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Losing IT! Crunching the numbers

September 28th, 2010 3 comments

I’m been doing this weight loss gig for half a year, and the balanced eating habits and exercise routines are taking a hold of my weekly living.  I feel cranky if I don’t get my exercise in, I feel bloated if I over indulge, these are good things.  I’m also trying to take a analytical approach to my journey, by tracking food intake, and exercise outtake.  Trying to quantify calories in versus calories out.

I started using WeightWatchers and had great initial success, at my start weight I maxed out the daily points at 42 points, with 35 weekly points to use or not use through the week.  The online WW program, adds calories to your Weekly Points and the program will only tap into those points if you go over your daily points.  The first three months I tried to ‘bank’ as many weekly points as I could while still eating reasonably, and not feeling hungry.  What I remember from reading the online WW articles, it was important to eat your daily points to keep your metabolism going.  In the three months using weightwatchers.com I lost 25 pounds.

I also started walking regularly in April, and using the same sort of in the cloud recording of my activity to track my progress.   Is use two sites to track my runs, the first Runkeeper.com is an application I use on my iPhone that tracks my outdoor activities using GPS to give an accurate account of distance traveled.  Runkeeper also lets you enter manual entries, that lets me put all my midsummer treadmill work into my profile.  The other site I use to track exercise is DailyMile.com, where I pretty much duplicate the same information. Why? because DailyMile is more social networking friendly, had nifty reports and graphics.  So it’s worth it to me to double track my activity.

In June, I let my WeightWatchers account lapse and started tracking my calories in the iPhone LoseIt! application, which also has a great website (for people without an iPhone, all the features can now be done on the web). With LoseIt.com I daily track my calories. With the ease of using my phone, I try to enter my food in before I eat each meal, the discipline has kept me aware of my intake, as well as how expensive my old habits of drinking soda and candy because I was hungry in the middle of the day were.  LoseIt! has some great reporting views, with the ability to download my data of calories consumed and exercise calories into spreadsheets.

I switched to LoseIt! in June, and since that time I’ve lost a total of 6 pounds.  So the problem I’m trying to number crunch through is why has my progress slowed, or is it just one of the natural plateau’s that happens during the normal course of life.  The slow down also happened in the middle of the summer, is there a seasonality to it?  I started traveling (3 trips in 3 weeks in August), did that effect my habits?

One other thing is just the difference between WeightWatchers and LoseIt programs.  WeightWatchers is about points, with 50 calories being approximately 1 point, with high fat foods increasing to two points, or high fiber foods reducing to a half point.  LoseIt is just calories.  WeightWatchers, as noted above, has a weekly bank of points and activities.  LoseIt add calories burned in activities to the daily balance, so when I exercise it appears I can consume more calories to hit my daily calorie goal.

With WeightWatchers I tried to bank my weekly and activity points, which if I banked 35 points a week, means I should bank about 1750 calories per week on LoseIt (since it appears to spread the 35 weekly points across all 7 days caloric goals).  Because of the way LoseIt adds exercise to each day, my exercise points get lost in the shuffle.  So I think I’ve been eating more while exercising more since switching to LoseIt.

I’m looking at the numbers, which are highly available thanks to obsessive record keeping these last 6 months, and have come to this conclusion.  I need to exercise to burn around 1500 calories each week, while trying to bank ~1500 calories consumed each week.  Using that as a benchmark for the next 3 months.

On the exercise front, I finished my first 5k when I ran the Corporate Challenge 5k.  My plan was to run 5 minutes then walk 3 minutes until I finished, and I mostly kept to that plan.  My time of 42:10 was almost 3 minutes faster than my off the top of my head goal of 45 minutes (which is my 15 min per mile workout average,) which pleased me abundantly.  I’m continuing my training, but going to shift my training C25k sessions and catalog those as runs, and try to get outside for a mile each off day and count that as a walk.  Which means nothing really, just shifting to a different category in runkeeper and dailymile as my performance improves.

So there you go, what things do you use to track your goals?

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