Sunday, March 9, 2014

Eat Before You're Hungry

This is the second post in a series documenting weight loss.

It is the morning of day two of my weight loss effort. I don't like to use the word "diet"; it has acquired such a negative feel to it. Typically, it is a drastic action a person takes until he or she can go back to the behavior that led to the need to diet in the first place. Depending on what a person's eating behaviors were, a diet may or may not be drastic. I don't think it should be so drastic that it couldn't establish a pattern for a new sustainable behavior.

One behavior that many people have, especially if they are feeling bad about their weight, is to weight until they are rather hungry to eat. I awoke not long ago and could probably make it most of the morning without eating, but then my hunger might push me to either eat more than I should or eat something I shouldn't or worse: both. Knowing this, I make having breakfast something I always do before starting my day. Yesterday I had an omelet, but I try not to eat too many eggs, so today I had berries, yogurt, and granola. Cereals portions and their associated calories are typically low. When trying to lose weight, it is important to measure your cereal portion. Granola has even more calories than regular cereal. I measured out 2/3 of a cup which gave me 230 calories. Frozen berries are rather low in calories and are high in antioxidants so you can be generous with them. I dumped close to a cup in my bowl and then microwaved them. Non-fat yogurt is not a low calorie food; sugar is the second ingredient listed on the label. It takes a lot of yogurt to moisten granola. I added close to a cup to the granola and berries.

Granola, Yogurt, and Berries Breakfast

2/3 cup granola             230
1 cup non-fat yogurt     170
1 cup berries                   70

Total                              470

The total is probably somewhat lower than 470 because neither the yogurt nor the berries were a full cup. Imagine though, if my estimates or measurements were low on every item; I could easily be off by three or four hundred calories by the end of the day. 440 calories is probably more accurate for this meal. I've been drinking coffee this morning as well; fortunately, I like black coffee; I don't even bother to count the 15 or so calories that are in black coffee. My wife drinks her coffee with 2% milk and sugar; that adds up. Each teaspoon of sugar has 15 calories and the milk may add close to 15 as well. For her, each cup of coffee is rounded to 50 calories.

I was rather pleased with my first day of weight loss effort yesterday. Because I ran 7.2 miles yesterday, I was able to add 860 calories to my base of 2245 for a total of 3105 calories that I could have eaten and not gained weight. To meet my daily goal, I would have to consume 445 calories less than that. I took in 750 calories less. That is about 1/5 of a pound. I somewhat regret having three beers over the course of the evening. I would have lost 1/3 of a pound without them.

I weigh myself daily when I am trying to lose a few pounds. The readings on the scale on a day to day basis should not be given much value from day to day. For example, Yesterday morning I weighed 183.4. This morning, I weighed 181.2. I did not lose over two pounds in 24 hours. There are many factors that can create significant variations in a person's weight over the course of the day. I may have been well-hydrated yesterday morning. I may have had to go to the bathroom. This morning I may have been slightly dehydrated from yesterday's exercise. I may have eliminated more waste yesterday. Oh, and I lost 0.2 pounds. So, 2.0 of the 2.2 pounds differences between yesterday and today had nothing to do with actual weight loss. Eventually the readings will even out. I will have a consistent pattern of eating, hydration, elimination, and exercise and by weighing myself at the same time each day relative to those variable I will begin to see more consistent readings; from day to day there may be very little drop, no drop, or the scale may read higher. If you find yourself anxious about the variations you'll want to weigh yourself less often.

I will probably run a few more miles this afternoon. I know that it takes energy to do that. It will take more than 100 calories for each mile that I run. Energy will already be stored in my muscles, but psychologically I will feel better about running for an hour or two if I don't have an empty stomach. I will also have fuel in the tank once the stores in my muscles are depleted. I will also not be so hungry when I'm done running. In fact, I find that if I run long enough my appetite seems suppressed for quite a while after the work out.

1 comment:

  1. Will try to stick to this - eat before you are hungry.