I end the title with a question mark because I think the keys to success will be different for all of us, since it depends heavily on our lifestyle, personality, goals, etcetera. But we’ll get to that in a second… first the dreaded weekly weigh-in. I’ve been focusing this week on maintaining on my overall caloric intake, and thanks go some great workouts, have managed to keep it in check most days despite my daily dessert.
Starting Weight: 137 pounds (December 30, 2012)
Current Weight: 136 pounds (January 18, 2012)
My Goal: 125 pounds
Deadline: April 1, 2013
For me, I think the biggest key to success is to have a realistic plan. I seem to always start my life goals super-motivated with aggressive plans that are not sustainable long-term. My diet adventures are no exception, and thus I’ve often re-started the journey with drastic measures to cut calories, workout like a maniac, and deprive myself of things I love. I have to be honest with myself, I LOVE FOOD. Eating is one of my great joys in life – trying to new foods, new restaurants, cooking tasty recipes… I LOVE FOOD. So any diet that involves totally eliminating my joy of eating will fail. I also love to feel and look good and truly enjoy fitness activities, so there is a delicate balance. I can still enjoy amazing foods in moderation, especially if I’m also diligent with my workouts.
Someone commented earlier this week about my seeming lack of calories and that they’d be starving. So that’s a good question – how much to we really need? It depends on your current weight, your goal, activity level at work (desk job verses on your feet all day), and exercise routine. For me, every calculator I’ve consulted has come back with the same range – I need about 1700 calories per day to maintain my weight, not counting workouts. And to lose weight, I’d need 1200 calories (aggressive 2-lb loss per week) to 1450 (moderate 1/2 pound per week). Now consider that the average restaurant entrée packs around 1,000 calories per plate… you see the problem? We’ve been programmed to think we need so many more calories than we really do. Yesterday was a classic example. I went to one of my favorite restaurants where I know I can get some great low-calorie meals, but decided to splurge a little and get the mini veggie burgers with sweet potato fries and a salad. I forgot my phone and couldn’t check the calories, so I guessed it would be around 600. Oh no… the 2 mini burgers and tiny portion of fries alone were 850 calories, then add the 250 calorie salad and that was most of my calories for the entire day! Thankfully I only ate half and ate the rest for dinner, but sheesh!
So my goals have now changed a bit. I’m going to go back to a slow and steady pace, increasing the MyFitnessPal goal to the max 1450 calories per day to get a 1/2 pound per week weight loss. That gives me a lot of extra flexibility to not feel deprived and get accustomed to my new lifestyle. My personal challenge next week will be kicking the crack… as in sugar.
Good luck next week everyone!