Shopping and a Food Experiment

Two things to post about today.  I’m going to a family wedding out of town in a couple of weeks.  I needed to buy a new dress for it because I got rid of all my too big clothes and don’t actually own a dress other than my wedding dress.  I still don’t own one, but now I do have a skirt.

The Shopping

I actually hate clothes shopping, but especially when I am pressed for time and feel like I have to buy something whether I like it or not.  That is how I ended up with several outfits in January that I don’t love.  I decided to not wait to the last minute this time so I could come back on another day if I didn’t find anything.

I hadn’t really planned to shop today, but I had to go close to the mall to get my allergy shot so I thought it would be a good time to at least start. I headed first to Nordstrom’s which just opened in this mall a few months ago.  I had high hopes for it.  Those hopes were quickly dashed.  I had in mind to buy a sheath type cocktail dress thinking that would work best since I could wear it out to dinner later.  I quickly found that depending on style, I could wear a 12 or a 14.

Almost everything was sleeveless (I like sleeves).  I could have bought a little jacket or wrap, but I really wanted something with sleeves.  Most of those with sleeves, had deep V-neck backs and I didn’t want that either.  I did find a blue sheath that fit me and had sleeves and a back and was on sale.  I almost bought it, but I thought about the KonMari decluttering book and recognized that I felt no spark of joy when I held that dress.  I just felt resignation.  And, I decided that I was done with buying clothes that I didn’t love.

Then, I went to Macy’s.  There was a section there that had evening clothes that were separates.  I could even have bought a top with evening pants (standing still with my legs closed, they looked like a long skirt).  I was tempted, but decided I would go with getting a dress – or rather a top and a skirt.  Finally I found this one (I’ve cropped my head out since I didn’t know I would be doing the photo and I have no makeup on and my hair is messed up from trying on clothes.


I liked this a lot, and it has sleeves!  You can’t really tell in the picture, but the top is sparkly with a light amount of glitter.  That feels festive.  The jacket can button, but I like it better unbuttoned.  The skirt is black, a little sheer and swirls lightly at the bottom (there  is a liner underneath).  I had not planned on a long skirt.  I tried on a skirt that was calf length, but liked this one better.  I actually took a pic of both of them and texted them to my husband to ask his opinion (he liked the long skirt).

The other thing I like is that later on I can buy some nice black pants and wear this out to dinner.  But, that wasn’t even the most cool thing.  When I took it back to the dressing room, I brought a Large in both the top and the skirt.  That top (not the one pictured) was a little wrinkled.  I went to find another one, but all they had were either Medium or Extra Large.  The top had felt a little loose, so I got the Medium.  I decided if I was going to do that for the top, I would also try the medium skirt.  I went back and put them on and took the above picture.  So, I ended up buying the Medium in both which is a huge deal to me. I haven’t done that is over 20 years.

I still have to buy shoes, a new bra, and figure out what jewelry I’ll wear (I don’t have to buy it, but I do have to decide).  The thing about this outfit was that it made me smile every time I touched it.  I felt that spark of joy.

The Experiment

I had thought about doing this experiment a week or so ago, but was chicken.  But, the stars aligned where I decided it wasn’t a big risk.  So, I’m trying it.  I may fall flat on my face, but we can learn from failure just as much as from success.

Last Saturday I did lose 1.2 pounds which was great.  Over the last 3 weeks I’ve greatly increased my aerobic exercise and am burning a lot more calories, and I’ve been carefully tracking and am still keeping my calorie intake within an average of 1200 calories a day.  Even with last week’s loss, I’ve lost less than half as much as I “should” loss given my calorie burn and what I’ve eaten.

I tend to think that it is mostly due to water retention from increasing exercise, but it has been a bit worrisome that I haven’t lost more.  And, as of last night I was up about 2 pounds so far this week, even though I had averaged 1204 calories a day and Fitbit was telling me I had an average calorie deficit of 614 calories a day.  I know that none of those numbers are exact, but I should be down, not up.

Last night, my husband and I decided to go out for dinner.  Our anniversary had been in February when we were both sick.  We had decided to postpone it.  And, with this and that, we had never gone.  Finally, I had in mind to do it last night.  I already knew that I wasn’t going to my Weight Watchers meeting this Saturday.  With Sunday being Mother’s Day, I had decided not to eat out on Saturday as we usually do.  And, I knew I would be annoyed if I was still up on Saturday even with a good week.  So, I decided I would stay home on Saturday and work on the decluttering and go into Mother’s Day with Saturday having been a good day from a calorie standpoint.

We started out to eat at Texas Roadhouse, but it had a huge long wait.  So, I suggested Carrabba’s.  We had gone there on my birthday, but I had been really wanting their Chicken Trio which is on their dinner menu.  We ended up having a great dinner, but I ate too much.  It started out OK.  I like their bread and decided to have a limited amount of it with the oil.  That went fine.  I was going to order the Chicken Trio, with grilled asparagus and a cup of the Sicilian chicken soup.  That was basically OK.  The Chicken Trio (without sides) was 939 calories, which is a bit much, but I figured I wouldn’t eat all of it.

