Operation Skinny: Week 1 Results

So, the results are in for Week 1! Before I get into any of my reflections or explanations, here are the cold, hard numbers:

  • Weight: 200.8 lbs (- 4 lbs!)
  • Bust: 43.25” (- 0.75”)
  • Waist: 34.75” (- 0.75”)
  • Belly button: 40.5” (no loss)
  • Hips: 45.0” (- 1.0”)
  • BMI: 29.6 (- 0.6 – back in the “overweight” category!)
  • Height: 5’9”
  • Clothing size: 14 (sometimes 16)

How much did I eat? How much did I exercise? According to my food diary, which tracks both food and exercise, my average daily calories were 1648 and my average calories burned were 2944. That leaves me with a deficit of 1296 per day and a total of 9072 for the week. To translate this into pounds lost, I divide this total number by 3500 as that’s the amount of calories per pound. Therefore, according to my food diary, I should have lost 2.59 lbs. However, in reality, I lost 4.0 lbs.

I imagine the discrepancy can be accounted for in many ways. First off, the food diary, while a very useful tool, is never going to be an exact science. I plan to use it as a general guide, not a precise measurement instrument for exact weight loss. Although I can fairly accurately account for calories in, the measurements for calories out are a little less certain. Secondly, I figure my initial weight was likely inflated from water retention – either for hormonal reasons or the fact that I’d been eating so many carb-rich foods (I ate tons of Christmas cookies this year!). So once those influences left my system, I was likely more in the 202-203 lbs range. Next week’s weight loss will help establish a better baseline --- whether I lose 1-2 lbs as I expect or 3+ lbs as I have this past week.

How do you measure calories burned? Luckily for me, the food diary I’m using (FitDay software) computes my daily caloric burn as the sum of my resting basal metabolic rate, background activities, digestion and logged activities (i.e. working out).  Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns at rest to maintain normal body functions. It is the amount of calories per day your body burns, regardless of exercise.  My background activities are not specific exercise, but just the calories I burn as part of my normal daily activities – walking, getting dressed, cleaning, showering, etc.  I placed my activity level at lightly active to be conservative. Calories burned during digestion vary depending on what I eat.  Lastly, I separately log in my workout sessions.  This week I burned a total of 3017 calories from my various workouts.

How many times did you workout?  I got in 4 gym sessions, two of which were cardio based and two of which were weight training.  I did chest/back for one session and shoulder/biceps/triceps for the other session.  I just did the boring old elliptical for the two cardio sessions – for 50 minutes each time.  This week, I’m hoping to try out one of the group classes at my gym.  

I was planning on getting to the gym 6 times this week (3 cardio, 3 weight training), but I’m satisfied with 4 sessions.  I also did my first thing morning walk 6 days of the week.  I walked a total of 12.6 miles, which accounted for 1363 of my total 3017 calories burned working out.  Not too shabby!  For more information on why this helps boost your metabolism, read Walking First Thing in the Morning Boosts Your Metabolism.

How do you feel? What other changes do you notice? Generally, I feel really good. I’m still not super excited to be going to the gym, but I already feel that it’s getting easier. I’m not as resistant to the idea and I can already feel improvement in the cardio sessions. I’m already noticing a difference in my walks – they too are getting easier. I can tell that my stamina is already starting to improve. I’m sleeping better, even though my muscles are often sore (the weight training sessions are no joke!).

I feel lighter not so much in a weight way yet, but in a healthy eating way. All the clean eating (especially the vegetables) just make me feel lighter, like my digestive tract isn’t weighed down anymore with fatty foods or sluggish from too many carbs. It’s been very easy to drink all my water. So far, I don’t believe I’ve had a day with less than 100 oz. of water.

The biggest improvement is that my carb cravings aren’t as intense. I still have quite the sweet tooth (these little dark chocolate dipped acai and blueberry candies from Costco are my favorite), but it takes a lot less to satisfy it – and for me, that’s a HUGE step. I never plan to be a person that doesn’t eat dessert or swears off all sweets, but if I can satisfy those cravings with a few bites, that’s a great compromise!

