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Fine tuning…

February 1st, 2011

imageCelebrated the one-third mark of my journey this past weekend.  I’ve lost 50 pounds, or roughly a small 2nd grader.  This past week was one of my best weeks on LoseIt! as far as consistency, with the month of January matching my best loss in a month, ten pounds.  The last time I lost 10 pounds in a month was my last month on Weight Watchers. 

In July I started using LoseIt! as my food journal, and continued to log my meals and stay under calories.  The biggest difference between WW and LoseIt! tactically is what Weight Watchers calls Weekly Points.  These are points above your daily point target that can be used as you see fit, use them on a splurge day, add a bit each day, or don’t use them at all and speed up your weight loss.  I tried to keep a weekly points balance most of the time which really helped me lose 25 pounds in the first 3 months on this journey.

With LoseIt! you have a daily budget of calories, not points, and there isn’t really a concept of a weekly buffer as far as extra calories you can consume, unless you exercise, then eat your activity calories.  This was a question that played on my mind through the summer and fall, how to handle the lack of the weekly points, and what to do with my activity calories.  Frankly I was busy with work and travel, and I was happy to just keep logging and get in my exercise goals.

When October came, I really wanted to figure out how to fine tune LoseIt! to allow me to meet my stated goals of losing 2 pounds per week.  You can see in my graph the imageslowing down that was frustrating me, I was thinking it was just a plateau, and tried just giving it time, I decided to really analyze what was working, and what wasn’t.  I started weighing in daily to get more data about how my weight fluctuates.  I started noticing a correlation between some up days and my caloric intake when I ate my activity calories my weight loss stalled.  In December I tried to not eat my exercise calories and had a really great first half of the month.  Mid-month I met my first goal of losing 42 pounds, and my first weigh-in under 300.  That was a relief, because I thought that goal was in reach but it always seemed to move, first by Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then by Christmas. 

I started planning the next phase of my journey, knowing that reachable goals would be easier than seeing a big 100 pounds on the graph, so I made a series of small goals that I’d set after I achieved the next goal.  The first was 4, then 8, then 15, 16, 23, 42.  Also known as the LOST numbers which added a bit of fun to the goal setting chore.  So far, I’ve met the 4 pounds and almost to the eight pound goal. 

The next adjustment I made was to reduce my daily calories in LoseIt! by 200 calories per day.  The reason I chose that number is because that is about what a light workout on the Wii or a circuit training at the gym would burn.  This limits my calories a little bit, but allows me to eat back some exercise calories for days that I have a long run, and still hit my goal of losing 2lb/day.  I’m only about 10 days into that experiment and had a really good week, so I’ll keep tracking and see how that works out long term.

With LoseIt! I enjoy there is enough data in the system that I can make an informed decision about what I want to do.  I’d recommend that people talk with their doctor if they have questions about how much they should eat. 

What tweaks have you made to your system to help you reach your goals?

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