i am going grocery shopping today for my 2 recipes and am going to try your trick this week! i dont think im going to do the smoothies just yet as i love my yogurt and boiled egg breakfast, but none the less im very excited! plus your motivation at the gym has made me yearning to get back!

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SEPPIESUSAN 9/21/2008 9:21AM

    In response to Fitgirl's comments (I never quite know where to respond to these things)

1. Zumba is a dancy cardio class, but it's not very difficult. I was feeling a bit tired by the time I was in Body Combat, but I'm really working on endurance these days in preparation for my race.

2. I actually brought breakfast/snacks with me TO the gym, and I snuck over to eat whenever I had a break. I had about 600 calories' worth of food, and a good balance of carbs/protein/fat too. I definitely couldn't have made it three hours without eating!

3. I was thinking the same thing - I need a pic in my new jeans!!

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NO1JESS 9/21/2008 8:40AM

    Congrats on a size 4!! Omg! You are awesome!

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BRUIN2 9/21/2008 12:06AM

    What a day for you!

Have fun at the party - I know that you're going to make wicked awesome decisions!! (And of course keep a drink of water in your hand!! You're a pro at that trick by now!)

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FITGIRL15 9/20/2008 11:37PM

    You mean, your old HRM didn't count calories burned? What good is that??? lol I have the basic polar F6 model HRM and it tracks calories burned! It's a wonderful little feature, for sure!

Um... I hate to state the obvious, but don't you think that 3 classes in one day is a little extreme? I mean, I've never done Zumba, but I'll assume it's a dancy cardio class. I teach Body Pump as well as Body Combat (we call it something else) and I know both classes are very labour (and energy) intensive! Did you eat a BIG breakfast before class? What did you eat after class??? All of these factors will affect your performance for the rest of the week! (I took a Nutrition seminar this weekend that mentioned the IMPORTANCE of pre and post excercise nutrition!!!)

Take care! Congrats on the size 4 jean's :) We need a pic :)

Comment edited on: 9/20/2008 11:35:32 PM

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