Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Confessions of a Dieter

Most of my friends and family know that I am in the midst of a hardcore diet*. With four weeks behind me, the scale is telling me that I've lost 9 lbs. I am pleased as punch, since my target weight loss rate is 2 lbs per week. I am slightly ahead of the game!

(*When I say “hardcore”, I mean that I view this as a challenge and am therefore pursuing it with acute attention and deliberation. When I say “diet”, I am referring to a controlled and planned manner of eating, in which the daily intake of calories is monitored and limited.)

Basically, I am calorie counting, which I openly acknowledge has its flaws. But I am naturally a fairly healthy vegetarian eater, drawn to mainly vegetables, fruits and whole grains. So, personally, I'm not too concerned, but those with a penchant for junk food might want to proceed with caution I would imagine. But what do I know? I mean, after all, I have never been on "a diet" before this one. Never, ever! In fact, other than the occasional visit to the doctor's office, I had never stepped on a scale before this venture. (Darren actually had to give me a tutorial on how to use our digital scale before my first weight-in.)

With a BMI that has always been just too high, it's been preying on my mind that perhaps my usual maintenance routine of keeping a somewhat active lifestyle, just wasn't going to be enough to bring the numbers down to where they ought to be. Darren and I both decided it was time to shed some real pounds, so we started this diet together four weeks ago. Having a diet partner has made all the difference in the world! I might go so far as to say that in many ways, this is a bonding experience for us. We not only share in the daily experiences of dieting and cheer each other on as the pounds come off, but together, we also look for new healthy recipe ideas, then plan and cook our strategic lo-cal meals. It really has been surprisingly fun.

We are utilizing the iPhone app "Lose It!" to track out daily calories and weight loss. The app generates your weight loss plan and daily calorie allowance based on your gender, weight, height and goals. Right now, she's giving me around 1,100 calories a day, but this gets a bit lower every week when I record a new weight. I suppose fewer calories are required to sustain less body mass, so this will be a continuing trend that I will have to contend with.

I find the whole idea of a controlled calorie intake interesting. Especially relative to my own behavior and reaction to it. In my mind, the bottom line, and the reason so many people dislike diets, is because it is a loss of freedom to do (eat) whatever we please. My personal confession, as unhealthy of a behavior as this may be, is that I seem to be a calorie hoarder. Although I am never hungry and I don't think I've ever eaten all my allotted calories in a given day, my measly 1,100 calories just doesn't seem enough in my mind. I continue to reserve quite a few calories over the course of the day, so that I am left with a nice little buffer at the end... just in case.

Humans are such curious creatures.

Besides observing my own behavior, I am also learning about the mechanics of dieting. Sure I watch and study the caloric values of the various foods I eat, but I am also researching how the body loses weight, when it loses weight and where the weight goes. I find the science and chemistry of it all so fascinating. Some might say I am obsessing. That is what I do.

Darren and I will be tracking our diet clear through August. I am committed to stick to it and eat within my Lose It! guidelines. We'll just have to wait and see what happens with my weight. I imagine it will keep going down, but i have been readings about plateaus, which I am ready to deal with, if and when the time comes. I do have some pretty lofty goals (somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 lb!), so if all keeps to this current trajectory, I will be continuing well past the end of summer.

Wow...9 lbs! That really was easy.

It's amazing what a huge motivator a little success can be.


(On a side note, there is a friendly little wager in our house over who will lose the most percentage of body weight by our milestone date of August 31; whoever drops the most weight will be getting a brand new tattoo!)