Food, Exercise, or other Reports



  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    yesterday was my take it easy day, especially after all the stuff I did on Saturday. I walked for an hour, but it wasn't at my normal brisk pace, either.

    Today, on the other hand, I got in my exercise and then some! I spent 3 hours digging and planting bulbs and transplanting others, including 15 minutes or more (I didn't pay attention to length) of digging out at least 15 feet of ditch, trying to get the water to run better in front of my house. And digging up a few rocks in my yard that I'm tired of hitting my mower on.

    I went from all that digging to mowing my neighbor's yard for him, push mower, all on a hillside. That was 40 minutes. After that, I moved some dirt to my plot outside my garden boxes, planted my peas, then went for a 23 minute bike ride and 9 minute walk for the last stretch home.

    I only counted about 1/4 - 1/3 of all that, and I still ended up with 442 extra calories today! So my excesses from yesterday have been covered lol

    I know I'm going to be hurting tonight when I go to bed; my shoulder and left bicep are starting to complain (I'm left handed). I figure if my legs do like they did on Saturday, they might ache in bed, but hopefully will quickly loosen up after I get up tomorrow.

    @NovusDies congratulations on the 25,000 steps! Though I would really recommend listening to your body and taking it easy. But I can also understand wanting to keep the momentum going, too!

    I know I've been fully active the last couple of days for sure! I've been pushing the last month to get my steps up to 7,000 a day, and reset my goal from 5,500 to that. But I'm still leery of changing my activity level to lightly active; I think like cmriverside in her first answer to this post:

    which is keep my activity level to sedentary for now, and eat back a portion of my exercise calories. I like this approach because I don't have to adjust for lighter exercise days: if I don't exercise as much, I just don't get extra calories back to spend.

    However, I'm still working on figuring out how many exercise calories to eat back. I know I'm erring on caution right now, limiting it to 1/4-1/3, but would like another month or more of steady activity to go by. since I really started trying to be more active at the mid-late part of February, I figure I'll keep going the way I'm going and look at the mid-May numbers and loss rate. May 14th would be 12 weeks and is right before my vacation (if we get to go; its an isolated cabin in a state park, but right now the parks are closed and I don't know when they'll re-open). I should also be finished with TOM by then, another good reason to use that date to compare with.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I didn't mean change your activity level just reference what it would be to help guide you on logging your exercise. I am a little worried you will make my mistake which was to keep downplaying my activity and then suffering some really hard days because I wasn't eating enough.

    Having been obese most of my life it did not seem possible that I was truly active. It didn't feel like I was doing enough to get there. I knew before my surgery I was at lightly active calories because my spreadsheet confirmed it. I knew I was more active so I assumed I was "moderately active" and I ate accordingly. Remember the surgery altered my weight and my body composition so in January I started a new phase which required me to figure out my average TDEE again.

    I was sure moderately active was appropriate even when my Apple Watch said otherwise. I knew they over-reported for some people and I assumed I was one of them. I thought active people had to be those that had active jobs requiring manual labor. I assumed 'very active' was like a bike messenger. I wasn't either of those things so moderate seemed right. I was wrong. The labels, in my opinion, do not make good common sense because I am very nearly at very active calories and I get there by getting an average of 16-17k steps.

    They say that anything over 12.5k steps is very active but that assumes a portion of them are at a brisk pace. 16k steps with some at a moderate pace seems to come out the same calorie amount.

    My personal step average is up past 18k now but I have not seen evidence yet that my TDEE has increased again. With my hamstrings causing retention and a little different eating this coming weekend it may be a couple of weeks before I whoosh again. My whoosh last week confirmed I was at least very active. If MFP's numbers are right my activity is in excess of very active but nothing has confirmed that yet. That is why those labels do not make sense to me. What is after 'very active'? 'Very very active'? 'Insane to be moving this much active'?
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    Having been obese most of my life it did not seem possible that I was truly active. It didn't feel like I was doing enough to get there. I knew before my surgery I was at lightly active calories because my spreadsheet confirmed it. I knew I was more active so I assumed I was "moderately active" and I ate accordingly. Remember the surgery altered my weight and my body composition so in January I started a new phase which required me to figure out my average TDEE again.

    I was sure moderately active was appropriate even when my Apple Watch said otherwise. I knew they over-reported for some people and I assumed I was one of them. I thought active people had to be those that had active jobs requiring manual labor. I assumed 'very active' was like a bike messenger. I wasn't either of those things so moderate seemed right. I was wrong. The labels, in my opinion, do not make good common sense because I am very nearly at very active calories and I get there by getting an average of 16-17k steps.

    @NovusDies I can completely relate to this ^^ Since I spend so much of the day during the work week sitting, I have a really hard time considering myself lightly active, let alone active. Especially when most of the activity I"m getting isn't even getting my heart rate up much at all, like the elliptical sessions. It is hard to believe when I see the calorie quotes for my activity that those are anywhere remotely right. Plus, I also know that its not constant activity, either. Such as all the gardening work I was doing on Monday. I was doing a lot of digging, for sure, but it wasn't 30 minutes non-stop, either.

