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Maggie's Journal - Printable Version

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Maggie's Journal - MaggieG123 - 07-19-2016 08:01 AM

Since I didn't start this journal from the beginning of my calorie/macro counting, I've copied from some of my posts in the forum to get a brief summary of where I started and what's been going on over the past few weeks. From now on, I'll keep this journal updated with specifics of what's going on, as it happens. blushing

Just started increasing my calories about 2-3 weeks ago (started at 1700, currently around 1900, trying to increase gradually to TDEE which the calculator puts at 2085). Not sure what calorie level I was at prior to this, but I was following the WW SmartPoints program for a couple months and WW PointsPlus for several years prior to that (and lost about 85 pounds) and was hungry all the time. For the first two weeks I felt really good with increased calories, I felt energetic and well-fed for the first time in a long time. However, the past couple days I've felt very tired and VERY hungry…I’ve read and been told that this is just part of the process of my body adjusting to the higher level of calories and my metabolism revving up, which is definitely a good thing!!

Reflecting back on when I first starting counting calories/macros a couple weeks ago, 1700 calories felt very similar to the WW plan as far as food volume. I was still feeling hungry and found myself counting the hours and minutes until my next meal. 1800 felt really good, and 1900 felt even better...until the last couple of days, where I've been feeling hungry again. I'm going to try going up to 2000 for a week or so and see what happens.

Regarding TDEE, the calculator puts me at 2085 based on light activity and 2350 based on moderate activity. My FitBit One average over the past 28 days is around 2100, so I'm planning to increase calories to about 2100 and see how things go from there. I've seen posts where you've stated that any on-body device is most likely more accurate than the calculators, so for now I'm making my target about 2100 calories.

I am tracking my macros and usually hit my protein goal each day with no problem. I do have a hard time hitting my goals for fat intake…going to add in some almonds or peanut butter to help with that. I also need to focus more on my water on the days I don't work out, that's when I find I'm falling short on water intake.

Okay, so I'm still at 1900 calories and want to stay here until my weight stabilizes (I’ve seen some jumps on the scale last Saturday and yesterday) but I'm still hungry, especially in the afternoons, usually around 3:30 or 4:00. I’m finding it difficult to wait for my usual mini-meal that I eat around 5:30 once I get on the train home. I’m thinking I need to shift some things around and add an afternoon snack. The scale is still jumpy, so I’m going to stick at 1900-1950 calories until things level out.

RE: Maggie's Journal - MaggieG123 - 07-19-2016 08:16 AM

I’m slowly starting to realize that I need to shift the bulk of my calorie intake to earlier in the day. I’ve always been afraid to eat too much too early in the day (an unfortunate result of following WW, being afraid to “run out of points” too early in the day and not have anything available for dinnertime). Since my schedule changed a few months ago and I’m now up and moving much earlier in the day (5 AM as opposed to 8 AM), I really need the calories/energy earlier in the day so that I have the energy to make it through my day! I still need to work on an afternoon snack…I’m thinking maybe add in some hummus and carrots around 3:30 or so. That might help to keep my hunger in check so that my small snack on the train on the way home will satisfy me and keep my energy up for the nights I work out. Yesterday I had a 100-calorie pack of almonds around 3:30 and that helped a bit, but I was still very hungry after eating my train snack. I’m going to stick with the almonds again today, until I get to the store and buy some hummus. That will also help me in hitting my target for fat during the day, which I tend to fall short on (again, a throwback to WW, always looking to reduce/eliminate as much fat as possible for lower points).

The other thing I need to work on is having a better plan for the weekends. Less structure on Saturdays and Sundays has lead to my food choices being basically left up to chance, with no tracking of calories/macros at all. Not a good situation. I’m going to work on coming up with a solid weekend plan that allows for me to have a treat or two but still eat well and stay reasonably close to my macro goals.

Okay, confession time: I had to go out and buy bigger pants last night! Sad I feel terrible about it, but what choice did I have? I need to have clothes that fit me, and since I'm up approximately 10 pounds from the weight I've maintained for the past 3 years, all my pants were tight. I felt uncomfortable and defeated. I'm not happy about buying bigger sizes, it sort of makes me feel like I've given up and I accept the weight gain...but logically I know I need to be able to get dressed and feel good in my clothes and my body, and squeezing into too-tight pants does NOT make me feel good! On the upside, I also bought myself a really cute dress that fits me well and I feel good in, so I can't wait to wear that!!

