Sunday, January 18, 2009

The 'me and my fat ass' diet, week one.

Hello all. One week down, many to go - but one week down, and a successful one at that. It seems like a good time to lay out some of my plans and goals. It goes something like this.

I'm aiming to eat about 1600 calories a day. I go a little over, it's not a crisis, but I'm aiming for that number. If I'm under, well that's good - as long as I'm not drastically under, because then I'll either be hungry or malnourished or both. This calorie count will let me create a calorie deficit of around 500 calories a day. If you crunch all the numbers, this ultimately leads to burning about one pound worth of calories (from body fat) a week. A slow rate of loss to be sure, but a healthy and sustainable one. And isn't that the point?

Of course, reducing the number of calories I eat isn't the whole picture. It can't be. But I'm fighting some forces that I can't control, such as winter weather in New York and my own unpredictable body. My goal and hope is to walk to work or make some other long walk at least three times a week. Whether or not I'll be able to do so - well, I'll just take that as it comes. If I can do more, I will. I'm also doing a little bit of work with (very) light weights at home - it seems that I've grown quite weak. And of course I'm thinking about starting up with my yoga again - it makes perfect sense for flexibility, strength, relaxation, and really all kinds of good stuff.

This, however, is a classic trap that I set for myself. I decided that I MUST do such-and-such physical activity on these days, and then I find myself a giant stone tablet and chisel it on in there. And inevitably a thunderstorm or a flared up knee with throw it all off, and then I don't know how to recover, and everything gets thrown out the window because I'm too married to my plan. So understand. It's not that I don't recognize the importance of exercise as a counterpoint to the change in eating habits; it's simply that I am finally, finally, finally allowing for some flexibility for my unreliable abilities.

Now, about how I'm getting to this 1600 calories. Ideally it happens through five small meals spread throughout the day, and in the first week I've managed to do that for the most part. But it also allows for some flexibility - with a food addict like me there has to be some wiggle room.

Breakfast is always the same: I have half a cup of a whole grain multi-grain cereal, made of something not predominately wheat and relatively low in sugar, with half a cup of almond milk. (A favorite cereal is Barbara's Shredded Spoonfuls; I also like Oaty Bites but I can't find them lately.) I also have the all-important cup of coffee. Because you know what? With the possible exception of pregnant women, one cuppa never hurt nobody. Grand total for breakfast: 160 calories.

That small breakfast leaves room for a mid-morning snack, which is essential because I can never make it to the pre-ordained work-sanctioned lunchtime. For this snack I have a vanilla yogurt (Whole Soy & Co) at 150 calories, or a granola bar for around 180.

For lunch this week I was extremely good, and brought food every single day. I had three things that I had cooked large meals of and then portioned out into 400 calorie servings: buckwheat soba noodles with mushrooms and broccoli, my famous tofu salad with crackers, and three bean chilli with corn and soymeat. (OK, fine, so Jonathan made the chilli. Thanks baby, it was awesome.)

This means that by the time I get home from work between 5:30 and 6, I've had about half my calories for the day. And so I have another small meal immediately upon arriving, and then either one more or two small things around 8 or 8:30.

As far as exercise goes, this week I managed to walk to work on Monday, walk from my apartment to my studio and then two hours later from my studio back to my apartment on Tuesday, and on Saturday we walked to the local movie theater and back home. I also dabbled in my (very) light weights.

And so, Sunday morning weight 1/18/9: 183.2

So yes, week one we will count as a success. Whether or not the above number actually represents a loss, I can't say; what I'm really excited about is that I stuck with the program.

Keep your fingers for week two.

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