    And I know some of those steps aren't true steps, either - like when I sit down to play the piano; an hour's playing can get me as much as 3000 steps! Of course, I've learned that and discount those in my mind, but it does make me wonder how many of my daily steps aren't real steps. Then again, I also know the counter is missing actual ones, so perhaps it all comes out in the wash? And like you, I'm thinking lightly active as someone who's on their feet all day, like a cashier, and active being more like a postal delivery person. And I'd consider a carpenter or other construction worker as very active, or someone who spends a few hours daily at the gym doing HIIT or something. It is really hard to wrap my mind around the idea that I should be considering myself lightly active at the very least.

    It didn't help me at all, either, to be having so much trouble with water weight back in February as it kept masking what was really going on. I have noticed that in recent weeks, my trouble with that seems to have diminished - a positive side effect of the activity, I'm hoping?

    Plus, I know that right now, all this activity is easy to get in, but once I start going back to the office, and once the heat of summer gets, I don't know if I will be able to sustain it. I've tried walking before, and always seem to do really well in getting daily walks in until the heat of summer - then the ability to keep myself going dies because I can't stand the heat. And I've been trying to get myself up at 5 am for the last 2 weeks with no luck, so once I start back to the office, the morning elliptical routine will probably also die out. I don't have good air conditioning and my house gets incredibly hot in summer sometimes, which will put a damper on aerobic workout videos since I'll have to do my activity of an evening after I get back home. (Not having that commute time morning and evening is a real boon toward my activity levels!) Of course there will be some yard work this summer, but its not a daily thing, and with my work schedule, I'll be riding mow my yard more often than not.

    So when my activity is go hit and miss, I also have a hard time considering myself to be active. That and I keep seeing the advice posted on here that MFP drastically over-estimates calorie burn and that you can't earn that many calories with activity, and though I know I'm heavier so I'm going to burn more, its hard to believe that I might actually be burning as much as 300-400 calories extra a day!

    But I am taking your advice into consideration, and I do appreciate your insight! I am trying to give myself some time to evaluate actual loss to know where to adjust. TOM should be here this weekend, probably by Friday if my body keeps to the routine it has for the last couple of months, which will lead to less activity for a couple of days because that always makes me more tired than usual, and also results in some water weight gain, which my luck will show up tomorrow and skew my record day numbers.

    I am trying to keep from getting on the "more is better" band-wagon, though that can be very tough mentally to reign in when I see weight loss at a good clip. rationally, I know that I need to slow it down; that since I now have less than 100 lbs to lose, I need to keep to that 1.75-2lbs a week for health sake, but after struggling for so long to see any decent loss, I find myself falling into that trap.

    I know I need to probably up my calorie intake for my exercise: right now, if trend sticks, I'll be on track for a 3 lb loss since last week, which is obviously too much. Of course, next week will be a whole lot slower if not a stand still with TOM and Easter dinner (Easter will be a maintenance day absolutely, and I might find myself over, too - too many good foods to eat!).

    I guess one place I can improve is to start counting half of my activity time instead of 1/4-1/3 like I was. On the days where I get my hour long walks and my aerobic video in, that will get me the calorie difference between sedentary and lightly active, at least. Then I can give a few weeks more and see if I need to adjust again?
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    @NovusDies Okay; this is the point where I'll stand here and take it - you can shout the "I TOLD you so!" now lol

    Today is weight record day, and even though I'm feeling a bloated this morning, the scale dipped even lower than its been all week this week, driving that HappyScale trend that I'm now recording down to 253.9 lbs, which is a whopping 3.7 lbs down from last week's reading. Perhaps this is in part a whoosh, but I think its also hammering home to me that I'm not eating enough of my exercise calories back, and that on these days where I'm getting my planned activity in - the elliptical, walk/bike, and aerobics in and steps over 10,000, I'd better make sure i'm eating back at minimum that 280 calorie difference between sedentary and lightly active, and probably more than that, as I'm pushing closer to the active range than I thought I was.

    But I just have a very difficult time grasping the reality of being an "active" person!

    Next week will definitely be a slow down, because I'm going to be up this weekend on the intake. I've been craving Mexican from the place uptown, and its pretty difficult to even guesstimate the calorie content of that food. And of course, Sunday is Easter and I fully plan to eat at maintenance that day - in fact, I already have the recipes built in and the plan for the day all laid out. I'll probably have to still get some activity in that day because I'm not even sure I'll be able to keep to maintenance and will probably go over that, too. But apparently, I have a surplus of calories I need to be eating back anyway!
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    @bmeadows380 I wouldn't do that. It makes me feel a little better that you have been as hardheaded about this as I was. lol.

    It doesn't feel right. I can see it in my numbers and I still expect it to somehow be a mistake and I have been eating too much. This has Fat Brain written all over it. That and I still say the labels for activity are stupid. Even though I earn the calories for 'very active' I still consider myself moderately active because that feels more accurate given my sedentary job. If the multiplier corresponded to language that seemed more appropriate I probably would not have been as stubborn as I was.

