Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thirsty Thursday

Here is my new favorite drink to have every morning. It's a high protein mocha. Made at home. Served on ice. So much cheaper than driving through Starbucks and so many more grams of protein. You can add more protein if you need it, but 40 grams gives me a good start on my day and usually doesn't leave me with much more to get at bedtime.

1 cup International Delight "light" mocha
3/4 cup skim Fairlife milk
40 grams chocolate protein powder

Mix it all together and serve over ice. With a straw. Because it's fancier with a straw.
Breakfast for 293 calories / 47p / 18c / 2f

This International Delight Mocha stuff is found in the refrigerator section, maybe by the orange juice, probably by the other coffee creamers. It look just like this and is yummy. But not nutritious on it's own!

This picture is after I got to work and my drink was half gone. It just tastes like an iced mocha. Or coffee flavored chocolate milk. It doesn't have a huge coffee flavor and it doesn't taste like a yucky protein drink.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Making Time to Run

As the weather is getting nicer, I am changing up my schedule a bit. My friend Tracy wants to start running again, and although we haven't made a plan for that, I am hoping that she is free on Friday mornings. I am excited to have someone to run with and talk to. Since Erin and I parted gym-ways, I am so lonely when I work out now. It's also good to have someone to keep me on schedule. And Friday are rest days unless you get up early.

I also think I want to do one run without her each week too. I need to work on my own level and goals. That's the downside of having workout partners. It's a lot of compromise and group goal setting.So while, I imagine running with her would be just about getting miles in, my other day could be about improving my speed or working on interval sprints. But if I am going to be running more, I don't need to be working my leg muscles twice a week. And I need to streamline/lower my overall time at the gym.

So I have a new plan. I have divided my weight lifting into three upper-body days (one low weight and at home) and two at the gym and one leg day. I have also revolved my schedule both around some classes I would like to take, and Dan's annoying work/social schedule.

Here is what I am looking at for the next month or two:

Monday - Run afterwork + arms at home
Tuesday - REST
Wednesday - Spin class + arm day
Thursday - Sprints + leg day
Friday - Run with Tracy in the AM
Saturday - BodyCombat + arm day
Sunday - REST

That seems to be a good mix and still gives me time for two runs. I don't want to be a runner. I'm not planning on signing up for any races. I just like the competitive spirit of getting better than you were yesterday. 

And right now, I am tried of being stuck inside for the last few months!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

My Favorite Trail

I learned to do all my running on a gravel path that lead out of town. For a long time it was my favorite place to accomplish all my goals. But when I moved away from that part of town, that trail became too far away to go back to. In fact, all the trails around my new house were along busy highways and included a lot of stoplights.

And I was sad.

Then Dan took me just a mile or so away from home, and showed my where all the wonderful inner-city trails existed. Never having grown up on the south side of town, I was lucky to even understand the streets.

Those southern Lincolnites get all the best things. There are parks everywhere. And even a major lake in the middle of town. Where I grew up on the north side, the suburbs were all far away from each other and we took the highway to get to school.

So in exploring the south bike trails, I fell in love with the Rock Island Trail. It goes miles and miles without crossing any major roads and it is all lined with beautiful scenery. Dan and I walked it a couple of times. It goes all the way down town. Though I think we stopped after three miles.

When I started running again last Spring, I did one run on this trail. But I didn't go very far. Because I was still easing back into it.

And then the spring rains came. And came. And came.

And our basement got wet several times. And Jennifer's basement became a swimming pool. And things were destroyed.

Including the Rock Island Trail.

Apparently all the beautiful trees got flooded and the ravines that run around it got eroded. And there was standing water on it for much of the summer.

And they closed it.

Plus there was some construction on the bridges that went over it.

Maybe due to the erosion. Maybe not.

But it was closed all summer. And I learned to run another trail. That I don't love. But it is flat and doesn't have any major intersections and has some pretty areas.

But last night I decided to jog toward the Rock Island Trail again. Just to see if it was open.

And it was.

And it wasn't a great jog. But it was beautiful. And flat. And I never saw a car. But there were tons of people enjoying the beautiful evening.

