I have shared that a good friend and I have been holding ourselves accountable by logging in everyday to MyFitnessPal and trying to stay within our calorie limits six days a week and exercising five days as well. Why did I do this when I am pretty happy with where I am right now? Because I want to stay where I am and not yo-yo back like I have done every other time over the last thirty years. I have a terrible metabolism and I LOVE food, which is the perfect recipe for weight gain if I am not diligent.
I know some people might be wondering if I might be going a little crazy with the food tracking and exercise. That is one of the reasons I decided to write this blog this week. While I feel comfortable relaxing on the weight loss, I know that not watching my calorie intake and cutting back on training is what always sends me in the wrong direction.
Fact 1--I live for food. I love all kinds of food and I am honestly not willing to live off of lettuce, non-fat cheese, and grilled chicken breast for the rest of my life. Because of that, I need to exercise to earn more calories and amp up my metabolism rate. I also need to track to make sure I am within reasonable limits.
Fact 2--Tracking has saved me on numerous occasions from going completely over what I need to eat to fuel my body. This week has been particularly difficult. I ran nineteen miles on Sunday, and since Monday was my rest day I had no extra calories to support my ravenous hunger. I decided it was a good day to splurge since my body was obviously needing extra food to replace what I had burned away the day before. Problem is, every day this week I felt like I was starving. On Thursday morning I not only ate my healthy steel-cut oatmeal and banana, but once I arrived at my meeting I ate two pastries and two plates of fruit. At lunchtime I was still so hungry that I ate two plates of rice and chicken chow mein, a roll with butter, and a pastry left over from breakfast... I always know I am headed for disaster when I have dessert for breakfast and lunch. On the way home we stopped for a large frozen yogurt with chopped almonds, and I was already thinking about what I was going to be able to eat for dinner.
Luckily, I took the time to track and realized that even with running before work, I had left myself with less than 400 calories for dinner. So while my family had tacos for dinner, I made myself a nice taco salad with salsa for dressing and then a large nectarine for dessert.
Fact 3--It only takes 3,500 extra calories to gain one pound. So if I overeat even 1000 calories a week (less than 150 calories a day) for four weeks, there comes one pound. That is why people who aren't careful can slide back to their old weight so easily. Livestrong Article Link
Fact 4--I also need to make sure I eat enough food. When I do some of my long rides and runs, I track my exercise so I make sure and feed my body what it needs for fuel. On those days I track less to make sure I stay under a certain calorie limit. I am tracking to make sure I eat enough good foods to keep me healthy.
Fact 5--Even after almost thirty years of dieting and watching what I eat, the calories of some foods still surprise me. One of my go to breakfasts is a Starbucks oatmeal cup. I usually only use a little brown sugar and non-fat milk, but the other day I loaded it with the entire packet of brown sugar, all the nuts, and all the dried fruit. The calorie difference, 200 extra calories with all the goodies added. Not that this is terrible, but I would not have guessed that was the case. See how the calories can creep up on you!
Again, I am trying not being too strict, but I am going to do anything I can to stay off that weight gain roller coaster. And while I am just trying to maintain, if you are at a point where you need to lose large amounts of weight, keeping track of your calorie intake and exercise is even more important to make sure you continue to have the calorie deficit necessary to lose those pounds. And if you want to be accountable, I suggest you find a friend to do it with. I know that tracking with my friend has keep me on the straight and narrow even when it was difficult. Thank God for accountability!