After having talked to some of you over the last couple of days it occurs to me I’ve answered alot of the same questions more than once, and I figure that means I should put that info on the site somewhere. I guess a quick Q&A is easiest on me, so here it goes:
How are you calculating calories?
Guesswork mostly. I’ve been trying to eat at home more, and since I don’t really cook, those calories are easy to track as they’re listed right on the package of whatever I’m eating. When I eat out it’s trickier, but not impossible. As long as I’m willing to honestly judge portion sizes, I can get all the data I need using sites like Calorie King & Nutrition Data. Obviously in those cases the calories I’m listing are only best estimates (which I’ve been denoting with a tilde before the calorie count), but I’m working diligently to make those estimates accurate.
Eventually I plan to eat out less and cook more, but unless I buy a digital scale to weight out ingredients it will still result in the same basic guessing game. I figure as long as I’m seeing results, then I’ll assume my estimates are correct.
You don’t seem to be eating much healthy food…
No, I don’t. The scary part is, the meals I’ve been tracking here are exponentially better for me than what I was eating before. Up until about 3 months ago, I was literally eating fast food (Carl’s Jr, Del Taco, etc) 2-3 times a day.
I know I could lose more weight if I drank nothing but water, but I honestly don’t think I could maintain that. I’ve tried going cold turkey on things like that before and it’s never worked out. Rather than give myself rules I know I’ll end up breaking (and thus feel bad about), I’m trying to make intelligent decisions and use my better judgment.
That’s a terribly risky proposition for a ‘diet,’ but it’s a skill I’m going to have to develop if I ever want to live a truly healthy lifestyle. By making small changes, one or two things at time, I’ll eventually reach the same healthy lifestyle I could theoretically implement all at once, but this way I think I actually have a chance of succeeding.
Why is your goal 2,500 calories? Isn’t that alot?
Yeah, but I’m a big guy. When I started building this site, I used just about every tool I could find online to help me determine what were realistic goals.
I discovered that the recommended rate of weight loss while remaining healthy is 1-2 pounds a week in most cases; far less than I would have expected from shows like The Biggest Loser. In fact, most nutritionists seemed to agree that normal, healthy weight loss should not exceed 1% of your total body weight per week, which for me would be no more than 3.25 pounds. I then calculated my BMI, my BMR (2,476-2,809), how many calories I was actually burning in an average day (2,971-3,358), etc.
Armed with those numbers, and the knowledge that cutting 500-1000 calories a day results in 1-2 pounds a week, 2,500 was pretty straight forward – it’s about 500-800 less than I’m currently burning, and allows me room to burn more via exercise while staying in that healthy range of 1%.
It’s not the most aggressive weight-loss plan in the world, but I think it’s a realistic one I can stick to.