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So, Here’s my progress so far….. 67 lbs down, about 40 to go!

17 Oct

So, first, thank you guys for following my progress, and offering encouragement and support. As many of you know, we started our weight loss journey on Jan 6 of this year. Although the progress has slowed significantly in the past few months, our journey continues. For now, here’s a snapshot or two of our progress!!! Please keep checking in for more recipes and updates!

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142 lbs

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What is “Basal Metabolic Rate” and Why Should I Care About It?

17 Jul

What I Recently Learned about BMR and Weight Loss

So, as many of you know, I’ve been on my “weight loss journey” for about 6 months now, and I’ve lost a total of 50 lbs. And, also, many of you know that I use a program called “loseit” to track my daily calorie intake and also my exercise (my fitness pal is similar).
Loseit (and MFP) allows you to enter information about yourself (height, weight, age, etc) as well as a rate at which you’d like to lose weight. (ie anywhere from .5 lbs per week to 2 lbs per week) And in turn, it uses that data to calculate the number of calories you can eat per day, and achieve that weekly weight loss goal.

When I started, I had a LOT of weight to lose. I only consider myself to be “halfway to where I’m going” after 50 lbs. That said, I began my journey with a weight loss goal of 2 lbs per week, and for about 4 months I met that goal religiously. About 4 weeks ago, I noticed that my weight loss had slowed down to about 1 lb per week on average. This didn’t make sense to me since I had been following the same program, the same way, for 6 months. My curious nature led me to do some research so I could better understand what my body needs to resume quicker weight loss.

What is BMR?

BMR Stands for “Basal Metabolic Rate”. Essentially, your BMR indicates how many calories a day your body specifically requires simply in order to exist. It’s the number of calories burned by breathing, circulating blood, blinking, regulating body heat, etc. Simply put, if you were in a coma, and remained motionless for a full day, your BMR would be the # of calories you would burn during that time.

BMR is also the formula programs like “LOSEIT” and “MY FITNESS PAL” use to calculate your daily caloric intake recommendations.

Why Do I Need to Know This?

I assumed, as many do, that I could stay on loseit forever and continue losing 2 lbs per week, as long as I followed the recommended calorie budget. I was wrong. What I learned is that the rate at which your body processes calories changes, based on how big you are, essentially. That being said, when I began my journey, I was very big, and I could afford to have the sort of calorie deficit that causes a 2 lb loss. However, as you get smaller, your body can’t function properly at a deficit that high. Meaning, suddenly I reached a threshold where my body couldn’t sustain a 2 lb loss every week. The smaller you get, the slower you lose.

You need to really pay attention to what your BMR is, and adjust your weekly weight loss goals to match it. Ideally, your daily calorie budget should be about 100 calories above your BMR. (because BMR doesn’t take into account calories burned by doing things like brushing your hair, getting dressed, walking to your car, etc, so you need to allow enough calories to perform those functions).
For example: If you weight 230 lbs, your body can function with a large calorie deficit, and continue to lose at a rate of 2 lbs per week. However, if you weigh 180, a more reasonable goal would be 1 or 1.5 lbs per week.

See, if you don’t adjust your goals to match your MBR, you run the risk of falling into what people refer to as “starvation mode.” This is where you find yourself consuming less calories than your body requires to perform basic functions (breathing, sleeping, regulating temperature, etc) and as a result, your body stops burning the calories you DO eat, because it needs to use them all to keep you breathing. If you consistently eat significantly below your MBR you will see a stop in weight loss, and possibly negative physical side effects (like hair loss, which is one of the first signs of malnutrition). Or, in my case, if the deficit is less significant, you’ll just see a slow or stop in your losses.

How do I really know what Weekly Weight loss Goal/Calorie intake is Right for me?

1. Calculate your actual BMR. You can use this site to help: What’s My BMR?

2. Visit your weight loss program (MFP or Loseit in this case) to see what your daily calorie budget is.

3. If you daily calorie budget is less than your BMR, you need to adjust your “weekly goal” until they are within 100 calories of one another. (ie, I had to drop from 2 lbs/wk to 1.5)

I have to tell you: I wasn’t happy about the idea that I was going to lose more slowly. But, the fact is, that I was only losing 1 lb per week regardless. I came to terms with the idea that losing 1.5 consistently is better than expecting to lose 2 and only losing 1. Plus, at 2 lbs per week, I’d gotten to a daily budget of just over 1300 calories, which just wasn’t sustainable for me. It is AWFUL hard to stay at or below 1300 calories every single day. My new budget is about 1570 Calories, which is much more reasonable. Plus, my body needs those calories, which means, my body needs to slow down and lose at a rate that is appropriate for me NOW… not me 50 lbs ago.

One final thing I’ve learned before I go: you need to LOG YOUR EXERCISE so you know how many additional calories you’ve burned. And you need to EAT THOSE CALORIES so your body has enough calories to fuel that additional activity. If not, you’re just on the treadmill using up calories that were meant to help you breathe, or, keep your hair from falling out….. This will also keep you from losing. Most sources recommend eating about ½ of the calories you earn by exercising.

