Lunch at Timmies (part 2): Life By The Numbers

🎼🎶🎵You’ve always got time for Tim Horton’s🎵🎶🎼

There.  I got that outta my system.  Now I’m sure I’m gonna be sued.  I mean, I’m not quite sure which reason will get them to take me to court….  the copyright breach of using their jingle lyric or my slamming their nutritious food….  but I am sure the subpoena will arrive soon….  That being said, I guess it’s time to complete my “multi post rant” about the time Tim Horton’s made me realize my life choices are not always smart.

In my last post I covered the past.  With all of those TERRIBLE numbers that showed just how little I actually cared about the shell that my soul lives in.  Now before any of you start in on that statement, let me reassure you, YOU won’t be the first to tell me I have no soul.  You also won’t be the first to tell me that I’m headed directly to hell either (my father beat you to that decades ago….  I think I was probably about 7 at the time….  yeah… 1977 it was a good year!!!  LOL!)

As some of you might know, Todd and I are using a few little tools and gadgets to keep us on track with our weight loss goals.  My Fitness Pal (MFP) being the central point in all things weight loss related.  I don’t think that I have really discussed specifics here before, so I think now would be as good a time as any.  When we first began this whole “phase” for lack of a better term (and let’s be honest, the term “phase” is really just as applicable here as it is to my sexual orientation….  I’m sure dealing with my eating issues and weight is ACTUALLY a permanent scenario…  yup… just a little sarcasm for the morning…), we began by inputting our details into the wonderful MFP app.  It was really simple actually.  Make a “profile” (for a moment I thought it was a dating app) picture, height, weight, gender, date of birth, even country, postal code time zone and e-mail address.  (OMG!!  Wait a second….  as I look at this I realize that I have just become a statistic in some huge unmanageable data base somewhere in the depths of the digital age….  oh well.  I guess it’s not like it really matters….   It’s not like I could run for public office anyway…  the internet photos that are out there have preempted any form of public life for me anyway….  Unless I wanna become a Kardashian I guess…..  Do you know if that family is still accepting resumes?).    Then of course this was followed by current weight (which was 203lbs at the time) and a target weight (I set it at 150…  thought I might as well go big or go home right?).  This then led to a decision.  How much weight did I want to loose each week?  The app only gives 4 choices for weight loss (in half pound increments from 0.5 pounds to 2 pounds a week), a maintenance plan, and two choices for weight gain (0.5 and albs per week).  Currently my goal is 1.5 pounds per week.  Last but definitely not least I had to choose an activity level option that best described my current situation.  Here there were 4 choices sedentary, lightly active, active, very active.  (Those of you who know me very well know how hard it is for me to resist making sexual innuendo around these levels but I will try my hardest).  I chose lightly active.  Or I should say, TODD chose lightly active for me.  I mean in my own mind I am a seasoned athlete who is highly active.  I mean I’m an ER nurse who never stops right?  (Well it turns out that hospital porters are FAR more “active” than me….  my fitbit logs between 10,000-15,000 steps a day unless I am actively trying to do more.  My porter friend Basil tells me his typical work day alone runs 25,000-30,000 steps.  Of course I think he is “cheating”).  With all of these settings in place the app then calculates a plan for you.

Initially the app was allowing me 2010 calories a day.  For the first little while I had a little anxiety around watching the numbers, but it passed quite quickly, and I actually began to manage quite well.  Somewhere along the way the app “decided” to change things on me though, and 1680 became the daily target.  I swear the app was just trying to make me crazy, but in truth I may have increased my weekly weight loss goal, I can’t be sure.  Of course it’s always more fun to blame the app right?  I will say.  If you are trying to manage your weight, starting with a more reserved plan, and then increasing your efforts might indeed be a good way to go.  I’m not sure how I would have fared if I had to initially start by restricting to 1680 calories from the beginning.  You do have to give this some thought though.  Knowing yourself is important.  If you KNOW for a fact that you are a “results motivated person” you might well want to just jump in with both feet and just go for broke, since seeing significant results CAN be a motivating factor.  If however you are a “fear of failure” sort of person who will throw in the towel the very first time you fail to reach your goal, well then maybe starting slow and working your way up is the way to go.  There is definitely merit in both points of view.  Choose wisely.

The other thing to remember here is that with each variable in your profile/goals YOUR calorie allotment will be adjusted.  There is of course no sense in lying about things like activity level, it will only come back to haunt you.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution.  That’s my motto anyway.  So, 1680 is MY number this is what the MFP app says is appropriate for my age, weight, activity level and weight loss goals.  Your number might be different (read: lower if you are female, shorter, less active).  When the app first “downgraded me to 1680 calories seems it seemed like an ok number.  Let me tell you though.  Stepping back to 1680 turned out to be quite a challenge, and has taken some adjustment over the past few weeks.  When I think about friends and colleagues who based on their stats, would be set at lower calorie points, like maybe 1200-1400 (which is very reasonable for some of the women I work with) I shudder in fear!!!

In order for this whole 1680 calorie thing to work though, you need to start breaking it down into chunks to be able to figure out how to manage your day.  Todd and I were completely adamant that we would not “disallow” anything that we truly wanted to consume.  While you are free to judge us on this topic, you will not be able to change my mind, so don’t even waste your energy….  The very FIRST thing that get’s planned into our day is our bedtime “snack.”  Be prepared, because it is a significant CHUNK of my daily calories….  The bedtime snack never changes very much….  it is always a significant glass of red wine, (ok occasionally champagne), 375ml to be exact.  If it’s our usual red that equates to 255 calories alone.  This is accompanied by a crunchy snack food (90% of the time it is PopCorners chips) which given our portion size weighs in at 240 calories.  So our usual snack is 495 calories.  ALMOST 1/3 of my day’s allowable calories….  Don’t worry.  I am ok with this…  I know that without this evening “snack” I would actually ruin my weight loss plan the moment I crawl into bed to watch TV.  This works for us….   I’m not suggesting that it will work for you.  I’m just illustrating the need to “know yourself.”

So, let’s just start with a little math….  1680-495=1185 for the rest of my day.  Now that the PRIORITY issues have been accounted for, let’s go back to the BEGINNING of the day.  After taking a look back at my food diary for a couple of weeks, it would seem that my average breakfast is 290 calories (thank God for berries and yogurt!).  1185-290=895.  Yes, 895 has to get me lunch and dinner, as well as any other “noshing” I’m going to do for the day (I’m a grazer and I know it).  For lunch, on average I use 378 calories (however nearly half of my days I am OVER 400).  So now, 895-378=517.  That’s what’s left for dinner and miscellaneous noshing.  Good.  So now we have a game plan.  For round numbers?  1700 a day, 300 for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 500 for dinner and 500 for bedtime snack.  This is how my day needs to run for me to be successful.

Now that I’ve laid the ground work for how my own calorie counting logic works I will get back to a few things that demand my attention.  I promise however that I will return in short order with the REAL meat of this multi post series.  The truth is I do have an end goal here.  A plan.  How unusual for me right?  The “setup” for this seems to have taken awhile, and for that I apologize, but I will also thank you for your patience and your readership.  I hope I can continue to make it worth your while to keep reading…..


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