Monday, October 6, 2008

After a Week of Tracking Calories...

I only have one thing to say. OK. That first sentence is a lie. But if I could keep my comments about tracking calories down to a single item, I'd probably say I should have done this a long time ago. I know I should have done it while I was doing P90X last winter (so if you are going to be trying P90X, take the time, calculate the calories, and watch the new you emerge). And I certainly should have done it when I was transitioning from racing to off season training. Jeez. The funny thing of it was, I had an inkling the off season weight gain was the result of my appetite and my training being out of sync. Basically my food intake was still at summer/racing levels, but my activity had gone into recovery/off season mode. The big thing that I find so amazing is just how little food 2000 or even 2500 calories actually amounts to. With that information alone, I'm able to better assess portion sizes and make better judgements on how much food is needed to fuel my body appropriately without excess.

I'm not really sure why I never looked at the discrepancy between how much I was eating and how much I actually needed to eat more closely. Perhaps it was no big deal a few years ago to shed 8 pounds in a month and start racing. Now of course losing that last 8 pounds has been like pulling teeth. And since I've already eliminated most culprits for stubborn and unwanted weight like HFC's (high fructose corn syrup), junk food of all persuasions (chips, cookies, desserts, ect.), and any and all processed foods from my diet, there actually wasn't much else I could do other than quit my job and work out more.

After a week of limiting my caloric intake, one thing is blatantly obvious. I was just eating way too much food. Based on my estimates from what I'm eating now and my current activity level, I'm eating about half of what I was eating before on some days. Granted there is about a 500 calorie deficit in the equation for losing a pound a week for 8 weeks. But as near as I can figure based on the size and frequency of meals I was eating prior to this, I had to be consuming between 3000 and 4000 calories a day. That's great if triathlon is your day job and you work out over 20 hours a week. But not if you aren't. The net result of this has been I'm simply amazed at how little food 2000 calories is. I'm not starving mind you. But this has really opened my eyes to how much food is necessary versus how much I was habitually eating.

Fortunately, it wasn't always this way for me. I'm also feeling 2000 calories was probably about what I was eating per day when I was younger. This all changed with the advent of a live-in girlfriend. When she left unfortunately my eating habits didn't go with her. Oh well. Live and learn. Hopefully, none of you will have to learn this lesson the way I did. I definitely chose the "hard" way on this one.

Oh, in case you were wondering what 2000 calories looks like, here is a day from last week. Another thing this has brought to my attention is the invisible "liquid" calories I was consuming.

Lemonade 8oz 110
Super Protein Juice 45
mushrooms 100
4 baby carrots 16
3 strawberrries 6
½ banana 50
pineapple 15
hemp protien 30
green food 20
Super Protein 6oz 95
Super Food 2oz 42
Greens Bar 12:30pm 250
Lemonade 8oz 110
½ veggieburger 8:30pm 170
½ fries 200
Lemon/Chive Drsg 1tsp 25
Switch Soda 140
Grapefruit 10:00pm 62
Smoothie 11:30pm 394

Total Calories: 1880


Triteacher said...

Ay, yay, yay - I shudder to think! If that is 2000 calories then I'm eating 4000 now too. Eeks.

Congrats on the 8 pounds lost. That has to feel good.

Pilgrim said...

Congratulations on losing the 8 pounds!!