Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Journey and the Destination

It's been just over two weeks since I began logging my food and exercise with My Fitness Pal. A year or so ago I tried to participate in a fitness challenge a group of food bloggers did together, but didn't last very long. It was just too difficult to keep legitimate track of anything. The database of food and exercise in MFP is phenomenal.

To give a starting point, here is how I set up my account:

Age: 28
Height: 5'5.5"
Weight: 128.6 (I later changed it to 129.6 when I realized that must have been a fluke w/ my scale)
Goal Weight: 125
Weight Loss Goal per Week: 0.5 pounds (changed to 1 pound based on MFP calculation)
Calorie Goal per Day: 1400 (calculated by MFP; changed to 1200 when adjusting the above category)

As I later learned, MFP calculates a recommended weight loss goal per week, and mine was calculated at 1 pound. When I changed my weekly weight loss goal, my calorie goal per day was adjusted to 1200.

Each day I enter my food and exercise as accurately as possible, and I believe there have only been 1 or 2 days where I have exceeded my calorie goal - all other days I have finished the day under 1200 (or 1400, previously). But, try as I might, my body has not changed one bit (yes...I've been looking at that big, red 0 for two weeks now).

I think there are a few reasons why I haven't had any change. First, I'm not trying to shed tens of pounds. While someone working on a larger weight loss goal may lose the first 5, 10 or even 15 pounds quickly, I'm merely trimming off a few pounds. I've always heard people say the last 5 pounds is the hardest, and that's pretty much all I'm going for, so I may have a tough run of it. That being said, I really shouldn't expect much out of just two weeks.

Next, since because my eating habits have always been pretty much what they are now, I'm not sure that focusing so much on food is going to do much for me. Which brings me to the strongest point: I need to work harder. My big night at the gym is Thursday nights, when I have a 1-hour ballet class followed by 1-hour of Zumba. Ballet is a mix of strength and cardio, and Zumba is about 99% cardio (we hold squats a couple of times during our dances). If I really want to see a difference in the way my body looks (which has been my main goal - I only figured dropping a couple of pounds would come with that as part of the toning process), I need to log more hours at the gym. Maybe another fitness class, but definitely some time spent using the weight machines and a little more cardio to burn fat as I tone up with the weight machines. I do lose calories with some at-home exercises and activities, but I can't imagine that has the same impact as dedicated gym time.

What does all of this mean? Moving into the second part of my first month using MFP, I'm going to put a stronger effort toward gym time. I am lucky to having a flexible work scheduling, allowing me to start my day any time between 9 and 10. That means if I wake up early, I can take care of household business so my evenings are chore-free. Goal number 1: wake up an hour earlier. I also have two pups who are eager for more time outdoors. Goal number 2: get those puppies walking, even if it's just the 3/4 mile loop around the block. If I change into gym clothes and walk the dogs when I get home from work, that means I'll be warmed up and ready to head to the gym. Goal number 3: spend 1-2 more hours in the gym each week.

Tomorrow's Friday and usually a rest day after the long Thursday night at the gym and all the chores at the horse farm on Saturday, so Monday will begin my newly dedicated efforts!

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