And I was happy.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Reverse Diet: Week 4

Lowest Weight: 2.6 pounds
Average Weight: 3 pounds
Macro Breakdown 1840 calories (148p/168c/64f)

Both my lowest weight and my average weight were down from last week. And my average weight was the lowest it has been this whole process. I am feeling really good about how things are going. My brain fluctuates between a) This is so awesome, I am eating 200 more calories of carbs and not gaining a pound. That's 200 calories per day. To b) I am still eating 400 calories per day under what it should take to maintain my weight and I am not losing. What the heck is wrong with me?

But I have become a true believer in the process. Add a small amount, 45 calories per week. Let your body get used to it. Add a bit more. I can not wait to see how many calories I can consume without gaining weight. And I also can't wait to maintain that all summer. How delicious. But what I am even more excited for is after I spend my whole summer maintaining my weight at 2300 calories, I can cut back to just 1800 (what I am eating now) and hopefully start losing. Pretty quickly. Because I will have reset my metabolism. And as crazy as that sounds, this part is working great, so I believe them! The Scientists. The Internets. The people who tell me that reverse dieting is all part of the dieting process. And everyone should be doing this. Because learning to maintain is more than half the battle of weight loss.

I am also feeling better and the weather has warmed up again. So I am expecting a great week. I had a bit of an un-tracked Easter. I am certain I stayed under my calories for the day, but I ate a lot of sugar and that made my tummy mad.

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Week in Workouts

I have been such a bad blogger lately. I have started a few posts and never finish them. Either I run out of time, or they are relevant anymore. Or I run out of time. Or they were worthless anyway. Or probably, I ran out of time! I also wasn't a great worker-outer this week. I am still pretty warn out from whatever bug got me down last week. Apparently if you're only going to have one illness a year you might as well Go Big or Go Home! 

Saturday was my first day back at the gym. And I was worried about my stamina. But I did great. I did a good 45 minutes of BodyCombat and then still had energy to stick around for upper body weights. I must have been working extra hard just trying to breathe and not pass out because I burned an extra 100 calories from the same workout last week. 

Also I got new shoes. Which is super exciting too. Because I love new shoes. 

I didn't have any plans on Sunday, or the plans I did have fell through because Samantha wasn't feeling very well. But I was so worn out I laid around almost all day on Sunday. I never did make it to the gym. I kept planning to go, but I never got enough energy to do it. 

Monday I had about one hour between work and dinner plans with friends. I wanted to take advantage of the longer daylight (thank you daylight savings time) so I went for a jog after work. It was so windy. And my head was so full of snot. And I didn't pack any kleenex. And it was hard enough to jog without all the extra wind. I ended up letting myself do just two miles. Then I came home and did a few weights, but I was late and had to head out for dinner.

Tuesday I talked Dan into doing a walk around the neighborhood. I wanted to show him a house that had awesome landscaping. I am trying to re-do our backyard and want to model it after this house I saw. On our walk, we discovered this random lake in the middle of some nice houses. How can I have lived there for three years and still not know everything that is hiding in the hood? Then Dan got so hungry out on the walk that he could hardly wait to return home, so we made the trek over to Goodcents for sandwiches. It wasn't a great calorie burn but it was a nice family walk.

Wednesday, I made myself sign up for Spin class. There was a sub... the same sub that was there last time I went. So maybe she's not a sub after all but the actual teacher of the class. Which is a bit disappointing, since her class is pretty boring. But I was happy to have an easy class for my ease-back-into-it week. Turns out the whole class was hills, which left me with not very many miles, but a good calorie burn. Then I stayed and did upper body weights. I might have to switch my schedule so I do more upstairs on Wednesday evenings when the place is packed, versus Saturday morning when the place is empty.

Then I was supposed to go back on Thursday for leg day. But I didn't want to. I had time. I wasn't really tired. I just didn't want to go. So I didn't. And I guess that's okay. But it's no way to get my legs in shape for summer. 

