Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Eating for Success

My roommate and I have both felt a little . . . weighed down, so to speak. Before we moved to Virginia in May, we were both working low-wage jobs where high-calorie food was readily available. I ate a few too many hot dogs and taquitos, and she ate a few too many comped meals (not to mention cheesecake slices). We'd been making much healthier decisions since moving, but we were maintaining weight when we really needed to lose some.

We'd been kicking around the idea of trying a stricter eating routine for a short duration, like six weeks. We decided to take the two months until Thanksgiving to lose as much weight as we can. Primarily, we agreed to swap out a starch at dinner (I normally cook a tried-and-true combo of protein, starch, and vegetable) for a second vegetable, and choose leaner meats. We minimized processed grain options (including breads, crackers, and other flour-based foods), and tried to cut out industrialized foods as much as possible (although Emily does still take Weight Watchers frozen meals to work for lunch, sometimes). We also allow ourselves one "splurge" day per week, every Saturday. Normally, Saturdays involve pizza delivery, diet soda, and beer. There may have been a trip to On the Border, as well.

So far, the plan has been very successful! In the past three weeks, I lost three pounds and Emily lost seven. This past week has represented a departure from the plan, however; I think we're both getting a little burned out. PMS may also play a role. We've decided to have a recovery week every fourth week. We don't eat whatever we want, by any means, but we have eaten more, and we bought a loaf of bread the other night. We'll see if this week undoes what we've accomplished in the past month of hard work.

The biggest challenge for me is in balancing my calorie expenditure with my calorie intake. Especially during the first two weeks, I'd eat about the same number of calories on really heavy workout days (i.e. teaching cycling, lifting weights, and a hilly run) as on easy days (i.e. just teaching yoga). I felt weak and tired and unmotivated for a few days, until I remembered that I have to cut caloric intake in relation to my exercise level. Since then, I've felt fine.

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