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Tracking my calories…

I sort of stumbled into a diet and exercise website called LiveStrong the other day. I was looking for a way to test out the BlackBerry App World, which had been giving me trouble, and decided to download the LiveStrong BlackBerry app which works with the website itself. It all looked pretty good, and reasonably legit: the company is now owned by a former founder of MySpace, and is associated with Lance Armstrong, the professional cyclist. The next thing I knew I was tracking the calories and nutrients in my food, and I was putting my weight loss goal at the top of my website. I’m talking about this thing:

The basic functionality of the LiveStrong website is pretty simple. They have a database of hundreds of thousands of food items, both commercial and home made. So if you eat a Turtle chocolate, or a Big Mac, or a tin of Campbell’s Chunky Soup, you can enter that into the food search and it will find all of the details of that food item. Click it, and it gets added to the list of what you have consumed for the day. That’s where you start: just adding food items consumed.

Where things get interesting is in the calorie and weight goals part of the application. For example, in my case I entered my physical details (weight, height, age, and normal activity level) and identified that I wanted to lose a pound a week. Based on that, LiveStrong came back and told me how many calories per day I am allowed- 1,951 in my case. Then all those food items you enter each day get tracked against this limit. You can do the same thing for a weight target, and the goals work together: your target weight loss per day based on calorie intake gets calculated against the total weight you want to lose, for example.

And, just as with food, LiveStrong has thousands of exercise examples you can search for and add to your daily record. Run on a treadmill at 4 miles per hour at a 5% incline, enter it into LiveStrong, and it will subtract the normal calories consumed by that activity from your daily calorie total. Since food and exercise can be updated using your smartphone or the web, it is easy to keep the data up to date. And you can share your progress with the world, or keep it private: most of my data is currently public- if you click on the image at the

Will this work to get me somewhat motivated towards my weight loss goals? It might, or it could just be like other things I’ve tried: I make a bit of progress, get frustrated, and give up. But I keep trying 😉

22 comments to Tracking my calories…

  • Be prepared to realize you eat a lot of crap. 😉 Oh we all say “I don’t eat healthy” but we don’t truly *know* it.

    I put 5 lbs back on when winter hit: as soon as it got cold and dark I got hungry and craved fattier foods. And the Holidays added another 5, though that’s already being reduced. I suspect the 5lb of winter weight will hang around until we get sunlight and warmer weather that shifts my body’s hormone balance back.

    I’m not particularly upset about those 10 pounds because I know how, when and why the weight came on, and it is still under control. Just like you don’t worry about getting bad gas mileage if you know you’ve been towing a trailer. It won’t be winter forever and I’ve already stopped stuffing holiday treats. I know the other 30 some pounds aren’t coming back and that this 10 will go away.

    Oh yeah, happy new year and happy birthday – Old guy! :p

  • Happy New Year to you as well!

    I know I eat a lot of crap, but the details kind of get buried. I’m thinking (hoping?) that seeing the details will encourage me to make a few somewhat more intelligent choices. For example: a bottle of beer has 160 calories, but a glass of cognac has 68: hurray for data! 🙂

    One thing that kind of surprised me in my first two days of keeping track: an egg salad sandwich has a ton of cholesterol. In terms of calories and fat, my turkey and bacon sandwich today was about the same as my egg salad yesterday, but that egg salad sandwich gave me 435 mg of cholesterol, which is 149% of my daily requirement.

    I upgraded my LiveStrong account from “free” to “paid” (annual fee of $49): that turns off the adverts (which I didn’t find offensive anyway). I mostly think of the fee as a donation for a useful product that isn’t normally charged for. But one extra feature I get for my money is a daily nutrition label. That breaks down all your vitamins and minerals as well- it looks like the nutrition label on a package of food. I sort of like that, as I’ve often wondered what nutrients I’m missing, and whether adding a multivitamin is a good idea (for me, it apparently is).

  • You have to be careful though; Data does not equal information.

