Why yes I *am* a professional dieter. Why do you ask?

08Jul10

Name a diet. I’ve probably tried it. At least, the reasonable ones. I don’t do things like the Grapefruit Diet or stupid stuff like that. And actually, anything that requires you to purchase all meals from the company, I shy away from. I’ll buy snacks…but not every bit of what I’m eating.

I had success with Weight Watchers. I lost 50 pounds in about 9 months. And developed a nice little food obsession, but who’s counting that? I’ve tried Intuitive Eating, and did manage to lose a little, but I think I need therapy for it to really work long term.

So what’s a girl with a gigantic understanding of the principles of food, a desire to lose weight and shiny new-ish Crackberry supposed to do? Find a journal app, of course.

And being the cheapo that I am, it had to be free. Sparkpeople does have an app, but I wanted to try something different. I love Spark, but I sometimes find their food database lacks, and adding a new food is a royal PITA. So I’m going with Calorie Counter by FatSecret. I started yesterday.

The pros:

-Web interface and sync option. Very nice because if I’m on the computer, I can add whatever, but if we go out and I change plans or get something else, I don’t have to wait until I get home to see the damage.

-Decent database. So far, I’ve found 1 thing that wasn’t listed exactly (Apple Walnut Soyjoy), but there was another flavor that WAS listed with identical nutrition info. I’m good with that.

-Works with whatever diet plan you choose. Their listing of plans is incredible. I haven’t checked out options on different plans, but might futz around with it this weekend. Also, if you don’t want to use a “professional” plan, then you can design your own, which is what I did. It even gives you a recommended calorie level that is REASONABLE. In fact, I thought my suggested level was a little high even for slow loss. More on that in a minute, though. I’ll tell you how I got my numbers.

-It’s free. Both the web and phone app are totally and completely free.

Cons:

-For the non-professional dieter, it may be a little confusing.

-I can’t copy a meal from dinner to the next day’s lunch. I can only copy from lunch to lunch. I like to eat leftovers if we have them, so it’s a little annoying to have to add every item again. I *could* be lazy and copy dinner as dinner, then just make lunch the new day’s dinner…but I’m a little anal-retentive about some things, one of them being that my food journal reflect what I ate approximately when I ate it.

I haven’t messed with the phone app much, since for a change we I cooked something last night.I’m sure I will have more opportunity for that this weekend as well.

Ok, so I’m working on my own plan this time around, since all the others have worked so well for me in the past. You are probably wondering how I determined what I should be eating. I’ll tell you: online calculators.

I went to a few sites, and was getting vaguely similar information. This site explains it really well, but the gist is that your body needs calories (FUEL) even when you are trying to lose weight. If you don’t give it enough fuel, you actually get counterproductive and it holds on to every bit of what you put in. I’m sure you’ve heard this before if you have read this far, since I’m sure you’ve been on a diet. But the question is, what is enough?

The first thing I did was find out approximately what my body needs to maintain. This is a good source for that. You enter height, weight, age and general activity level. Since I haven’t started my training again, I’m currently at “Light”. I sit at a desk most of the day, walk a little here and there, but generally nothing to really get my heart rate up. That means I need about 2350 calories to maintain my fatness.

I’m hoping to lose 1-2 pounds a week. My goals are 15 pounds by October, 30 by February (total…not in addition to), and 50 by NEXT October. I don’t think I’m hoping for miracles. I think I’m being pretty dang reasonable for once in my life.

As I’m sure we all know (and it’s stated on both links I posted), to lose 1 pound a week, you need a deficit of 3500 calories. It works out to about 500 per day, through a combination of extra calories burned AND fewer calories consumed. So, on average, I should reduce my calories from 2350 to around 1850, and I can expect to lose about 1 pound a week. If I also add in some exercise, that will help with an additional deficit, potentially putting me in the 1-2 pound range (I doubt I will burn an extra 3500 calories a week without at least SOME additional fuel being needed).

I set my calorie goal at 1800. I know a lot of dieters out there are looking at that and thinking “OMG. That’s too much. She’s never going to lose! It should be 1200!”  Some of you may even be generous and say 1500. But think about it. I’ve tried the drastic cuts. They might work for a week or 2, but then I either get hungry and binge, or stick to it and stall out anyway (which then leads to a depression binge, because I’ve been so good so why am I not losing?). What harm will come to me from setting a reasonable 500 calorie deficit goal for a few months? I might lose some weight. Slowly.

A little more about activity level: I think a few of my fellow 3 Dayers might read this, so I want to clarify something. I haven’t trained in over a month. If you have been consistently walking, you should probably consider using the “Moderate” activity setting at a minimum. Your body is used to that exercise now if you have been doing it often. It will also help make sure you get the extra calories you need to keep up the activity level. Just something to think about. You can try it both ways for a little while and see.

So, good luck. I accept donations to my walk for all success based on my advice, BUT be sure to check with your doctor.

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One Response to “Why yes I *am* a professional dieter. Why do you ask?”

  1. I dropped from 235 to 177 (and have edged back up to around 190) last year by religiously using the mydailyplate website to track *everything* I put in my mouth. By sticking to a strict calorie budget that the site said would cause me to lose 2 pounds a week (which was pretty ambitious, but it worked), I found that I was able to stay honest and avoid the diet disasters.


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