Monday, July 31, 2017

Calorie Counting

I want to know if I can ever be skinny again.  I’m starting to wonder if this is as good as it gets and that changing my body is beyond my control.  About 4 months ago I started counting calories.  I liked this approach because it appealed to my common sense, everything in moderation, ideal of eating.  I didn’t want to cut out entire food groups because that didn’t seem balanced or sustainable.  I liked the idea that you can have the cookie if you balanced your diet like a bank account.  I got that from Bethenny Frankel’s The Skinny Girl Rules.  So I downloaded the calorie tracking app MyFitness Pal onto my iphone and got to tracking. 

I started off around 1500 calories and at first I lost about 2 pounds in 2 weeks.  The calorie cutting was working!  But, alas the weekends were my downfall.  While I was at work, it was easy to be strict on myself because of the office structure, but on the weekends I either was giving in to the pizza that the kids begged for or indulged in cocktails while eating out with friends.  I also realized that unless you are eating pre-packaged foods, or are measuring everything, it’s really hard to guestimate how many calories you’re actually eating.  Also, I started wondering, is a calorie a calorie?  If I eat the same amount of calories from an apple that I would eat from a piece of chocolate, does my body process the calories the same or differently?  If it’s the same, then I’d rather eat the chocolate than waste it on the apple.  After, all it’s just about math right?  So, my first mistake was eating the things that could be easily quantifiable.  Processed, packaged foods were the easiest to track since I could scan the barcodes on my app.  Fast food chains also were loaded into the app so I could easily pull up the exact amount of calories in a fast food burger and fries easier than a home cooked casserole. 

Did I mention that I was hungry all the time and the thoughts of food pretty much occupied my every waking thought?  Also, I started to lose interest in cooking for my family because what’s the fun in cooking when you can’t eat it with them if you’ve gone over your calories for the day?  Another thing I noticed was that I ended up eating more of something than I really wanted to because it’s easier to track an entire item that you’ve put in your tracker than just taking a bite and moving on.  How do you track a bite of something?

I later read articles about gut health and how fruits and vegetables actually DO matter, duh, and that fiber is important for not only keeping you regular, but it also keeps you from absorbing and digesting all the calories you’ve consumed.  So I started eating more fruits and vegetables and I did see that my stomach looked a lot flatter and less bloated.

But, despite the fact that I was tracking my meals and losing some weight, my body would just snap back to my starting weight at the slightest provocation.  I was getting the feeling that my body had a pre-determined set point and it would let me dip below that or even sometimes go above it, but on a normal day of eating would just settle back to that pre-determined point.  I also had the suspicion that my metabolism was slowing down as a result of the calorie restriction.  To confirm my fears, I had my BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) tested and it showed that in order to lose weight, I would have to eat around 1300 calories every day for the rest of my life.  Kill me now.

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