Because of the mild winter we had this year we started running afterwork much earlier than we did last year. Those first few days back out on the pavement are the worst and I always think I'll never get to 3 miles again, but of course by the end of the first week or two, three miles is our average distance. Right now we're running about 3 times a week, 2.5 to 3 miles each night. Not too shabby. The Peachtree Road Race that I ran last year will be here in less than a month, July 4 to be exact. Happily, we're both running this year. It's a 10k so we're gong to start pushing some nights to 4 and 5 miles so we're ready for the 6.2 miles that morning.
While I can run my heart out a few times a week, if I didn't change my eating habits all the miles behind me would be for nothing. Stephen and I are both healthy eaters so laser focusing on that was going to be easier working as a team. I'm MUCH better at sticking to a plan if I have someone to work with me. That the exact reason that I started this blog, when I wanted to try a new thing everyday for a year, I wanted to keep a record of my progress and be accountable to "someone".
I do want to say, I know I'm not overweight. I'm actually quite blessed with my body and it's shape. I can eat a lot of food and hide any weight that I gain in my tall frame. If I gain 5 lbs it's a lot different then when a shorter person gains 5 lbs. However, I wasn't happy with how I looked in a bathing suit. I didn't like that there is extra weight around my midsection and my legs weren't as great as they were in high school. There are a few places I could cut back pretty quick - alcohol consumption and fast food lunches. It's rare for us to have a drink after work these days and we usually only drink one night each weekend. Eating healthy lunches got a lot easier for me once we adopted Goose because I go home each day for lunch. No more eating at the "mall" food court in our office building.
The two of us consume a lot of Fat Free Greek Yogurt these days. It's super healthy for you and fills me up. I've also started eating Chia Seeds and Quinoa this past month which give me a lot of the protein and vitamins that I need in smaller serving sizes. Pinterest has been a huge help for healthy recipes. There are so many people out there who eat healthy and want to share their recipes, I'm just glad I can benefit from that. Instead of ground beef we bought ground turkey this past trip to Publix. Little things like that are helping me along my way.
While I can change what I eat, I realized quickly that keeping track of my calorie intake each day was going to be necessary. I needed a guide to help me determine how many calories I would need to cut each day to reach my goal and I needed to really see how many calories were in each banana, bowl of cereal, pretzel or cookie I consumed each day. I didn't want to cut back on food, I wanted to be smarter about what food I was eating so to make sure I was still getting the nutrients that I need to stay healthy.
I looked to my phone for an App that might help me track calories and I found MyFitnessPal. It has tens of thousands of 4 and 5 star reviews so I downloaded and started using it right away. It asks for a goal weight in 5 weeks, your age, current weight and height and then calculates how many calories you need to consume each day to hit that weight loss goal. The great thing about it is it also calculates your other vitamin in take so you know you're maintaining a balanced diet.
With each meal, I go to the App and enter in the food I just ate. The App has everything you could imagine. Not once have I had a problem finding what I was eating. And if you want to do it the quick way, it has a camera to scan the barcode of the food you're eating and it automatically knows what it is with the nutrition information. Genius. Once entered by meals - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - it tracks how many calories remaining I can consume based on serving sizes which you determine. Even better, if I go for a run, I can enter my pace and time and it calculates the calories I burned on the run and I get those back in my daily consumption allowance. Below is my diary from today.
Main Diary page which lists all the foods that I've consumed today with serving size and calories.
Another great feature, and there are plenty, is the recipe feature. If I have a recipe that I eat often, I can create that entry to my private account so I can select it once instead of all the ingredients each time. That's what I did with my Quinoa dish. So, based on my weight loss goal I can consume 1370 net calories a day. After just breakfast and lunch I've already consumed 950. A dinner and snacks I'll be over the remaining 420 for my day until I work out and get about 300 back.
Example of the food entry page. You can search for a food by typing it in or take a picture of the barcode. It also keeps track of recent and frequently use foods for that meal. Great for people like me who eat a lot of cereal for breakfast.
The last benefit that I'll touch on is the website that automatically links to the App and synchronizes immediately. I can update what I eat for lunch or snacks while I'm at my computer at work and know that it will be on my phone right away. Sometimes it's just easier to use a mouse and a drop down button, especially when entering and saving recipes.
The App also tracks my weight progress and I have to say, after just a few weeks of really paying attention to what I'm eating and managing serving sizes and working out I can absolutely see a difference in my body. Clothes are getting looser (which is a pain now that some of my skinny jeans are a little baggy in the thighs) and I can fit into my SKINNY JEANS! I haven't been able to wear them since 2008, but I never gave up hope that one day I would. I'm already down 4 lbs and I only have 3 more to go to hit my goal. It's crazy how quickly I saw a change. Now if only my tummy would get flatter, I'd be thrilled. I know that will come in time.