A reflection on Easter Dinner & Holiday Meals: Where diets go to die.

Ah, Easter.  The bane of my diet.  I went in with the best of intentions, and went out with the worst of results.  To be clear, the day I’m talking about was March 29, Good Friday, which was when my family had their big Easter dinner.

I don’t know why I find holidays so hard.  Partly I think this day was the first day off I’ve had in months – if you can call it that.  I woke up in Okotoks in the morning  as we had to attend the Good Friday church service that Jocelyn was playing at, and after we went to a marriage prep course.  Jocelyn’s parents are amazing and made us delicious whole grain, flax seed waffles which were amazing, but it’s always hard to start off a day with a 700 calorie hit just from Breakfast.

Throughout the day, we had to go all over town doing errands, and we kept stopping places for snacks.  First it was Starbucks where we succumbed to the delight of Cake Pops.  Then we were near Crave Cupcakes which we never are and decided it would be a fantastic idea to split 6 mini cupcakes – to get the full experience of the different flavors.  It was amazing.  But by the time I arrived at my parents’ house for Easter Dinner, I had already used up my 1700 calories for the day.  And I hadn’t exercised, so I did not earn any extras.  And it was Easter, so I ate Easter dinner.   After dinner, we impulsively went to a movie where I ate popcorn (a moderate amount, for me haha).

All in all, this totally overboard day put me back a total of 4031 calories.  Which felt good in a way, because I love food and I love to eat.  But it was a surplus of 2381 calories which amounts to almost 0.7 lbs of fat gained in one day.

So I’m conflicted.  Was it worth it to have a day of shameless cheating on my diet, or is it something to be ashamed of and avoid in the future?  What is a good excuse for going morbidly over my calorie goal?  I feel like a cupcake?  I really want to see a movie?  It’s Easter?

For now, I’m not going to let myself be bothered by this one bad day, as long as this type of day doesn’t occur too frequently.

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Last week in review

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Last week was a good week that ended poorly.

I got on the scale at the end of the day and it was not encouraging. I generally weigh myself every day in the morning. I find this the most encouraging practice since I tend to weigh less first thing in the morning.

Anyway, yesterday was a busy day. I was performing out of town in the morning and I didn’t get up in time to make breakfast. I swung by a McDonalds drive through for the first time since I started calorie counting. I was proud of myself to make the healthy choice and get my breakfast sandwich without cheese. Hah! All in I consumed 700 calories. I was off to a bad start.

After the performance I had a day planned. Marriage prep followed by family time with the in-laws to be. Marriage prep made for a late lunch at Dairy Queen while we picked up the ice cream cake for Aunt Shelley’s birthday. Fast food twice in a day! I did exercise control just eating one 99 cent burger. Just enough to hold me over to dinner. What I didn’t realize was that little seemingly innocuous burger had 350 calories!! Yikes. So I had about 550 calories remaining for dinner. Factor in plans to eat ice cream cake later? I knew I was out of luck.

So yeah with one poorly planned day I felt like my week was out of control. In reality I didn’t do too bad but it is an indicator that I eat too much fast food and poor planning shouldn’t be a good enough excuse to do so.

I also drank 5 cups of coffee in the evening in order to stay awake for the drive home. I hope that’s what caused my surprising weight reading on the scale last night. Who knows. I’ll weigh in officially tomorrow first thing tomorrow to get back on track.

Here’s to this week being a better one! Goals:

  • Make better nutrition choices
  • Take steps towards starting strength training

Happy weight loss!

Strength training. When to start, what to do… ?

I’ve been thinking a lot about strength training lately.

The old conventional wisdom is that it’s not possible to lose fat and build muscly at the same time.  Honestly, I mostly buy in to this wisdom.

It makes sense to me that in order to lose fat the body must be experiencing a calorie deficit each day, in order to seek its required energy from the fat deposits stored in the body, thereby “burning” fat.

It also makes sense that after strength training wherein muscle tissue is torn that for the body to build muscle in the healing process it requires more energy, and it requires protein in order to create new muscle.

What I don’t know is if the body is equipped to use energy from fat stores in the body to build that muscle, as long as there is available protein to use.  Further education is required on that front.

I also have heard that building muscle increases the body’s metabolism, by as much as increasing natural calorie consumption by as many as 50 calories per day for each pound of muscle added.  Some cursory research on the inter webs suggests that this theory is highly contested.  However, it is known that strength training does help to decrease fat composition, and has many other positive effects as well.  It’s just not certain how quantifiable it is.

I have not been focusing on strength.  In my fitness regimen I’ve noticed strength improving as a result of the cardio activities I have been doing, but I know this isn’t the same as weight training.

I want to get in to strength, but I’m not sure how, and I’m not sure when.

Right now my priority is calorie deficit. The most efficient way to achieve calorie deficit is to spend my gym time sweating my butt off doing cardio… right?  I love the feeling of working until I feel like I can’t stand, sweat streaming from my pores, and best of all registering a calorie burn session in my calorie tracker that totals in the region of 400-700 calories burned.  It’s super gratifying and it allows me a little more wiggle room in my diet.

My plan right now is to get down to 189lbs (where my BMI will be considered “normal” for the first time since 1997) and then focus on a strength regime while trying to maintain a relatively low fat body composition.  Optimistically I can hit 189lbs in September of 2013. Is that too long to wait to start doing serious strength training?

And what’s the best strength program out there?  Simple weights? Power lifting? Cross-fit? TRX?

My Fitness Pal is down right now and it’s causing me more distress than I would have expected!

My Fitness Pal is down right now and it's causing me more distress than I would have expected!

I checked http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/ and apparently the server isn’t responding.

So – when it goes back up I need someone to remind me to input my snack of mini-wheats! And I’m on my way to a coffee meeting where I may eat a cookie! Let’s hope My Fitness Pal is back soon before I’m left to my own devices 😛