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Posts tagged ‘experiment’

Day 33: Tracking things

When I committed to giving this challenge another try, I told myself that I would stick to one goal or habit at a time. Once I was able to successfully keep that goal/habit for at least seven days straight, then (and only then) I could consider adding another one.

But me being me, I went ahead and modified my goal tracking spreadsheet after my most recent Bod Pod, and put a whole bunch of stuff on it. I didn’t set any new goals or anything, and I didn’t commit to religiously tracking everything, but I did tell myself that I would at the very least try to track these things. And I have for the most part.

I don’t know what it is about spreadsheets, but I love them. I find them motivating. I like having data to analyze, and being able to see how the different things I do affect how I feel and look, and what I am able to do. It makes this whole process seem a lot less like work and a lot more like some fun science experiment (which would explain my earlier Experiments 1 and 2). It may sound silly, but approaching this challenge and my goals in that way has made it so much easier to stick with it.

My spreadsheet also serves as a great visual reminder for me to stay on track towards making the positive changes I’ve committed to. I hung it up on the pantry door in my kitchen. There’s nothing else hanging there, so it doesn’t get lost among other papers (like the stuff I hang on the fridge does), and I see it everyday. Granted, I guess it could make me feel bad by putting my “failures” on display for all to see, but so far, I’ve found it to be motivating – for the most part (it doesn’t seem to help much with my steps).

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Experiment 2

Although I should probably focus on one change at a time, I feel compelled to conduct a second “experiment” between now and my next Bod Pod appointment on September 20th. I might be setting myself up for failure, but I just can’t help myself.

Experiment 2.

Hypothesis: I can increase my fat free mass (FFM) by consistently following the Strong workout program.

Unfortunately, my body won’t let me pick and choose where I want to lose weight from. It just sort of takes it from anywhere. This means that when my scale inches lower, there’s no guarantee I’ve lost any actual fat. It could be water weight, muscle, fat, or a combination of all of the above.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the “skinny fat” look, so I want to retain as much muscle as possible while losing weight. This means I need to lose the weight slowly, and I need to do the things that all the smart health and fitness people say I should do, like lift weights and eat lots of protein. They say that if I do those things, I can retain most of my muscle, even while I’m losing weight. I’ve even read that “noob gains” are a thing, meaning I could even gain some muscle at first. Granted, it wouldn’t likely be much of a gain, but anything is better than nothing.

My plan: I will once again restart the Strong workout program (for like the third or fourth time now) today. Since I’ll be eating maintenance calories, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t gain at least a tiny bit of muscle between now and my next Bod Pod appointment – and see an increase in my FFM on my results. It’s possible I may even gain a little weight overall, but as long as it’s in the FFM category, I’m ok with it.

Current step total: 1,038

Current step goal streak: 1 day
Previous step goal streak: 13 days
Longest step goal streak: 13 days

Experiment 1

Despite yesterday’s setback, I’m not discouraged. My next Bod Pod appointment is on September 20th and I’m excited to see what sort of progress I can make between now and then.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what goals I should set for the next three weeks or so. Normally, I’d focus on actions I know will contribute to weight or fat loss, but there’s just something about turning this into an experiment of sorts that I can’t resist.

So folks, I give you Experiment 1 (of 2).

Hypothesis: My real total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is higher than my estimated TDEE.

When I first started losing weight late last year, the wellness center employee calculated my TDEE and estimated that I would lose 1/4 lb a week if I ate 1,200 calories a day.

I couldn’t stick to that goal. I tracked my calories most days and during my “good” weeks, I averaged between 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day and I lost about 1 lb per week. During “bad” weeks, well, let’s just say I rarely ate less than 2,000 calories a day and I definitely didn’t lose any weight.

Based on this prior experience, I have a feeling my TDEE is higher than the estimate I shared in my metabolic assessment results post.

Generally, most health and fitness professionals suggest starting with your estimated weight loss calorie goal (your TDEE minus 500 – 1000 calories) and adjusting from there based on your results. It’s sound advice, but I know myself pretty well, and I know I can’t stick to 1,200 calories a day. For me, 1,200 calories a day feels like deprivation, and I end up binging in response.

So instead, I’m going to test my hypothesis by eating at my maintenance calorie goal – my TDEE of 1,822.

The plan: I will eat 1,822 calories a day. I will also weigh myself everyday, track my meals, and then log both my daily weight and calorie total in the TDEE spreadsheet I got from the r/loseit. This TDEE spreadsheet will use my daily weight and calorie total over several weeks to eventually calculate a much more accurate TDEE for me than most online calculators can.

By the time September 20th rolls around, I believe I will have lost some weight, despite eating at maintenance calories.

I’m starting at a disadvantage. I overdid it on Tuesday (I didn’t even log my meals) and I went way over my calorie goal yesterday (I ate 2,157 calories), but I’m confident that if I stick with it going forward, I’ll still see some results.

Final step count: 15,004

Current step goal streak: 1 day
Previous step goal streak: 13 days
Longest step goal streak: 13 days
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