    When I have been not been eating enough and losing at a pace that is .5lb per week above my target I eat 2 days at maintenance to help compensate so it sounds like this weekend will be good timing for you.
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    @NovusDies I'm known for being hard-headed; just ask my best friend or family! lol

    I will keep an eye on calories in on Sunday, but I'm stuffing that critical person in my head in a closet and putting a bookcase in front of the door to muffle them out for that day. I know that there will be a twinge of guilt; its the same twinge that hits whenever I don't live up to my own expectations, no matter how ridiculously stringent and out of reach they are (no one is harder on me than me), and letting that line get into the red will result in a twinge, but my rational brain can reign in the emotional one and I'll enjoy that food anyway.

    Sometimes, that critical person in my head has her uses, such as when I grab a Hershey kiss and think "I don't need to worry about counting this in my dairy; its only 20 calories and I've done well today and besides, I'm under-eating my exercise calories, anyway" and the critical person responds with "you better count that kiss! Not counting here and there leads to sloppiness and that's how you plateaued last time! Put it in - do you have room for it? Can you make room for it without undercutting your protein and fiber goals?" or when getting a half-cut sweet tea without ice at Arby's. Critical person says "That calorie count is way off in MFP for that tea, and you know it - its 44 oz sweet and you know darn well thats going to be more than 180 calories. Even if you half cut it, that value is given assuming a full cup of ice, which you are not putting in, so that more like 3/4'ing it and not half cutting it. And you can tell by the taste that the server put more sweet than unsweet, so this tea is definitely more than 100 calories - more like 200. Do you really want to waste 200 calories on that sweet tea? You already had the slider - switch to an unsweet tea and save those calories for something else!" In keeping me accountable for things like that, that critical person is very useful, though sometimes I bullheadedly ignore her and do it anyway. I may feel guilt, but my rebellious side refuses to let it stop me.

    But many times, that critical person is too critical and too demanding in making ridiculously stringent expectations that are impossible to meet and doesn't give me an inch at all or any compassion or mercy when I fail to meet one of her expectations - such as being honest in recording and seeing that red line. Rationally, I know its okay to be human and to go over once in a while, but the little kid in my head that wants to please and obey all rules still feels like a failure and cowed by the overly-critical person. I can use the rational side of myself to push past the critical person, but that twinge of guilt is still there regardless - I guess that's her parting shot.

    I'm with you that MFP's description of their labels doesn't line up with how I define that activity. I liked the way the calculator that PAV8888 sent in the doom thread does it: it broke the activity factor into 2 parts, one for normal, work day activity, and one for leisure:

    Physical Activity at Work or School
    very light - sitting at the computer most of the day, or sitting at a desk
    light - light industrial work, sales, or office work that comprises light activities
    moderate - cleaning, kitchen staff, or delivering mail on foot or bicycle
    heavy - heavy industrial work, construction work, or farming

    Physical Activity at Leisure Time
    very light -almost no activity at all
    light - walking, non-strenuous cycling or gardening approximately once a week
    moderate - regular activity at least once a week; ig, walking, bicycling, including to work, gardening
    active - regular activities more than once a week, eg intense walking, bicycling, or sports
    very active - strenuous activities several times a week

    If you use very light/very active as your settings, you end up with a 1.9 activity factor which sounds like it lines up with your factor of 1.88 you mentioned.

    For me, when I use those labels, I easily set my work activity level at very light since I'm sitting in front of my PC most of the day, but when I look at the leisure activity level, since I'm not really doing what I'd call intense walking or sports, but am doing it more than once a week, I think I need to choose either moderate on my lighter days to active on my heavier days.

    That combination of very light/moderate or /active gives me a multiplier of 1.6-1.7, which results in a maintenance calorie intake of 2,996 to 3,183 and a daily intake need on my active days as 1,627 to 1,791 (moderate or active).

    to me that makes a lot more sense than MFP's labels, though I think their values end up somewhere in the same neighborhood.

    Though looking at the numbers, my head is still rebelling at the idea that I am moderately active, let alone active active. My head is agreeable to eating back some of my exercise calories, but the thought of going over my calorie limit 227 to 391 calories? THAT I struggle with :smirk: 100-150 extra calories day, that critical person in my head will allow for; any more than that, and she starts squawking.

    I think what also comes into play too is that in the forums here, the folks that I considerable knowledgeable and practical constantly caution that you can't out exercise your diet and that you don't earn much back from activity, so my mind hears that and decides that the calculator that says I've gotten 500 calories from a day of gardening can't possibly be right. Of course, what's not being said is that the heavier you are, the more you burn, so while someone at 150 lbs may not get that much from that activity, me at 250 calories very likely did.

    But the need-to-please kid part of me kicks in, the part that wants to obey what it sees as authority, and joins in with the critical person and fights at putting back that many activity calories.

    I just need to kick the rebellious part of me off her lazy butt and tell her to push the critical person into that closet and give the need to please part of me a lollipop or something to distract it and then enjoy the darn piece of cake for dessert, because if I get my walk and aerobic session in for the day and more than 10,000 steps, then I've earned it, and not only earned it, my body needs those calories!