    For example, pepsi has fewer calories that fruit juice, but even an addict like me wouldn’t claim it’s better to drink pop. Cholesterol is one of those things that is “bad.” Yes, the wrong typ of cholesterol in your blood is bad,in your food – since it all gets broken down in your digestive system, not so much. The chicken may have had clogged arteries however. 😉 What you really want to watch for is saturated fats which your body turns into cholesterol, and trans fats, which are just plain nasty.

    Fibre is my favorite misused data set. People with high fibre diets are healthier, therefore fibre must be good right? So if I dump a bunch of wheat chaff into my danish every morning I’ll be healthy right? Well, no. People with high fibre diets eat high fibre food, meaning lots of fruits and veggies. That’s why they are healthy. Eating cardboard isn’t going to make your high fat, high sugar diet any healthier.

    By the way, we bought Mum a Wii and the boxing is actually a pretty good ( and hilarious) work out, even if Billie slaughters me each time

  • I posted a long thing already, but live strong didnt like it and spit it out. 😛

    It looks like your calories and fat grams are ok (as long as you keep your fat below 50 grams a day)

    But your protein levels are very low, in particular, a few days you were at 35 grams. For your body just to repair normal tissues, never mind damaged muscles from working out, you need at least 50 grams of high quality protein. (chicken, fish).

    I would recommend at the very least .75 grams for every 1 pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 for example, you would want as a minimum of about 100 grams of protein.

    An easy way to get an extra 30 grams of protein or so without the calories, is just buy a good quality protein powder. For the most part, they all taste pretty good these days. Add skim milk or a banana, and you end up just ingesting about 200-300 k/calories and get about 30 grams of protein.

    For myself, I try to make sure I am intaking 1 gram per pound (so 300 grams a day of protein), but if you aren’t lifting weights, that probably isn’t necessary. Protein has a lot of benefits, it tricks your body and makes you think you aren’t as hungry as you really are, plus your body has a much harder time converting protein into stored fat, then fat or carbohydrates (even complex carbs).

    Also, if you can kick the coffee altogether, and go just with green tea (no sugar, use liquid honey), that would be a huge difference too..cortisol levels spike with cofee, and that traps fat, negating the fat burning help you get from caffeine.

    Also, and this is probably the hardest thing to do. If you can eat small meals every 2-3 hours, 5 times a day, that will really speed up your metabolism. Our usualy 3 meal a day regimen that most of us have, is a terrible way to try and lose weight. If you have to stick with 3 meals a day. Have a protein shake, or a can of slim fast between meals just to keep your metabolism going.

    What I do, is cook a whole bunch of chicken, or fish or whatever I am going to eat taht day. First thing in the morning, and every 2 to 3 hours, I have about 6 ounces.

    Glad to hear you are exercising and all that again, it sucks though doesn’t it 🙂

    Now with that being said, excuse me while I go and drink some absolut and play borderlands 😛

  • Thanks for the feedback, Shane! I made my diet public precisely because I was looking for a bit of critique.

    Note, however, that my goal at this point isn’t major change. I’m just wanting to become more “self-aware”. Unfortunately, given my lifestyle and work, it is hard to really be careful. But if (for example) I am aware that my Ramen noodles are 380 calories for the pack, I can make a choice to eat something else. True fact: an entire tin of smoked oysters and enough crackers to eat them all are fewer calories than that pack of noodles. Craziness! And as for my coffee- you’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands…

    I have observed that my protein is low: I will probably eventually do something simple like add a protein drink in the morning to improve that. Calories are my focus for the time being, though.

    As for exercise- what’s that? 🙂 I’m not really changing my “when I feel like it” exercise plan yet: I want to see where simple math (calories in less calories out), accurately tracked, takes me. If I can get into a pattern that achieves a pound or so of weight loss a week, then I’ll add in more regular exercise and start correcting my protein, etc.

    This is yet another attempt to improve my habits- my habits are strong, and highly resistant to change. They get resentful if I change too much at all, and punish me with times of sadness and woe… or something like that 😛

  • If you want to make one simple change, just add 1 protein shake in the morning, with whatever you would normally have. Choke it down with your vitamins.

    Your vitamin cocktail should always include an omega 3/6/9/, a b-12, alpha lipoic acid, A vitamin D (if you don’t get much sun) and possibly a glutamine.

