Ask Me Anything

I get a lot of great emails from readers. Some just want to tell me that they like reading my blog and that I inspired them to try swimming (which I love to read!).  Most of the questions I get are regarding a few of the same things. So here goes (in order of popularity):

1. What kind of watch do you show in your workout posts?

It’s a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. I wrote a post on how it works here.  I really recommend buying one if you are trying to lose weight. It really helps a lot.

2. Do you have loose skin from losing 100 pounds?

Yes, unfortunately. It’s kind of hard to avoid when losing so much weight but it shouldn’t discourage anyone from making positive lifestyle changes to get healthy. There are worse things than having some cellulite and loose skin.

For me it’s in two areas: the first is in my arms. I have a little loose skin under my arms that I wish I could get rid of. I’ve made a lot of progress with my weight lifting routine but I will probably always have a little bit there. The second spot is my stomach, unfortunately. I have some loose, dimpled skin (like cellulite) that never goes away no matter how much weight I lose, or how many crunches I do. That spot will most likely require surgery to improve and I’m not in a place to do that yet. Maybe in a few years after a few kids that will be an option.

Most of the time it doesn’t bother me. I try and remind myself of the accomplishments and look at the skin as a reminder of how far I’ve come. Some days it’s hard to remember that and I focus on the negatives. It’s a one day at a time kind of thing.

3. How do you know how many calories are in food when you eat out?

This is the tricky part. Really, calorie counting is less of a “science” and more of a “guesstimation.” I try and be as accurate as I can be but that’s not always possible. If a restaurant has their calorie information available, I use that. If not, I try and figure it out.

When in doubt: I always OVER calculate my calories.

For example, if I go out to dinner and order a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a side salad, I will calculate everything individually. How much are two slices of thick sourdough bread? How much is mustard and mayo? The cheese? Butter? I just add it all up individually! It’s better being close than not counting at all and going hog-wild with my food.

4. How do I start losing weight?

I wrote a series of posts recently on how to get started losing weight. It’s often an overwhelming process and most people don’t know “where to begin.” I wasn’t sure how to begin either. I started with the fitness first. I started swimming and did that for over a month before I started tackling the food portion. The idea of losing 100 pounds was VERY intimidating so I decided to start smaller–lose 50 pounds. Once I lost the 50, I knew I could do 100. Set achievable, smaller goals.

Here are the links to that series on how to get started:

Week OneWeek One Check In

Week Two , Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five


5. How do I count calories?

There are a lot of different ways to count calories. When I first started I wrote it down by hand in a journal. Then I started using the MyFitnessPal App on my iPhone. That’s what I do now and for two years it’s worked well. I’ve  written a few posts on how to do it.

How to Count Calories – Part 1

How to Count Calories – Part 2

The Battle of the Calorie Counters-Guest Post

6. How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight? And when should I lower my caloric intake?

I’m not a dietitian and I recommend talking to your doctor before starting a weight loss program. Ask them how many calories you should eat a day.

For me, I tried to eat 2,000 calories or less when I first started counting my calories. It worked really well and as time went by, I lowered that by 100 calories every once in awhile. Usually I lowered my intake when I hit plateaus. When my body got used to eat 1900 calories a day, I lowered it to 1800 and so on. I never ate lower than 1600 calories a day in my weight loss journey. Anything lower than that was just too low for me–especially with my swimming program!


QUESTION: Is there anything else you’re burning to ask me? Ask away! 🙂



Author: Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

6 thoughts on “Ask Me Anything”

  1. I suppose I could try and find the answer to this in one of your earlier blogs, but here goes my question anyway. How long after you started exercising did you actually start running? I’m right at the beginnig of my journey and I would like to reclaim the runner in me (she’s been in hiatus for a very, VERY long time now). Anyway, its very different for me now…when I started running back in the day, I was younger and more fit. Anyway, should I wait until I lose a certain percentage of my current weight or should I look forward to starting to run sooner. I look forward to your response. Thanks!!!

    1. I didn’t start running until I’d lost about 75 pounds. Then I was just running on the treadmill at the gym. Once I lost about 15 more pounds I started REALLY running. It was a slow process but I doubt I could have stuck with running had I started at my heaviest. But that’s just me.

      1. That makes a lot of sense. I realize I MUST be patient. For now, I have gotten myself started by walking on the treadmill and will work on endurance while I also work on losing the weight (-16 pounds so far since I started a little over a month ago). YEY! 😉 Thank you so much.

        1. Congratulations on losing 16 so far! That’s great for one month. Keep at it. By all means, if running/walking on treadmill works for you do it. I was just too heavy and I didn’t think my joints would be very happy. Swimming was the better option for me.

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