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Two days ago I started another six-week weight loss experiment. I like doing things in short, intense bursts. It fits my personality better than long bouts of moderation. Basically, I move in order to eat.
This one involves keeping track of how many calories I burn each day using my Microsoft Band, and adjusting the next-day’s eating accordingly. There are many studies (and tons of anecdotal evidence from my own life) suggesting that when people exercise, they overcompensate with food. Either they overestimate how many calories they burned exercising, or they actually get hungrier from the exercising. Either way, they eat more than they burn and don’t lose weight (or they gain).
I’m hoping that by tying how much I can eat to how much I move, I encourage myself to exercise more without falling into the eating-more-than-I-exercise trap. I’m calling this #MoveToEat2015. It’s really not much different than exercising and then eating your calories, it’s just offset by a day, and I don’t have to keep track of individual exercise sessions.
However many calories I burn one day, I can eat 500 calories fewer the next day. (Except, I won’t go below 1,200 in a day.) I hope to lose a pound a week that way.
What I Gained During The Break
Not surprisingly, I gained three pounds in my two weeks off between #CarbBreak2015 and #MoveToEat2015. But I didn’t really. Do you remember how I lost five pounds in the first week of my last weight-loss experiment? That happens pretty much every time I start a new diet. It’s mostly water weight. If I lose five pounds in a week, I can almost guarantee you that three pounds of that is water. Dieting for me means eating less salt (fewer potato chips, French fries, etc.), and less salt means less water retention. The first week of a diet, I “let go” of all that excess water (I pee a lot).
So, I gained those three pounds back pretty fast but wasn’t actually bigger. How do I know? Because at the end of #CarbBreak2015 I was barely fitting into a pair of jeans that I still barely fit into after gaining those three water pounds back.
I didn’t go crazy during the two-week break. I tried really hard not to eat when I wasn’t hungry, which is my worst eating habit. But it felt good not only eating carbs, but eating in restaurants again. That was what I missed the most when I wasn’t eating carbs. The few times I did go out to eat with friends, I begged them to go to a place where I could get a salad (a sad one without croutons or chick peas).
The Restaurant Issue
For #MoveToEat2015 I wanted to avoid the restaurant struggles. I like getting lunch out with friends, dinner with my husband. If I’m grabbing a sandwich with my friends at a chain sandwich place, or getting a slice of pizza on the run, it’s fairly easy to know how many calories I’m eating. It’s not as exact as when I weigh and measure everything at home, but it’s close enough. At many restaurants, however, especially the nicer ones, it’s just impossible to even estimate calories. So I’ve given myself two big exceptions to the calorie-counting rule. One, if I manage to burn 3,000 calories in a day, I don’t have to count calories the next day. Two, if I can save 1,000 calories for a meal, I can just eat that one meal without having to count.
I actually had to use that second one last night, two days in. I only had 1,200 calories to play with all day, but I was going to dinner at A Voce, a really nice restaurant at the Time Warner Center, and I just wanted to eat and have a good time. So, the only thing I had to eat all day before dinner was a 200-calorie Kind bar. And then at dinner I tried not to go crazy. Did I eat more than 1,000 calories in that meal? Almost definitely. So we’ll see if this works. I can’t give myself so many exceptions that I don’t lose anything, but I don’t want to do anything as intense as the no-carb thing either. That was pretty miserable.
See What I’m Eating
Incidentally, you can see what I’m eating here. I’m using My Fitness Pal to keep track of what I eat, and it gives you the option of making your food diary public. The first two days were kind-of a mess. The first day I was super busy and barely ate any vegetables, and the second day was the restaurant day. I’m going to try to do better today.