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The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
07-26-2016, 11:38 PM (This post was last modified: 07-26-2016 11:42 PM by hannah77.)
Post: #51
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
If it were only that simple. I don't know if I really "trust" the calorie expenditures with my UA band. First, when hubbie and I go for walks, the calculation of distance (and hence speed and burn) is significantly different. I know he weighs more and burns more calories, but we should be walking the same distance. thinking I've checked mine against google maps a couple times and the distance is almost exactly the same. But, for example, mine will say I walked 2 miles while his will say he walked 5 miles. And, it doesn't calculate water aerobics burn.

So, just for fun, I went to this site and calculated my estimated burn for my fitness activities except strength training:

And Harvard Medical School estimates that strength training burns about 133 calories per half hour for someone weighing 185 pounds.

Totaling that all up for last week added 278 calories to my daily on-body, non-activity burn of 2050 for a total of 2328...which is less than the 2400 I was eating. Don't know if that would be enough to bump me up a pound, but interesting (to me, anyway whistling ...did I ever mention my undergraduate degree is in Math?) Perhaps combined with the previous week where the same calculations for my activity put me at TDEE of 2235 calories but I averaged 2344 calories.

Extrapolating (another math term LOL) that out for this week without the strength training and just 2X water/2X yoga/2X walk, my TDEE should be 2336.

If I actually kept all 9 normal workouts (2X water/2X yoga/ 2X walk/3X strength), that would push me up to 2393.

Idea I think I'll experiment this week and drop my average calories down to 2350 and see what the scale says. Next week, if I think I'll hit the 9 workouts, I'll go to 2400 and see.

Of course, this is assuming the non-activity burn of 2050 is somehow calculating all the steps I'm taking through the day, etc. fun!!! And challenging!!!
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07-27-2016, 12:46 AM (This post was last modified: 07-27-2016 12:50 AM by hannah77.)
Post: #52
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
Oh, I looked again at this website

And they do have lifting weights - general and lifting weights - vigorous. In fact, they have all sorts of activities in several categories (around the house, exercise, misc, sports and recreation, and work related). Pretty interesting!

Which is good since I can plug in weight as it changes and actual minutes of activites to get better accuracy.
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07-27-2016, 08:33 AM
Post: #53
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
Amazing work you are doing Hannah! I love the numbers game, but even I couldn't do all the math you do! And I second what many have said about how lucky your husband is to have you doing this for him... he may call it "nagging" now, but one day he will thank you!

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07-27-2016, 07:09 PM (This post was last modified: 07-28-2016 06:57 AM by AnitraSoto.)
Post: #54
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
As much as you are into the numbers, try to not get overly wrapped up in them, because truly the body will not always respond according to the books... They like to keep us guessing. Just because a calculator, website or on-body device tells you something, does not mean it will actually pan out to be accurate for every person who uses it. It is all estimates. How much we eat is an estimate. How much we burn us an estimate. We can get close ball-park estimates, but they are just that - estimates.

Below I will copy and paste a previous response I made on this forum, and perhaps some if it will ring true or provide some insight. (Remember this is the response to another post, so if any of it seems out of place that's why...)

"You are so right ... scientists don't know everything, and our bodies surely do not always "play by the rules", and in fact I think that our bodies often laugh at the rules! laughing It really and truly is all estimates and the only way you can figure out what works *for you* is to give it a try, and take the time to see if it will be a success or a failure. And taking the time to do something wondering if it will be a *failure* is a really hard thing to do (although it is a very necessary part of the learning process ... we don't just learn by our successes, but also by our failures...).

In terms of calories and logging, it's a known fact that packaging labels can be off by as much as 20 - 25%! That's a lot! When we measure things by volume rather than weight, there is another place for inaccuracy - weighing food is more accurate than measuring by volume (and that can be compounded by the fact that you are basing the calories in that item on a potentially inaccurate label!)

MFP has known issues with their data base. For one, a lot of those entries are made by users, and have inaccurate data inputted. Or often, data is simply missing (for example the user will enter the calories, but maybe not the macros, or only a few of them...) It's always a good idea to double check and make sure all of the data has been filled in. Hint: if your muffin has no carbs, it was entered incorrectly laughing

Another unknown is *how* your body handles food. Each body is unique and handles calories in different ways. Digestion, physiology, hormones, body composition ... they all come into play as to how that food is handled once it enters the system. When our bodies break down food, that process actually requires energy. More energy is required for foods that are more difficult to process. In general, proteins are more difficult for the body to digest than simple carbs (and therefore burn more calories in the digestion process...) Raw foods are more difficult for the body to digest than cooked foods. A whole, unprocessed, fiber filled apple is going to require more energy to digest than a highly processed doughnut... All of these energy requirements come into play when determining our TDEE. The more unprocessed, whole, raw, fiber-filled foods you ingest, the more calories and energy your body will expend simply on the digestive process. The more processed foods you eat, the less effort your body has to use to digest the food (since it is already half digested before you even eat it...). This energy in - energy out equation is difficult to quantify, and adds yet another unknown into the whole equation.

