Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, just sharing some thoughts and actions of mine.
It's not the time to push the panic button quite yet, but it was time to make (once again) a better effort concerning my nutrition.
In the summer, I hardly wear jeans or pants for that matter... Skirts and dresses and a couple of shorts... Workout gear is made out of spandex and therefore is pretty forgiving plus/minus 10 pounds. Anyways, it's not summer anymore and while I was mostly ignoring the number on the scale for several months now, the "Jeans Test" can not be fooled. They still kinda/sorta fit, but some of them were not comfy anymore.... think "Muffin Top".
Another big motivator to loose a couple of pounds was my upcoming half marathon this Saturday.... Weight loss means, less weight to haul over a 13.1 mile course... If that's not motivating then I don't know what is.
In order to keep my goal in sight and track able, I signed up (for free) at an online calorie count website, I found over a blog post from Laura. My experience with food logs are pretty limited, but what I found appealing at first was their recipe analyzer tool. Basically, you can type in any recipe you have sitting at home and it gives you the nutrition information per serving.
The site gives you a log for food, activities and weight. First you have to define your weight loss goal (mine was 6 lbs) and the time frame in which you want to accomplish this goal (for me: by race day, which was around 5 weeks). It won't let you enter a weight loss goal that is too aggressive... Max I think is 2 lbs a week.
Then you choose your activity level and your daily calorie intake target. I chose a sedentary activity level, since I sit at my desk most of the day which results to a little under 2,000 calories per day need for a female my age and body composition to stay at the same weight. I chose my intake target at 2,000 per day which means that I shouldn't gain any weight on days I stay within that target and don't to any workouts. My weight loss opportunity should arise for days where I hit my eat target and burn more calories, so I would have a calorie gap!
So much for the theory. The reality unfortunately looks a little different. We are just a couple of days away from my target date to have lost those 6 lbs and all I did loose was one measly lbs. To say I am frustrated, doesn't really describe the situation... And of course, I am not expecting any weight loss miracles during taper week. It's especially weird/funny/comical, because according to my food and activity log, I had an average calorie gap of 500 per day since I started logging.
This only leads me to one conclusion: My food tracking isn't especially accurate. I have a high confidence in the accuracy of the activity log, because that one is pretty straight forward. But the food log... I must be underestimating my intake... A LOT! Especially, since I don't cook most of my meals (I know, it's bad!) myself, it's sometimes hard to guess. A small factor also is (I think), that I started back up with weight training around the same time and while the scale hasn't moved much, my pants fit me better again.
But not all is lost! I will certainly keep this up over the winter because it makes me more conscious about my food consumption, not only in quantity, but also in quality.
The food quality aspect has been especially interesting, because it gives you an analysis based on nutrients and vitamins in your diet. After a couple of weeks of tracking my food, I noticed that I didn't take in enough calcium. On the one hand, it's a complete no brainer, because I stopped drinking milk months ago (swapped with almond milk) and also have little dairy in my diet to start with. On the other hand, it just never occurred to me, that I am not giving my body all it needs... Too little calcium equals weak bones... For an endurance athlete, that is a stress fracture waiting to happen! So I started taking calcium supplements to balance this out. I also have a deficiency in potassium... And still need to find a solution for that... And don't say bananas, tomatoes, potatoes... I eat that on an almost daily basis and it's still not enough.
Feel free to weigh in on the topic! ;-)