I discovered a program called Fitday, and started logging my calories. I had experimented with the online version before, but I paid the $20 and downloaded the PC version and it was probably the choice that kept me on the “Fitday Train”, because the PC version is so much more versatile than the online one.
I can go on and on about the wonder that is Fitday. I got my best friend Megan hooked on it as well. But instead of talking about how wonderful it is, I’m going to try to show you. As you scroll down the following photos you can look at the charts and graphs I created using Fitday that show the results I was achieving, and what I was doing to get them.
Feel free to click on this calendar to visit the full size version on Flickr.
Below you can see my daily summaries for the month of November. I think I should have put my Thanksgiving estimates a bit higher, but other than that I know it is accurate because I hand made and measured everything myself. I worked hard to exercise (either playing DDR or running/walking on the treadmill) several times/week. Some of my daily totals were high (112 grams of fat on November 6!), but this is where the idea of “calories over time” becomes important. I started to get a handle on things by the end of November, and my totals for that week look much better.
I love the PC version of Fitday because I can generate all kinds of grafts and charts. This graph was particularly helpful for me in the beginning because I was able to export the infomration into a recognizable format. Eeep! 21 grams of sat fat. That can definitely be improved on.
I weighed myself as often as I wanted, sometimes daily. Get over it. I know what they say about weighing yourself so frequently, but this was science! It was fascinating to me the amount of fluctation I could have from day to day, even when weighing myself in the same conditions at the same time. On 11/4 I weighted 190. On11/5 I weighed 185.5. “Whoohoo, I lost 4.5 lbs in a day”, I thought. But then, on 11/13 I weighed 187.5 lbs and on 11/14 lbs I weighted 191. That’s a gain of 3.5 lbs in a day! Now, I only celebrate weight loss in 5 lb increments. On the right you can see my graph of my weight loss ( I wish it wasn’t so small, but I can’t make it look any different).
In the middle of December I went under the knife and had my breasts slashed up, so calorie counting stopped for awhile. But I ended up reaching my goal of 10 lbs weight loss before the surgery! Photo below taken about a week after my surgery, December 2006.
January 2007 came, and I hit it harder than I ever have. I was dropping weight faster than I thought possible, but I was still following the rule of whenever I felt hungry. I’ve never seen anything like it. I can say that I contribute some of the weight loss to having huge chunks of fat sawed off my chest. I’ve heard that really large breasts can weight up to 6 lbs each. Here I am at the end of January, about a month after surgery. I think you can tell I was feeling just fine. If the camera time stamp is right I would have been about 167 lbs here.
Click on the calendar to visit the larger version on my flickr site.
I lowered my fat intake, saturated fat, in particular. My daily caloric intake for this time period was about 130 calories lower in average. Isn’t it amazing what shaving off a few calories can do? (Also having surgery, I can’t deny the surgeries contribution to the weight loss).
I do NOT thinking losing 7 lbs in 7 days is healthy or normal. But, again, I was eating when I was hungry, and I continued to eat when I was hungry throughout the rest of the month. Stepping on the scale each day actually became something I looked forward to.
I lost weight like crazy. Until I started spending time with That Husband, and then the weight started to creep back on. I was spending time with this cute guy, and we were going out for late night runs to Burger King and staying up all night studying, and so I started to slip into my old habits.This photo was taken at the end of Winter Semester 2007. It’s actually the same night I told That Husband I either wanted to start dating or stop hanging out. He obviously chose date (although he waited 3 weeks to give me an answer).
So sad that such a memorable photo has me looking so creepy (and don’t be all “oh you look gorgeous” in the comments. I’m a good judge of what looks good on me and what doesn’t, I’ve had the body for 23 years now).
That Husband and I laugh and laugh whenever we see this graph. We started spending time together at the end of January and we started dating long distance at the beginning of July. Basically I gained weight the entire time, and then started to lose it once we split up. Some might say this was because I was “happy”. I say it’s because nutrition is something you have to actively commit to. If you let it slide to the bottom of your list of priorities you will gain. That happy stuff is a load of bull. I’m happier now than I ever was while we are dating, and I’m (ever so slowly) losing, not gaining.
July-November proved that I could stop tracking and hold steady. Yahoo! For me, this meant that I was finally making correct choices in what I was eating. I wasn’t losing, but I wasn’t gaining either. I held steady through this period at about 173 lbs. Photo below taken in August of 2007.
From that point on it was a slow and steady weight loss. I logged my calories sporadically, to keep myself in check. October 2007 (dressed as the season Summer). Somewhere around 170 lbs.
