Yes, I really am trying to embrace Health At Every Size. That is, I do believe that thin people aren't automatically healthy and fat people aren't automatically unhealthy. I don't believe that anyone should be treated like they are a second-class citizen because they are overweight. We all deserve respect.
However -- yes, I am going to be THAT person -- I don't believe THIS current weight is working for ME. I have VERY QUIETLY been tracking my calories and exercise for the last week and a half, and after sticking to all the "calorie rules" and doing some kind of activity every single day....drum roll please...I have gained a pound (I got it, it's only a week and a half, but when I used to do Weight Watchers, everyone would lose 5 pounds their first week -- you know, all that water weight!). :-D Please don't tell me it's muscle. Yeah yeah. I get it. Diets don't work. Even "lifestyle changes" are just a marketing ploy so you won't realize you're on a diet. I am a compulsive eater. I have to be sooooooooooooo careful when choosing to modify my eating because it could very easily trigger a binge that could throw another 20 pounds on me in less than a month.
Since injuring my foot, I have put on about 10 pounds over a year. Hey, not so bad considering how limited I was in my activities. I was actually kind of proud of myself. I did some math today. Ten pounds over a year. 3,500 calories equals a pound, times 10 pounds equals 35,000 calories. Divide that by 365 days. That equals 96 calories. So only an extra 100 calories per day will make me gain 10 pounds in a year. Shit. I don't even BOTHER with those 100 calorie packs because they don't contain enough food worth eating! Bring me a 500 calorie piece of cake or bring me death! So then, I guess I need to find out how exactly many calories my body should be eating every day. I've written about this subject before...and you can check it out HERE.
I am well aware that "calories in versus calories out" is NOT an exact science. However, I have to start somewhere. In order to determine how many calories I should eat, I first went online to determine my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
According to THIS calculator. My BMR is 1952.2. That is, my body burns that many calories just existing every day. If I would like to get up and out of bed that day, I will burn more. Therefore, if I tried to eat 1952.2 on a regular work day, I would be very hungry. So, now to figure out my daily caloric need, I need to determine how active I am. Sedentary? Maybe I'm being a little hard on myself. Let's go with lightly active. I might be able to make an argument for moderately active, but I don't want to go crazy yet. I take my 1952.2 and I multiply it by 1.375. My daily caloric intake to stay at a steady weight is 2,684.3.
According to Scooby's calculator, which you can find HERE, the numbers are identical. BMR is 1953. My daily caloric intake to maintain is 2,686. (And a 5% reduction in calories to lose fat would be 2,551.)
My Fitness Pal is slightly more generous, giving me 1,985 as my BMR (2,729 calories to maintain). THIS metabolism calculator is even more generous, estimating I can eat 2,734 calories and maintain my weight. The Tap & Track app on my phone, however, is EXTREMELY stingy, and only allows me 1,842 calories per day, even though I asked that it calculate my caloric needs based on no weight loss. Lame.
Anyway, the point of all of that was just to point out that there is no exact way to calculate TO THE CALORIE, how much I should eat every day to lose weight. I don't think any single person in the world can give me the mathematical equation to figure out MY exact BMR.
I find that if I DO choose to modify my caloric intake and my exercise, it is not so difficult to remove 250 calories from my diet and work out to burn about 250 calories more. The result is a 500 calorie deficit that SHOULD cause a one pound weight loss every week.
My daily caloric goal right now is 2,192 (and according to Scooby, that number is pretty low). When I add exercise calories to my daily limit, I estimate VERY low (meaning, I tell my handy little app on my phone that I did 45-60 minutes of light yoga when I may have done 75 minutes of moderate yoga). If I go back to the paragraph above where I talk about simply burning an extra 250 calories, I really burn way more than 250 calories in any workout I do -- pole dancing, yoga or cycling. Any of them easily provide me with 400 to 800 calories burned in an hour. Therefore, if I do the math, I should be losing at least two pounds per week based on the calories I am eating and the calories I am burning.
So how is it I follow all the "rules" and gain a pound? And if 100 simple calories can lead to a 10 pound weight gain over a year, then the website I choose to follow can mean the difference between gaining and losing this year. Plus, we haven't even gotten to the problem of medications and metabolism. I feel like I must be at least slightly genetically different than my siblings as I am the only fat one. I mean, if I have a "slow" metabolism (very possible considering all the dieting I've done over the years), that might mean I don't get to have 2,684 calories to maintain my weight. Maybe my body requires 2,300. How will I know?!
I have been playing the calorie game for a very long time, so I KNOW about how much I can eat to maintain. But then I try to lose a little weight and it doesn't happen for me. If I eat too much, I gain. If I eat too little, I gain (or at the very least, I don't lose). How does that work?!
It is a very frustrating game. No, I don't eat perfectly every day, but I have been making sure I don't go over my calorie goal. Yet, I didn't lose a fucking thing. Oh yeah, I didn't lose weight because I was too busy gaining. Even IF the calories I chose were still slightly high for me, I have cut a significant number of calories from my work day by removing snacks from my desk. That alone should have resulted in a weight reduction. It just reminds me of a post I wrote about people's diet advice. "If you just gave up those vitamin waters...or those cookies...or cupcakes, you'll drop weight like nobody's business!" Yes, I post a ton of cupcake photos, but you'd be shocked to learn I don't actually eat cupcakes every day or even every week! And actually, when I was at my lowest weight and in the best shape, I ate Dove chocolate every single day.
I am trying very hard to be upbeat about the health benefits of eating well more often than not and working out every day regardless of whether I lose any weight. But yeah, if I am busting my ass, it is a bummer when I don't lose weight. And no, I don't want to follow some crazy fad diet or exercise craze. I know the minute I stop, I will gain it all back (plus some). Been there, done that. So I am trying to eat normally every day and exercise regularly.
Last time I lost weight (post-gastric bypass), I did it mostly by exercising twice a day. That isn't healthy. I didn't lose it quickly either. I averaged one pound of weight loss per MONTH. And the minute my life changed and I couldn't do it anymore, the weight started creeping back on. I would rather maintain some as-yet undetermined higher weight than get back down to an un-maintanable weight. So how do I choose that number (both weight and calories)?
I don't know yet. I really don't know. There is SOME number of calories that my body needs to eat to be a healthy weight. I don't believe I am un-worthy of the HAES movement by admitting that I don't want to be THIS weight. I don't have dreams of being some ridiculously small size either. I just want to take a few pounds off and let my back and feet have some relief.
So, please feel free to comment with your theories about calories. I don't want any diet advice. I'm carefully navigating that scene on my own. I don't believe I have a gluten intolerance. No, I don't want to try Atkins. I won't take any diet products and won't follow any nutty diet plans, so please don't pitch them here. But do please tell me about how YOU think calories in/calories out works with different bodies and how YOU determine the number of calories that your body needs to survive.
|Bam! My big ol' body just did that!|