You might remember back in May when I posted about how I had gained a couple of pounds and was looking to cutback and focus on portion control? I seemed to have the right idea and was off to a good start. I started doing the Skinnygirl Daily Cleanse and immediately noticed a difference with feeling bloated and ‘heavy’. I’ve continued doing the cleanse each day and really like it. The problem is that those couple of pounds have turned into about 5 pounds more than my goal weight and I never really lost them and kept them off. Michael and I like to blame it on the “Marathon Hangover”. The hangover happened to him after Chicago and happened to me after Boston. What is the hangover? It’s basically when you have out done yourself with running and the thought of doing any sort of cardio over a half an hour makes you cringe. It’s when dinner and drinks with friends sounds better than the gym and you continue to eat like your training to run 26.2 miles but don’t have the workouts to back that up. The marathon hangover is great for about a week…maybe two or three. When it goes on for months, the scale starts to tell you the party is over.
As I was complaining over vacation while lounging in my bikini that my arms looked less toned and my abs were disappearing Michael made a profound statement.
You have two choices: Keep eating like your training for a marathon and ACTUALLY train for another marathon or eat less.
Since teacher training starts in 3 weeks a fall marathon will not be happening and so I’m going to have to learn to eat less. It’s easier said than done, really. For the last year I’ve been training for a marathon. I literally don’t remember what I ate or how much I ate when I wasn’t training for a marathon. What I do know though is that I like the way I look and my body as it is when I’m training for a marathon. So for the first time in my life I’m going to learn how to eat less. The words “No, Thanks” when asked if I want seconds will actually be words I speak going forward. If you are someone who knows me well this is shocking.
I started counting calories on Sunday. A friend recommended using the My Fitness Pal App on my iPhone and I have to say it’s pretty easy to use. I signed up and created a profile, entered my age, my height and my current weight. Then I entered my goal weight and choose how quickly I wanted to lose weight. I opted for the 2 pounds per week option so that I could lose these pesky 5 pounds before teacher training. I also told them I have a sedentary job (i.e. desk job) and workout about 5 times per week. The app told me that I burn about 1850 calories/day in my normal activities. To lose the 5 pounds in my goal time I would need to cutback to about 1200 calories/day. Now, this seems a little absurd to me because I feel like I’d be starving if I ate 1200 calories/day. As part of the app you enter in your exercise and this adds the calories burned to you calories/day count. I end up being at about 1500-1600 calories/day after working out. This seems pretty reasonable and achievable to me.
Sunday I chose to really cutback and see exactly what 1200 calories/day is like. I really have no concept of how much food 1200 calories versus 2000 calories is or what a typical amount of calories for breakfast or lunch is like. Calorie counting is not something I’ve ever done. So on Sunday I stuck to lean foods and a lot of fruit and veggies.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t starving and felt completely satisfied the entire day. I even got to enjoy an ice cream sandwich!
Monday and Tuesday I headed back to work and just tried to keep my eating routine as normal as possible. I felt that it was worth it to see what a “normal” day in terms of eating was like.
What I learned is that I did a great job of eating healthy and spreading my calories throughout the day but completely over ate at dinner. I’d been to a new hot yoga class and by the time I got home, I was starving! Michael made homemade tacos that night with 98% lean ground turkey, lettuce, tomato, and onion with re-fried beans on the side and homemade guacamole with 2 avocados. I ended up eating 4 tacos, chips and guacamole and a cup of beans. In other words, completely overkill! I then proceeded to eat another Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich. After having a similar pattern show up on Tuesday, I realized that dinner was my problem. I consume about 1000 calories for dinner. Most nights when I finish dinner I am close to full if not full so eating 1000 calories is not necessary.
On Wednesday I resolved to start cutting back and focusing on eating about 1500 calories/day. I continued with my normal eating habits throughout the day and then really focused on portion control for dinner. What we cook and eat is not in itself bad, it is the amount. I felt like Wednesday was a much better and balanced day.
I ended up coming in at about 1400 calories for the day. I felt really good throughout the day and never felt like I was starving myself.
So based on what I’ve learned here’s my plan for going forward:
- Aim to keep breakfast around 300 calories. Eat light cereals, cottage cheese and yogurt with fresh fruit on top. I plan to stick with my regular morning coffee with skim milk and Truvia.
- For lunch I plan to eat around 400 calories. I’m focusing on cutting back on carbs so salads and sandwiches made with wraps or thins are going to be my goto’s.
- I’m eliminating the yogurt or granola bar I used to eat in addition to some fruit in the afternoon. I’ve found that just the fruit is enough to sustain me throughout my afternoon workout and keep me satisfied until dinner.
- For dinners, Michael and I have both agreed to limit and cut back on carbs. We are going for chicken, and lean meats, fresh fish and lots of salads and veggies. We regularly eat like this so it’s not a huge change. For me, the portion control will be key. I’m going to try to put together a dinner plate with enough calories but not too much and control myself from reaching for seconds. Slowing down and enjoying each bite will go a long way.
- We’ve also eliminated sweets from our house. We bought Skinnycow Ice Cream Sandwiches and Edy’s Whole Fruit bars to satisfy our cravings. Both are relatively low in calories and fats compared to the other options out there. I plan to limit myself even further by determining two weekday nights and one weekend night to enjoy sweets. However I decide to enjoy that throughout the week is fine but I definitely don’t want to be indulging every night.
As for calorie counting, I plan to count until I naturally want to eat about 1500 to 1700 calories/day. I think this goal will give me the opportunity to learn portion control and have a better understanding of what I eat everyday and how it can affect my weight.
Losing weight is only a small piece of the changes that are happening! Now that we are all settled since I’ve moved in and vacation has passed Michael and I are trying to create a healthy routine where we both can accomplish workouts and eat a healthy dinner together. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the routine, a new yoga studio I’ve found and more!