The weather turned cold and rainy toward the end of the week. But I am hoping that Spring is here to stay and I can find some motivation. Somewhere. To do something. More blogging. Better workouts. My taxes. Anything.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Reverse Diet: Week 3

Lowest Weight: 3.6 pounds
Average Weight: 4.3 pounds
Macro Breakdown: 1840 calories (148p/168c/64f)

Both my lowest weight and my average weight was up a pound (or more) this week. But it was a pretty awful week. Work was super stressful. I had an awful cold that still hasn't completely gone away. And it was that time of the month. All three of those things could influence my weight individually. But add them all together, and: BAM! I also was not perfect with my macros. Some days I didn't feel like eating, so I didn't hit them. And one day, I stuck to my calories but not my carb limit. When you're sick, the only thing that sounds good is carbs. Even more: I didn't work out at all last week. I tried to let my body completely heal. It's still working on that!

I really want my body to level out with these calories before I go and introduce even more to it. So I am going to repeat this week. My numbers are already much closer to the first week again. It may be that my period week always throw the scale pattern off. But I am not sure enough of this process to just say who cares just yet. And as I have said, I don't care how long it takes. Each week is exciting because I get to eat even more food. And I really want to understand my scale patterns for when I get closer to maintenance and have to decide if this is just an off week, or if I actually gained a pound of fat from these numbers.

Moving forward, I hope to get in some good workouts this week. I did a good BodyCombat/weight session on Saturday, but was worn out on Sunday and never made it to the gym. My work week seems to have calmed for a minute, so hopefully I will be able to recover completely and get back to building muscles and losing fat and eating a bunch!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Five Random Things I Wanted to Tell You

1. I think my fever broke on Monday night. I could not sleep. I woke up drenched in sweat. I could not breathe. Tuesday I still felt terrible but didn't need as many Tylenol to make it through a tough day at work. And instead of feeling like my head was exploding, I just had to blow my nose 253 times. Tuesday night I got on top of the Tylenol and ended up sleeping straight for nine hours. Today I am feeling like things are on the upswing. Man, I hate being sick. But it really makes you appreciate your good days.

2. I was at Sammie's house a few weeks back and she tried this Greek Yogurt Flip thing for breakfast. And she didn't like it. So I ate it. And it has changed my breakfast life. I have tried three of them so far. Her's was the best. I think it was called Chocolate Haze Craze. But I like any of them with chocolate chips and nuts mixed in. I of course won't love the fruit ones because I don't even like fruit yogurt! It's a little high in fat (compared to my normal fat free yogurt) and higher in carbs than some. But it makes a good breakfast or afternoon snack. Thanks Sammie, for teaching me about this treat!

3. Speaking of food at Jennifer's house, she always has pickles. And I love pickles. And Dan loves pickles. And we always eat a couple while we are there. But I haven't had pickles at my house for years and years. So I said to Dan the other day, why don't we ever buy pickles? So we went to the grocery store and bought pickles. But Dan doesn't know about white pickles vs. green pickles. And he refuses to listen to me. So we had to buy each kind (his fave and mine) and have a taste test. And I totally won. But he won't admit that. But now I have pickles. And do you know they're only one carb? And crunchy and salty and delicious.

4. My Sammie was in a play last weekend. And it was ridiculously cute. And she was so nervous at first. And I could totally read it on her face. And she could see me in the front row. And I felt so nervous for her and cried a couple of times because I am an emotional wreck. Good thing I don't have my own kids. Afterward, Dan told her I was crying...
Sammie: Why were you crying Karrie?
Me: I was just so proud of you and all the hard work you did. And it's very brave to be up on stage and I was nervous for you!
Sammie: Oh! I thought you were worried I wouldn't be able to come and see you afterward.

5. The weather has been so beautiful here. That I don't even feel bad wasting this whole weekend laying on the couch. Because all the weekends are beautiful. And I don't know if this is global warming. But I kinda like it. Too bad for the polar bears and stuff though!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Reverse Diet: Week 2

Lowest Weight: 2.0 pounds
Average Weight: 3.3 pounds
Macro Breakdown: 1795 calories (146p/161c/63f)

Several good things happened this week. Although I started my week higher than last week, my highest weight of the week, was the same. And I saw my lowest weight of all time! My average was also lower this week than last week.

I was feeling really good about this process. Part of me was contemplating staying at those same macros for another week to see if I could go even lower. But that isn't the plan. The plan is to fix this metabolism so I can actually lose weight in a normal way. So I increased my numbers on Saturday.