Then, the waiter asked us if we wanted an appetizer.  I hadn’t really planned on it.  And, truthfully, with the bread and the sides and the entree, I wasn’t really needing it from a hunger standpoint.  But, I could see that my husband wanted something, so we ordered the Bruschette Caprese, which is almost 900 calories.  I ended up eating half of it.  And, I ate my soup and my asparagus.  I did only eat about 70% of my entree because I was stuffed by then.  The whole meal  clocked in at almost 1400 calories and 36 points.  I ended up at 51 points for the day (1914 calories).

Afterwards, I was uncomfortably full.  I made a couple of errors.  First, I should have had the bread or the bruschette and not both (or only a bit of each).  If I wanted some of the bruschette, I also could have had only a small piece, instead of half.  Also, it was a mistake to order the Chicken Trio.  I usually order one of the small chicken dishes which is a lot fewer calories and is plenty to eat.

Anyway, having made the mistake, I decided to try to salvage something from it and conduct an experiment.  I’ve read various places that one technique to deal with a plateau (or lack of expected weight loss) is to temporarily eat higher calorie for a couple of days and perhaps decrease activity.  For some people, this seems to then lead to a quick weight loss when you go back to your regular eating.

I’m not sure why this works for some.  Some people think it works because your metabolism has slowed down a bit while eating low calorie and doing that with high exercise can make it worse.  Note, I don’t believe in starvation mode, but I do believe that eating low calories can slow down the metabolism some (that is called adaptive thermogenesis). And, some feel that if you eat higher calorie for 2 or 3 days, then that can help.

Having already eaten higher calorie yesterday, I decided I would also eat higher calorie today.  I’m not eating as high as I ate yesterday (I should finish today between 1400 and 1500 calories) and I will still have a calorie deficit today (not yesterday).  I didn’t exercise yesterday or today.  I did have more non-exercise activity today since I went shopping and then came home and worked on some more decluttering (makeup, bathroom items, jewelry).

I’m only doing this for yesterday and today.  I’m way too chicken to do it for 3 days. But, I am curious to see if it does anything for me.  I probably wouldn’t do it if I was going to my meeting on Saturday.  But, since I’m not I don’t have to be crazed by this causing me to go up in weight for a couple of days.

I will go back tomorrow to my normal eating averaging 1200 calories a day. I figure that if this doesn’t work, it won’t do much damage and I’ll learn this technique doesn’t work for me.  If it does work, then that is great.  We’ll see.


  1. says

    I am NO fashion expert but I think the outfit looks classy plus it goes well with your fitbit 🙂

    I was really interest by your experiment, in the past 2 weeks, I have brought my own physical activity level down and I have been increasing my calorie intake. I was not at a plateau but still it doesn’t show sign of lowering the rate of losing weight.
    Richard M. recently posted…Play TimeMy Profile

    • says

      Yes, I’m very interested to see what happens. I am going back today to my typical way of eating and exercise so we’ll see what happens.

      I laughed when I saw the picture with my Fitbit. On the actual day though I will wear my old Fitbit One. Fitbit now lets you have more than one device. I can wear the one clipped to the band of the skirt and I can still track my steps without having the visible Charge HR on my wrist.
      Kitty recently posted…Shopping and a Food ExperimentMy Profile

  2. says

    You look GREAT and wow, so exciting to buy MEDIUMS!!! Woo hoo, lady! How exciting.

    OK, I am TOTALLY of the mindset that prolonged calorie deficit slows down metabolism. Volek & Phinney have shown this in repeated studies. So I think upping cals for a bit is REALLY the right thing to do. MY only suggestion would be – add fat and protein, not carbs. Then again, who knows, plenty of people say carb “refeeds” reboot the metabolism. Worthy of n=1 self-experiments I say.
    Not that I’m an expert or you should care what I say, but 1200 cals is way too low for eating every day. Your body does adapt to that energy intake, and then eating anything above it will cause gain. So good on you for mixing it up, I think that’s critically important when you eat at such a low calorie level.
    And OMG the bread + oil at Carrabba’s. So good. I practically fall into it.
    Congrats again! You look fantastic and must feel great about this transition.
    Wendy recently posted…More about sweets. Avoid if this is a trigger topic for you.My Profile

    • says

      I have gotten used to the 1200 calories a day and it is easy for me to do. And, since my non-exercise activity has been so low I’ve had to eat at that level since my BMR is only in the low 1200s and there are days I don’t burn more than 1350 calories if I don’t exercise. If I can increase my non-exercise activity consistently then I could burn more calories even on non-exercise days and I would be at a point where I could up my average daily calories a bit. Anyway that is the plan.
      Kitty recently posted…Shopping and a Food ExperimentMy Profile

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