    And boy do I have a lot of people running around in my head......way more than that Pixar movie portrayed, anyway!
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    I see what you are saying but the labels come out with the same multiplier. You get to active whether it is from work or leisure and I do not consider what I do for exercise on the same level as construction work. It certainly doesn't compare to the summer I spent helping on a cattle ranch when I was a teen and in better shape. Every muscle in your body feels like jelly at the end of the day and you pray you will be restored enough sleeping at night to go again the next day.

    I have to have numbers I can rely on because the voice in my head keeps saying you know @PAV8888 said you were more active so you know you can eat more. Even though it turns out he was right (shocking I know) it punched a hole in my accountability over the holidays. Having a strong suspicion that my numbers (based on moderate) were low made it easier for me to blow past them. That averaged out to be a good thing because there were enough days I was in a steep deficit to bring me back in line. Apparently I have some minor ability to intuitively eat but no one should have been eating rice krispie treats like that! Also, that cycle of eating too little one day and then on the next day eating more than I needed for both days is one of the bad habits that contributed to my weight gain in the first place. I was terrible about skipping meals during my gaining years. I am probably one of the few people that has ever woken up and realized he got so busy the he accidentally didn't did not eat anything the day before. My hunger signals were bad about extremes. Either they were barely noticeable or they were roaring for more. At least for now all this activity seems to have given them a normal voice.
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    sounds like my best friend. She and I were roommates for a time (neither of us had significant others, we got along, and splitting the bills seemed reasonable) and she worked a lot of retail fast/food type jobs where she was on her feet the entire day. She's also the sort who has trouble delegating the work, so would often take on even more. She wouldn't take breaks unless forced, and rarely ate all day long. But then she'd stop at Wendy's on her way home and get a super-sized triple cheese burger with a large frosty and super-sized coke. And she'd drink a 12 pack of coke a day. But she couldn't understand why she was obese.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 12,502 Member
    Pav8888 is no more than someone who just started a few years ahead of you and got curious about some of these things all in the service of his "eat the most you can while still meeting your goals" hamsters.🐹

    I have competing hamsters🐹 in my brain, not silly humans!🤷‍♂️

    The all-you-can eat hamsters get pummeled on by the more sane supervisor hamsters that evaluate the actions of all the other hamsters 🤦‍♂️🐹

    @NovusDies don't be surprised too much if your body (when your hamsters don't override it) returns correct signals to you! Not right away, but after having substantially normalized I can tell you that, if I actually don't let other issues override, if I am not too tired, too cold, pissed off, worried etc) the signals from the body are sometimes more correct than the logging.

    Last couple of days I've been fairly un-hungry, yet logging weight loss calories. Heart rate and scale (both increasing) say un-hungry feeling is more correct than logging. Opposite has happened (hungry when logging said I shouldn't be). Not often, because generally my logging is on point, but often enough to notice. Didn't act on it during weight loss... but at maintenance I am starting to trust it more and more.

    Remember that all this stuff about activity settings and maintenance calories is predicated on a couple of issues: how close one tracks to the mean and the models <-- most models have deviations from the mean and most do not explain more than 70% of the variance (and I am sure @bmeadows380 would be able to better figure these concepts out than the almost failed stats for art students dude in this conversation!!!)

    So they're just models, our own long term numbers come first.

    Happy scale and Libra, trendweight will all show inflection points correctly. the rate of change is there too. But they will lag.

    Because they are deliberately taking into account the past 10 days or so (or whatever algorithm they have)

    So they should be interpreted in view of other data (on paper deficits, known information about water retention, etc)

    During a continuous steep deficit they may lag a full lb and not show a sudden reversal or double reversal for a few days, for example.

    Beyond that, in terms of activity. @bmeadows I would trust my numbers more than a prediction.

    I will also tell you that my hamsters were much more active during the time periods of intense restriction than during time periods of less restriction / maintenance.

    I deliberately went out to break the red issue till I now view red as caution not failure or hard stop.

    I am still set to a deficit; and almost always eat above it. By about 400 to maintain, by about 100-150 to lose slowly, by about 450+ to start gaining. This emphasises to the hamsters that they, not an app, are in charge and responsible to set their priorities 🐹

    If you approached me with just the following information: generally about 5000 steps, trying for 7500, I would spit out 1.4 as an activity setting. Mfp lightly/moderate
    Centered around 7500 probably 1.5
    Centered around 10k 1.6 MFP active
    Centered around 12k 1.7
    And so on.

    I.e. 8k steps exhausts moderately active, 12k ends active 16000 ends very active

    they're ranges, right? And differe amongst people.

    But again, my predicted activity setting, your setting is not solely relevant.

    Because logging comes into play.

    Because deviation from model mean comes into play

    Because type of activity comes into play: walking in house, or up a hill on grass?

