Weigh In – A Star for Me!

Finally, I got another 5 pound loss star at Weight Watchers.  I ended up having a terrific weigh in.  I lost 1.4 pounds to get to 151.8 pounds.

4-11-2015 Weigh in

I know, I know, some people aren’t happy with anything less than a 2 pound loss, but this is a terrific loss for me, particularly so close to goal.  I was just ecstatic.  I’m only 3.8 pounds away from not having to pay to attend to Weight Watchers meetings (5.8 to goal).

What I was happy about was that I had the week not start out that great, but managed to come up with a plan for the rest of the week.  Last Saturday was a family occasion and we ate out.  I ate over 1900 calories (53 points) for the day.  Then, Sunday, we went out again.  This was a more ordinary eating out, but I barely had a deficit for that day.  When Monday morning rolled around I had no calorie deficit for the weekend and was in the hole by 500 calories.  I needed to get back to a deficit and I wanted to do well enough that I hoped I could get at least below my previous low of 153 pounds.

First, I planned to eat toward the minimum for the rest of the week.  I really worked hard on the fruits and vegetables to eat foods that were lower calorie.  Then, I really worked on exercise.  I really turned up the volume of exercise and walked a lot, both outside and on the treadmill.  Friday, it was raining outside and I wanted to be careful with my knee not to walk too many days in a row, so I used the exercise bike.  So, I was really happy to get up this morning and see that was going to have such a great loss this week.I plan to try to follow a similar exercise plan this week, but spread my calories out more evenly over the week in terms of eating.

Getting Back

Until Wednesday, the last time I had exercised was on February 19th.  The very next day was when I came home and went to bed at 3:00, totally exhausted, and woke up with a 102 fever.  I had that fever about 2 weeks.  Finally it got better by the end of last week, but I was still coughing and didn’t have much energy.  Still, I knew I needed to get back into activity.

Back in the old days (mid- to late-1990s), I had this pattern of getting exercise, doing well, then getting sick.  I would be sick for a couple of weeks and then would have trouble getting back into exercise.  And, often when I did, I would get sick again.  Then, I would recover and would just not get back into exercise for months (or years).

I remember once I even talked to my doctor about it and he didn’t say anything very helpful (basically, that maybe I didn’t have a great immune system, but didn’t give me any suggestions on how to improve it).

In the past few years, a lot of my stress has gone down and I’ve been healthier and don’t often get sick any more.  But, when I did get sick, I find it hard to get back into exercise afterwards.  It is just so easy to let it slide.

And, then there was the weather.  We had been walking outside until we got sick.  But, lately it has been cold and rainy.  So, even when I started feeling better, we couldn’t walk outside.  And, then there was the time change which I have a huge problem with every spring.

Still, I could see I was starting to get too comfortable with not doing any activity.  This evening I finally said that I needed to do something.  I didn’t get started until 10:00 but I did a little over 20 minutes on the exercise bike.  It wasn’t much, but it was something.

On the eating front, by the way, I’ve been doing well this week.  I’ve been making a lot of salads and have started making my own balsamic vinaigrette.  So much better than store bought salad dressing.

Salad

So good.  I’m really working on limiting the processed food I’m eating and making salads is a big part of that for me.

 

Weigh In – Down Again!

For the third week in a row I weighed in with a loss, losing .2 pounds to get to 49.2 pounds lost.

WW 1-24-15

No, this wasn’t the biggest loss in the world.  But, it is the first time since September that I’ve had a loss for 3 consecutive weeks.  Since then I’ve every few weeks either had a gain or just a week with no change.  It is nice to have 3 weeks of losses.

I do think my loss would have BEEN higher had I not basically been so inactive the last few days.  I didn’t feel well and basically didn’t do much starting on Wednesday.  I had planned all along to not exercise on Wednesday (I had 4 days in a row before Wednesday).  I was out during a lot of the day and was just really tired when I got home (the next day I realized I was actually sick).  Thursday, I didn’t feel well at all.  I did a 40 minute very low intensity exercise bike ride.  By the time I did that I was just sick of sitting/laying around all day and it really did make me feel better just to move my legs.  That didn’t burn a huge amount of calories, though, since I was doing this at low intensity.  Friday, I still didn’t feel well so didn’t do anything.  I think that had I felt better on those days and been able to do well I would have had a better week.

From a food standpoint I had a good week.  The biggest danger for me was on Friday.  I had 14 weekly points left and had about 14 activity points, so I could have eaten pretty much what I wanted to on Friday.  I was really feeling sorry for myself since I had felt bad for 3 days.  And, I really wanted to soothe those feelings with food.  And, I did have the points to do it.  That said, I was really where I wanted to be in terms of points for the week and I knew I would weigh in on Saturday.  So, while I could have eaten something decadent on Friday (and still be within my available points), I also knew that it would just momentarily make me feel better.  Afterwards, I would wish that I hadn’t strayed from what I planned for the day.

To me, it really helps me to try to focus on my goal of losing weight and asking whether that is more important than eating X right then.  And, really, losing weight and sticking to what I had planned was more important to me.  So, I ended up having the evening meal and snack I had planned (sadly, not at all decadent).  And, of course, today I’m glad that I did stick with that plan.

I am not 100% yet, but I’m feeling much better today than I was for the last 3 days.  I want to get back into activity and continue on with where I was last week before I got sick.

 

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.

Working on Food

One of my goals for this quarter is to eat at least 3 fruits/vegetables a day.  I realize that is a paltry goal in a way, but it is something I felt was achievable at this time.  When I set my goals too high, then I basically just give up on them and don’t try at all.  So far, I’ve met the 3 each day on almost all days.  There are a few days I’ve been at two.  I also wonder whether to include legumes in this.  On some of those 2 days I would be at 3 if I included beans.

Unlike a lot of people, I’m not a huge fruit fan.  I actually prefer vegetables to fruit most of the time.  And, really, the only fruits that I like are blackberries (my favorite), blueberries, and strawberries.  I am neutral on seedless grapes and apples.  I don’t usually eat grapes and apples since I don’t love them and I think their high sugar content isn’t balanced by enough nutrition.  I just think that the berries are a better choice.  I’ll occasionally eat a Clementine, but that is about it.  Others in my family love bananas and I don’t like them at all.

For veggies, I’ve been doing a variety of things.  I sometimes make salad.  The biggest issue is that I’m the only one here who eats salads so unless I eat salads more often than I want to, I either quickly run out of salad ingredients or I end up buying too much and they spoil.  So, when I buy greens and stuff for salads, I typically run out of the greens way before I run out of the cherry tomatoes or the red bell peppers.

I do buy some frozen vegetables.  I usually avoid those with heavy sauces and cheese.  I do eat a few with a little bit of oil in them or almonds and if they have a little bit of seasoning.  I rarely buy the ones that have potatoes in them.

I did try something last night that was good.  I love, love, love the Luvo Whole Grain Penne Pasta with Turkey Meatballs.  I try to avoid a lot of frozen dinners, but these are very good, and use whole grain pasta.  But, the only vegetables are the red sauce on them which isn’t much.  So, I cooked an entire package of Green Giant Broccoli Spears and then mixed the broccoli in with the pasta and meatballs.  Plain broccoli isn’t that exciting to eat, but adding this to the pasta and meatballs I was able to have the pasta sauce on the broccoli and it was really good and added nicely to my daily fruit/veggies count.

Oh…on an entirely different note…yesterday I did 40 minutes on the exercise bike and then did 20 minutes on the treadmill.  That was my 4th exercise session this week so I exceeded my goal of at least 3 sessions.