Arrgh! Been using bad data all this time!

I just found a bug in the myfitnesspal app. Something didn't calculate correctly when I changed my goals on the app (versus using their online site). I was *supposed* to be losing one pound per week at 1790 calories per day. But I have not been losing that much at all. I thought it was either because their calculator doesn't work for everyone, or that there was something related to nursing hormones that was preventing it. Neither. Just a bug in the app.

When I went to check my goal setup in the online site, it looked different than in the app! It said I was only set up to be losing .3 pounds per week! And actually, that is probably about right. I probably lose about a pound a month, but with the water-weight fluctuation it's hard to notice.

When I reset my goals using the online tool, it took me down to 1490 calories per day! That's a big difference! Too big, if you ask me. I calculated my basal metabolic rate to be 1549 calories per day, and I don't want to eat less than that lest I slow my metabolism by going into starvation mode. So I manually changed my goals to 1549 daily. I presume I'll be able to eat a bit over that by adding in exercise. I get several hundred extra calories from jogging, and I do that several days per week at least.

There is also a function where it tracks the composition of your diet. I have been ignoring that up until now, but I went ahead and set that up for a low-carb target. If I'm going to be restricting calories, then I want to try to get as much of the "right" calories as I can. I know from previous experience on the Dr. Phil diet that I don't have to eliminate carbs to lose weight, but I do have to cut back. So I set my diet tracker to 20% carbs, 30% fat, and 50% protein. I'll try that for a while, and see if it helps my weight loss. I'll also note how I feel-- if I have cravings or have more or less energy than usual. I think the guideline is to eat as much carbs as you can without triggering cravings.

Food Logging & Other Sites

I stopped logging food on this blog ages ago because it was tedious. But a few months ago, I started again on a different site. One of my friends uses it, and checking out each other's food and commenting on it really has been helpful. When she eats better it inspires me to do the same, and when she sees that I've made healthy choices (say, a salad at McDonald's instead of a Big Mac with fries), she cheers me on. Which helps me to stay on track. Not that my diet is a paragon of healthful eating, but it is what it is.

Anyway, if you want to check it out, sign up at:

My Fitness Pal

and send a friend request to me (username = MrsThorsen). It also counts all your calories for you, so I find that very helpful to know how much I can snack in the evening without going over. Some days, I can eat a lot in the evenings, other days I have to stick with a salad if I want to get the little happy message, "MrsThorsen completed her food diary and was under her calorie goal for the day!". I recommend the site.

I also have a profile on Fitbit since I bought one of those fancy mini-pedometers. I like it since it automatically updates when I walk near a turned-on computer with the wifi attachment. Also, it's very discreet. It's small enough to clip in the center front part of my bra, and no one has to know I'm wearing it. It links to the MyFitnessPal site, too, so my daily calorie goals are adjusted for my level of exercise for the day. If you sign up there, I am also user name MrsThorsen.

Pretty much any website or forum, if you see a "MrsThorsen" it's me. I don't get much competition for that user name, so I stick with it so I don't have to memorize a bunch of different ones.

I also just signed up for Map My Run (same username). It has a nice little feature where my fitbit automatically adds how far I walk each day (total, not just for my designated exercise time), and shows weekly totals. It's interesting, further than I would have guessed.

Diet Photos

According to the diet book I read, it was supposed to be motivating to take photos of yourself "before" then 30 and 60 days later.

I'm not noticing a dramatic difference. It's pretty un-motivating, if you ask me.

Here they are:

I suspect the slight differences in the angle I am holding the camera makes more difference to my appearance than my actual weight in these photos.

I'm not saying that I don't see any difference, I do, but it's just extremely subtle. I showed the "before" and 30-day photos to my husband, and he had to examine them long and hard in order to be able to figure out which ones I look thinner in. I haven't made him examine the current set.

I think the diet book guy said that people would lose about two pounds per week. If that were the case, the photos would show an eight pound difference between each one, and a sixteen pound difference total. Mine shows a six pound difference total. No wonder I'm not seeing results in the photos.

Nevertheless, I'll continue to take photos every 30 days. Maybe I'll juxtapose the photos every time there is at least a ten pound differential, and see if I notice a difference then.

Weight Chart

Here's my weight chart updated through 60 days (today). The red line shows where I'm considered obese. I've met my first goal of not being obese anymore. Yay!

The type of chart I like to use is called a "candlestick" chart and shows the open, close, high, and low values for the day (the candlesticks are the vertical lines). I added some indicators, too. I charted a 7-day moving average of the daily highs and also the daily lows. This makes it easier to see a trend in my weight, and the average fluctuation.

I started out with a fluctuation of three pounds per day, but that's settled down to around two pounds per day. And I also don't bother adjusting for whether I'm wearing clothes or not, so if I start weighing myself while wearing heavy winter clothes, this fluctuation might increase again in the future. But to minimize this I try to weigh myself when I'm in the process of changing clothes throughout the day (I often change into something comfortable for exercise).

If you drew a line from about the center of the candles at the beginning (the moving averages don't start until they have a week's worth of data) to the center of the candles at the end, it looks like it would go from about 201.5 to 195.5. So I've lost six pounds in 60 days.

At three pounds per month, it will take me another two months to get back to my pre-baby weight. At that point, Max will be seven months old. But if I keep this pace of weight loss, it will take me over EIGHTEEN MONTHS to get to my goal weight of 140 pounds. Ugh. But it took me longer than that (plus two children) to gain all that weight, so it would still be coming off quicker than it went on. And who knows, perhaps it will come off quicker once the baby is weaned. I'll probably still be nursing him for another full year, though.

The good news is that I'm now at least able to fit into a few select pieces of my old non-maternity clothing. Not many. But it's a start. And I've got an extremely wide range of clothing here in storage. I didn't throw out or give away all the "small" clothes since I always viewed my not fitting into them as a temporary situation. Temporary has turned out to be several years at best, but at least I won't have to buy tons of new clothes as my weight changes over the next year or so. I can just make do with what I've got until I hit my goal weight. At that point, I'll treat myself to a major shopping trip in NYC to refresh my wardrobe. But wearing old clothes for the next however many months is no big deal, since 1) no one seems to pay much attention to "current" fashion around here, 2) all I do is hang out with an infant and toddler and run errands so there is really no pressure on me to wear anything striking.

There's a place in the chart where I made a big leap down. Just looking at the highest weights, I went down five pounds in four days from 11/8 through 11/12. I've gone back over my calendar, but I'm not sure why my weight nose-dived down to a lower range then. It started creeping back up all the way through Thanksgiving. Which is not surprising at all since I was cooking up a storm and trying new recipes for those weeks. But as soon as Thanksgiving was over and we'd finished the leftovers, I started back on my diet and I'm relieved to report that my weight is back down. I'll continue to try to lose weight until just before Christmas, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I gain a little over the holiday. I'll just get back on track once I've gotten the feasting out of my system.

Paper Records are Easier

As evidenced from my lack of food log & weigh-in posts, I've discovered that just keeping paper records is easier than blogging these things.

If I was getting more feedback from posting online, perhaps I'd be more motivated to keep up with it. But I don't think anyone is really reading about my diet.

Not that I blame them, it's pretty dull, isn't it? Which is why I separated it from the main blog after all. Perhaps I'll continue to post here in this section, perhaps not. We'll see.

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