    You can never have enough omega 3/6/9 or Glutamine. As long as some of our 3/6/9 comes from fish oil. There are a lot of omega 3/6/9 pills out there that substitute pumpkin seed oil for fish oil, but in my opinion, that isn’t as good.

    That alone will help a huge, huge amount. And ingesting the extra 3/6/9, and a “Tonalin” (a.k.a Conjugated linoleic acid [CLA]) will really curb your appetite, and speed up your metabolism.

    k/calories alone, are not the be all and end all. It’s like saying a 400 horsepower corvette is better then a 350 hp mercedez. There are a lot of options to consider.

    k/calories (or what everyone calls Calories) are just one factor 🙂

    Either way, I am really glad you are keeping track of your food intake, it’s a very tough process for certain.

    I have ingested about 1800 calories in food today, and about 1,300 in vodka..not a great day..but its friday!! 😛

    Again, just because I know what you need to do to lose weight, doesn’t mean I am capable of doing it 🙂

    I still need to lose another 30 pounds, then I will consider myself an “expert” :P.

    Just keep in mind, that you shouldn’t try to lose more than 1-2 pounds per week at the most. Crash diets are evil, and they suck away muscle. Muscle is the only component in your body that burns super amounts of k/calories while just sitting there doing nothing. The more muscle you have, the more k/calories you will burn while being inactive.

  • I like the vodka diet idea. Although maybe cognac- I like cognac better 😉

    One of the problems I’ve always had is finding a quick and easy way to know what is going into my body from food/drink. This LiveStrong thing, particularly in conjunction with a gadget I almost always have at hand (my BlackBerry), seems to help. Now I can look in shock and horror at what I’m feeding myself. And when I’m deciding what to eat, I can punch in a few alternatives and compare while I’m waiting in line- that’s a big step for me.

    I don’t think I could be as into the details as you are. I’ll probably add some protein, and improve my nutrient/vitamins a bit- but I’m not aiming for perfection. I believe in my case that would be like gold-plating a lump of dirt 😉 I’ll still eat lots of crap- Wendy’s, McDonalds, microwaved burritos- but maybe a little less than before.

    Interesting observation: as I lose weight (I have lost about a pound this week, probably from exhaling while on the scale), LiveStrong seems to re-calculate my allowed calories. At 200 pounds I was allowed 1951, now at 199 I’m only allowed 1930 if I want to continue losing a pound a week. I was very sad to find that my 7 calories under for the day was actually 14 calories over. I’ll have to start exercising so I can afford that beer every couple of days 😉

  • It takes less calories to move and sustain a bigger body, although it’s interesting that livestrong adjusts daily rather than just setting a target.

    But don’t complain, the fatter you are the easier it is to lose weight 😉 When I was 267 the weight came off easy; to get below 220 – and stay there – actually requires some effort.

    But like I posted, “Stairs are your friend.” You don’t have to really exercise, just be more active, and just like losing weight, the more sedentary you are the quicker you will see results with just a little activity.

    The biggest thing I see missing in your diet is fruits and veggies. Being a junk food carnivore myself, I know it takes a while to find stuff you like, but once you do it really makes a difference

  • I don’t think I would completely agree that it takes less k/calories to sustain a bigger body, but of course that would depend upon your definition on what a “bigger” body actually means.

    There is a big difference between a 300 pound person at a lower body fat ratio (under 12%) and a 300 pound person at a high body fat ratio (above 35%). Assuming both people are of similiar genetic disposition.

    For example;

    – A 300 pound man that has a 12% bodyfat ratio, could probably eat 4,000 k/calories a day and not gain weight (because his additional muscle mass is burning a lot of extra calories).

    – A 300 pound man that has a 35% body fat ratio, will gain weight on an 4,000 k/calorie diet.