I know this is long. Thanks for sticking with me. I hope this has been helpful or beneficial to at least one of you out there in cyberspace. I know it’s really hard to adjust to the advice that “if you want to keep losing, you have to increase your calories and accept slower weight loss.” But essentially, that’s what I’ve found. Happy calorie-counting, and best of luck on your own journey!

PS: I’m not a doctor, a dietician, a nurse, a personal trainer, or any other kind of expert. Just a curious lady trying to lose weight who googled some stuff. If you have more questions, have a look around the internet and do some research on BMR.

Hiking in the Shenandoah National Park- VA

10 Jun

Yesterday, my family and I decided to take a nice hike while vacationing. We headed out to the Shenandoah National Park near Elkton, VA, and chose a 2.6 mile path, which had a beautiful waterfall at the turnaround point. To paint the picture, there were 2 teenage boys, 3 9 year olds, and my 2 year old son in tow on this trip. Along with myself, my husband, my sister-in-law, and brother-in-law. There were little streams to cross, logs to get over, and other minor obstacles along the path, which was mostly down hill (on the way there) and seemed long, but not too difficult to maneuver, while holding the hand of/carrying a 2 year old along the way. We saw some pretty orange and black centipedes that scared the living daylights out of my 9 year old daughter, and, upon arriving, we saw a group of 5 rattlesnakes…which somehow scared her much less that the 4 inch centipedes. Go figure. Aggressive poisonous snakes vs. harmless colorful bug-creatures.

The view was beautiful (see below). They call this the “South River” waterfall. So, if you’re ever wondering around Virginia looking for a decent hike and a pretty view… here ya go.

We turned around to head back, just around my 2 year old’s normal nap time…and right on cue, he fell asleep on his daddy’s shoulders not long after we began ascending our way back to the car. Did I mention the hike back was all up hill, and he would have to be carried the whole way? (all 32 lbs of him)

The hike was lovely on the way there. It was TORTURE on the way back. I hauled myself about 3/4 of the way up and then suddenly reached a point where my body just could not physically make it any further. I had to stop and rest. I got dizzy, nauseous, light headed, and I could literally hear my heart beating, it was beating so hard and fast. The last quarter of the return hike was very rough. I stopped periodically, but there were really times I wasn’t sure I could make it another step… BUT I DID! I stopped along the way to rest, but I MADE IT! I HIKED 1.3 miles UP HILL and didn’t die or evaporate or fall off the side of the mountain. And that, folks, is my victory story for the day 🙂 I really, really wanted to be the person who can do anything..but i had a humbling experience that made me realize that I’ve really still got a long way to go. But, had it not been for the last 6 months of working out, I would never have made it back. Or, at least, not without the assistance of an EMT and/or rescue helicopter 🙂

In the end. I burned about 1200 calories in that 3 hour hike. AWESOME! Take a look at the beautiful view!

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My 2nd 5K! Glow in the night!

19 May

So, a couple of months ago, I reported that my husband and I had walked our first 5k, which was exciting. We pushed the stroller the whole way, so I was literally just walking the whole time, and I finished in 1 hr 6 minutes. Last night, we did a “glow in the dark” color run (where they throw all the colored powder at you along the way…) and it was super fun. We had a good time hanging out with a few of our friends and walking/running the course. My husband improved his time to finish in 32 minutes!!!! And I finished in 43! I can’t wait until the day when I can run all 5k’s, but for now, I’m pretty darn excited about this!

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My First Work Out Routine

1 May

So, I’ve been going to the Y for about 8 weeks now. And every week, i do the same routine. I have a “wellness coach” named Jeff who put this together for me. So far, it seems to be working. It seems like a silly thing to document, but, i’m hoping that one day this little work out plan will be so far behind me that it will seem amusing to know that THIS is how it all started. So, here we go… my first workout routine:

HIIT training: Wednesday, 20 min, alternating 3/5 speed
Cardio of Choice: Friday
“Body Pump” class: Saturday
Weight Lifting: Monday and Thursday
10 reps, 3 sets:

Squats- 15 lbs
Lunges- 15 lbs
Dead Lifts- 15 lbs
Calf Raises- 10 lbs
Back Rows- 10 lbs
Reverse Flys- 5 lbs
Bench Press- 15 lbs (30 total)
Flys- 10 lbs
Bicep Curls- 10 lbs
Tricep Kickbacks- 10 lbs
Planks- 3 (3o sec)

So there it is folks. I’m about 8 weeks in, and i’ve upped the weight on Calf Raises to 15, Back Rows to 12, Reverse flys and flys to 8, bicep curls to 15. The first day I finished body pump, i thought Jeff was out to kill me. It’s still not easy. I fought and kicked, and managed to get yoga in on Tuesday nights. I’m not sure he sees the value in that, but as long as I do a quick 200 calorie cardio beforehand, i don’t feel too guilty 🙂

Let’s hope one day i’ll look back on this and laugh at where it all started. 🙂

My first 5K!!!!

1 May

So, On March 30, 2013 my husband and I completed our first 5k! The Humana Vitality 5k, in downtown Louisville. We had the baby in the stroller, so we mostly walked this one, but we both finished. My walking time was 1 hr 5 minutes. I’m already registered for another 5k on May 18, which I hope to improve by getting in at least a little running. Total weight loss as of March 30: 26.5 lbs!

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