Monday, January 3, 2011

Tools of the Trade

So yesterday, on our long car ride, Mike was asking me how I'm going to lose five pounds this month.

I actually thought he was kidding, so I rolled my eyes and said, "I'm going to burn more calories than I consume."

He said, seriously, "No, do you even know how many calories you have to burn to lose a pound?"

I didn't. It's 3,500.

So for 5 pounds, that's 17,500 calories for which I have to create a deficit.

Now, if you do Weight Watchers, the point system is really a calorie counter. Yes, fat makes the point value go up and fiber makes it go down, but you can always guesstimate that 50 calories = 1 point, and you won't be too far off. Yes, it's easier to count 25 points and write down your food than to get hugely anal and write down 164 calories for a baked potato or something (I completely made that up), but that's the real deal. It's calories. They're counting them.

For January, I'm going to use to track my food, and see how it goes.

As far as my caloric intake, I went to, and here's what it told me:


You should consume about 1,200 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 150 lbs This is at a reasonable weight loss average of 1.46 lbs per week, which should be reached by September 05, 2011.

Now, my goal is 5 pounds a month, and I'm shooting for an end date of December 31, 2011, so I'm going to ease up on the throttle a little bit. Remember, I don't want this to feel like a hardcore diet -- I've already learned that those are a pain in the ass, and I invariably fall off the wagon at some point or another.

Remember: Five pounds, one month, that's it.

Also, I put in that I'm mostly sedentary, which is true for right now. My gym habits have gone from 5 days a week (last March), to basically nonexistent. 

So for January, I'm going to set my target caloric intake to 1,400. I'm going to go to the gym three times per week, for 45 minutes each day. (I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet.)

I now have a few followers, and people who have jumped in with comments. Welcome, guys! I'm so excited we're doing this together! Tell your friends! I think this is going to be fun.

What are you guys doing this month?

Should I create a sidebar with everyone who's doing it, so we can all cheer each other on?



  1. That site told me I should eat 1200 calories a day, too, and that I'll reach my goal by March, but I'm not sure I can do that. I'm with you, Brigid--1400 for me. I'm going to fire up my new Wii Fit and see what it can make me do!

  2. I'm in! I'm going to try to make it to they gym two times a week and to walk the dog at least once (it's cold out there :) Scott can do the other walks for now.

  3. Hi all - I just weighed myself and I weigh 170 after this stupid eating season. I want to weigh 155 ( I'm 5'11" so that works). I can't do it with calories. I do it by concentrating on protein and vegetables - the cave woman diet. I lost 10 pounds very quickly last time I did this and kept it off. I went on the cave woman diet to deal with allergies - it makes me feel good. No sugar, no wheat - no booze. yikes. I can do it though. I'll keep in touch. I'll swim and walk the dog.

  4. Hey Brigid! I've been a stalker of your writing blog for a while now, but this new blog has really caught my interest so I decided to post. As someone who has to stay fit for her job, I thought I would offer some helpful advice.

    What works for me as far as food goes is sticking to a low fat, low sugar, low sodium diet. Sometimes people don't realize how bad sodium is for you (it makes you bloated.) When I started paying attention to my sodium intake and lowered it I was amazed by how I instantly looked better.

    And remember, eating healthier isn't eating less, on the contrary, eating healthier/better foods can allow you to eat more of them. You need energy to sustain exercise so it is extremely important that you have a well balanced, low sugar, salt & fat routine.

    Also, when buying food in the store, be sure to read the ingredients and remember these two VERY BAD ones: high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Anything that claims to be fat free or healthy but contains these ingredients is pure balogne. Those two ingredients will prevent you from losing weight. I didn't really begin noticing results with my body until I cut those from my diet.

    As for exercise, doing cardio three days a week and weights for two is one of the best ways to get in great shape. Cardio exercise is the best calorie and fat burner. After doing twenty minutes of cardio, your body enters a fat-burning state, so it is best to do a 45-60 minute cardio routine for best results.

    And don't forget the weights! A lot of women tend to think that if they lift weights they're going to look like the Hulk. This is not true, in fact, lifting weights helps you get a very toned body. I would recommend having a trainer at your gym teach you a full-body routine with the weights.

    In my opinion, exercise is all about variation. Why do people always go to gym, only to stop three months later? It's because they are doing the same thing everyday. It get's boring, and eventually your body becomes so accustomed to what it's doing that you stop seeing results. To counter this, I recommend checking out what classes your gym has to offer. There are all sorts of fun, intensive classes available out there. I take kickboxing and boot camp fitness classes and I actually look forward to when I get to exercise. Of course, everyone is different, so this might not suit you. If you go to the gym multiple times a week then work different parts of the body each time you go.

    And last but not least, don't torture yourself when dieting by not enjoying some of the foods that you love. Don't indulge, but don't ignore these foods either. Personally, I stick to the 80/80 rule. I eat 80% healthy, 80% of the time. This allows me to look forward to a small, but yummy snack at some point during the day.

  5. It's amazing how much more (in my opinion... Or maybe it's just my body?) it's how I eat which affects my weight... Back when I started college, I didn't work out at all, but my weight stayed the same. It's when I started eating out more that it got bad.

    One thing that I think really helps is not saying no. Instead of telling myself "I can't have dessert, because I want to lose weight" I find an alternative. Instead of pudding, maybe a fudge pop (they are like 40-60 calories depending on the brand, and they taste amazing!). Or jello!

    I like to tell myself "yes", and just choose the healthier alternative. :)