    —At Rest, Fat burns about 2 (that’s right two), k/calories per pound/day.
    —At Rest Muscle burns about 50, k/calories per pound/day

    So Carrying even an additional 10 pounds of muscle on your body, can net you a “burn” of 500+ k/calories a day. 20 pounds of muscle = 1,000 k/calories, etc. Easily enough for a handful of beers 🙂

    A prime example of this, are professional bodybuilders. Just an example here. Could weigh in at 280 pounds at 6’0″ and be carrying an 12% bodyfat ratio. They are known to eat 8,000 – 10,000 k/calories per day, and still have their abdominal muscle wall being visible.

    A 280 pound 6’0″ man with 35% bodyfat, would ballon up to horse size status in just a couple of weeks on 10,000 k/calories a day.

    —-
    —-

    Like Chris says, the fitter you are, the harder it is to lose that extra weight.

    Everyone burns the same amount of calories, (unless their is an underlying medical problem (thyroid, liver, kidney, etc).

    But the only reasons that it gets harder to lose more and more weight, is because people fail to adjust the following,

    -a) lower their caloric intake or,

    -b) increase their training frequency/intensity.

    That is why mixing up routines and keeping your body in a “shocked” state, so your body doesn’t know what is coming next.

    Ok, I have to go back to drinking my vodka now 🙂

  • I suspect (don’t know) that Chris misspoke- it makes sense that it takes fewer calories to sustain a smaller body, not a larger body.

    And muscle is the right way to make yourself “larger”. I have little muscle mass: more now than I did when I moved out here, but far less than many “former athletes” since I’ve never been athletic. My baseline activity level (something you set when you create your profile at LiveStrong) is one step above completely sedentary: I walk a bit, go up and down stairs at work a bit, but my normal routine doesn’t involve much moving around.

    I spent three or four months at the beginning of 2009 exercising three or four times a week. Nothing heavy: basically just treadmill (cardio). But I saw absolutely no weight loss, and that disappointed me. My current theory (and one of the reasons why I’m tracking calories) is that I eat a lot of stuff that I *think* is not high in calories, but really is. In other words, I have been underestimating how many calories I take in.

    And purely looking at it psychologically: if I have a calculator that tells me when I hit my daily intake limit, I’m far more likely to not stuff that last handful of chips/chocolate/what have you in my gaping maw. Its a gadget, and I have a somewhat Pavlovian reaction to gadgets 😉

    My weight is about 200 pounds (198 today) and my BMI (calculated using an electronic “resistive” measure) ranges between 24 and 27%, so I’m at the “overweight” but not yet “obese” level. When I was working out regularly on the Bowflex, I got my weight down to 169 pounds and a BMI of 16-17%: I have never been fitter than that, although I expect my BMI was very low when I was about 20-25 (i.e.: I was skinny, probably unhealthily so).

    Right now, I have one main goal: understand and control my calories. My secondary goal is to establish a pattern or habit that lets me lose about 1 pound per week until I get back to around 170-180 pounds. Then I’d like to find a happy place regarding activity/exercise, so I’m not quite so immobile (side benefit: the more active I am, the more beer I can drink 😉 ). That might sum up my “next year or so” objective.

    If I could add 10 pounds of muscle to my upper body and get my BMI to around 15-18% or thereabouts and establish habits to keep it that way, my mission would be accomplished. Given my procrastination/laziness, I might never get to this point, but its a nice goal.

    But any craziness about 7% body fat, having “perfect abs”, or powerlifting a Toyota Corolla… not going to happen 🙂

  • Chris: re- fruits and veggies; I eat a cup of raw vegetables five days a week. Not much fruit- a banana now and then. Does an apple fritter from Tim Horton’s count? 🙂

  • Yes, I meant less calories for a smaller body *oops*

    I think the reason you didn’t see any results with your treadmill is that a it wasn’t sustained for very long. It seems to be overall activity level that affects metabolism in my experience, not bursts of exercise.

    That 1/2 hour on the treadmill doesn’t amount to much averaged out over 24 hours of doing nothing. Whereas even just walking at a fairly relaxed pace, done for most of the working day adds up. Energy is energy, just like electrical power consumption its all about power multiplied by time.

    But I definitely agree that your first step is to figure out how you eat, what you eat and why you eat it… then look for ways to change that which fit in with your basic psychology. If it’s “hard” or demands continuous willpower, we humans won’t do it.

