I was going to title this post "My Experiment - I Refuse to Count How Many Calories I Eat Each Day and Try to Figure Out How Many Calories I Am Burning Off Each Day in Order to Accurately Predict How Much Weight I Will Lose Each Week", but it was a little wordy. Besides, all the counting calories that I did in the past never matched up to the amount of weight I gained or lost or maintained, anyway!
I have not tracked my food for nine days now, and it's going pretty well. I started out writing my food down on paper, then putting it onto fitday at the end of the week, but that got tedious.
So now what I am doing is going ahead and putting it onto fitday, but I don't look at the totals or the net carbs, so that the totals will not influence what I eat. I want to see if I can just eat naturally without figuring it all out ahead of time.
Here is what I have learned in the past several days:
1. I can eat as much vegetables as I like, and I do not overeat them or undereat them. I end up eating between 15 and 20 net carbs from veggies, with a total net carbs of between 24 and 31. This is good to know, because I used to weigh my veggies down to the tenth of an ounce to get the exact amount of net carbs I needed. If there were 4 ounces of broccoli in the fridge, and I was only "allowed" 3.9 ounces, I would actually put 0.1 ounces back in the fridge. What I do now is figure that a "serving" of veggies is between 4 and 5 oz. or so, so I eat what I feel like eating. Sometimes a little more and sometimes a little less, but it doesn't matter. It all averages out in the end. What a relief! I can relax about the veggies! I am eating 10 to 15 oz. of veggies a day. Close enough!
2. If I eat bacon and eggs for breakfast and then eat around 5 oz. of protein at lunch and at dinner, I come out to around 95-100 grams of protein per day, which is what I should eat at one gram of protein for each pound of lean body mass. My lean body mass right now is 96 pounds. On the days that I lift weights, I get an extra 15g of protein before working out and another extra 15g after I work out. So on workout days, instead of 95-100g per day, I get 125-130g per day. I need the extra to help me build muscle.
3. As far as added fats go, if I eat 1/2 Tbs. of butter with my breakfast, and then 2-4 Tbs. of added fat over the rest of the day, I come out to right about where I want to be for fat, which is around 60-65% of my total calories. That's a lot easier than figuring out that I need exactly 3/4 tsp. of oil to get to the exact amount of fat grams I want for the day. Some days I am over, and some days I am under.
4. Treats for me are nuts, cheese, Greek yogurt, dark chocolate, whipped cream and fruit. Most of those things make me want to have more of them, so I still have to be very careful. I have been trying to allow myself to have one serving of one of these each day. So far so good, but I almost feel like I do better on the days that I don't have them at all, rather than having a little and then wanting more. Baby steps!
5. I am not so interested any more in having each day equal the correct amount of fat, protein and carbs. I read somewhere that it is probable that the body is not that sensitive, and if what you eat averaged over several days or a week is what your body needs, it doesn't matter if you have more one day and less on another day. As a matter of fact, that may keep your body from adapting to what you are eating and adjusting your metabolism through adaptive thermogenesis to keep you at a certain weight.
That's what I am learning, and so far, I am less stressed about food. It is nice to not have to be so exact. I feel more like a human being, eating naturally. I still weigh and measure my food, because I have a big appetite and I tend to overeat when given my head, but I am hoping that as time goes by and I lose more fat and gain more muscle, I may be able to stop weighing and measuring my portions.
And the results of all of this in the past nine days? I have lost body fat and gained muscle, and I have lost inches. I'll give those numbers tomorrow in my weekly results post.
Here is the direction I am heading: I want to stop tracking all together. I want to stop using fitday. Plus, I want to stop getting on the bathroom scale every day. I want to weigh myself once a week and take my measurements at the same time while I am still losing.
That may be the ultimate goal, but I'm going to take things one week at a time, which means in this coming week, I'm going to continue to put food into fitday as I eat it, but not "go by it", if you know what I mean. I am also going to continue weighing each morning and doing my body fat calculator, because I get such a kick out of it!
All in all, this has been a very interesting experiment, and one that I want to continue.