October versus May

Reminder: In case the year has flown by as fast for you as it has for us, Chad’s 40 X 40 year is almost up! He has the Komen 3-day walk the weekend before the deadline–his birthday on August 17–so he will definitely be burning a lot of calories and hopes to finish strong.

This one is for all my friends who love to let their data-geek flags fly!

Chad has had a rough go of it during some parts of the spring and summer, as he has documented the fact he had actually been gaining weight! We have mentioned the reasons for this, diet and exercise (duh!) related to his ending one job while starting another, and moving across the state. I had noticed that the last couple weeks he has not “needed” me to pack a lunch, and often his dinner was eaten on the fly as well.

[As I have previously blogged, Chad and I take a few minutes at the end of each weekend to plan the menu for the week. To recap, he has “RD approved” breakfast foods at his office, and I pack his lunch, unless he has a lunch meeting, but even then he has sometimes requested a lunch if he knows the menu will be unhealthy and he doesn’t have the calories to cover it. For dinners, we eat at home during the week, but usually have a couple of meals out over the weekend. Also, every once in a while he would need to be gone until after an evening meeting during the week, in which case I would plan for a dinner or a snack-meal to send with his lunch.]

After a couple weeks of Chad being disappointed at his weigh-ins, I mentioned how little he has been having his RD-prepared meals. He thought about it and agreed it did seem like a pretty large change in his eating lately, so I decided to delve into his myfitnesspal.com diary (I don’t hack it; he gives me permission.)

I took a look at Chad’s weight loss since his year-long 40X40 project began in August, and saw that October was a very consistent month for him where weight loss was concerned. I compared the meals he ate then to the meals he ate in June (the first 23 days, that is.) I acknowledge right at the start that this is by no means a hard-core statistical study. The two sample sizes are not the same, and I do not address physical activity here, which is obviously a major player in the weight loss equation. (Calories out>calories in = weight loss!) My technique, admittedly, was a bit subjective; I looked at each meal as a “thumbs down” or “thumbs up.” I looked at the total calories of a meal, but also the components of it. If he ate 3 roast beef sandwiches that were acceptable for calories, I still may give it a thumbs down since there were no fruits, vegetables, or whole grain items there. However, it was possible for him to eat out and get a thumbs up, as long as he made healthy choices. So, how did October and June compare for meals?

Percentage of “Thumbs Up” Meals Table
















Both Chad and I think these numbers are quite startling! For those who are a bit more visual:

Percentage of “Thumbs Up” Meals Chart

Thumbs up meals

While his lunches differed a bit between the two months, the other meals’ differences were quite surprising. Breakfast and dinners were even more often eaten “on the fly” than lunches and often ended up having poor components added with healthy items omitted, such as cinnamon rolls for breakfast instead of peanut butter on whole grain toast with a banana. Here is the rundown of how RD-Approved lunches (among other factors) has impacted Chad’s weight loss results:

Weight on 10/1/2012=363#
Weight on 10/31=348#
Loss of 15.4# in 31 days

Weight on 6/1/13=303.2#
Weight on 6/2113=310#
Gain of 6.8# over 21 days

This has motivated Chad to refocus his efforts on making healthy choices, and sticking with what he knows works for him in order to maintain calorie control. It is true that there are more and more healthier options available at restaurants and even convenience stores, but most of us have experienced having the intent to eat well, but having unhealthy choices staring you in the face next to those (less numerous) healthy choices. This can cause anyone to slip and either skip the healthy items or just eat too many total calories.

Also, the summer continues to bring its wonderfully different schedule, and we are hanging on through vacations and moving in order to keep Chad’s BMI down the best we can. (We are enjoying summer activities, like biking on the new batch of bike trails we now have at our disposal in southern Wisconsin.)

Stay tuned for more updates on the home stretch of the 40 X 40 project!