Tuesday, May 01, 2012

4Letter Word: It's May! It's May!

(the four-letter word is "diet" because I hate to diet.)

So when last I checked in about this, I was doing MFP (MyFitnessPal) for calorie tracking, Fitocracy for exercise tracking, and reading Judith Beck's book. But I was about to dump Fitocracy due to the prevalence of fitness snobs, who have little to no respect for any kind of exercise except lifting heavy weights.  So here's the update.

Fitocracy:  I know I said I was going to quit, but I didn't.  I'm hooked on it.  Even though my workouts are pathetic compared to what most people do, I really like it now.  The lifters earn a thousand points (or far more) with every single workout.  Me, I'm happy when I get over 200.   But my OCD self likes the tracking system, putting in my exercise routine every day and getting a little pat on the back by seeing my numbers steadily increase, even if it is much more slowly than most people.  And then every 2-3 weeks I level up!  woot!  I'm level 12 now!

Also, and I can't say this strongly enough-- the other "Fitocrats" are so encouraging and supportive.  Well, not all of them, obviously, some of them practically sneer.  But many of them are.  I have about a dozen people that are consistently supportive, and plenty more that pop in from time to time.  On Fitocracy, you "give props" for people's workouts, sort of like "liking" something on Facebook.  Yesterday, five minutes after I posted my 204 point workout, six people had already given me props.  It's nice.  And the other good thing-- I get good ideas for better workouts.  I've learned about some great new (to me) exercises that have made a big difference in how my body feels.  so yay for that.

MFP:  I really like this site.  On Fitocracy, I'm Granny Clampett; on MFP, I am a fitness goddess.  I exercise almost every day, and although I don't do anything spectacular, it's usually enough to add 200-300 calories to my calorie count for the day.  That looks really good on MFP.  There are many people there with far more serious weight challenges than mine, especially in the over 50 age range.

But I haven't really been dieting lately.  You can hardly call it dieting to eat 1900-ish calories a day.  I haven't been feeling very motivated to cut calories, and I think part of me (the wordless one, remember her?) needs to know that this is do-able.  I'm not going to have to starve myself or deprive myself horribly to become more healthy.  So my goal recently with MFP has been just to do it, do the calorie logging, every day.  Other than the week we were on Spring Break, I've logged in every day, even the days I've gone way over on the calorie count.  A couple of years ago, I would have drowned myself in guilt for going over, felt really bad about it, and quit MFP because I was too embarrassed.

But not anymore.  If I decide to go over on any given day, I'm owning it.  And it is a decision, even though sometimes it's not an entirely conscious one.  I don't have the patience on those days to figure out every little calorie, so I'll just stick in an extra 500 or 800 or even 1000 "quick-add calories" so that I'm being honest.  And I keep going.  So if I've had a bad day and let myself have a treat, or if we went out to dinner and I decided to splurge, I'm not embarrassed about that.  It's part of the new plan (which is evolving).

The good news is: that approach means that I'm much more aware of my food choices.  So most days, I stick to the 1900 calories.  So even though you could never call what I've been eating for the past month a diet, I've lost about a pound.  A pound in a month is practically laughable, I know, but it's a gold mine for me because it means that I can manage my food choices.  I'm starting to feel confident about this.  (YAY!)  Last fall I felt really out of control of my eating.  Not so much now.  I can screw up and get back to it, or let myself eat normally for a few days and still be OK.  It's taking away a lot of the guilt and shame that I used to load up on myself because I felt helpless to change anything.

So I guess I'm going to continue using both Fitocracy and MFP.  For the moment, they are both providing something important for me.  Once I'm done with this semester, I have a link to a new health and fitness site that I'm going to try, maybe it will fulfill both functions and I'll only have to do one.

damn this is getting long.  sorry.

The Beck book.  This was going to be the longest part of the post, but I'm getting bored of typing and I need to get back to my paper.  Yesterday was my last day of classes, so I felt OK about taking the time to post, but I have a ton to do by next Wednesday.  So I will just comment quickly on two points that I made in the last post about Beck.

First of all, letting myself get hungry.  She is a big proponent of letting yourself be hungry--it's not going to hurt you, the feeling comes and goes.  Get a drink of water and ignore it.  But I am hypoglocemic, and my experience has been that if I let myself get hungry, I get a headache.  But I said in the last post that I would play around with this a little, just try it and see what happened.  So here is the report:  I don't always get a headache.  Good to know.  It's about 50/50.  Sometimes she's right, if I just live with it, it goes away, or at least backs off to the point where it's not that noticeable.  Sometimes, I end up with a headache.  But only once did I end up with a true migraine.  So, I'm still playing with this.  It's not as much of a one-to-one correspondence as I expected.

Secondly-- she said something about how people who have trouble losing weight "like the feeling of being full," and I didn't think that applied to me.  But you know, it does.  So I'm working on changing this.  I'm working on being satisfied with being about 80% full, because that is plenty of food for human survival.  And also because if I keep eating until I'm 100% full, I often go over the line and end up being stuffed, which is a feeling I don't like.

Geeze.  Sorry this went on and on.  If you're intrigued by the idea of Fitocracy, I think you have to have an invite, and I'm pretty sure I can give you one.  Let me know and I will figure it out.


  1. It wasn't too long. It was good to read your thought processes.

    1. thanks, Judy, maybe I worry too much about boring you guys. :-)

  2. In my life there is no such thing as the word boring so no worries on this end.

    Great wrap up!

    I was just having that "hungry" discussion the other day with someone, and I said that I LOVED the feeling of not having eaten for hours, I just CAN'T get it often enough! I am CONSTANTLY near food, which equates to: stuffing my damn face!
    Gah. Frustrating me to death here.

    Going to check out the sites. Thank you.

    Good luck with your school work!

    1. I can't imagine enjoying the feeling of being hungry! There is an interim--where I'm not really hungry, but feeling a bit on the empty side-- that I am learning to enjoy now. Maybe I will get there eventually.

  3. Hmm, interesting advice in re the Feel Hungry thing, since the general nutritional advice says the opposite? But at this point my answer is always "Whatever is right for you."

    1. I know, you get completely contradictory advice wherever you turn. Beck comes down really strongly on the side of ignoring hunger as long as you know you're getting enough calories not to starve (i.e., only eat at meals, and of course, don't overeat). Which is completely the opposite of the people who tell you to not eat unless you're hungry, and then stop eating when you're not hungry anymore.

      I think they might be talking about two different things-- the "don't eat unless you're hungry" people are primarily concerned about people who habitually overeat without paying any attention to their bodies signals about whether or not food is needed. Beck is talking about creating a healthy meal plan and then never deviating from it. Honestly, I think her approach takes all the joy out of food-- ignoring the celebratory community-oriented nature of breaking bread together. I can understand that if you want to be really thin, that would be a good way to go. But I'm pretty sure I don't care that much about being thin. Ergo, we are having fourteen people over for enchiladas for cinco de mayo tonight. :-) (not that any of us have any possible ethnic or family reason to celebrate cinco de Mayo, it's just an excuse to get together!)

      I find that if I "only" eat when I am hungry and then just enough so that I don't feel hungry, I end up eating a little bit every two hours. In fact, if I'm really literal about it, I eat a few bites every half hour or so. which isn't so bad on a day I'm at home, but it makes no sense for the days I'm at school, or for someone who has a job. So there's a middle ground in there somewhere.

      wow. that got long.

    2. Yeah, I see what you mean. Maybe for someone whose hunger signals are off, Beck's advice is better. Like when you take medications that mess with your body's signals.