Sunday, November 29, 2015

How is Operation: HappyHealthyMe going?

I intended to come here to post an update several weeks ago but got wrapped up with other things (finishing a Half Marathon, work, training for another Half Marathon), so I'm a little behind, but here's how I did at my first check in for my Dietbet.

As a reminder, these are the milestones I need to meet in order that I not lose my initial investment:
  • lose 3% of my starting body weight by November 14
  • lose another 3% of my starting body weight (total of 6%) by December 14
  • 2% more (total of 8%) by January 14
  • 1% more (total of 9%) by February 14
  • 1% more (total of 10%) by March 14
  • Maintain (or be lower than) March 14 target weight for April 14 final weigh-in
Given that my official starting weight was 172.2, I needed to be at or below 167 pounds on November 14th; I weighed in at 164.1, which is less than 3 pounds from my December 14th goal of 161.9.

As important as the numbers on the scale are, I'm far happier about the fact that I lost just over 3 inches from my waist in the first month and that my blood sugar readings are averaging about 10 points lower than before I started.

So what am I doing? I start every day with a "budget" of 1,500 calories to eat in whatever way I choose. (This was based on finding that my resting metabolic rate is approximately 1,500 calories a day.) I am fairly active every day so I track my active calories burned with my Fitbit device and then eat no more than half of those calories on top of my 1,500 calorie daily base. In practice, this means that I usually eat between 1,650 and 1,700 calories a day - mostly fruits, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats (especially avocado and nuts), and lean protein. If I have anything after dinner, it has to be very low in carbohydrates and is usually an ounce of almonds, but most of the time I just have a decaffeinated coffee and go to bed without snacking at all.

What I still need to work on:
  1. Strength training - I'm losing more lean muscle than I am fat and that needs to stop. Part of this can be addressed by adding more muscle and the rest would be burning more fat (see #2)
  2. High intensity cardio - Walking is my sole form of exercise right now and while it burns a fair number of calories every day, it doesn't get my heart rate up past the low end of the moderate intensity range. This means that I'm building cardiovascular endurance (very good given my current focus on half marathon training) but not burning fat
With three half marathons, a 15K, and various 5K events on the calendar between now and May 8, I don't have a ton of time for adding new activities to my exercise routine but I really need to try harder to fit both of these in.

I wogged (walk/jog interval training) 30 minutes last week but afterwards I had some mild shin splint pain which could potentially derail my ongoing long distance walking training, so I haven't done any more of that in about a week. I really, really want to be able to wog my May half marathon so I'll give it another shot on Tuesday to see if I can get back into a routine.

For the strength training, I have several options so it's just making time - and, if I'm honest, making myself feign interest. I used to enjoy my Pilates Reformer classes but my favorite instructor is no longer at the club near my house and other class times don't really work well with my crazy work schedule. The gym we belong to has a 30 minute circuit workout that combines strength training with cardiovascular intervals and that sounds appealing. I'll commit to doing 60 minutes at the gym one morning each week: 30 minute circuit plus 30 minutes on the stationary bicycle.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with support or questions or just wondering where the heck I was - I really appreciate your interest.

No comments: