When it's not adding up, try actually doing the math...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Every single person who reads this will understand me when I say that losing weight isn't an overnight "do this one step" sort of thing. It's a process. It involves education on the right kinds of foods, the right amounts of foods, and how to get in daily movement. It involves action, you have to actually get out there and move and you have to actually eat the right foods in the right portions. And all of this takes time. And then you're going to hit a plateau and have to look at and evaluate everything again. And sometimes, it takes a little math.

I'm at a very natural plateau right now. I'm sitting at just above 150lbs. My body loves this weight and could flex between 150 and 155 without much effort. But, now that I've tasted the benefits of losing a few pounds, I want to lose a few more. I have added regular work outs to my life (hello boot camps 3-4 times a week plus some running!) and I track my calories pretty well on week days and try to make smart choices when I can.

So, why do I lose 1-2 pounds a MONTH when others can lose that much every week? I found a super sweet report on SP called "Single Day Calorie Differential" Oh boy does this report look like magic to me!! We have all heard that you have to have a calorie deficiency of about 3500 to lose a pound. This report will take into account your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) (the number of calories your body burns on a daily basis without much effort from you), your intake for the day and your calories burned.

My BMR for a sedentary lifestyle is 1,788 calories. In order to lose one pound of body mass, I need to have a calorie differential of -500 every day. This is oh so easy Monday through Thursday. My differential ranges from a low -282 to a high of -815 during those days this year. But, one look at my weekend will tell you why I fail at losing weight quickly. I have either a barely negative number OR my high last Sunday was +737!!!! Not only did I NOT have a deficiency of -500 that day, I also ruined a day and a half of work! That's three days deficiency wrecked for one day of indulging. And usually Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all pretty bad.

These reports are only useful if you log ALL calories ALL the time. It's one of my goals for January to log everything everyday. So far, so good. It means estimating sometimes, but I try to estimate a little high and hope it will all even out for the month. Also, when I'm doing all this math, I don't expect to have lost a pound until I see a 4,000 calorie difference, just to factor in the estimates some more.

For the first week, in which I thought I had done enough to surely warrant losing a pound, I was only at a -3,181 calorie difference, so I probably wouldn't see a number change on the scale. Week two was terrible with a total -921. Unfortunately, I didn't step on the scale until the 4th this month, so I'll be weighing in again on the 18th. Lucky for me, that's a Friday so I stand a chance of not mucking up the results with a bad weekend!
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