    Btw: gardening can be hard, or not so hard work. So again varies by person (but can be a lot of calories under the right conditions, and very few on a very hot, tiring, sweaty, but unproductive in terms of total labour output day)

    Keep in mind that larger deficits affect hormones, neurotransmitters and even brain chemistry.

    Food ideations are not uncommon. I certainly spent a lot of time trying to invent the best low cal veggie/fruit based chocolate brownie! It is amazing how at maintenance or a surplus I never think about coming up with one, and how often i do think about it in a deficit, even a small deficit!

    The relative size of deficit is what drives my often mentioned 25% off TDEE while obese.

    In the semi-starvation experiment food intake for the six months was 1560 Cal a day on average--not incredibly low, right? What matters were the within normal weight starting point and that this was an approximately 50% deficit off original maintenance calories.

    And while response is individual, I wouldn't count against some adaptive thermogenesis (and a response of less weight loss than expected) at larger and more persistent deficits.

    @bmeadows380 you should also look at how the projections go in the body weight planner and how the calories needed to lose a lb increase as time goes on.

    And both mental fatigue and hormonal tanking are behind refeeds/diet breaks which Novus has planned lately and Meadows stumbled into the past couple of years!

    I am here to cheer lead and to push @bmeadows380 to keep thinking about more than the speed of loss and size of the deficit.

    Play with food combinations, timing of snacks, substitutions such as a savoury meal when craving chocolate or the reverse.

    I used to eat a meal after eating chocolate cake because the cake was not food, right? Not here to claim it's the best nutrient breakdown, but I've had several ice cream, or dessert only meals, and stopped. Because it was enough calories and I wasn't actually hungry hungry. Sure, maybe they weren't as filling or cheap in calories as chicken and broccoli... but they were enough for a few hours. And stopping kept me within daily/weekly calories!!!!

    As Novus likes to say, the process and making things (relatively) easy is important.

    Use the numbers as a tool--don't let them use you 🤔

    Ok. You both have this under control!

    @bmeadows380 I think it was about at your weight that I was starting to ramp up my walking from (the by then) about 7500 steps every day to 10k and then up so that my first 12 months on mfp I ended up *averaging* 17970 a day and being at an AF of almost 2 (all deliberate outdoors walking)

    I will tell you that it took a lot of shoes and a lot of blisters (which resulted in some interesting walk around the blisters walks).

    @NovusDies most New Balance walking shoes that I bought during that time frame didn't last even three months before being worn out.

    One thing to keep an eye on is that shoe width and length may change with weight loss.

    I've ended up from a nine and a half EEE (which meant that I was buying EEEE shoes) to a 9-Wide (or even wide fitting regular) at normal weight.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    Logging is an interesting variable in the equation. Over time I realize that precision is important but so is consistent habits. I tend to over report calories to buffer for the calories I am sure I miss or I just don't log. It all comes out to a very dependable number even if it is not totally accurate.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 12,502 Member
    edited April 2020
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    Remember that all this stuff about activity settings and maintenance calories is predicated on a couple of issues: how close one tracks to the mean and the models

    The above sentence (as @NovusDies either surmised or amplified) was supposed to say: Remember that all this stuff about activity settings and maintenance calories is predicated on a couple of issues: how close one tracks to the mean and the models AND YOUR LOGGING.

    I...err... got distracted! :blush:
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    @PAV8888 I still consider you and @NovusDies and anyone who has succeeded in what I"m trying to do in a healthy, reasonable method to be authorities, or at least mentors. You guys are trying to keep me from making some mistakes that I don't have to, and give good advice on things to try, and I do appreciate it. Especially since I'm not a spreadsheet person who will crunch the numbers into the nitty-gritty; I'm too lazy for that......unless its for something completely unusable that just catches my fancy.......

    I'm really, really looking forward to dropping from an 11W in womens to a regular 11. I have a nearly impossible time finding shoes, because the few stores that do carry women's 11's pretty much carry narrows only!

    and I did notice that a pair of summer type shoes that were tight last year fit me last weekend well enough that I could wear them for hours without them pinching my feet!

    I have been at it long enough to at least begin to realize the best timing for me to eat. Especially lately, since I've been working from home. I thought it would be harder working from home, but I'm finding its actually been easier, perhaps because I can eat when my body signal's me to eat, and maybe because my head knows everything is available and I'm not limited to what's in my lunch box.

    What I have learned is that I need to hold as many calories for evening as possible - I am not someone who can eat a large breakfast, a medium lunch, and a small dinner. I'm going to blow it if I have a large breakfast and don't have at least 500 calories left when evening gets here. With the activity, I'm finding that the first thing elliptical session goes easier if I have a piece of toast with peanut butter and my coffee first - pre-fuel instead of fasting. Probably should have been a no-brainer, but @PAV8888 gives me way more credit for intelligence than is probably due lol

    I'm also trying to remember to fuel with something carb before I start the aerobic session, and follow with protein after. And if I am feeling the munchies coming on, sometimes I can stave them off by taking a walk or hopping on the elliptical instead of snacking. That's a nice by-product of all the activity!

