Thursday, September 22, 2011

Counting the Calories for the Final Countdown!

I've been slacking in the updates here lately, and for that I apologize. As some of you know, I'm counting down the days until my wedding. Today we have entered single digits and it cannot come too soon! I'm ready to walk down the aisle, sporting my Essense of Australia gown, and flexing my muscles from all those push ups I've done in preparation for this day.

But the countdown isn't over in nine days, nor did it begin with the proposal. The countdown I'm talking about is for counting calories.

I mentioned before that I lost quite a bit of weight with South Beach Diet. I had even become a member of their site to plan our meals, chat on the forums with people in similar situations as me, and track my progress. Before long, I had plateaued and it became plain that cutting out processed foods and eating healthier carbs alone wasn't the answer.

Yes, I took up running and became more active; but I found myself to be lethargic and having less stamina on days where I'd cut my carbs. It's no secret I'm a frequent poster on TheKnot.com. When I started getting serious about losing weight for the big day (just after Christmas when I cried because I didn't exactly fit into some of the clothes that my future mother-in-law (FMIL) had bought me for Christmas), I started hanging out on the Getting in Shape board. A lot of girls were recommending counting calories, and even pointed out that eating less than 1200 calories was starving your body and destroying your metabolism.

For fun, I decided to track my calorie intake. For sure I was eating too much and that's why I had plateaued on the South Beach Diet, right? WRONG! I was completely surprised to find that I was starving myself all week long. No surprise, was that I was binging and going well over 2000 calories on the weekend. As a result, my body was storing all of the foods I ate on the weekends as fat to be used later, whether it was healthy food or not.

I had a new mission. And it became an obsession. Counting calories.

Luckily for me, my Droid had an app for that. After a little research, I created an account with FatSecret and their calorie counting app for Android and I was hooked.

My method for calorie counting became to measure everything I put in my mouth. And even better, I measured my calories burned, including time spent sleeping. I mean, this app makes it so easy to become obsessed. You can track every little habit you have.

The math is simple. One pound is equal to 3500 calories. In order to lose one pound a week, I would have to burn 500 calories more than I consumed on a daily basis while remaining within a healthy range of calories consumed. You can Google "caloric intake calculator" and come up with a long list of pages to help you figure out your caloric intake target based on your age, height and current weight. It's important to continue to check these calculators as you lose weight and adjust your intake accordingly.

Shortly after I started counting calories, the last 10 lbs, which I never thought I'd see disappear, slowly began to fall off. I also took up the 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels in conjunction with this diet when summer came around, but that's a post for a different day.

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