Friday, February 13, 2015

What I Learned When I Started Tracking Calories

First off, I know that some of you know me and will go into panic mode. So, go look at this first, then you may continue to read this post:
Things Only Skinny-Fat People Understand

The past few months have been rough. Grad school, marriage, moving, and moving, and all that drama. Not surprisingly, I've been stressed. A sad side effect of stress this time around is that I have gained some weight.  I don't fit into clothes the way I used to, and it's bothering me. For the first time in my life, my weight is a concern for me.

For awhile I've been meaning to get into better shape by exercising more regularly. Because, well, exercising is good for you (so they say). My husband is really into fitness stuff, and that has been influencing me quite a bit. Then with the weight gain, well, I knew I had to boost it up a bit.

I decided to go ahead and try to track calories again. I have an app on my phone (Runkeeper) that recommended a specific calorie tracker called Lose It! (I think the exclamation point is to help you think that it will be fun...) . It asks questions like your gender, height, weight, and goal. Then gives you a recommended daily calorie intake. Since it links up to Runkeeper, it will automatically upload the exercise you do and calculate how many calories you burn.

Here's some things I learned from using a calorie tracker:

- Eating is a habit. You need to try to break the habit/impulse to eat all the time. You don't really need that snack. You don't really need that candybar. Or soda. Leave the food in the kitchen, that way you aren't mindlessly ingesting calories while watching tv each night.

- You know how it's recommended to drink 8 glasses of water a day? Do it. I've heard that sometimes your body gives you hunger signals when it really needs water. So, whenever I thought I might be getting hungry, I drank some water and waited. Use water as a delay tactic to avoid eating when you don't really need to. This strategy got me through most mornings and afternoons without the massive amount of snacks I usually have.
Added bonus on this one, your skin will look better, the sugar withdrawal headaches won't be horrific, and your body will be flushing out more toxins. (You will eventually get used to it and not need to pee every 10 minutes. It takes a couple weeks though.)

-Veggies. I for one enjoy vegetables and fruits. I found out that if I were to eat only broccoli one day, I could eat all that I could possibly hold, and still be under calories for the day. WAAAAAY under. Of the foods I ate over the past few weeks the lowest calorie ones were broccoli, spinach, celery, cantaloupe,  and apples. The fruit generally was higher calorie than the veggies, but both were still low.

-Walk on your lunch break. Walk instead of having a snack break. Find 10 minute online workouts and do them. Track all of the exercise. It will add up.

-It's hard. Really really hard. The first week I ended up under calories. But only because that week included Fast Sunday. Since then I have not been able to end a week under calories, or even 'breaking even' on calories. I never realized how much I eat before. It makes me more intentional about what I am eating, when I am eating it, and that I should be exercising more.

-Still treat yourself. I can't live without chocolate. It's a fact of life. I like chocolate, cookies, cake, and all that. As long as I exercise, and eat really well the whole day, I can eat something I love and it will be okay calorie-wise.

Just a few tips for ya! I still have a lot of room for improvement, and will keep you updated if I learn any more lessons, have any tips, etc.

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