It’s Love Your Body Monday and today my beautiful daughter Kimberly Mancini is our guest blogger. Here’s her story of how even a fitness instructor has to count calories—exercise alone will not get you to your ideal body weight unless you’re willing to also reduce caloric intake. I recently heard a woman say, “I know I don’t look like it, but I’m on the treadmill every day.” I wanted to interject … if you would change your diet, you would look like it!
Many people tell me, “I don’t eat anything all day. Or I barely eat anything. I don’t know why I can’t lose weight.” They are eating because that’s what puts on extra weight–maybe it’s mindless snacking, or cleaning up a kids plate, or eating the wrong foods at meals. So Kim has a great calorie-counting-made-easy encouraging story:
Forty is the New Twenty … Naught
By Kim Mancini
Forty is the new twenty. At least that’s what they say right? I entered my forties feeling great. As a fitness instructor for the past 10 years, I work hard to stay physically fit. I’ve always eaten healthy foods in moderate proportions. I’m by no means a “clean” eater, but I do make healthy choices.
With each child I birthed, I held onto a residual five pounds, which I embraced. In the six years since my youngest was born, I’ve been the exact same weight. No matter how good or bad I was with my eating, the scale never budged one way or the other.
That was until this past year. It budged … I stepped on the scale and to my surprise, a new number appeared … up two pounds. No biggie. I was slightly alarmed, but no need to panic, yet. I would simply skip the ice cream tonight, and problem solved. I confidently stepped on the scale the next day fully expecting to see a familiar number, but that was not the case ….Up two more pounds!
I tried to convince myself that I was probably just retaining water since I had done a hard workout at the gym the previous day. My body was most likely holding onto the extra water weight to cushion my sore muscles. Of course, there was a perfect explanation. I would wait a week or so and weigh again when I wasn’t feeling sore after a workout.
When I did decide to revisit the scale, I didn’t expect to see what I saw. That darn thing moved up two more digits. What was happening? I had now crossed over into a new set of tens, and that wasn’t something my head could easily wrap around. I panicked a little at this point. It looked like it was time to get more serious about things. I would need to end my love affair with ice cream. We’re talking about the girl whose freezer is constantly stocked with what my mom likes to call “31 Flavors.” Drastic times call for drastic measures.
Fear of the Scales
I became frightened of the evil scale lurking in my bathroom. It took me a while to work up the courage to revisit my old friend, but eventually I came around. Two more pounds … Ugh! And then again, two more a couple of weeks later. A total of eight pounds gained within about four months. Things were not looking good.
I seriously needed to re-evaluate what was happening in my life, and it was time to make some changes. I had recently started substitute teaching while my kids were at school and this had been cutting into my gym schedule. I had gone from teaching about 10+ classes per week at the gym to now only 5 per week. Even though I had cut my exercise in half, I was still working out regularly and staying active. This shouldn’t be so hard. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was now in my forties. Even though I felt like I was in my twenties, this was not the case.
Getting Serious About Losing the Extra Pounds
My husband received a Samsung smart watch for Christmas, and let me borrow his device to accurately track my physical activity. (Some people use a Fitbit). Once I saw that I was reaching the minimum goal of 10,000 steps per day (sometimes more than double that), I realized my eating was leading to my sudden weight gain.
In May of this year, I began to log on a fitness App, linked to the smart watch, what I ate and drank. I could calculate how many calories I should be consuming based on my activity level and how much weight I wanted to lose in a given amount of time by going to a website such as this: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/bwp/index.html.
You simply plug in age, height, weight, gender, activity level, and how much weight you want to lose over a given time. The calculation tells you how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, or lose desired weight and maintain your new weight.
Now to count my calories. I used a default App on my Samsung phone, but there’s many health and fitness free Apps available through the play store on Android phones, or iTunes on Apple. Just search “health” or “fitness” and you’ll find many choices. Another popular site is myfitnesspal, and my husband uses mapmyfitness.
Now, armed with this new information, and logging EVERYTHING that went into my mouth for a month, (including the three pretzel sticks dipped in Nutella), the weight came off rather quickly. I lost seven of the, “being Forty-something is NOT Twenty-something,” eight pounds that I had gained over the last year. I was on a roll! I only had one more pound to go, in addition to the extra baby weight I’d become accustomed to over the years. Might as well lose that too right?
Counting Calories Works!
At this point, I thought I had things under control, so I backed off logging my food/drink intake, and guess what happened? As soon as I stopped logging, I stopped losing. Could there be a correlation? I think so. Suddenly all my progress came to a screeching halt.
There’s something about knowing I was going to have to log that extra handful of (fill in the blank _____________). I would ask myself if I really wanted those calories to take up some of my total daily intake. Watching the calories add up throughout the day, put a stop to the mindless snacking and kept me sticking to portion sizes. It looks like I’ll be back to food logging. It works!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.–Isaiah 55:2-3
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