Saturday, March 16, 2013

Logging ALL the Things


I know I go back and forth on this, but I'm back on counting calories.  I'm not doing Weight Watchers anymore though.  I'm using my "old faithful" Fatsecret.com to log calories in and calories out. 

In some ways, I liked Weight Watchers a lot.  I liked that fruits and vegetables didn't count at all.  That instantaneously made me eat at least 3 times as much fruits and veggies as I did before. I also liked that I didn't really know my caloric deficit each day. WW doesn't give you "full credit" for your activity, so if you burn 100 calories running, you don't get 100 calories worth of points to eat; you only get something like half of that.  And there is a built in caloric deficit in their algorithm, so if I eat all my points, with or without activity, that doesn't mean I'm at net zero calories for the day, I'm still negative, but it's not clear exactly how much.  I kind of liked that because then I couldn't get "spooked" by the deficit and convince myself that I'll starve to death at negative 1200 calories, and I'm not "inspired" to eat up to that level.  (Ie: "Oh, I have 500 calories left to eat and still be net 700 negative, I'm going to go eat a cookie even though I'm not hungry).  However, I didn't like figuring out points.  You have to know fat, protein, and carbs, so it takes longer to calculate than just calories.  And I don't have an intuitive feel for how many points something is worth (while I do for calories).  I also didn't like the Weight Watchers tracking interface.  There is a free Android app that I liked, but it didn't sync with an online account, so I couldn't access it easily from work or from my home computer without using my phone.  (I don't tend to keep my phone very accessible). 

So, now, I'm using fatsecret.com and logging calories.  I found that while "intuitive eating" is great for maintaining my weight, it is not so great when I am trying to lose.  It is also probably not so great when I am burning much less calories than "usual", like I am currently without running.  (Although, maybe it would be fine, I was already counting calories before my non-running so I didn't test that theory.  I usually do fine and don't gain during taper weeks in training, and that's without counting calories). 

Anyway, the point of all this is that today is a weigh-in day.  I'm changing to a twice-monthly official weigh-in, on the 1st and the 15th of each month.  (I know it's technically the 16th now, but I still consider it the 15th since I woke up on the 15th.  It'll be the 16th for me when I wake up at 8 or 9pm tonight.) Daily weigh-ins work great for me for maintenance, but not so much when I'm trying to lose.  I get to focused on the scale, and it's hard to see the "forest for the trees" with all the fluctuations.  Normally, I have gone to a weekly weigh-in, but since I am opting to lose very slowly, that isn't long enough either.   I tend to get in a mentality like "I just have to keep it up until Wednesday" to see the benefit on the scale, then have a little calorie party after I weigh in, then spend the rest of the week making it up.  I just put too much thought into it waiting for the weigh-in and it feels like I'm "dieting".  So far, with weighing in every 2 weeks, it has felt much more natural.  I am just plugging along, logging my food and exercise, and seeing what happens every 2 weeks.  I'm not even really restricting my food, just logging it.  Logging in itself is usually enough to eliminate unnecessary calories that I was mindlessly eating before.  I maintained the "free fruit and vegetable" idea from Weight Watchers, so my calorie log is 100-300 or so calories short of what I actually ate any given day, but I like it.  If I count fruits and vegetables, I'm really only breaking even each day with the exercise I logged.  But it's enough.  I'm not logging all my activity (like I log my 8 hrs at work as "Sitting" for 8 hours, which it most certainly is not.  I haven't wanted to get a pedometer to see how far I actually walk at work because I don't want to start eating those calories).   Most days I eat about 2000 calories, about half of which is "junk".  I take a vitamin.   It's like data collection.  I need to see what I'm doing before I can improve it.  If I even decide I want to at all.  I sure do like Subway cookies.  ("Like" is definitely an understatement).

I have been cheating and unofficially weighing in now and then before my two weeks, but for some reason those numbers are easy to forget.  They don't count as "real".  They go in one eye and out the other.  :P  (I do sometimes log them in my RA training log [scroll all the way to the bottom] but I don't really look back at those weights).  I will tell you that every "spot-check" over the past 1.5 weeks has been less than 150.  Last time was 147.8.  Which is definitely record-low for me, at least in recent history.  So I'll keep on with it.  Of course, I'll probably be 151 for my official weigh-in today.  That's how it always works.  :P  I'm also doing measurements on the first of every month.

Well, without further ado, here are today's results, plus the data from the rest of the year.  I just decided to do the every 15 day thing at the end of February, so they don't fit that schedule yet, but they will! :


I put them all in centimeters because somehow it felt less naked.  Also my tape measure only goes to an 1/8 inch, while it goes down to a one mm on the metric side.  I'm not a seamstress, or a tailor or whatever, so I don't know where the right places are to measure a person, so I just measure things that seem important for clothes sizing, and for measuring progress (read: the jiggly parts).  I'm not necessarily 100% consistent in terms of where exactly I measure and how tight I pull the tape.  I do the best I can, but I'm not paying attention to small changes, just the trend over time.  Arms I measure in the "dent" at the bottom of my deltoid, where it transitions to my bicep.  Chest is basically a boob measurement.  Same as "bust" on the sizing charts.  Those both seemed indecent to type, so I went with "chest".   Then I kind of undid the avoidance of the indecency by typing it here.  (I wouldn't care, except for the fact that there are people I actually know in real life who read this, and it just seems weird.  Sorry guys.  Let's just pretend this never happened, okay?  You all have been good about that with other weird, awkward, TMI, or embarrassing posts.  Thanks! ) Moving on.  Band is pretty self-explanatory to the gals out there.  Waist I measure at my natural waist, where it is narrowest, slightly above my navel.  "Spare tire" is that fat part that every girl wishes was flat, but for most of us it isn't.  AKA my gut, love handles, whatever.  It usually measures the same as my hip measurement so I'm not sure why I keep taking it.  Thigh I measure at the biggest part, way up at the top before it narrows into my groin.  Weight is....weight.

Sorry if you find all of this TMI.  It's just numbers and body parts.  Data.  You know I love data.  I don't really have anything to say about it, and I don't want to hear from you about it either.

The silly thing is how long logging everything takes.  Not the measurements and weight, since that's only every 15 days, but the food and the exercise.  I'm actually logging my exercise in THREE places right now.  Fatsecret (to get my net calories), RunningAhead (my actual training/activity log, for fitness purposes, not at all related to calories/weight, and I DO consider them completely separate goals), and ActiveU, since I'm doing that through work to get my $50 incentive.  Plus then there's blogging.  I swear I spend more time logging and blogging then I do working out!  But, it's kind of fun.  And it keeps me honest.

Thanks for reading, and then forgetting, this post.  ;)

{Oops, I just realized it wasn't a measurement day, just weight.  Measurements are on the 1st of each month only.}
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