Friday, February 24, 2012

100 Days of Counting Calories

One-hundred (100) days ago, I started logging my food and calorie consumption.

Since then, I've dropped about 12 pounds, which is an average of a pound every

eight (8) days.

Now, I want to issue a BIG caveat here: I am not advocating.  I think people --

individuals -- need to decide individually what each wants to do about weight. I know what

I want, but I have a wide window of acceptance about what other people do. And weigh.

But I'm happy to share what I am up to and how it's working. If you like it or you want

to join me, great. If you want to talk but you don't like my plan, I'm fine with that, too. If

you'd rather never read a word about it, hey, no prob! Even arguments are welcome.

When I started back in early November of 2011, my weight was threatening to

reach 140 pounds. As a small framed woman under 5' 4", I dread the number 140!

With the temptations of Thankgiving and Christmas and Hanukkah directly ahead,

but the support of winter retreating to Florida also in view, I downloaded a

calorie tracking app to my phone, IPad and computer and got serious about the

weight and fitness issue.

Should I explain more about the Florida part? Each winter for several years now

my husband Lee and I have rented an apartment in south Florida and spent as much

time as possible away from the snow and ice of our northeast Illinois home.

Florida as become our other home.

When in Florida, we walk. That's right. We rent a lovely, small apartment, but

we don't have a car. We can use public transportation; we can hop a cab or even

rent a car if we want to see friends on the other side of the state. But day in

and day out, we walk. I have noticed this has a very desirable effect on my

fitness and weight.

Okay. So, when I started to track my calories back in November, I planned to do

it all winter. I don't remember if I started with a goal; obviously, if I had

one, I don't remember what it was. But maybe six (6) weeks in, I read "The Fat Trap".

A key message of "The Fat Trap" is that the human body has profound biochemical

mechanisms that tend to defeat successful weight loss, assuming success means

taking it off AND keeping it off.

The article generated a lot of comment and reaction, even some thought. I

thought, this reminds me of the whole 'set point weight' theory from the 1990s

and the diet suggestions that came on the heels of those initially discouraging

observations. (Turns out that that theory actually began to show up in the 80s;

you know how fluid memory is.) After reading many articles (should have done a

bibliography but it didn't occur to me until just now), I concluded that just

possibly something above a 10% weight loss triggers the biochemical processes

that make it so very hard to maintain the new, lower weight. Possibly a 10% or

lower loss won't set in motion the process almost guaranteed to undo the entire

effort and worse. Possibly.

A 10% loss from my starting point will put me at 125. My weight fluctuates about

1.5 - 2 (one and a half to two) pounds around a center point, so taking 125 as

the center point, I want to get in the 124 to 126 range. That means I have 2 to

3 more pounds more to lose.

While the early loses showed up every few days, more recently I've often

persevered as long as 16 days before settings a new record. Even taking all of

that into account, I have pretty realistic expectations of hitting 125 before

the end of March or at least in early April.

Then I will attempt to maintain 124 - 126.

If that all works, I'll need a new summer wardrobe!