    “Diet” is a noun not a verb, like culture it is something you have, not something you do. So you have to figure out something that is natural for you, that you can do without really much thought or effort once you shift the initial habits.

  • I think you are going about it the right way, baby steps. A lot of people, especially at the start of a year (resolutions) go like gangbusters for a few weeks, and then get sick of it.

    And I agree with Chris, at least with how my metabolism seems to work too, having longer lasting exercise sessions seems to do more for me then short more intense ones. For example, if I went to the gym and burned say 300 k/calories in an hour, but “gardened” and burned off 300 k/calories over 3 hours, the 3 hours seems to work better overall.

    And yeah “diets” really don’t work in the long run, you have to gradually make lifestyle (food) changes and weed out the junk.

    It’s hard for sure. One day I won’t be obese, I will be just overweight 😛

  • Tara

    This message is for Shane or anyone who would like to help:)

    You seem to have a lot of info on working out and I have a few questions for you. I have slowly been getting back into the world of working out after having a spinal fusion 4 yrs ago. My back surgery failed and I was left with my lower back pain (going into the sacrum area).

    I used to work out at least 5 days a week prior to my surgery running, elliptical and strength training. I was a healthy weight. I since have slowly put on weight in these past 4 years.

    I am a 31 yr old female (turning 32 in May), 5’8, 192 pounds with an hourglass figure. My measurements as of right now are 45(chest) 36(waist) 45(hips).I carry my body weight all over. I want you to have an understanding of my frame to help answer questions I have in regards to my caloric intake.

    For about a month now I have consistently been able to do the elliptical machine for 3 days a week at the gym for 45 mins plus. I alternate 1 min easy to 1 min hard for 20 mins, then alternate 2 min. increments of easy going to hard then back down. I usually get to almost 3 miles in a 45 min period. I would love to go faster and harder but my back becomes to sore and I have to stay within my limits (although I almost never do). I find that I can work out every other day and sometimes I can do one day following the next but is very rare. I usually spend a fourth day outside walking my great dane aprox 4 miles in a hour period on the weekends.

    I have been able to add in machines for strength training for about 30mins 2-3 times a week. I cannot incorporate anything where I am standing with weights (I used to love free weights). I cannot do my lower body or back. I have to have my back flat against padding to only use my core when using weight machines and cannot extend my legs for exercises. It is very painful for my back and if I hurt it I cannot work out for at least a week. Luckily I have been learning better form and using my core more so I haven’t run into this yet. I do about 5 sets at 12-15 reps on a chest press, shoulders incline, tricep extensions and bicep curls. I would love to do more but need to add in more machines slowly. . My physical therapists taught me how to stretch without inflaming my back. I need to work on my core.

    I do not feel the elliptical machine is accurate to how many calories it tells me I burn. I am using an older startrac. I am about to purchase a Polar F6 to help me with my heart rate. The machine tells me my heart rate is around 170-180 when I work out. I do not feel I could hold a conversation the majority of the time.

    I track all my calories on LiveStrong.com. I love the site just wish it would show my percent of saturated vs. healthy fats. I rarely eat saturated fats but would still like to see a breakdown. I eat very healthy for the most part and splurge occasionally on the weekend tracking everything. I eat a lot of veggies and drink a lot of green tea and water during the day. I have made it a goal to only eat 1600 cals a day but am running into problems with my ratios. I consistetnly seem to eat about 45-50% carbs, 27-30% Protein and 20-25% Fat. The days I workout I eat about 1800 cals. Here is a link to my food diary if you would like to view it. Not sure if it will work. The days I eat 1800 cals and workout I also would like an idea of how many calories I am burning. I have researched all over online looking for accurate calories burned on an elliptical for 45 mins but I have not found any. I hope I am eating enough calories on days I work out.

    http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/2010-01-25/

    Do you feel I need more protein in my diet?
    I would like to bump my workouts from 4 days a week to at least 5 if my back will allow me too.
    I feel that I need more protein but do not know how to add more protein in my diet without adding more calories. How could I go about doing this?

