Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Weekly Check-in: Running the Numbers

Welcome to the second edition of The Weekly Check-in, where you can catch all things related to my journey to weight loss and getting back on the road post-partum. I learned a lot this week.

To get started, I logged into, which I hadn't done in a very long time, and reset my current weight, goal weight (-18lb), current exercise level (walking 5mi/week), and a target date for my slimmer physique. For anyone trying to lose weight, I highly recommend sparkpeople. It's free and gives you all the tools you need for the task at hand. Right away, the site told me how many calories per day I should be eating to lose 1 lb per week. And immediately I learned lesson #1 of 3 about why I lost zero pounds in the past week.

Lesson #1: It is really difficult to lose weight while I am both breastfeeding and not yet cleared for exercise. 
This came as something of a surprise because I've always heard that bf'ing helps melt the pounds away. The problem? BF'ing women are advised to eat a minimum of 1800 calories per day. However, according to sparkpeople, I should be eating 1440-1690 calories per day in order to lose about 1 lb per week. When I increase the number by 300 calories (what you burn by BF'ing), that brings me to 1740-1990. Adjust the lower number to a minimum of 1800, and I have a range of 1800-1990 calories per day that I can consume. In short, I'm trying to hit a smaller than usual target (a 190 calorie range rather than a 250 range), and I'm right at the minimum number of calories I should be eating to bf, but at the maximum to lose weight. 
Lesson #2: I eat too many carbs
Ok, so this isn't really a surprise. While I've cut way back on the ice cream consumption since giving birth, I still eat too many sweets and carbs. However, it was fairly easy to modify, which brings me to lesson #3,

Lesson #3: The Hawthorne Effect
Hawthorne Effect: "a form of reactivity whereby subjects improve or modify an aspect of their behavior being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they know they are being studied..." (Yes, I'm an academic who just cited Wikipedia. Shameful!)

Even on Day 1, I changed what I was eating because I knew I was keeping track of it. Also, I could see immediately, just from entering what I ate for breakfast, that there wouldn't be room for many indulgences. I swear by keeping a food journal for exactly this reason!

I am embarking on Week 2 better armed with a knowledge of what I need to be doing and a reality check that it will simply be slow until I can increase my activity level (t-8 days, hopefully!). Here's hoping for even modest results in the coming week! 


TNTcoach Ken said...

Wow, after reading this I feel smarter. I'm SMRT smart! HA

Elle said...

Ya know that Hawthorne thing really works. I always eat better when I know I am going to tell other people what I am eating.

Some of my Weight Watchers buddies and I share menus and I never eat @junk when I am going to have to reveal it to them!

Black Knight said...

I cannot resist to the carbs and the sweets too! Too easy for me to give up!