But Friday I got struck with an awful cold/sinus/head explosion. This weekend I have not been on point with my food. I have tried to keep my fats and carbs around the same places, but I haven't been able to chug down enough protein. I have not worked out either. And only comfort foods sound good. My scale has definitely gone up. Higher than either of the weeks. I have noticed that I gain weight when I am sick. I have always assumed its the two pounds of snot that seem to be stored in my sinus cavities. Dan pointed out that your body holds on to water more when you're sick because it is grasping for anything to help it. That makes a bit of sense. Also why you're supposed to drink more liquids.

Technically my weight was a little lower this morning and I am hoping that's my body hitting recovery. However, this week will also be my period and I am eager to see if I still follow the exact same pattern from the last two weeks. This time of month always messes with my scale. So these two disasters, may make this week a do-over. Maybe I will stick with these same numbers one more week to make sure my body balances out from all this stress.

Friday, March 11, 2016

My Week in Workouts

I had another crazy week, that got me off my planned schedule. But I powered through this week and really made the most of it! I got in four workouts and burned a good amount of calories. The weather has been cooperating and that has left me feeling motivated. I am determined to start working on my running and my arm muscles.

Saturday I had to start the week with a rest day. Sammie had a play in the morning and that led to eating lunch with the family and then a required nap. We had to be at our caucus site before 5:00 and that didn't leave me any time in the day to hit the gym. I could have gone in the evening, but I skipped to watch CNN in Nebraska covering the election results!

Sunday I needed a good workout, since I had taken three rest days in a row. Yes, THREE! I hit the afternoon Bodycombat class and then stayed for weights. The leg machines were busy both times I needed them, so I just did my upper-body routine. Plus I wanted to get home. Some days I love spending time at the gym, some days I just want to get out of there.

Monday, I got off of work early and got that great Interval run done. I told you all about that here!

Tuesday is my normal rest day, and I partook.

Wednesday I made it to the gym for a spinning class. After that was over, I stayed to do upper-body weights again. I am thinking about switching my plan around. I would continue to do three full upper-body days (keeping the exact things I am already doing) and then moving all of my lower body things to one day. I don't love the idea of a leg day. But I do like doing these cardio classes (Combat and Spin) before my weights, and usually I am too worn out to do legs after that. We'll try this for a while. Also I can do arms at home, which means I can mix it with a run one day a week.

Thursday I had to work until 7:15, but then I high tailed it to the gym for a quick sprint session and lower body weights. I hadn't done squats in over a week now and I am worried I will feel that for days. That's the thing about doing squats two or three times a week: not as sore. I am so torn! But if I am running two times a week and spinning once a week, I don't need to do as many leg weights.

Friday: I thought about running in the morning. But I woke up battling a cold and just didn't have the motivation to get myself there. Rest is probably what I need more.

I am happy with four workouts. That gives me three good rest days, allows me to have social interruptions and I still feel like I pushed hard. I burned a good amount of calories this week. My workouts have been efficient!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Real Change at the Caucus

I am way into politics this year. Or maybe I have been in years past too. But I spend a large amount of my time following what is going on in all the races, all the debates that are on, who is leading which poll, and who has insulted who today. It's like a real reality show but with actual politics mixed in a bit.

But that's not what this post is about.

We did go caucusing this weekend though. I did not love it as much as I did eight years ago.

But really, that's not what this post is about.

But is should be said that I am a Bernie Sanders fan and really think he could make some good changes to our country. Though I too have lost hope in the entire election process and the congress getting anything done.

Seriously, that's not what this post is about.

But back to the caucus. We were in a school gym. And there was a pull-up bar. And I challenged Dan to a pull-up contest. Because there was a lot of waiting around. I knew I couldn't do a pull-up, I have tried at the gym.

Dan hurt his shoulder (falling down the stairs and grabbing onto the railing) about a year ago and hasn't been able to do pull-ups since then either. He claimed it was all healed, but when he tried on Saturday, it hurt too much to pull.

But because there were all these chairs around, and because it was a child's height pull-up bar, I stood on the chair, was able to jump a little until I was above the bar, had Dan pull the chair out, and then I flailed a bit and kicked my legs around until I fell to the ground.

But it wasn't immediately.

It was at least ten seconds of kicking and flailing.