    Thankfully, I've been able to ramp up my activity with few blisters, and that one time was because I made the mistake one day of walking in an old pair of cheap tennis shoes instead of my walking shoes. Lesson learned! And now that I broke down and bought a new pair of walking shoes, walking has become even easier.

    I'm trying to pay attention to heart rate to gauge the intensity of my exercise, but that's still a work in progress. The aerobic sessions can get me hot and sweaty and breathing heavy, but the heart rate still stays in the low 120's. Of course, there's room for error there, since I'm using a wrist tracker and not a chest band.

    I need to be vigilant about logging. I realize there's going to be a measure of error there, and I try to over-compensate to be on the safe side, especially when using boxed or canned goods because I go by the package and don't weigh it out all the time, either. I've also learned that I need to account for everything and not let myself fall into that trap of under-estimating things, like the calories in that little pat of butter, or little swirl of salad dressing, or in that half-cut tea......I've sabotaged myself before by getting lax and trying to eyeball and ignoring some things; and its a trap I could easily fall into again. I also realize that as the weight I need to drop gets smaller, the deficit will get smaller and the logging will have to become tighter. Which is also why I don't think I'll be able to actually get down to that 155 lbs I'm "supposed" to be by BMI; the incredibly slow weight loss for that last 20 lbs would require more vigilance to maintain that deficit than I have the patience for; we'll have to see when and get in range. Right now, my sites are set on 220 lbs!

    In any case, I want to very much come out on the other side of this with new sustainable habits and better health so I keep that darned weight off, so I am trying to look at some of those NSVs too, when I can quit being distracted by weight loss and speed :)

    I have been rather surprised at myself at how quickly I was able to ramp up the activity, from 30 minutes walks to hour walks, getting from 2.75 mph to 3.2 and sometimes 3.5 mph. Today, for instance, I walked 4 miles in 1 hour 13 minutes and am not tired at all. I'm guessing now that the 5.5 mile walk I did 2 weeks ago wouldn't be nearly as strenuous today as it was then. I'm looking forward to the aerobic ability to increase, though that isn't improving nearly as fast as the walking improvements have come. And the bike - I'm looking forward to being able to ride further without murdering my legs or my lungs, though I have surprised myself in how far I have been able to go after only a couple of rides.

    The activity is definitely still in the experimental stage, and learning how my body responds is going to be trial and error. I've never been an overly active person, though I never had trouble doing hte things I wanted to do, whether it be hiking, playing a little softball, or any yardwork or building activities I wanted to do. But there were some things that I might be able to do at a lower weight that I just never thought I'd ever be able to do. I also know that it doesn't really matter if I was active in the past or not; I'm now 40, not 20, and ability and stamina aren't the same anyway. Maybe that's actually a good thing, because I don't have a former self to compare to.

    today, I made myself count back half the exercise calories predicted by MFP. It resulted in 530 calories more in exercise calories. At first, my brain rebelled at adding that many back. But then I stopped the hissy fit it was having to make it think a little. I had a 40 minute elliptical session this morning that was light, yes, but still variable in intensity. I counted it as a 2.5 mph walk. I had a 36 minute aerobic session. And I just got back from a 1 hr 13 minute walk that I counted as 3.0 mph because MFP doesn't have an entry for 3.25 mph. All together, that's a whopping 2 1/2 hours of purposeful activity, and resulted in over 15,000 steps for the day. As much as my brain might want to try to deny it, the fact is that is I am most definitely in the active category and probably more than likely well into the very active one. And I'm trying to get this same sort of activity in, ranging from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours of purposeful activity, 5 days a week, and that's not counting the housework and yard work chores that get done on Saturdays. Despite my incredulity about it, the numbers are telling me that I am indeed being very active - not lightly, not moderate.

    And that 530 extra calories today are lining up with the calculators, and are probably still being somewhat conservative. MFP tells me that in the active category, I should be eating 2,000 a day; 530 extra calories added to my deficit is a little under that 2,000. And that's the active category; I may find after working with the numbers for a while longer I need to up that even more. Its really hard to wrap my mind around that - a little over a month and half ago, I was barely getting 2,000 steps in on most days!

    I'm not so deep into it that I'm using spreadsheets to count my own numbers; I'm too lazy for that :) So for now, I'm just working with the estimator and trying to watch the trend weight and keep it at a reasonable level. While the eating in a deficit isn't new, figuring out the activity factor is definitely new and will take a learning curve before I get it figured completely out. And getting over the fear of an actual diet break will have to be tackled soon, too, though perhaps making myself learn to eat more exercise calories back may help in that arena?

    It's easier for me to take it slow and steady if I can see progress; I start to get myself screwed up in the head when the water weight issues begin playing with my brain and covering up the actual progress - hence the whole "only eat back 1/4 to 1/3 of your exercise calories because you aren't burning as much as you think you are" when in actuality, I'm apparently burning more than I think I am. And learning to forgive myself and realize losing control once in a while isn't the end of the world; long term counts, not short term blips.

