Working on Burning Calories

Yesterday was a great day for me burning calories.  For the first time in a long time, I burned just over 1800 calories according to my Fitbit.  Part of this was the 40 minutes on the treadmill (working on occasionally walking at a faster pace but keeping the incline at 0 to avoid knee problems) and 20 minutes on the exercise bike.  The other part was taking my daughter clothes shopping.  For that 2 hours, my Fitbit shows a nice bulge in the calorie burn.

Fitbit Calorie burn 1-19-2015As you can see, I had a mostly sedentary morning but the time before and after 4 PM was when I was shopping with my daughter.  Then the red a little after 8 PM was the treadmill and the yellow around 10 PM was the exercise bike.

[Insert rant here — Part of the reason that I expended so many calories shopping was all the traipsing around I had to do to find my daughter a pair of slacks.  She is in college and needed some non-denim pants.  I had no idea how hard it would be to find pants for her.  She wanted to start at Target so we went there.  The selection of non-denim is limited, but they had a few nice black pants…but not in her size.  See, she is a size 2.  In the entire store, I found one pair of size 2 pants.  So, we left and saw a Cato clothing store in the same shopping center so went in there.  We quickly realized that we were in the half of the store that was plus sized.  Now, for quite awhile that is where I would have been doing my shopping.  So, I’ve always been glad to see a store with a large plus-sized section (although sometimes the selections aren’t the best).  In this instance, half of the store was plus-sized and the other half was misses and juniors.  We went over to that section and I quickly realized that there was literally nothing that my daughter could wear.  I did not find a single size 1 (in juniors) or 2 (in misses).  I found exactly one Size 4 item (which is too large for my daughter anyway).

So we left and went to a nearby department store that was quite a bit larger.  I then spent the next hour scouring that store for something – anything – she could wear.  I found nothing in the juniors.  In misses, I found one size 4.  Finally, we ended up in Petites (my daughter is 5’3″) and I found a size 4 and two pairs of black pants that were both Petite Small.  I’m not sure why those pants were called Small rather than having a number size, but I could see that they were smaller than the 4s.  She tried them on the Petite Smalls did fit her (in other words, they seem to be Size 2).

I honestly had no idea that it was that hard to find pants for her.  She normally wears jeans and hasn’t had much problem finding jeans.  She usually has limited selection, but could find something.  However, for non-denim pants there was almost nothing for her.]

So, with the combination of the shopping trip and an hour of exercise I was able to break 1800 calories burns.  That was great since I ended the day with a calorie deficit of almost 600 calories.  The problem is that I realize now that it is very difficult for me to actually replicate that on most days.

To lose weight, I need to have a calorie deficit.  I have to burn more calories than I take in.  In my ideal world, I would lose about 1 1/2 pounds a week (sure, more would be nice but I know that is totally unrealistic on an ongoing basis).  That would require a deficit of 750 calories a day.  More realistically, I have Fitbit set to aim for a deficit of 500 calories a day.

In early 2014, before my trabecular bone injury, I hit that deficit quite often.  In January of 2014, Fitbit says my calorie deficit was 573 calories a day.  This was based upon me eating an average of 1213 calories a day.  I don’t think Fitbit is 100% accurate on calorie burn and I’m sure not all food tracking is 100% accurate either (I doubt most restaurants are carefully measuring the amount of oils used, etc.).  Still, that was a pretty good deficit for me.

During that time I was walking a lot (I averaged about 5700 steps per day).  Well, not a lot.  Just comparatively a lot compared to after my leg injury.  Even on days that I didn’t walk much, though, I still usually burned over 1500 calories.  The absolute lowest in January a year ago was a day that I walked only 1067 steps and still burned 1499 calories.  My average calorie burn for January was 1786 calories a day according to my Fitbit.

But………I weighed almost 30 pounds more then than what I weigh now (and, of course, I was a year younger).  The result is that I burn a lot fewer calories now.  On New Years day, I only walked 1128 steps and I burned 1362 calories.  On another day, I walked 848 steps and burned 1370 calories.  A year ago, I would have probably burned another 140 to 150 calories with that activity. I complained about this issue a few months ago and it has only gotten worse.

Yesterday, I walked 9341 steps and Fitbit says I burned 1805 calories.  Yay me!  But, a year ago there was a day I walked 9515 calories and Fitbit said I burned 1987 calories.  Or the day, a year ago when I walked 7421 steps and burned 1895 calories.  Last week, I walked 7652 steps and burned only 1595 calories.

What this means, is that if I eat the same 1213 calories a day as I ate last year I will lose less weight than I would have at last year’s calorie burn because I’m burning a lot less calories now.

Obviously, the fact I weigh almost 30 pounds less and burn less calories because of that is a good thing.  Still, it makes it difficult to lose weight when it is hard to get my calorie burn very high.  Today, I exercised 40 minutes and took two errands out of the house so I am on track to burn about 1600 calories.  Most days, though, I don’t go on two errands since I don’t really need to.  I work part-time from home and really don’t have to leave every day.  We have a one story house and I don’t really need to walk around the house all that much.  I end up spending most of the day at the computer except for exercise time.  I do have a little program on my computer to remind me to take a break every hour.  But, really, on days that I don’t leave the house to go shopping or go out somewhere it is really hard to burn more than 1500 calories even when I exercise.  And, even when I do run errands most of them aren’t like yesterday and don’t result in a lot of calorie burn.

So, figuring out how to do more things to burn calories is important, but it is hard to figure it out.  It doesn’t help that I have limitations on the walking I can do because of my knee problem (very little cartilage under my left kneecap).  Yesterday I spent 40 minutes on the flat treadmill and today I could feel something under my kneecap.  It wasn’t exactly painful, but I could feel something.  I have to watch that carefully.

We are planning to start going to the Y at least twice a week.  We joined the Y about six months ago so I could use the elliptical and the weight machines there.  We started going, but then my husband had rotator cuff surgery and so for months he couldn’t really do much there.  He just got released from physical therapy so we are planning to start going regularly.

Today, I got my lab results from recent blood work.  I will be doing a post about them.  Some of it was really good, some not so good, and some was just perplexing.  More about that later.

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