While I kept my chin above that bar.

That is progress.

That caucus wasn't as pointless as I thought. Real change can happen. You just have to keep working on it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Interval Running

I was off before 4:00 yesterday and the weather has just been beautiful around here lately. I knew I wanted to get a run in since I would actually have after-work light. But it was super windy out and I knew that wasn't ideal for setting any records. It was also pretty warm (81 when I got off work) and I wasn't quite sure if my body would be ready for that heat. My usual runs lately have been 45-55 degrees. So I decided to use my runkeeper app and set up an interval run. I randomly decided on 30/30 walk/run splits that I would do for 30 minutes. Plus a 5 minute warm up and cool down would make a perfect 40 minute workout.

Boy that was hard.


My overall distance was right at 3 miles for the 40 minutes. That's a 13:27 pace. That doesn't seem that fast. But this does include ten minutes of walking, which isn't usually added to my 3 mile runs. I probably shouldn't have counted it this time either. I can warm up and cool down without the app. My pace before the cool down started was under 13:00 minutes and that still included the warm up. Therefore, running this interval method, is faster than running the whole three miles at a steady pace, which I last did at a 12:42 pace.

However, this was so much harder. I was panting harder. I was wanting to quit. I'm sure I wanted to quit then, but starting and stopping was brutal. I told myself to slow down, but I don't seem to be very good at listening to myself. 

Thirty Intervals: 
8:00-9:00 pace - 4
9:00-10:00 pace - 10
10:00-11:00 pace - 10
11:00-12:00 pace - 6

I want to note that there were two times I had to slow myself down on a run because I needed to pass people and didn't want to pass them and then stop. There were also two run intervals that I had to wait for cars.

This is something I might work on. Getting those intervals higher. Getting further in my 40 minutes. I thought this was so much of a better workout, calorie burn wise. But look at it compared yo my run-the-whole-thing-really-slow workout last month. I actually burned more calories running the whole things steady. (511 vs. 460) However, yesterdays contained 16 minutes of walking and stretching, where as, last month was just six minutes. So, they probably are about the same. 

My conclusion therefore, is I probably need both kinds of runs. My legs are dead today and I was just wearing my smallest blue pants that I always equate with fitting the best when I had a runner's booty. 

So I want to go back to being a runner? No. No races for me. But I think I might start doing two runs a week again. The treadmill has been good to me this winter. It has definitely made my sprints faster. My fastest interval yesterday was 8:25 and that was half-way in! But I am ready to get back to the outdoors. We have been so blessed with the weather this year. And Tracy is ready to run with me one day a week. I am thinking a Monday and Friday would be a good bookend to my workout week! I also know that weights will help with my leg strength, but I was previously thinking I needed to do more leg weights and now I think once a week mixed with two runs would whip these legs into summer shape. Then what if I added one spin class a week too...

Wait, enough with the cardio...

Monday, March 7, 2016

Reverse Diet: Week 1

Lowest Weight: 3.2 pounds
Average Weight: 3.9 pounds
Macro Breakdown: 1750 calories (144p/154c/62f)

I started my reverse diet at 2.8 pounds, so my average weight shows about a pound gained. I am okay with this. Even with my old numbers, I feel like I could have averaged that same number.

I am going to increase again this week, but only by half as many calories this time. Last week I boosted it up 14 carbs and from several things I read, that is a lot. I have seen 5 carbs per week suggested from a lot of sites, in order to see the most minimal amount of scale gain. Which of course is what I want. So 7 carbs seems like a good amount to try this week. That will take me to:

1795 calories - 146p/161c/63f

As long as I keep increasing, I have no set time frame when I want to be done. If it takes me 8 weeks to get to maintenance or 20, I happy with that. I am already 20 carbs higher than I was cutting last week. Twenty carbs is like a piece of bread. Or a small apple. Or half a banana! I haven't noticed an increase in energy yet, but I am waiting for it! Plus if I can keep eating more and not have a gain on the scale or with how my clothes fit, that's a winning formula.

Oddly, when I start thinking about it, I should still be losing weight. I am still at a deficit. And I am not. And that's a funny thing. My metabolism must really be messed up. And that's exactly why I am doing this.

