Thursday, February 18, 2010

This is why I log my food and exercise

I see Dr. Awesome in two days so I've been getting my charts together. I was going to talk to him about why I'm not losing weight even though I'm operating at a calorie deficit.

Except I realized that the way I was tracking my food and exercise was not giving me enough information. I have one spreadsheet per month with food and one for exercise. But the exercise one is just about mileage put in and hours put in. It has nothing about calories burned through exercise. Neither does my food chart.

So how do I know if my calories per day average is good, if I don't know what I burned off with exercise? Obviously, I don't! When I was losing and maintaining easily, it didn't matter. But right now I'm frustrated, so it does matter.

Therefore, for Oct. through today, I added a column in each month's food spreadsheet for "Exercise" and another one for "Difference".

And that's when I saw it.... I thought I was operating at a calorie deficit in January. I was basing this off my logs at My Fitness Pal, but the problem is that I can only see a day at a time so I was going by memory. What I discovered when I laid it all out, one day at a time and averaged for one month at a time, is that my memory and my interpretation of what was going on was faulty.

So here are the actual numbers:

Cal / 

Exercise / Day Effective Cal / Day
Oct 2002 432 1769
Nov 2038 180 1859
Dec 1997 123 1874
Jan 2047 278 1769
Feb (so far) 1958 403 1555

And, as you can plainly see, I was eating 100 calories a day more in Nov. and Dec. than in Oct and Jan. So I was eating less / burning more in Jan. but I haven't truly been operating at a calorie deficit until the past two weeks and most of that is from my Century ride on Sunday. I also had a sudden jump in my exercise and that always slows down weight loss for me for a week or two because I retain excess water at first until the new exercise level gets established.

I feel so much better now that I can see that my weight has been doing exactly what I should have expected it to do, if I was tracking it the way I should have been. I am more confident now that I will lose this three pounds I picked up over the Holidays when my exercise was minimal and my eating was maximal. (Is maximal a word? Well, it is now.)
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