Just checking in to say things are going along pretty well in resolution land.


I’ve been thinking on the emotional resolutions – in fact, I accidentally talk to a therapist (we’ll talk more about that another time). I was also convinced to have my BMR and BMI checked by a dietician after a casual conversation about how few people actually need 2,000 calories a day.  (My actual words were that I think the “myth of the 2,000 calorie diet on food labels is the most damaging lie told to the American consumer.” Maybe working on dramatic over statements can be a resolution for next year.)

Anyway, the fact is that most Americans have jobs that lead to them sitting at a desk for nearly 8 hours a day, and a lot of us have commutes that leave us sitting in cars, or on trains, for 60 minutes or more a day.  Where exactly are you burning these 2,000 calories?  (Blah, blah, blah, you have read this all before.) Most of us don’t need 2,000 calories… which is why it’s so handy to know your Basal Metabolic Rate.  Your basal metabolic rate will tell you how many calories you need to consume to maintain your weight without working out.  There are a number of online BMR calculators, but there are painless (physically anyway) methods to get a more accurate reading. You should talk to your healthcare provider about this if you’re interested.  Note: If you are working out more, eating less, and still not losing weight you should be interested.

So, the depressing fact is that to lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you burn (specifically, to lose about a pound a week you need to create a deficit of about 500 calories a day). Science!

You can create that deficit by eating less, working out more, or (ideally) a combination of both.  Here is where I find out that my entire life has been a steaming pile of lies, and explains why the Fitbit wasn’t a good fit for me.

I know that in order to improve my cardio vascular health, and to maximize calorie burn, I need to push myself into the upper range of my heart rate zone.  And I know that with my fitness level (because I am pretty fit, whether my pant size looks like it or not) that to get there I have to work pretty hard. The Fitbit is great for people who need to be honest about getting moving, but walking for an hour at a brisk pace doesn’t even bump me into the low end of my target heart rate zone even if I manage 6,000-7,000 of my 10,000 daily steps.

In fact, since I’ve been working out wearing my heart rate monitor I’ve discovered that to get my heart rate up and maintain it up on the elliptical I need more RPMS, and less resistance.  Even then, at 50-55 RPMs, I’m hanging in the lower end of that target range.  (Going faster than that is difficult for me physically. As in I am not coordinated enough to move my body in that manner any faster.  This could be because I’m short or just because I am a klutz, I’m not sure which.) It’s much, much easier to get my heart rate up, and keep it in the 75-90% of my target running on the treadmill.  In other breaking news: water is wet.  Also, the calorie counters on these pieces of equipment are wrong, which we all knew, but are wrong by about 30% from what I have deduced, which is much more than I thought. (And not wrong in the, “Hey, I can have a cookie!” direction.)

I’m looking at all of this as “Bad News-Good News.” It stinks that I’ve been working with bad data for so long. The good news is that I still managed to lose a lot of weight working with the bad data, and now that I’m at the stage where it’s genuinely harder to lose weight I have good data!

If you’re interested in learning more about target heart rates I recommend going here.

If you’re interested in getting a heart rate monitor Polar makes some great, reasonably priced units. I have this one.

(Which I bought because a friend who uses heart rate to train has the same one and seems to like it, I’ve only used it once and it’s incredibly easy to use and seems accurate.)

I also have this one, but I prefer to only use it outside.  If you’re a runner it’s great, it’s very accurate and really all a novice to mid-level runner needs in a GPS.  I think that iteration has been discontinued (I’ve had it for years and it still works well!), but I’m sure Garmin has a comparable model in a reasonable price range. (I think I only paid $120-$150 when I got it?)

Maybe I’ll talk more about the food situation later, but the biggest piece of advice I have is this: BE PREPARED. I pack all of my lunches for the week on Sunday, that way there are no excuses about “time.”



Also, coming soon: I’ve convinced a bunch of people to go to Zumba, including my husband.  This experiment will probably result in a broken ankle but I’ll also be wearing my heart rate monitor and we’ll talk a little bit about the over promise of fitness instructors… and I’ll let you know how many “Vodka Points” I earned, since I’m considering Zumba to be my bonus Cocktail Workout.