Friday, March 4, 2016

My Week in Workouts

I had a busy work and social week, so my workouts were very minimal this week. But I got in my four required sessions and that's good enough. I have to be okay with that. And I would say the four workouts I did get in, were quality.

Saturday I started off with a BodyCombat, got a good workout there and then stayed in the weight room and did my weight routine. I feel super-buff after I get a good cardio session in, and that calorie burn. Plus look at that arm muscle. This had me inspired for the whole week!

Sunday, was just cardio day and I didn't have a lot of motivation. Too windy to run outside, but I needed to keep myself occupied for a whole hour. So I took another BodyCombat class. It was a good class. But my calorie burn wasn't as great as it sometimes is. Am I getting accustomed to this class?

Monday, I decided I should try a new lifting program and I would start with Leg and Shoulder day. But I always got off early enough to go to spinning class. I thought it would be another good cardio+weights day. But man, I was exhausted after spin class and my legs were exhausted. So much for leg day. I tried to do a bunch of shoulder weights, but my arms were so tired from two days of kickboxing that even that was difficult. This was still a fine workout, just nothing like I had planned.

Tuesday is my normal rest day now. 

Wednesday, I did sprints and weight day. After contemplating for a few days, I decided to stick with the three full-body day plan I was currently doing. I was thinking of switching to a split day, but it turned out I was still just doing three exercises per body part, and I feel like if I do three in a row, I won't be able to lift as heavy. As it is, I can work my triceps to exhaustion with just one exercise, three times a week.  My triceps and shoulders were sore from this workout for days.

Thursday I worked an eleven hour day and had two programs. So I skipped my extra workout day. 

Friday is always my rest day. But this week, my friend Tracy emailed me asking when we can start running again. I think I will suggest Friday mornings if that works for her. Then I could take my Sundays or Wednesdays off. We probably won't start again until later March. But I look forward to seeing if I have progressed since the last time we ran together. 

So like I said, this was a minimal week. But I still worked out over four hours and burned a over 2300 calories. My weekend looks just as crazy, so I may not get a Combat class in this week. But at least I should be able to move my arms better.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Weight of Water

By increasing carbs, I knew that my weight would go up slightly. I read up on some formulas to see if anyone could tell me what was "normal". This is what I found: for each 1 gram of carbs you eat, your body holds on to 3-4 grams of water. So I am eating 14 more carbs per day this week than I was last week. So that's 50-60 grams of water per day. But what does that mean? A pound of water is 450 grams... so that's about 8-9 days worth. And it can't be compound like that. It won't just keep holding on forever. Right? But if it's only daily, I would gain 1/9 of a pound in a day, and that's not enough to show up on the scale.

But it has.

In order to keep the best records, I have a new method for determining my weight. I weigh every morning (still) and then at the end of the week, I am going to take an average. And that should be interesting. Disclaimer: I really wish I had used this method in the past, because I would like to see what my average is, even when I was eating my old calories. Even when I reported that my weight last week was 2.8 pounds from goal, that was my lowest weight of the week. And it probably varied upward at least a pound if not more. So my average last week might be no less than my average this week.

This week, my weight has increased. Every day for a few days. And then it leveled off. And then today it dropped. I wonder if this is the pattern that will happen every week. And I really wonder if it will keep dropping now. When I report my weight on Mondays I will probably do a low and an average. Just to have all the facts out there.

And if it does keep dropping, how tempting is it going to be to stay there.

On the flip side, if it doesn't how scared am I going to get?

Which brings me to the most important part of my post...

I have learned something so amazing in these last five days. When I gained 1.8 pounds (at the most this week) I did not gain fat. I am not eating enough food to gain fat. I have been 100% spot on with my macros. So I know I didn't gain fat. I gained weight. I gained water.

And that means nothing.

I knew I was going to gain water, because of the increase in carbs. Of course I want the scale to say something less in the long run. But it puts weight fluctuations in so much better perspective for me. Those times I would say I burned 3500 through workouts, why did the scale go up? Or, apparently eating an extra 300 calories makes me gain two pounds.

