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All about exercise and etc.

Well, I wouldn’t have called that one.

On Monday night, I came home in a bit of a bad mood.  Truth be told I came Sunday evening I wasn’t in a great mood that evening either, but the mood was worse Monday night.  Why?  Because I had weighed myself Sunday evening and what I saw I didn’t approve of.  Oh, I knew roughly how much I weighed before that.  This isn’t a post about my great “revelation” that I’m overweight and needed to start exercising more.  I know that I’m overweight and need to exercise.  In fact, thanks in a good part to Jen who has been and I hope continues to be my faithful workout partner, I have actually been going back to the SRSC/HPER 3 or so times a week and exercising.  These exercises started out burning only 200 or so calories and each session lasting around 20-25 minutes, but after nearly two months I’m now up to 500+ calories a session and each session is now lasting around 55-60 minutes.  I’m happy with 500+ calories burned each session and 55-60 minutes is a good total session length, so I’ll probably stick with that for a while.

But why was I unhappy?  Because I’d barely lost any weight at all.  Jen, who admittedly had also greatly changed her food habits, has lost 10+ pounds since we started.  Me?  I’ve lost maybe 2-3 pounds, possibly 4.  Now some of that is 100% my fault, since I don’t exactly remember my starting weight and I haven’t exactly kept track, so I don’t know what I may have lost/not lost for sure.  But given how much I was working out I expected more of a result (FYI, I’m working out mainly on a elliptical machine, and given my good leg strength already I don’t think I’ve gained much muscle; the earlier sessions stopped when they did mainly because Jen couldn’t go on).

So I was grumpy on Sunday night, and after weighing myself at the SRSC (just to make sure it wasn’t just our scale) I came home rather grumpy on Monday night, too.  I decided that something needed to be done or else I was going to get severely discouraged about the whole exercise thing, and I knew I needed to keep exercising even if I wasn’t losing weight (exercise being great for keeping blood pressure down, your heart/lungs in general, etc.).  Sara had been mentioning for the past couple weeks on the side that maybe I should start tracking what I eat, and she increased her gentle prodding on Sunday/Monday given my mood.  So I finally agreed on Monday night to start tracking.

And here’s where we get to the part where I wouldn’t have called that.  I signed up for SparkPeople and put in some goals (changing them slightly the next day, but that didn’t affect my calorie goal all that much).  I put in how much I exercised that day (around 610 calories) and also what my exercise routine is.  With a good deal of help from Sara, I put in what I ate that day.  Then I stared at the screen.  I stared some more.  Then I got out my iPhone, started up the app, looked in there, and stared at it.

With the exercise that I do and my goal in mind (and I want to lose a chunk of weight so this isn’t a small goal (it’s reasonable, but not small)), my daily calorie minimum that I should be eating is 1,950, with a maximum of 2,300.  How many calories had I consumed on Monday throughout the whole day?  Around 1,200.

Sara and I both did some mental calculations and estimations, and though other days will have of course varied, a quick estimation showed that it’s very likely I’ve not been eating enough, something that has been moderately verified in the days since.  Here I thought I had been eating too much and was preparing to lower how much I ate each day because I was certain I was eating too much, and I found that I haven’t been taking in enough food to counter the exercise that I’ve been doing.  Though nothing is for certain, of course, it’s decently likely that my body has been in “starvation” mode this past month or so, holding on to extra calories when it got them because it wasn’t sure what it would get the next day.  This might, surprise surprise, also explain why I’ve been more tired lately.

How did this happen?  Well, you see, Sara is the one who packs my lunch and makes most of the dinners.  I’ve chosen and taken care of my own breakfasts, but in order to at least partially pattern myself after her healthy lifestyle I asked her a long time ago to take care of packing/choosing my lunch (dinner used to be more of a shared task but she’s just taken it over a bit more in the last year or so).  Neither of us thought about it much, but Sara packed my lunch portion similar to her own and for the most part our she portioned out our dinners the same way.

Where this goes wrong is while Sara’s been on a “maintain current weight” diet for a long time now, she doesn’t eat the same way or at the same time I do.  You see, our lunch and dinner portions are pretty much the same, but Sara snacks several times during the day, and those snacks are a part of her daily caloric allowance, sometimes a good chunk of it.  While I might have a fairly small snack while watching TV (the other day it was some grapes and some tea), I don’t snack during the day at all (except for special events like someone’s birthday/etc, and then I usually won’t snack that night).

I’m not blaming her at all for this, BTW; it just never occurred to either of us.  I’ve always preferred my meals fairly structured, broken in defined breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Sara likes to have the three meals as well, but she has smaller portioned meals because she likes to snack a few times each day.  I didn’t complain about being hungry, so how was she to know?  And I probably should have been tracking what I ate better, especially starting a diet.  I just tried to go with how I felt, but apparently since it’s common for me to feel tired or whatever a bit extra didn’t bother me enough, till now.

So now I’m going to keep closer track of what I eat.  BTW, today is another example of misconceived perceptions.  From past weeks/months/etc. I’ve been told that our weekly “taco night” is high calorie and stuff and that I might need to watch out.  While not completely discounting that advice for future reference, I put in the day’s calories into SparkPeople and the total is….  1,689, still 261 calories shy of the minimum.  I can tell that for some days I’m going to have to snack to fill in the gaps, because (such as for tonight) after I eat my normal dinner portion I will be full and won’t want any more.  But I’ll need to be vigilant, because I’m sure there will be days that I won’t have to hunt for calories; they’ll be hunting (or is it haunting?) me.