Email Q and A

Yesterday, someone brought cake to work.

I did not eat any! I really wanted a piece…even just a bite to see how it tasted…but I decided to be good. I planned on weighing in this week for my monthly check-in and I wanted to see a good number on that scale.

Monday during lunch I ran the Esplanade loop. It was supposed to be the only decent day this week. It was a nice run! There was no rain and I actually got a bit warm and had to take my jacket off half way through.

Monday’s Stats:

Time: 33:33

Calories: 462

Nike+ Pace: 9’30

I made sure to stretch a LOT when I was done. I did not wear my new shoes. My plan is to bring them to work this week and try them out in the gym on the treadmill. That way, I can return them if I don’t like them.

I got an email from a reader and thought it was a great question. (I edited it to take out specific details.)

I started last month eating around 2000 calories per day and I’ve been staying 1700- 2000. I usually eat more when I’ve exercised a lot. How do I know when it’s time to lower my calories? My doctor wants me to eat 1,200 a day.”

First, I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor. So anyone starting a weight loss program should see their regular doctor and discuss a plan with them. I can only give my opinion of how my weight loss journey worked for me.

I think 1,200 calories a day is unhealthy. Eating that few calories, how will you have the energy to work out? For me, I ate 1800-2,000 calories a day with moderate exercise 5 times a week. Eating 1800 calories to lose weight, I didn’t feel starving. I didn’t have hunger pains. My body adjusted to eating lower calories but I didn’t feel deprived.

Another point I want to make is about plateaus. During my weight loss I had many, many plateaus. In order to remedy that, my personal trainer and doctor both said to A) change my workout and B) reduce my calories a little. My body got used to eating 1800-2,000 calories a day and it got used to the routine I did at the gym.

To get over my plateau, I reduced my calories by about 100 calories a day for awhile. I began incorporating weights into my routine at the gym. I started losing weight again. Then when I hit another plateau, I reduced my calories a little bit more and I started a running program. All these things played a factor in to the equation of weigh loss. If I were only eating 1200 calories a day, I couldn’t reduce my calories anymore without starving myself.

My suggestion to anyone wanting to lose weight is to cut out processed food. Stop eating out at restaurants/fast food joints. Start doing an exercise program. Count your calories/points/keep a food journal. These simple changes make all the difference.

QUESTION: Do you think 1200 calories is unhealthy?

How I Ate to Lose

After my “revelation” to get healthy, I decided to count my calories for one day. I made no changes to my eating habits and just wrote down everything I ate. I looked up the calories online and wrote it all down. I was absolutely shocked at what I was putting into my mouth. I had no concept of serving sizes. I was probably eating 3 servings of food instead of 1 serving. I made poor choices for snacks. I ate too many sweets. I decided to limit my calories to 2000 a day.

This began my calorie counting. It was hard at first. I realized that trying to eat under 2000 calories was difficult to do, and it really wasn’t that much food. I tried to eat fruits and vegetables as my snacks, and eat healthy foods for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. I found myself reading every label and deciding if I wanted to eat those calories. It was all about sacrificing and substituting.

My weaknesses are sugar (ice cream, cookies, cheesecake) and pizza. I decided to completely cut out pizza from my diet. I knew I could not just have 1 slice and a salad for dinner. If there was pizza in my house, I would eat the entire pizza without any regard to health or fitness. As for the sugar, I started substituting the yummy treats I was obsessed with for lower calorie alternatives: frozen yogurt, Snackwell’s cookies that were about 50 calories each, Rice Krispie Treats for 90 calories. Those were my desserts.