    So @NovusDies, I guess this might count sort of like an anniversary log? lol Though I guess its more like a day to day thing :) But it beats my weekly log on another thread - that's my "whine" thread usually :blush: Not that I don't whine here, either, but you guys are all very good sports!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 12,502 Member
    Hmmm.... one thing to think about @bmeadows380

    I lost less weight than you and Novus.

    The most dangerous part, for me, is the "slide into maintenance" with the "terrifying" +/- x lb range (in my case 2.5 to 3 trending weight lbs UP since I'm still at the top end of the normal weight range (I'm 172.25 cm and not getting taller 😹)

    After losing 72.5 lbs my first year on mfp and finding out from dexa scans that my fat to lean mass ratio was starting to dip below 2:1 (from an initial 10:1), I deliberately decided to go very slow and ease into normal weight and maintenance.

    So one year slowly losing about 11lbs

    One year maintaining with option to lose, so -2.7lbs

    Half more year of keeping at it... all with the same level of logging / method of managing food intake as when initially losing...

    And only then starting to loosen logging / method of managing food intake.

    (Loosen, not abandon. I still log, and weigh food and myself. But I might spend less time looking for entries. Guestimate more. Even had time periods of not logging due to other things happening)

    I will say that in understand why so many of us regain during the first two years.

    And I do believe there is a hormonal component in addition to going back to previous behavioral patterns

    I "felt" a marked change in terms of food thoughts / how I viewed my daily allotment of calories a few months before I switched to looser monitoring.

    From feeling "I can make it within my allotment if I keep being careful and making good choices" it became, "hey this is not so bad, unless i screw up I should be fine".

    All this to say... monitor and achieve weight loss in ways you can see yourself continuing to apply for a good few years down the road.

    I don't consider it onerous, honestly, to manage my calories. Not any more.

    (In fact it boggles my mind when people tell me that counting points is easy and calories difficult. Or that eating mindfully and never taking seconds is easier, or.... )
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    @pav8888 What I need to figure out how to control before I get to maintenance is the attitude of "okay, so I didn't do well today, or I've regained 5 lbs; that's fine, but it stops here" when it doesn't actually stop until 30 lbs later. My self control seems to have this switch that flips on and off for no reason that I can figure out.

    It boggles my mind, too, on the points or counting carbs, or whatever being easier. And eating intuitively is what got me to 380 lbs to begin with! Its precisely that I can't trust myself to accurately judge what is a proper portion size or to know when my body is full; I've already discovered that there is a big disconnect between my "head" hunger and my "body" hunger. It's not always easy to see the difference, but once in a while, I can tell the difference; my stomach will be pleasantly full, but my head will be insisting it wants more and more and more.....and then give it an hour, and it will be craving again.

    I have found it interesting that my food choices have changed, though, without me needing to think about it. There are things that I would have craved before that simply don't appeal or only vaguely now. Like donuts. Before, if someone put filled donuts in the breakroom, it was a fight with myself over them. Now? I see em, but there's no desire for them. And I don't crave candy bars. I still have to watch Little Debbie Cakes and McDonald's cookies, though.

    I'm going to be in the red today, because I wanted Mexican. I did try planning for it, but it's not the kind of restaurant that has calorie counts, so I had to guess. I had 1 chicken tamale in mole sauce, and 1 chicken enchilada, which was nothing more than grilled chicken in a taco sized corn tortilla, with only about 2 or 3 tablespoons of cheese sauce. But with no real idea how to charge it, I went with heavier items.

    I would have been fine with that, except I also picked up a nachos grande with chicken, beef, sour cream, and cheese sauce for the family to share, since my enchilada dish actually came with 3 enchiladas, and I intended to take the remaining 2 to my sister for her dinner tonight. However, once I got to mom's I couldn't stay out of the nachos myself. Trying to estimate that intake was very challenging, so I picked an entry and figure, meh, don't worry about it.

    However, I did get 10,000 steps in today even without getting my evening walk in - I got my 40 minutes of elliptical time and 30 minute aerobics video in, and walked about 3/10s of a mile home from the garage after dropping my truck off for service, then walking back to pick it up,t hen walking that 3/10's two more times going up the Mexican restaurant across from the garage and home again. I didn't keep track of the time it took for those short walks, so I didn't bother even trying to count them, so technically, with 10,000 steps in for the day, I was still probably active and therefore probably accounted for those extra calories anyway, and even if I didn't quite get them all, I'm still well into a deficit at any rate.

    And having red days now and then is probably good for me anyway; helps perhaps loosen up the guilt that comes with allowing the red :)

    I could probably get another elliptical session in or more cardio if I pushed it, but I'm not going to push it because I was right on the timing of TOM's visit, so I'm feeling extra run down today anyway. I'm going to veg the evening away, and just make sure to keep myself out of the pantry except for what i have left in my diary.
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    I'm beginning to think that I'm still not eating enough calories back, but I'd still like a few more weeks worth of data to compare to. I started using the HappyScale app on March 5, 6 weeks ago. However, I was also coming off a water weight spike, so I know the initial weight of 267.6 was higher than what was really going on. As I started getting active, the water weight loosened, so the scale dropped pretty quickly afterwards.