Another thing to consider: the more highly processed a food is, the more of the calories your body is likely to actually absorb from that food (simply because it is so much easier to digest and absorb), whereas we absorb less of the calories from a whole, unprocessed food, simply because it is harder for the body to digest, plus it requires more energy for that digestion process. My takeaway on that topic? Eat more unprocessed foods when possible...

And as far as that chicken breast. On MFP, it may say that it contains 100 (or 127) calories, but that does not necessarily mean that your body is going to expend 100 calories digesting it. There are just too many variables to be able to state that.

Bottom line? It is a whole lot of unknowns and a lot of inexact science. Just because 3,500 calories equals a pound of fat does not mean that if we eat 3,500 calories over our calculated TDEE that we will actually gain a pound of fat. There are just too many other variables involved to be able to make that statement. If we eat over our energy requirements for a number of days, yes we will gain fat, but there is no way to be able to determine how much, as all of our bodies utilize calories in different ways, and even the type of calories we ingest are metabolized in different ways and at different rates.

We, as a society have been brain-washed for many years to think that if we eat less and move more (a lot more) we will lose weight. And our "microwave mentality" tells us that if we eat even less and workout even more that the weight will come off faster. EM2WL is all about reversing that thinking and embracing the idea that we only need a very small deficit to lose weight, and that if we are patient those results will come (rather than going back to the old way of thinking that a steeper deficit will create a faster loss...) Building muscle will only help to improve the calories in - calories out equation by adding more metabolically active lean muscle mass to the mix.

It truly is an inexact science, but we know what "ballpark" we need to be in, calorie-wise, and accepting the fact that we cannot control or anticipate every aspect of the process is a huge part of the journey..."

Anitra Soto
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ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

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07-28-2016, 12:19 AM (This post was last modified: 07-28-2016 12:21 AM by hannah77.)
Post: #55
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
Thanks Anitra...that was good information. I didn't realize the food packaging labels could be off by so much! I was just reading an article on the NEW food labels that are coming out and I was like, all that hype for so little change?

I know I come across in my posts as really anal. It's true! I am a Type AAA, melancholy, introverted, perfectionist. I accept and (half-heartedly) embrace that about me. But, I absolutely try and keep this in perspective. Looking at the numbers and doing calculations is my way of trying, in just a little way, to make sense of it all. Our bodies are amazing and so complex and constantly adapting, acting, and reacting to everything around us. That's why I decided to experiment a little in the next few weeks and just see where it takes me.

On the bright side, I have loosened up slightly since I began...I don't shoot for the exact calories EVERY day now (only 6 out of the 7 days laughing) Nope, if we're within about 50+/-, I just go with the flow. But, I do admit on the last day of the "week," I will calculate exactly how many to eat to be spot on. It may not sound like much, but I'm telling you, that is huge to "give up" that daily control. Can see why my hubbie gets frustrated sometimes! And, I'll keep working on it...eventually do want to get to a point where I'm not weighing and calculating all the time and can maintain my weight/measurements, when I get to that place.

On a great note (but again, not attaching too much significance to it and just accepting it for what it is, a blip in time), hubbie's weight today was 312.6. That is the lowest he's weighed in 12 days AND after increasing another 84 calories yesterday and going way over on the sodium (see? proof of my comment in paragraph above....was okay with him being under 16 calories and he was over 8 calories today...I laugh at/with myself so much when I write these posts!) He's on track this week for 2-3 45 minute walks and 2-3 strength trainings which I think is a good activity level for him until he gets his calories up a bit more.

I, on the other hand, seem to be developing a long term relationship with 183.6 as that was my weight for the 4th straight day in a row (unheard of) even dropping to 2292 calories yesterday but back up to 2350 today.

Or with all the errors on MFP and the food labels, I'm probably closer to 3000.

