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Posts tagged ‘tdee’

Day 50: The plan

Yesterday, I thought long and hard about my short and long-term goals and about what changes I need to make to my daily goals to reach them.

For my short-term goals, I want to continue to lose fat mass, ideally 1 lb of fat a week, and I want to retain as much fat free mass as possible while doing it. Long-term, I would like to reach 22% body fat, and then switch to trying to build muscle.

So, what does that mean for the next four weeks or so?

From my previous daily goals, I’m going to continue doing the following:

  • Walk 15,000 steps a day – it’s the whole point of this blog
  • Log everything I eat – a must for calorie counting
  • Weigh myself daily – needed to figure out my actual TDEE
  • Maintain my TDEE spreadsheet – to help me determine what my TDEE really is
  • Consistently complete my Strong program workouts – regardless of what my results say, I still believe weight training in important for maintaining muscle mass when losing weight

I’m going to change my calorie goal to the following:

  • Eat 1,500 to 1,700 calories a day, with an optional 1,900 – 2,100 calorie day a week
  • I want to write a bit about why I intend to follow this new way of counting calories. Although I did lose weight on an average of 1,815 calories a day, I’m still hesitant to believe that 1,815 calories a day will result in a sufficient calorie deficit for me to lose 1 lb a week. I want to average less than 1,815 calories a day.
  • Since this is the area I struggle most in, I want to give myself some flexibility. Not too much, but just enough where I don’t feel so restricted or deprived, but I’m still averaging less than 1,815 calories a day. By focusing on a weekly average instead of a daily goal, I’m able to set a range of calories for each day.
  • Additionally, by giving myself a controlled “cheat day,” I’m further decreasing my feelings of being restricted and deprived. And just because I’m giving myself the cheat day, doesn’t mean I need to use it. It’s just there for when I need it.
  • I chose the calorie ranges I did because when I add up the maximum daily calories for a week and divide by 7 to come up with the average, it’s still less than 1,815 calories a day (the average comes out to 1,757 calories a day). At the lowest end of my ranges, the average daily calorie goal comes out to 1,557 calories.
  • Hopefully, this will result in a 1 lb weekly loss of fat. If I haven’t seen the scale budge in two weeks, I will trying lowering my ranges by 50 to 100 calories each; but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

And finally, I’m adding a new goal:

  • Eat 100 grams of protein daily – I need to start focusing on the quality of my food now too, and not just the quantity of it; a high-protein diet will help me retain my fat free mass while I’m trying to lose all of this extra fat

If I consistently stick with the daily goals above, I hope to see a 4 lbs loss of fat at my next Bod Pod assessment (to be scheduled ), and hopefully no change in my fat free mass (unless it increases; that’s a change I’d be happy with). Hopefully, these goals are more realistic than my last ones. I’ll just have to take it one day at a time and see how it goes.

Final calorie count: 15,156

Day 39: Meal prep – my way

I cleaned out my fridge yesterday and quickly realized I still had a lot of perfectly good leftovers, so I rescheduled my meal planning and prep for today.

I’ve tried meal prepping in the past, but I’ve failed miserably at it each and every time. The cycle sort of goes like this: I vow to meal prep. I get all excited and buy all sorts of nice veggies and meats. I cook it all. I portion it out. Then, a week later, I throw it all out because I didn’t eat it and it went bad. I hate wasting food, so despite my posts about meal prepping this weekend, I was having some serious doubts as to whether or not I really should try it again.

But, I decided to give it a try. I knew that despite my hesitation, I needed to meal prep in order to have a better shot at staying under my daily calorie goal this week. I needed to make it easy for myself to eat better. I also knew that if I was going to make it work this time, I had to do it differently, so I took the time to figure out how to do it in a way that worked for me – instead of trying to do it the way I thought I was supposed to.

I had to figure out the following three things before I started:

  • What meals should I prep?
  • How should I cook (or not cook) my food so that I’ll actually eat it and not just waste it? Especially considering I hate eating reheated, healthy meals.
  • How can I make the process easier?

Here’s what I eventually came up with:

What meals should I prep?

In an effort to meal prep in a way that works best for me, I decided to stick solely to lunch. I didn’t need to meal prep my breakfast because I usually have time to make it in the mornings; and when I don’t, I normally make myself a protein shake. It’s not really a problem area. I also didn’t need to meal prep any snacks because I have a bunch of single serve Greek yogurts in my fridge that I need to eat before they expire next week.

