[Can you identify the literary quote that I have stolen as the title for this post?]
We have had quite an interesting few months. If you have been reading Chad’s posts regularly, you already know how he is attacking this project. His weight loss has been quite incredible and consistent, so much so that we have had to reassess his calorie goals…to give him MORE to eat!
He never reaches his upper calorie limit, his “weekend goal” for calories, so we didn’t change that one. However, his lower, stricter, “weekday goal” was what we changed: from 2160 to 2410 calories per day. We did this because his weight loss was actually getting to be too much for our comfort level. It is generally recommended to lose no more than 2# per week for healthy loss that is more easily maintained over the long-term than a drastic loss. Chad has lost 4 pounds per week over the last 4 weeks! (Check out the BMI Tracker on the right side of the main page to see how his BMI has been dropping like a rock!) While this gets him closer to his goal, we both want to make sure he gets the calories and nutrition he needs. We want him to build muscle and burn fat, not destroy protein along with a little fat, which happens with a weight loss that is too fast. (One of my pet peeves, it’s WAY bigger than a peeve, actually, are fad diets. These include anything from so-called “cleanses” and detoxes to Atkins, Ideal Protein, and any diet that eliminates a certain group of foods. I’m sure I will say more about this another time.) So it goes without saying that I want Chad’s loss to be, what we call in the RD biz, “at an appropriate rate.”
So WHY is this happening? I know many people might scoff at this concern, especially we women, who would be working hard all YEAR to lose this weight. But it’s worthwhile to take a look at what’s happening. As you may know, we are using myfitnesspal.com to help track his diet, exercise, weight, etc. It has a feature that helps you set your calorie goals depending on how much you exercise and how much weight you want to lose per week. (To its credit, myfitnesspal has a 2# per week goal as the maximum rate of weight loss, and recommends 1# per week.) Chad originally had 2# per week as his goal, and we have now changed it to 1.5# per week. This website/app is a tool like any other; we have to use it responsibly, so it is completely appropriate, and in fact, responsible, to reassess occasionally to be sure the settings (and calories eaten and burned) are as accurate as we can get them. As I have said before, this website is the most accurate and trustworthy as any I’ve found, but it is on Chad and I to be vigilant about all aspects of his health, regardless of what a website might state. Another aspect that may be at work here is his complete commitment to both food and exercise. He works out 5-6 days/week on average (I often have to encourage him to take a rest day, just to help him rest and heal up) and has had just a few days where he has slightly splurged. Even on those days, however, I wouldn’t it “falling off the wagon.” It is my suspicion that most people take things a bit slower than Chad has these last few months, (which is completely acceptable, given the goal of 1-2# per week of weight loss,) and that might be why he has been flying past the 2#/week mark. Lastly, we also watched to see what happened over the course of a few weeks. For example, there was a weekend when Chad was at the family cabin and with hiking, hunting and chopping wood, it was estimated that he burned 3,800 calories in just 2 days! If he would have lost 4# that week and 1-2# for all other weeks, then we would not feel the need to make this change, but when saw the pattern developing, we decided to make the change.
So we have done what anyone working towards any goal should do. Take a look at the progress as it relates to the timeline. Look at the variables involved, the things that are working and the things that are not. Then look ahead at what might be changing and be realistic about how your plan might have to change. [We have already had discussions about the hunting season, which does involve a lot of hiking, but also eating and drinking. After that the holiday season gets into full swing, plus we are in the short dark days of winter, and snow and ice are on the way.] As we go forward, we will continue to look at all the data we can access in order to make the best plan for the time in order to achieve our overall 40 by 40 goal.