Okay, this post was just too crazy. I think I need to go to bed. I have a lovely 90 minute massage tomorrow morning followed by a blood draw at the oncologist and an ultrasound of my uterus.
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07-28-2016, 07:08 AM
Post: #56
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
Oh I totally get where you are coming from. Take it from another OCD Type AAAA person here laughing I was just trying to (without typing out a whole new response) let you know that there are sooooo many more factors that come into play. You may be counting calories down to that last almond, but then (for whatever unknown reason) you may burn 200 calories more (or less) a day than your device or calculator is giving you, all the sudden making that 15 calorie almond seem pretty insignificant LOL. Relinquishing a little bit of that control will at least make it a bit easier to handle it when the body does not respond as it was "supposed to". Unfortunately, our bodies don't always seem to be reading the same text books that we do laughing

That is so wonderful that hubby's weight has trended back down ... that certainly should be encouraging to him.

You are doing awesome! Enjoy that massage!

Anitra Soto
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ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

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07-29-2016, 08:32 AM
Post: #57
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
I agree with Anitra (don't we all?) that although I understand the desire to control the numbers, there is so much that is outside of our control (like a little more or less burn here and there, or mislabeled foods, etc.) that we have to just use the numbers as a guideline and not a hard line.

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07-29-2016, 08:49 PM
Post: #58
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
Oh, I feel that numbers addiction, Hannah! I lived it for SO long. Spreadsheets and calculations and exact calories...not to mention the damn SCALE!!! I know it's hard to give it up and I also realize that it feels like that will never happen. But, I am living proof that it CAN happen. Small steps. Just keep slowly lessening the control you have over them and focus on feeling better and getting stronger. We're right here with you! Keep up the great work!
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08-01-2016, 10:20 PM (This post was last modified: 08-01-2016 10:23 PM by hannah77.)
Post: #59
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
To be honest, could use a little encouragement/advice from those who have been on this journey longer than the measly 2-1/2 months experience I have. I must admit I feel a bit like I've been spinning my wheels since coming back from my trip two weeks ago and not really sure what (if anything) I should do next. This is my weekly update (shorted by one day since today was measurement day and I also decided tracking Mon-Sun would work better for me) along with my monthly update.

7/26/2016 - 183.6 (previous week's avg calories 2400)
7/27/2016 - 183.6
7/28/2016 - 183.6
7/29/2016 - 184.6
7/30/2016 - 184.0
7/31/2016 - 184.0
8/01/2016 - 184.0 (previous six day's avg calories 2350)

Workouts (this week was a strength workout break) -
Water aerobics X1 (60 minutes); Walk X3 (40 minutes); Yoga X2 (60 minutes)

1 Aug:

1 Jul:

Age - 46
Height - 5'5"
Starting Weight (24 May 16) - 183.0 Current Weight (184.0) + 1.0 pounds
Measurements (original - 30 May 16) current - 1 Aug 16:
Neck (14.00) 13.75 (-.25)
R Arm (13.25) 14.00 (+.75)
L Arm (13.00) 14.00 (+1.0)
Bust (41.00) 38.50 (-2.5)
Waist (40.00) 39.25 (-.75)
Hips (45.00) 43.75 (-1.25)
R Thigh (26.50) 25.50 (-1.0)
L Thigh (26.00) 25.75 (-.25)

My arms have increased in size and although all the other measurements are cumulative losses, several of them are increases from July's measurements...e.g. total inches lost from June-July was 12.75, that has dropped Jun-Aug to 9.75. I feel like I'm going backwards. Is this normal? Did I just have a really great first month and am reverting back to a more average progress? Did the week's break have an impact? How about I had to measure right after strength training?

I was also hoping to see more change in my waist, but since I have always been kind of pear-shaped and it was drastically affected by this chemically induced menopause I've been put in (I love that term menopot, describes what happened to me to a "T"), I'm guessing it will probably be the last body part to be affected. I just have to have patience, but I need it NOW! LOL

I'm not sure what's going on with the weight either (I know, I know...our bodies have their own agendas)...I have to say I did have an interesting week. First, I took a break from strength training...but I thought dropping the 50 calories a day would compensate for that. Second, usually, I'm pretty "regular" in the digestive/plumbing area, but since getting back from my trip, not so much. Then, I had the pelvic ultrasound on 28 Jul and they did another type of internal ultrasound (if you know what I mean) that wasn't painful but unexpected. It put pressure in certain areas and I ended up with a very painful condition at the end of my digestive track (I don't want to be too graphic, so you'll have to read between the lines)...that did not help matters the last 3-4 days. With the help of some OTC remedies, I am starting to feel somewhat better.

So, I'm wondering if that might have something to do with my weight idling 2 pounds over where I'd been before my vacation even though I dropped down 50 calories per day this past week. Maybe I'm still somewhat backed-up. The week prior to vacation, I was at 2150 calories (and 182.4 pounds) vice 2350 last week. I don't think the calories is the answer as the EM2WL calculator has my TDEE (moderate) at 2384 and my UA band has my daily burn (with no workouts) at 2050, so I still think my TDEE is >= 2500....unless I'm running up against a slightly suppressed metabolism at this stage in the game.

