The last few times I tried to “diet” I focused almost solely on calorie restriction. I rationalized this strategy by saying that I was just too darn big to exercise; my knees and back and other joints just wouldn’t take the pounding. Also, isn’t that what a diet is? Focusing on what you eat or don’t eat? Low Carb diet, grapefruit diet, beer diet? (I made that last one up, I think.)
Michelle kept saying there were two ways to lose weight. If you’ve ever met with a dietitian you know what the two ways are: eat less or exercise more. As I think about it, Michelle never said “or;” she always said “and.” But always heard “or” and that is what I based my plan on.
Michelle has done yeoman’s work to get me to understand that both interventions work in tandem. I finally get the “and!” Using myfitnesspal.com, an app for my smart phone that Michelle talked about in a recent post, I track my calories, but not just my calorie consumption. I also track calories burned through my exercise. I am not sure why, but this time, for what seems like the first time, I am finally able to see the positive effect on my lifestyle frequent exercise affords me.
Just this morning, I spent 30 minutes in the gym and burnt up 453 calories doing a combination of treadmill walking and stationary biking. (One of the few ways its awesome to weigh 370; I burn a lot of calories relatively easily!) The beauty of that is, if you remember my primary and ultimate calorie goal scheme, I have added an extra 453 calories to my wiggle room.
Like this: my primary goal is to stay under 2350 calories a day to lose 2 pounds a week. I also have the ultimate goal of 1 pound per week at 3300 calories a day. Today’s exercise effectively changed those numbers to 2800 and 3750 respectively. So I can eat a bit more and still not exceed my goals. Or I can back those savings for a day later in the week when things don’t go so well; say Friday night when I cave at the football game and have a bratwurst and chips. That might have me exceed my daily goals, but I can feel less like a failure with the knowledge that during the week, I was able to stay far under my goals by adding some exercise.
The exercise has the added benefit of making me feel better. After 3 weeks, there is a noticeable improvement in my wind and stamina. My back hurts…differently. (that’s not something that ever seems to go away, at least not at my current size, but it is a different kind of pain…a chronic ache more than something I am constantly worried is going to go out.) My legs feel stronger and I feel like I have more energy, needing less sleep and getting more things done during the day.
So far so good…now we’ll see what the scale says tomorrow. Hang in there!!