I still don't understand the math. Either does my scale. But I believe in this process. And I am not scared of water.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Metabolism Rehabilitation

After being called out by one of my fit sisters (and I love them for this. Plus, she didn't call me out directly, but let me come to this conclusion on my own, and then said, yes I was worried about you!) I started to think about some things.
  • I burn about 2100 calories just existing. Walking around work, getting ready for the day, laying on the couch. You can calculate this online. It's your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure.)
  • Add on to that what I burn during workouts. Let's assume my heart-rate monitor is reading high and I have a lazy week, and I only burn 2100 calories, that is still an average of 300 per day.
  • So I need 2400 calories just to maintain my life. Every day.
  • I have been eating 1660 calories every day for seven weeks. Minus maybe five days. But even those days, I might have eaten 2000 calories and I never ate more than 2400. 
  • Doing some math I should be losing at least a pound per week. Even if it's not exactly 3500 calories/pound and even acknowledging that weight loss is not linear and therefore I might lose no pounds for a few weeks, but then should lose three. 
  • And instead I haven't even lost three pounds in seven weeks.
  • Nothing is wrong with my thyroid. I have had it checked. So baring any other medical issues...
  • Something is wrong with my Set Point.
I did a bunch of research. Google set point and you will see all the articles I read. I am by no means an expert at it, but this is what I have gathered: your set point is basically what I have been calling my "happy weight". It's the weight that your body wants to be at and fights to stay at. So you have to fight back extra hard to beat it. And that is what I have been doing. Limiting my calories by even more than needed, adding on more and more cardio to fool it. But your body can't be fooled easily. As you lose weight, that set point is lowered and it becomes harder to lose weight. Years of low calorie eating can cause this as well as random cheat days where your body doesn't know WTF is happening!

Long story short, you want to raise your set point, or fix your metabolism, so that when you cut 500 calories from your TDEE you actually lose a pound per week. But this is a long process. Everything I read kept reminding me that this isn't something you do for your current self, but your future self will thank you for! You are changing your body for the future, so it will be easier to lose weight or just so you can eat more in general!

Step 1. Eat a little more each week, giving your body time to adapt to those calories.
Step 2. Until you reach maintenance calories.
Step 3. Keep eating at maintenance level until your body is happy.
Step 4. Cut your calories again, and hope for better results.

So here's my plan: I am going to work on increasing my calories. But I don't want to just jump up to maintenance level calories (2300-2400) because then I would gain a bunch of weight and freak out. I am going to take eight weeks to raise them that high. Maybe longer. I will add a little bit each week (90 calories per week) as of right now. I will gain a little weight because most of those calories will come from carbs (4 extra protein, 14 extra carbs and 2 extra fats each week.) But supposedly that will level off. I will still be in a deficit for the next seven weeks. So I could even lose weight, though that is not the goal, nor is it expected. Anything I gain is just water weight from the extra carbs, not actual fat.

When I get closer to the end of the eight weeks I should be able to see what my body is doing at 2300 calories. Am I just maintaining that same weight level? The goal is to keep increasing slowly until I actually start to gain. And then when I have discovered my actual maintenance range, remain there for eight weeks.

And somehow that is enough to make my body happy and realize that this is going to be a great life and we don't need to freak out! And after that eight weeks is over, and I do another cut, it should actually respond to the reduced calories. Hopefully at a much faster rate. Then you can lose another 10-15 pounds (10% is what I've read) and have to start the whole process again. But I would be at my goal weight then.

I think it will be scary. Because I don't want to gain weight. That is not what is supposed to happen. But I will. In fact, I have gained two pounds since I started on Saturday. But my weight can swing that much in a normal week too. So I just need to stay the course. On the other hand, I might want to stay here a second week, just to make sure it levels off. I might want to only increase 45 extra calories next week (add only 7 carbs.) I am excited about extra food, even though I am increasing my protein too, I am going to enjoy extra carbs. I will be able to eat a banana again!

If I stick to the eight week plus eight week plan, I arrive at maintenance April 23rd. Then I get to eat at maintenance until June 18th. Through my most stressful work times (May and June) so that is a huge benefit. Then I could start cutting in the middle of June. That doesn't sound as exciting. I was hoping to do more maintaining through all over summer and cut in September. So I could just maintain longer. Or by that point, I might be ready.

That's my plan for now. To rehabilitate my metabolism. To change my set point. To reverse diet!