I started feeling more confidentabout my figure. I started recognizing my face again. Hello cheekbones, remember me? I was able to hold a steady pace of weight loss even through Christmas and finals.
By April of 2008, I was feeling quite curvalicious again. Let’s do a side by side comparison, shall we? The photo on the left is in April 2006, the photo on the right is April 2008. Somewhere around 162 lbs.
We need to look at another one of those birthday photos, because what I’m about to show you next is just mind blowing to me. The change I made in two months time is unbelievable.
So here I am in April 2008, April 15th to be exact, 162 lbs:
And here I am only 73 days later, June 28th 2008, around 153 lbs:
“You look hot!” my husband drooled when I showed him this shot. That Husband was so stunned by the difference that he made me show him other photos from that same night to prove that it wasn’t just a good photograph. Here is the other one I found from that night:
I can’t stop scrolling between the two months. Makes me want to jump back on the fitday train right this instant!
Here is what I was doing to see such a big change (click on the calendars to enlarge):
The missing weeks in May are due to my trip to Europe (during which I lost another 5!). In these months you can see I did my best to keep my weekly caloric summary at less than 1500 calories. I believe what truly made the difference was taking my average daily fat gram intake down to somewhere around 32. I don’t advocate a low-fat diet, necessarily, but I do advocate a low sat-fat diet (and a no trans-fat diet). Fitday tells me I kept my sat fat intake to an unheard of 8 grams daily from April 27 to June 27!
This is by far the best average daily nutrition facts chart I have. I was right at my caloric goal of 1300 calories, I was was under my fat and sat fat goals, and eating a good amount of healthy fats. I tried to eliminate cholestrol as completely as possible without going vegan. I worked really hard to keep my fiber and protein intakes high, which kept me feeling full. I’m very proud of myself for what I accomplished during these two months.
I hope these charts of mine will help you to not get discouraged with your minor ups and downs. When you put my entire weight loss graph together there are many ups, but lots more downs, to be found. I choose to focus on the down ones. And now, when I gain 3 lbs, I think “This can be fixed”, and it can. That is actually why I weigh myself so frequently, because I might gain 3 lbs one day, and lose 3 the next, and then I’m right back where I started from!
And then, although the story doesn’t end there, my wedding day arrived. I felt beautiful, and happy, and alive. And I also think I was somewhere around 145 lbs or less (I believe I graduated high school at this weight), although scales weren’t important enough to be part of my routine around that time.
Now I’m hovering somewhere around 150 lbs, actively looking to lose, but taking my time doing it. I’ve reached a nice stage of comfort combined with discontent. I need the discontent to keep losing, but I need the comfort to be happy.
Why do I share this with you, and why do I believe in it? Because I’ve seen it work, and throughout the process I wasn’t denied anything. I didn’t spend long nights talking with my closest friends about how I ate a brownie and hated my life. I actually lived life throughout the entire process.
And now, I have the skills I need to maintain the weight. Except that one time when I was spending so much time with That Husband, I’ve stopped tracking in Fitday multiple times in the past 2 1/2 years and been successful at maintaing. Out of about 750 days I have only spent 250 days logging what I eat. That means I was able to eat without tracking, without gaining weight, twice as often as I tracked. Do you realize how wonderful that is? I’ve been on so many diets that had me wondering “If I stop, avoiding _____, will I gain it all back?”
I’ve learned something more than how to count points, or to focus on fish, or any of those other things ridiculous diets do. I can tell you how many fat grams I’m aiming for each day, where I want my sat fat to be, and I’m getting pretty darn good at estimating how many calories are in the dishes I eat without weighing and measuring them.
Best of all, I only have one rule. Stay as close to 1400 calories as possible, however I want to make it happen. So some days I eat breakfast, and I’m not hungry again until dinner, and I eat a big bowl of popcorn. Then the next day I have tuna for lunch to make up for the protein I was lacking. And then I have apple and peanut butter as a snack after dinner. I eat for nutrition, not for the scale.
I remember this one day, where I calculated that I could reach my daily nutrition goal exactly if I ate 11 almonds, and so I did. And that feeling? It was amazing. My body felt healthy, and strong, and nourished. And I have the knowledge to make that feeling happen again and again.
Today I walked outside with no makeup, wet hair from the shower, wearing sweats, and some guy whistled at me twice (to make sure I got the message, I think). I got the message, and it was a good one. It was something like “Good for you.”