    However, this morning, the trend for the week is sitting st 251.9 lbs, which is 2 lbs down from what it was on Thursday, and this is in spite of over indulging on Friday, Saturday, and going clear up to maintenance and even over on Sunday. Now granted, I'm coming off TOM week, which would show a nice bump down anyway, and I didn't have ham on Sunday, which usually would result in water weight gain, but still, the trend in HappyScale is showing my predicted loss rate as being 2.7 lbs, and when I look at the average loss over the last 6 weeks, that's a 15.7 lbs difference averaging to 2.6 lbs per week loss rate, which I know is still too fast.

    So I'm not sure whether to start adding back to my current deficit right now, or wait a few more weeks knowing that the initial week was artificially high because of the water weight problems. I'm definitely proving to myself, though, that the water weight problems in February were screwing up my results, making me think I was losing at a slower rate than I really was.

    And I already know that if we start going back to the office in May, that things will change again and I'll be scaling back the activity I've got going right now because of lack of time for it.

    Is 6 weeks enough time to establish a true trend, especially as that 6 weeks has covered 2 TOMs, or do I really need to wait until I've had 10 or 12 before making changes? I have started eating half my exercise calories back, so I've made that adjustment, but if that's still not enough, I"m going to have to raise my calorie limit back up, and I'm trying to decide if I should go ahead and do that based on the data I have currently, or give it a few more weeks for a few more data points.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member

    So the right advice from me to you is that you have enough deficit that even if you over correct you will still lose some weight so eat more now.

    However, what I have done in your situation is take a the middle ground. I decided what I suspected was correct but needed a little more data to confirm then split the difference between that and my latest adjustment. When I decided to go that route I also believed that within 2 more weeks I would have clean enough numbers to make more definitive choices. I delayed the inevitable though so consider my 'right advice' first.
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member

    Now i have to crunch numbers to figure out how much to raise my deficit lol

    Let's see: If I"m running 1/2 lb too fast on my rate a week, that's 250 calories. That's per week, I think, so rough 50 calories a day, right? Meaning I need to go back to the 1450 I was at before and continue to eat back half my exercise calories? I want to stay at sedentary and just eat my exercise calories back instead of changing my activity level to lightly active; I feel this method captures my activity better and covers those days where I"m not as active.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member

    You have confused daily with weekly on your numbers. A half a pound a week is a total of a 1750 calorie deficit or 250 calories per day.

    I still haven't changed my activity level from sedentary inside MFP. As long as my exercise calories are not too low I see no need. My current working theory is that I can eat 80 percent of my exercise calories. I am not totally convinced that is true but I should have new data either later this week or next so we will see how it shakes out.
  • bmeadows380
    bmeadows380 Posts: 2,982 Member
    @NovusDies yikes - adding back 250 a day?!!!!! that's going to be a fight and half with my brain.....

    I'll be very interested in knowing your results on the 80% thing; I think I'd find it easier to add back 75-80% of exercise calories rather than raise my daily deficit 250 calories. Or split the difference, maybe, adding perhaps 100 calories to my deficit and eating back 65% or something like that.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    @NovusDies yikes - adding back 250 a day?!!!!! that's going to be a fight and half with my brain.....

    I'll be very interested in knowing your results on the 80% thing; I think I'd find it easier to add back 75-80% of exercise calories rather than raise my daily deficit 250 calories. Or split the difference, maybe, adding perhaps 100 calories to my deficit and eating back 65% or something like that.

    lol. I know that battle. I added 250 and then a little over a week later I had to add another 250 because I still wasn't eating enough.

    Keep in mind that my results are not going to be your results. My exercise numbers come from my Apple Watch while you are entering yours manually.

    How you accomplish it is really a matter of ease of self management. You can play around with it to see what feels the most comfortable. I am running a really odd system right now until I feel like my numbers are really firm. Since I am only trying to lose 1 pound per week I can set MFP to lose 1.5lbs and then eat all of my exercise calories because the math comes out the same as eating 80 percent and set to lose 1 pound. It is a sloppy system which I will not keep for long but in the short term it is easy to see on the screen.

    I have an calculated average TDEE that helps guide what I do. I have always used TDEE over NEAT but I am not sure if that is my future right now. Until I make my final decision I will run everything side by side.

    Here is my current summary section:


    Other than the actual weight each column represents a what-if. SS is my spreadsheet 1.88 multiplier, Active and Very Active are based on normal multipliers, Apple and MFP are self-explanatory. So right now my low weight most closely match my projected SS weight which was highlighted in yellow. If it drops below that I compare to the other what-ifs. I have no reason to believe that Apple is correct. I think if my weight were really able to drop that low I would have seen evidence of it before now. If I had to guess my weight could potentially be slightly lower than my SS projection but not low enough for MFP to be correct. It is probably in the middle.

    I determine each by entering the calories I have eaten each day and the exercise value I have been given. Those numbers are used to determine what my loss by deficit is for the day and it is deducted from the previous day's weight in that section. So they all have their own weight columns and this is the cumulative result since Jan 10.