I'm committed to this process, so I need to make my life (and my closet) as accommodating as possible, since this is not a quick fix. I'm so tired of being hungry all the time, counting the minutes till my next meal or snack, and always being focused on food. I need to stop this insanity and get my metabolism working again with good food that both nourishes and satisfies me. I need to be able to eat like a normal person and not stress over going to a party or eating out. With that said, I still want to minimize weight gain, so my current plan is to stick at 1900-1950 calories until the scale levels off. Hopefully that will be soon!

RE: Maggie's Journal - emma - 07-19-2016 11:16 AM

Hi Maggie, glad you started a journal, welcome. I think you are on the right path with your choices, mindset, pacing of calorie increase, etc. So good job! Its a big change to make, and kind of an uncomfortable one for most.

Regarding your 3:30/4 hunger, yes, it sounds like you need to eat more earlier. I used to do the same thing - try and "save" my calories for dinner. It wasn't the best move - I'd graze on crap because I was starving, and at dinner I ate all my calories and probably then some at times because I was just famished. Now a typical breakfast for me has at least around 500 calories and usually 40ish (at least) grams of protein, as opposed to maybe 200-300 before. Lunch is usually 500-600 and there is a snack or 2 in there as well. I never thought I'd be ok eating "so much" early but I find it keeps me more stable feeling throughout the day. Just make sure you have plenty of water throughout the day, protein at every meal, and have some snacks at the ready like you are already thinking about. Stuff with either high fat, high fiber, and/or high protein will all help you feel fuller over something like crackers or pretzels.

Ok, now listen carefully: happy Don't beat yourself up about the pants. You will feel much better wearing something you are comfortable in than tight pants that remind you of the (temporary) weight gain. Most of us that have done this have had to go out and buy some new things. It sucks and no on likes it (I'm pretty sure I might have cried a little?) But it is just part of the process. You have a really good attitude and you can do this, you'll get past the bigger pants and you'll be healthier and happier for it.

What is your history like, aside from WW? Are you following a strength program now? How far are you from your estimated healthy weight? I ask because depending on the answers, we might have different tweaks of advice for you.

RE: Maggie's Journal - MaggieG123 - 07-19-2016 11:45 AM

Emma, thank you so much for your feedback and your kind words! You have no idea how good it feels to know I'm not alone in needing bigger pants and that others have had the same experience!!

So, I lost about 100 pounds on WW Points Plus a few years ago (got down to 150, and at 5'6", that put me around a size 8)...but unfortunately, it was not in a sustainable way, since I was eating very little and working out like a madwoman! I ended up gaining back around 20 pounds, and I've maintained that weight for close to 3 years...no matter what I did. I could follow WW to a T, increase my exercise, slack off on exercise, not really follow WW too closely, and I still maintained my weight. It seemed like 170 was just the weight my body wanted to be at. I tried switching to the WW SmartPoints back in January of this year, but that program just wasn't suited to either my body or my lifestyle (or maybe both). Four months ago I had a major lifestyle change...I went from working at home to commuting into NYC...so I'm now up and moving at 5AM instead of 8AM, and not getting home most nights until 815 or 830. Needless to say, I am MUCH HUNGRIER than I was before, which was what prompted me to finally get on board with EM2WL. I was so tired of being hungry all the time.

As for my workouts, I began training with a trainer about 4.5 years ago and worked out religiously 5-6 days a week (2-3 with her and the rest lifting on my own), until the new job started. For the past 4 months, I train with my trainer once a week, on Saturdays, with circuits/HIIT for 60 minutes. The rest of the days I was strength training on my own 3 days a week, and doing 15 minutes of cardio intervals after the lifting. I confess that it has been difficult for me to get into a groove with the new schedule. About 2 months ago, I began strength training on machines only...I know, I know, not the best use of my time, but I was feeling so tired and run-down that I was afraid my form would be compromised and I'd end up hurting myself if I continued working with free weights. I have NROLFW and I recently purchased the 12-week beginner strength training manual, knowing that I need to have a structured plan in place and that compound lifts will give me the most bang for my buck. I'm reading through the manual and was wondering if I need to start with the Adaptation phase for weeks 1-4, since I've already been working out for quite some time. Your thoughts??