I refuse to meal prep dinners because I like to make a fresh dinner every evening. It’s the one meal I enjoy cooking because it’s for my family – except for when my husband is away for work. My kids are still too young to appreciate the effort I put into making dinner, so I tend to get lazy about it when it’s just them and me. I do try to plan my dinners ahead of time though, so I took the time to choose healthier recipes for this week.

That brings us back to lunch. Lunch is where I need the most help, primarily because I usually end up skipping it or going through a fast food drive through. Obviously, a fast food lunch is going to take up most of my daily calories, basically guaranteeing I’ll be over come dinner time; and skipping lunch always seems to end in a late night binge.

How should I prep my food to ensure I eat it and avoid waste? And how do I make this meal prep easier (and less time consuming)?

I decided to limit my prep to food I already had in my fridge and pantry – no grocery store trip for fresh veggies or meats. So, after cleaning out my fridge and freezer yesterday for expired stuff and scouring the pantry for healthy options, here’s what I came up with.

  • Chicken breasts
  • Carrots
  • White rice (leftover)
  • Yellow, red, and green onions
  • Salmon
  • Frozen stir-fry veggies

In order to make the prep easier, I narrowed down the ingredients I’d use to the chicken, onions, and frozen stir-fry veggies. I couldn’t think of anything to prep with the carrots, and the salmon is individually packaged, so I decided to leave it in the freezer for another day. The white rice was already cooked; no prep needed there. I know there are better carbs I should be eating like brown rice or sweet potatoes, but I did this prep my way, and that meant reducing food waste.

I decided to make shredded chicken with the chicken breasts and onions in my slow cooker. Past experience has taught me I’m more likely to eat reheated chicken if it’s shredded – it’s the only way I know how to cook it without it getting dry. The problem is, I’ve tossed out entire containers of old, shredded chicken in the past because plain, boring, reheated chicken sucks. The same goes for the frozen veggies. Sure, when they’re fresh they taste good with a little olive oil, garlic, and salt; but reheated? Ugh.

I came up with a couple of fixes for that though. It seemed so obvious, I’m not sure why I’d never thought of it in the past.

Instead of cooking all of the veggies at once and portioning them out into containers with the chicken, I made single serve baggies of uncooked frozen stir-fry veggies and cooked shredded chicken. The idea is that I’ll be able to easily grab a baggie from the freezer and quickly heat it up on the stove – either in the morning on days that I have appointments so I can take it with me, or at lunch time when I’m working from home. No need for reheated food that might go bad if ignored in the fridge.

In order to avoid not eating the meals I’ve prepped because they’re boring and suck, I scoured some of my favorite recipe sites like and for stir-fry sauces. I found a lot of great recipes and narrowed them down to two. Each sauce only took a few minutes to make. Then, I measured out and poured each sauce into my baggies of frozen vegetables and chicken, making sure to write what type of sauce each baggie contained with a Sharpie on the bag. Total calories per serving of shredded chicken and stir-fried veggies: 264 calories. Add the side of white rice I fully intend to eat with it, and the total rises to 366 calories. Way lower than expected.

And that was it. Overall, it was a pretty quick and easy meal prep. The most time consuming part was measuring and weighing all my ingredients and creating the recipes in MyFitnessPal so I can log them later on. Although it’s basically the same meal for each day, the different sauces should offer some variety. Since I’ll still have to cook it a few minutes, I won’t feel like I’m eating reheated food (other than the rice of course); and if I do decide not to eat it every day as planned, it won’t go bad since it’s frozen – potentially no waste.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I really feel like I did good today. This might be the first meal prep ever that actually works for me. Fingers crossed!

Current step count: 6,915

Current step goal streak: 9 days
Previous step goal streak: 2 daysLongest step goal streak: 13 days

Day 29: DietBet

So, I did a thing late last night. I stumbled across DietBet and impulsively joined a 6-month bet. DietBet, as I learned right before I signed up, is a website/app where you basically bet money on losing weight. Depending on what bet you choose to join, you have to lose a certain percentage of your weight by a certain time frame in order to hopefully win back your money and then some.

The bet I joined has six weight loss targets, one each month of the bet, that I’ll have to reach in order to win some (not much) cash. The first weight loss target is a month from September 4th, and it’s 3% of my weight (3.81 lbs).

That’s a little more weight that I had planned to lose this month by doing my Experiments 1 and 2. But, I joined DietBet for the motivation (considering I can be pretty competitive at times), so I’ll just have to weigh the pros and cons before I commit to it 100%. I have 14 days to decide. A 3% weight loss goal isn’t unreasonable, but it may require some changes to my aforementioned experiments. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Final step count: 15,569

Current step goal streak: 2 days
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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