Well, onto Week 2…

Photo credit for green bar graph photo - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1152

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Comments 5 comments

whydoit 5 years ago

Good first week! Just keep it up. I think it would be interesting if you logged on each and gave us followers a break down of what you ate each day with calorie amounts. It could be helpful if someone wanted to do follow your same diet and lose the same weight. Also it might be the beginning of your own weight losebook with recipes etc. Well just a thought.


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA Author

That's a great idea, whydoit. I didn't think people would want a daily breakdown of my diet, but I'll definitely look into trying to figure out how that's possible -- perhaps with some screen shots from my FitDay food diary program. I definitely plan to add in my favorite foods and snacks.

One I'm really loving right now is Vanilla Milk. Just take milk, add vanilla extract and sweetener to it. It tastes really close to a melted vanilla milkshake. The lack of cream/ice cream makes it definitely less substantial (but a mere fraction of the calories), but I find you get almost as much of that great vanilla bean flavor. It feels like an indulgence, but if you use sweetner instead of sugar, it's the exact same as a regular glass of milk -- a mere 120 calories if 1% or 90 if skim milk.

I also add 2 teaspoons of sugar to it when I need a quick post-workout recovery drink. I used to use chocolate milk (often called the poor man's recovery drink) because it has almost the ideal ratio of easily digestible carbs to protein (4:1). I was out of chocolate milk one day and gave vanilla milk a shot (but with the added sugar to make the 4:1 ratio)--and it's fabulous. However, I only add the sugar for the post-recovery drinks, and Splenda for other times of the day.


Regemeretrix 5 years ago

Like the vanilla milk idea!


Whydoit 5 years ago

I think the vanilla milk idea not a good idea and it is like playing with fire. I find it easier to go cold turkey away from junk food, sweets milk shakes etc. Once you get away from those and start eating healthy your taste buds change and you really start liking things that at first you did not like (eg vegetables, water. skim milk, diet soda) If you have ever switched from 2% milk to skim at first it tastes like you are drinking water and most people dislike it but give it a week and you will get use to it and it will seem normal and that same 2% milk will seem too rich. Same is true with diet soda. Trying to find the same taste you currently have in an unhealthy diet like milk shakes and trying to replace it with a similar taste though healthier to me is like switching a drug addict to from heroin to methadone. It is playing with fire.


Lindsey79 profile image

Lindsey79 5 years ago from CA Author

I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one, whydoit. What makes milkshakes so bad for you is the cream/fat and the sugar. The milk is actually quite good for you. I'd think the vanilla is neutral. So if you can have a healthy version of something that still tastes good, I see no harm in it. I think you can eat well and still have food full of great flavor -- you just have to learn how to do it (and have the time to do it). I imagine that's largely what celebrity chefs provide for their clients -- great tasting food that is also very good for them.

The place where I would agree with you is substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar. Although the research is far from conclusive, there have been studies out there that show that this can actually hurt you by giving you a false sense of sweetness causing you to actually eat more carbs/sugar later in the day to achieve the actual carb boost. That's one of the reasons I try to stay away from such things as a general rule (I also just prefer natural things to artificial) -- partially why I'm not a big fan of diet soda and whatnot.

But I also realize that, for me at least, a cold turkey approach just isn't realistic. Studies have also shown that complete deprivation can be more damaging in the long run because it leads to binges. So instead of having a cookie once in a while, you deprive yourself of them for weeks and then finally breakdown and gorge on 20. I'm a big believer in everything in moderation (although I obviously haven't practiced that nearly as well as I should have), so for me, that's my approach. Others may prefer a more spartan, cold turkey approach. I think it depends on the person and their preferences. This is one of those areas where there are multiple paths up the mountain and both can work equally well depending on the individual -- find out what shoe fits you, and wear it well.

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