For those of you that have been following my health/fitness journey you’d know that I recently upped my calorie goals. I did this for several reasons:
- It will help maintain my metabolism
- It will support muscle growth. Not just fat loss.
- I will feel less hungry, especially on hard workout days.
- Higher calories are closer to my maintenance numbers. This means more sustainability.
- It supports me working on my relationship with food.
So I have lost a significant amount of weight two different times. This time will hopefully be my third and LAST time. Previously, I did things wrong both diet and exercise-wise, but this post is focused on food.
The first time I lost weight I used myfitnesspal (I still do because it make life easy and its a great app). It set me up with 1,200 calories/day because I had less weight to lose, I lived a sedentary lifestyle, and selected that I wanted to lose 2lbs/week which is aggressive. Back then, the software was new and was not as focused on adjusting to a person’s caloric needs. Knowing nothing about nutrition and health, I thought that is probably fine. All diets should make me feel hungry right? I was clearly eating too much… Wrong.
For those of you who were like me and didn’t know, 1,200 calories is hard to sustain long term. I managed to do so for about 6 months/1 year on two different occasions. I lost weight and was beyond proud about how strong my willpower was. Sadly, it also generated a really unhealthy relationship with food. I started a pattern of extreme restriction, slight restriction, binge to the point of feeling sick, followed by massive guilt, and finally once again I’d restrict even more. I’d repeat this again and again. I labeled foods as bad and would feel anxious anytime I had to eat. Fearful thoughts like what if this was the one time I couldn’t stop? What if I gained all the weight back because I ate that piece of cheese? I got to a point where I wished I really didn’t have to eat. If I was completely honest, I still feel that way sometimes. I’m working on it. I explain this feeling to folks like this…People who quit smoking can get rid of their addiction cold turkey. I have to get out my addiction 3x/day to survive. Majority of social events, networking and career related events, and even dating revolves around food. Around my addiction. So I have to learn to balance it. I have to live in harmony with my addiction.
This diet I initially selected the same settings of 2 lbs/week and sedentary lifestyle, however, being heavier it upped my calorie goal at about 1,350. (Yay myfitnesspal for accounting for caloric needs and body types!) After starting my new workout plans and going through the motions, I just felt like I was restricting and more hungry than I wished to be. More than just eating less. Especially considering I was eating healthy things that should fill people up. I could do it, and maintain this diet, but I was feeling icky about what I was doing to my body. So I on a whim felt like I’d try upping my calories. And it turned out great! I am not eating anywhere from 1,400-1630 calories/day. I like the range because I’m trying to just eat to satiety. I don’t force myself to eat more, and most days I feel fin at about 1,500 and don’t even come close to the limit of 1,630. Likely because I am eating a TON of vegetables and fruit.
- I ended up losing more weight week than the weeks previous where I was eating more.
- I felt way less hungry. In fact, I don’t really feel hungry at all unless its prior a meal.
- I feel like this is closer to maintenance calories/diet so my body wont be as shocked once I make the switch. Also, I feel the transition will probably be easier.
- I don’t have to restrict myself a ton just to enjoy one even with friends. This is probably my most favorite change. Before, if I knew I had an event with friends I would eat the least I possibly could until the dinner at 7pm. I would feel starting. This way I can eat semi normal before these things and still do okay calorie wise.
Overall, this is an awesome change and probably the best thing I could have done for my body and health journey. Even if my weight loss is slower, this is much healthier mentally and physically and I am beyond happy about it.