    I guess I would love advice for a good ratio to follow of carbs/protein/carbs if possible.

    Thanks so much!

    Tara

  • “I feel that I need more protein but do not know how to add more protein in my diet without adding more calories.”

    Sorry, couldn’t see your food diary so it may already be in your diet, but have you tried Quinoa? It’s a gluten free grain very high in protein in a very balanced form. Lots of other goodies in it as well.

  • The best way I know of to add protein with minimal calories is to substitute all or part of a meal with a low-calorie protein shake mix. I use Whey Gourmet, which gets you 20 grams of protein for 120 calories. There are other mixes like this as well.

    Shane would be the best guy to consult regarding the “ideal” balance for someone exercising heavily and trying to build muscle mass. Both Chris and I are low-motivation/low activity folks, whereas Shane has at various times been fairly serious body builder. For myself, I’m happy to get my protein calories up to about 25%, with most of the balance carbs. But I am not aiming for anything approaching ideal- I just want to understand what I’m ingesting so I make better choices at least some of the time.

    The one thing I can say is that your measured heart rate sounds too high: if it is correct, that is. For weight loss, you want to be around 60-70% if I recall correctly, and for pure cardio around 70-80%. 170-180 bpm would be in the 90-95% of maximum range for your age which is tough on your body- if you feel you are an elite athlete, then go for it, but if I push myself to that level I get physically ill. That is, for me, the main reason I monitor my heart rate: to avoid pushing myself too hard and seriously regretting it. If you aren’t confident in the measures on the machines, you could buy a chest strap and wrist monitor of your own for around $100.

  • Shane

    Hi Tara :), I wouldn’t consider myself an Expert, but I have done a lot of research on how to lose weight, since I am always battling it myself 🙂

    Note: The reason I put k/calories instead of calories, is because technically, 1 nutrition Calorie (what everyone calls a Calorie) is actually a kilocalorie (4,186 joules). But the word “Calorie” has pretty much replaced Kilocalorie as the “proper” word to use.

    I just didn’t want there to be any confusion 🙂

    One thing you will want to do, before anything, is talk with a Dr. and rule out any conditions, such as a Thyroid condition.

    Assuming that everything in your body is “working as normal” here is some advice I can give you.

    In my opinion, especially with the pretty signifigant amount of training you are doing, I would try to get closer to a 50% protein ratio, 30% carbs (complex, no simple sugars), and 20% fat (and no more than 35 grams a day on 1,800 k/calories).

    This is hard to do, unless the only thing you ever decide to eat again, are chicken breasts and tuna :). But the other alternative is to add 1 to 2 high quality protein shakes into your diet between meals. This will add a healthy portion of protein (40+ grams) per day without adding a lot of extra k/calories or fat.

    Eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day, instead of 3 large ones. You can count the shakes as meals, or as snacks, since the protein vs. calorie ratio is definitely worth it. They key is to always keep your stomach working. So make sure you are eating something at least every 3 hours. That is where the shakes might help. The other nice thing about protein and protein shakes, is that protein is a natural appetite suppressant.

    Find a protein shake and not a “weight gain” shake. For each scoop of protein powder, you want no more then about 140 k/calories, 20 to 25 grams of protein, almost 0 carbs, and at the most 2 grams of fat.

    If you use milk with the protein powders, definitely use skim milk. Myself, I just use water, the taste isn’t great at first, but you do get used to it 🙂

    You may also want to drop your k/calories down to about 1,500 per day. At least for a few weeks, to sort of “shock” your system. As you lose a little weight, you can slowly add a few more k/calories. But always make sure your k/calories are not at the expense of protein. You will probably notice quite a bit of lethargy for the first few weeks, so it is important to get plenty of rest and fluids (water) during this time.

    It really boils down to a simple “list” of things that work.

    -If you burn more k/Calories then you intake, you will lose weight.

    -Get sufficient amounts of protein, so you don’t lose muscle. Studies have shown, that crash diets, usually cause people to lose lots of muscle mass, and the scale shows them losing “weight”, and people get excited by this. Losing muscle, is never a good thing. The scale is not your friend (more on that below)

    -Get plenty of rest. Hard to do with people being so busy, but your body really only loses weight, and gains muscle while you are sleeping.

