This is what I have decided. They will make you completely and totally crazy, until you don’t know if you are eating too little, too much, the wrong foods, not enough protein, not enough carbs, and on and on and on. Crazy-making, seriously.
I’ve been reading the forums on My Fitness Pal (MFP), and I think maybe that’s why I haven’t posted in a few days, because I was slowly going nutso. I think I have found my sanity again. The thing I was trying to figure out, and getting so crazy about, was the right amount of calories I should be eating. The way MFP works is that it tells you how many calories you can eat in a day in order to lose a certain amount of weight per week. Then if you exercise, it adds those calories to your total, so in theory you can “eat back your exercise calories” and still lose the amount of weight you wanted to that week. It makes perfect sense. However, I was getting impatient, and thinking that if I didn’t eat back those exercise calories I would lose weight even faster. The thing a lot of people are saying on MFP is that if you don’t eat enough, you can go into “starvation mode.” People seem to interpret that in very different ways. And some people don’t seem to believe it at all. However, I think there is some truth to it, that if you don’t give your body enough food, it may slow down your metabolism in order to compensate. I went a few days not eating back any of my exercise calories, so having pretty low intake vs. expenditure days, and my weight loss slowed down. I was also pretty hungry, so that really should have been enough of a clue.
The conclusion I have come to is to listen to my body…what I’ve been trying to do this whole time, I think I just forgot. I’ll eat when I am hungry–and try to only eat when I’m hungry–and eat healthy food as much as possible. I’ll try to not go over my MFP calories + exercise calories goal, but otherwise not worry about it too much. Most days, that seems to mean eating some of my exercise calories back, but not all of them. It’s been working the past few days, the scale has been going down again, so I’ll consider it working…until it’s not. Then I’ll start slowly going crazy all over again.
On another note, I’ve completed Couch to 5K Week 2, Day 1. It was 6 iterations of 90 seconds of runnings followed by 2 minutes of walking. Not too bad, though I ended up running up hill twice, so that wasn’t much fun. I also found out that Jog Log is not using the heart rate monitor to calculate calories burned, which is disappointing, since that is the reason I bought it. The count was way off, saying I burned 580 calories in 30 minutes, I think because of the way they are using elevation to calculate calories burned. Their customer service was very nice about it, and they might add it in a future release, so I’ll keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, I downloaded a Couch to 5K podcast which I’ll use with MapMyRun tomorrow and see how it goes.