I’ve been meaning to write another post in the last couple of weeks, but alas! Life got in the way. My work hours were drastically different, one kiddo got sick, then I got sick, now hubby is sick… So it hasn’t been fun. But on the bright side, I have lost two pounds! I know, doesn’t sound like much, especially in comparison to the oodles of weight I’ve lost in the past (60 lbs, 30 lbs). But then again, I am starting at a lower weight, so there isn’t as much to lose–and it’s much harder to lose those final 15 or so pounds when there’s not as much excess… and when I’m neither childless (like when I lost the 60 lbs) or nursing (when I lost the 30 lbs). But I am proud of myself nonetheless, and I consider this a nice start to my gradual decline in weight and incline in overall health.
So what have I been doing?
I joined a diet/exercise site called My Fitness Pal. Most people on that site use it as a calorie counter. But to be honest, excess in calories have not been my problem, especially lately. Even on a day when I don’t pay much attention and eat “at-will”, I still only consume roughly 1500 calories per day. For reference, my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (or, “TDEE”–find yours here) is 1,891 calories when set at a “Sedentary” lifestyle. This means that if I did nothing but sit at a desk (or on a couch) all day, and simply wanted to maintain the weight I am at right now, I would need to consume 1,891 calories. If I want to lose, it’s best to decrease that by no more than 20%, which in my case would be around 1,512. So I’m right on track, I suppose. But if I work out (which I do 5 times a week now), even giving it a low-level exercise rate, I’d still need 2,166 to maintain and 1,732 to lose.
Getting to 1,700 calories a day on mostly organic/natural/unprocessed foods, very minimal grains, and low-starch foods is VERY DIFFICULT! I’m full after 1,400 at the end of the day, and have to work out to build up enough of an appetite to get to maybe 1,550 or 1,600. I find it very interesting to see how much effort I have to put in to actually meet my caloric goal without totally stuffing myself when I’m eating “clean and healthy”. It’s a challenge.
Now why, you may be asking, must I eat so much? I mean, isn’t it best to limit calories as much as possible? Wouldn’t that help you lose weight faster? The short answer is no. It would not. Eating too few calories can cause a drastic metabolic slow-down. Many people have misused the term “starvation mode” to describe a dormant metabolism, so I wanted to clarify that I am NOT talking about “starvation mode”. I’m talking about the body’s “fire” being only embers and not burning anything because it has no fuel to burn. Keeping my fire properly stoked will help to get the most out of my workouts, and will ensure proper burning of excess fat. Not only that, but nutrients from food are best. Yes, I take vitamins to fill in the gaps, but I rely primarily on real food to provide my nutrients. So I need to eat more to get more of those vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients (ie. fats, fiber, etc).
Now, these workouts, I must confess, have not been very extreme. I’ve been doing about 12 minutes on the elliptical (started at 10 mins and plan to gradually increase until I get to about 30 minutes, maybe more if I have time), strength training with resistance bands, yoga, ball exercises, and a little pilates. I also do the Wii Fit on occasion and go on walks when the weather permits. And honestly I’m not sure if I want to do much more than that. I’ve never been one to “love” working out, even at my most active. Not only that, but I’m really not interested in “eating back” my calories burned. It’s hard enough to reach my calorie goal, even when I’m not having to eat even more from working out.
But I do want to continue at least being active in my daily life and working out as much as my temperament will allow. It’s important for bone, joint, and muscle health to keep moving, and at some point in the future, I’d love to take a dance class again. But I don’t want to be so out of shape and inflexible that I totally stink at it. So consider this maintenance for the “someday dance class” that I am hoping we can afford in the future, and general healthy living.
I am going to be laid off soon, which was my own choice (sort of, in that I’m choosing my school schedule over the work schedule they had available, as they did not mesh together). And I’m considering donating plasma to help us get by until I’m done with school (can make up to $200 a month and help save lives!), at which point I’ll seek employment as a CNA. And then I’ll be continuing school on the path to becoming an LPN. Some people have told me that there are not many jobs for LPNs, but when I look at job listings on various sites, I do still see them being advertized. Most positions are for part-time work in a home with someone needing additional care (special needs child, elder care, etc) that a CNA cannot provide, and at a pay grade lower than an RN. That is actually exactly what I would be looking for–something part time, simple, and personal.
I’m not sure there is much more to update about. I think that’s all there is.
So tell me… what have YOU been up to lately? How is your health journey coming along?