I put on ten pounds after my wedding, ten pounds I'd rather not carry around in next summer's races. So I made some modifications, as any normal person would if they wanted a change (hear that, federal gov't?). Numero uno is my workout schedule, which previously had an "off-season" of about six months. I've now been base training about five times a week since November. But exercise is only half the battle, and nutrition (a triathlete's fancy way of saying "what ya shove in your face hole") is my weakness. So I've eaten gluten-free for about four months now, I eat out about three times a year, I never eat fast food, and I have 2-3 beers a week and very few desserts. Voila. All the magic ingredients. Except nothing was changing. I was doing all the right things I could think of, and damned if I was going to turn my life into a miserable pile of veggies and no beer. What was missing?
Yesterday it dawned on me what I needed.
My lobster is far and away the creative one in our duo; for lack of a better explanation, I think like a man. I fix things (problems and toilets) like a man. I needed a graph.
So last night I wrote down 3-4 common variations of all of my meals, calculated accurate amounts, checked labels for calorie counts, and used the internets for the missing info. I plotted it all on a graph that showed both the time of day I was eating and the range of calories I was shoving into my face hole at each of those times. I colored the ranges in yellow. Here it is:
A-ha! I had found the answers I suspected all along but could never fully grasp until I could look at it in graph form. I had two problems going on here. Everyone knows the most efficient nutrition plan for anyone who wants to lose weight is to eat fewer calories more often. If Jillian says it on The Biggest Loser, it must be right. I needed to move my daily calories around from my three-massive-meals-and-two-tiny-snacks to three moderate meals and three slightly moderate snacks. The second problem was the amount of calories I shoved in each day, which varied widely from not enough (1600) to way way way too many (2900). I've learned along the way that for a person my size and activity level to reach my goal weight I should be consuming about 2000 calories per day (calculate your calorie count here). I need to watch my portion sizes and spread the calories out throughout the day so I don't feel the need to gorge myself on a plate of spaghetti that could drown a small child (860 calories per plate, thank you very much). Hence, the purple line on the graph. The purple line is much closer to what I need to stick and what I will aim toward. It's amazing how weeks of screaming at the scale and pouting and whining did very little for me, but a simple graph can do so much. I deserve a beer.
P.S. If you've made it this far, congratulations on forcing your way through the most boringest blog post in the world to everyone but me. This one's more for my own accountability than reader interest, so please come back in the future. I'm not always this way.