    -You want to retain, and if possible gain muscle mass while dieting.

    -Drink plenty of water 12+ 8 ounce glasses a day. Sip water throughout the day.

    One tip, that I would also stick with, is DO NOT use a scale. Once every few weeks, measure yourself, and keep a log of your measurements.

    After a few months, then maybe step on a scale. If your measurments have dropped, but your weight is the same, you have put on muscle, and that is a good thing, because overall your fitness and appearance are definitely going to be improved 🙂

    Muscle will burn k/calories while you are sitting still, so having even an extra few pounds of muscle can make a large difference in your resting weight loss.

    One other thing, and this is purely a head trick, is try not to think of it as a diet, try to think of it as a new way of eating. Diets, over the long term, NEVER work. You have to change your eating and exercise habits, permanently.

    This doesn’t mean that you can never have a big steak, or spaghetti with extra cheese again, it only means that you have to limit that to a “treat” day. Hopefully no more than once every few weeks 🙂

    “Good health is not a destination, but a journey”, is what I always have to tell myself, and “Eat to live”, not “Live to eat” is another one that I tell myself when my cravings get out of control.

    Also, if you can skip coffee out of your regime (if you even drink it) and drink Green tea, with no sugar, just use some liquid honey instead. Green tea will speed up your metabolism, without causing cortisol levels to rise (which coffee does).

    Coffee is a killer, and the very first thing it does when it enters your body, is tell it to store body fat. The extra “kick” you get from the caffeine, unfortunately does not counter-act the cortisol effect enough. If two twins did nothing else different, and one of them added 6 cups of black coffee a day to their diet, that twin would gain weight.

    Supplements I would suggest, if you don’t mind vitamins: A good multi-vitamin (centrum for example), a good quality omega 3-6-9 (one that has fish oil, not pumpkin seed oil), Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), Alpha Lipoic Acid, Co-q10, a B-12/6 vitamin,

    And as a disclaimer, I am not a health professional, so before you do anything, always speak to your doctor first 🙂

    Good luck Tara, and remember, Slow and Steady wins the race 🙂

    If you have any questions, please e-mail me at “m.shane.mcfarland@gmail.com” and again, best of luck to you, its not easy 🙂

  • Tara Petryszyn

    Thank you all for your help.

    I am going to have to re-vist Quinoa. I haven’t had that in years. Thanks!
    As for my heart rate in the next few weeks I am going to invest in a good heart rate monitor. I really don’t trust the machines at the gym. I do know I am exhausted after cardio and takes me a while to really cool down. I will have to think about slowing it down. I just feel that I do not workout hard enough if I slow it down.

    Shane, I wrote you on gmail, I hope that is alright.

    I have read many forums but never have I read such great advice. I acc. found this page I am so glad I did.

    Thanks so much again,

    Tara

  • I’m glad we were able to give you some things to think about! This isn’t really a “normal” forum- it’s my blog site, and so you’ll notice I write about all sorts of unrelated things- unrelated except they interest me. Shane is my nephew, and Chris is my best friend: so it isn’t a very big community 😉

  • I searched livestrong and your blog came up 🙂

    Since you have been at this longer I will ask you. I started livestrong last week and my calorie intake has been 2300 calories. But today I typed in a 2 pound weight loss and it says 1000 calories for today? Is that normal for it to go down so much??

  • Hello, Jennifer, and welcome to my blog!

    A drop of a thousand calories for a 2 pound loss is far too much. I’ve lost about seven pounds: I started at about 1955 calories for a 1 pound per week weight loss with a starting weight of 200 pounds. I’m down now to 1897 per day now at 193 pounds. So I’d say something is wrong with a 1000 calorie drop in your “allowance”, assuming you haven’t changed your “pounds per week” goal.

    I have no idea what exactly, but something 🙂

  • Jennifer

    THANKS!! Ya know what happened…..somehow my height was 0 and my weight was 0 LOL!!!

    Once I changed that it “fixed” itself!!!

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