RE: Maggie's Journal - emma - 07-19-2016 02:59 PM

Got it, that's helpful. So I would definitely keeping slowly increasing the calories until you find TDEE. If you do so slowly, you are less likely to put on weight quickly - it just seems that increasing maybe 100 calories at a time gives your body time to process the extra and use it, so that its less likely to just dump it in your hips. Ripping off the band aid and jumping up to a higher TDEE is faster but more uncomfortable. (This is what I did and I felt horribly bloated. I gained about 20-25 lbs - not sure as I stopped weighing at a point. Pretty sure modest increases is what I'd do in retrospect). And the good news is that this is what you are doing and you are almost at your TDEE it sounds like. But since you aren't, when you are hungry in the afternoon, just eat your snack. Don't try and move things around to make room for carrots and hummus - if you end up being at 2000 instead of 1900, that works. But if you aren't hungry, don't necessarily force feed yourself either. You don't come from a 1000 cal a day background (yay!) so your hunger cues will be better than if you were VLCD for a long time. Hopefully that is helpful from the food front?

Regarding your workouts, the once a week with a trainer sounds like you are doing some cardio, so I would say cut back on the cardio intervals while you are resetting - maybe to once per week. Let your cortisol levels calm down and just concentrate on strength. If you want to replace the cardio, do some core work. That's another if-I-had-to-do-it-again piece of advice... I'm realizing I'm ok strong but my core is not as strong as I thought. Planks, bird dogs, ab rollers. The fun stuff happy

Don't feel bad about the machines. Get yourself in a groove and then do free weights when you are comfortable. Or better yet, ask your trainer to train you on free weights, concentrating on the compound lifts (bench, rows, squats, deadlifts) so that you have help with your form. This is actually what I would do. Get comfortable with someone helping you and then maybe go into a program IF you are uncomfortable with your form. I'm not familiar with the specific workouts from the Manual but I have done NROLFW and loved it. You can't go wrong with either. But if you do utilize the trainer for a strength day, you may have to modify either program. I'm the queen of not following a program to the T ever, lol, so I can help with that if you need.

RE: Maggie's Journal - MaggieG123 - 07-19-2016 03:12 PM

Great info, thanks Emma! Can you explain the correlation between cardio/cortisol/weight gain, or direct me towards a relevant post that I could read? I've only been doing 15 minutes probably twice a week at this point (sometimes 3), which is much less than I had been doing in the past. But you are correct, Saturdays with the trainer consist of circuits with strength and some cardio bursts in there (mostly burpees and/or jack & press with a 15-pound bar). I know this is probably another throwback to my old methods, but I hesitate to back off the cardio that much when I'm doing so little...

RE: Maggie's Journal - AnitraSoto - 07-19-2016 08:51 PM

So glad you decided to start a journal! It is great to have all of your info in one place to refer back to. And you have gotten some awesome advice from emma!

Here is a great article on stress/cortisol complete with a video on the subject:


And another great article on fat loss and cardio:


RE: Maggie's Journal - MaggieG123 - 07-19-2016 08:58 PM

Thanks Anitra!! I'll keep doing my "homework" to educate myself on this process

RE: Maggie's Journal - emma - 07-20-2016 09:39 AM

Anitra hooked you up with some resources, but let us know if you have questions. I have struggled with cortisol so am pretty familiar with it.

What is your motivation for incorporating the cardio if I can ask?

RE: Maggie's Journal - MaggieG123 - 07-20-2016 10:27 AM

Hmmm, good question Emma. I guess I've just always done some form of cardio after my strength training, although lately I've held it to only 15 minutes, which is a big change from the days I used to do 30 minutes or more. I guess the motivation for cardio is to drop some fat. Also, I've been dealing with some neck/back issues for the past two weeks, so my workouts have only consisted of leg strength training and that 15 minutes of cardio intervals...so until I'm back up and running with upper body lifting as well (hopefully next week), doing just legs feels kinda silly. But I did take your advice last night and just did legs and core, no upper body, and no cardio.

I think I'd be more comfortable backing off the cardio when I get myself into a good lifting routine.

Just to clarify, are you suggesting backing off the cardio just while resetting? Or on a permanent basis?