I also wasn't overly excited about my husband's measurements. His starting weight on 26 Jul was 314.2 (believe he was up to 2600 calories the previous week). Yesterday, his weight was 313.2 (with calories at 2700 the previous week). That was good as he trended down (and only up 3.6 pounds since 24 May)...but he increased 1.5 inches in his measurements. I mean, each of his biceps increased by .5 inches (which is what I guess a man would want) and he lost an inch in his waist, and several inches in his hips, but his thighs and calves increased. Trying to be positive, with his knee replacement, his legs getting bigger are a good thing because he's gaining muscle (which he really needs to support his knee)...but I guess I was just expecting more of a result that would motivate him.

His journey has been a difficult one as I have already chronicled. He's been so focused on the weight that I think it was causing too much stress (for both of us) which was sabotaging our effects. Since I think he's still significantly under eating (has just eaten over his daily BMR for the first time this last week...which is also a huge, positive milestone that took 9 weeks to achieve!) I told him to take a break from weighing in for the month of August so I can keep his calories going up (although very difficult when he only eats like 400 calories for breakfast and doesn't want to eat after 7:30pm)....calculator has him at 3630 calories for light activity, 3168 for sedentary. I'll have to try and see what his UA band is calculating on a no-workout day (it's really hard as the UA band doesn't keep that stat you either have to check at some point during the day and extrapolate for 24 hours or check it really close to midnight before it rolls over). But, I think my goal in August is to get him close to 3200.

The goal for this week is 2800 calories for him, 3X strength and only 3X walk (45-60 minutes). For me, 2400 calories (as I still don't think I've quite figured out my TDEE and think I could push it a little higher.) We'll see...I have an abdominal CT scan on Friday and from my experience six months ago, that really messes up my digestive track for a couple days with the barium sulfate you have to drink. tongue 3X strength, 2X water aerobics, 2X yoga, 3X walk.

To end on a positive note, here are the good things going on: applause big grinparty
1) Completed my CPR/AED recertification training on Friday...another step closer to teaching again.
2) Husband over BMR calories (from 1500 - 2700, 80% increase with 3.6# gain).
3) Husband's leg muscles developing.
3) I'm close to TDEE (from 1325 - 2400, 81% increase with 1# gain).
3) Was able to do 10 modified push-ups in a row today and am feeling stronger overall.
4) Hopefully back to my "normal" workout schedule.
5) While my thigh measurements increased from last month, I really feel like they are more defined and they "feel" tighter to me, so maybe same size but more muscle.
6) I haven't given up!
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08-01-2016, 10:46 PM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2016 04:31 AM by AnitraSoto.)
Post: #60
RE: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step -- Lao Tzu
One HUGE thing to remember: As you are working through finding your TDEE and then the subsequent reset process, do not expect to see outward signs of progress. For some very lucky people (who we all hate laughing ) they do see a drop on the measuring tape or scale. But for the vast majority of us, the "goal" is to simply make it through the reset process with as little of a gain as possible as we allow our metabolisms to heal. As you are eating more and incorporating some strength training, you may start to *feel* those muscles growing (under a seemingly stubborn layer of fat), improved complexion, hair and nails, and an increased level of energy. Lots of things are going on inside, but shrinking down in size is rarely one of them...... Hence the need for patience.

Use the reset period to just relax into the process and enjoy eating more. The magic will begin to happen once your metabolism is back up and running where it should be. This return to normal will be enhanced by the strength training. Muscle = Metabolism

Use this time to concentrate on the bottom part of your post. The positive things! Don't underestimate or under-value those positive changes!

Did you see this? Something that might be helpful, especailly at this very point of your journey...

"Are you New(ish) to EM2WL and are looking for some help with your journey? Do you understand the Diet Mentality and the reasons you brought yourself to EM2WL? Are you looking to improve on your goals while still living a good life RIGHT NOW?

EM2WL is taking a Beta Test group through our new mini Workshop/Course called "Crushing the Diet Mentality This will only be available to members who sign up for the email announcing when this will be launched. No social media link will be available for it - only those who request to be on the waiting list will be notified.

Included in the Course will be our new E-book, a private Facebook Group coached by Kiki (Co-Owner of and the EM2WL Team, Videos only accessible to the beta group, Video conferences and a ton of support. Get in on this beta launch before it becomes public in the Fall!"

You can sign up to be notified when this Beta Workshop/Course will take place at:

Anitra Soto
Team EM2WL
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

My EM2WL Journey:
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