The *Ride* of a Lifetime - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-18-2016, 05:56 AM
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I am going to be shouted at for this because it goes against the current medical advice about weight loss, but here goes: when I want to lose some weight I REDUCE excersise, except for riding. I only count the calories. I use a medically prescribed diet which has me eating often but less. I do not cut out carbs at all, just reduce the portions. It works for me because excersise makes me hungrier than usual but really does not use up much calories. Up until the 60s, doctors used to prescribe bed rest for people for needed to lose weight. My logic is that I need my will power to fight the hunger and I don't need to waste it just to expand 300 odd calories on a tiring and boring run, or something like that.

Mind you, I've never been more than 5kg overweight, so it might not apply.

Best of luck.
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-18-2016, 11:09 AM
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Honestly it sounds like your first lesson went awesome - it sounds a lot like the place I’m at right now. Maybe this is just a competitive hunter/jumper stable thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
But Renee proceeded to show me how to halt a horse without using the reins, which I have never even heard of. To say I was impressed would be an understatement! It was like magic- tensing your thighs and sitting deep in the seat halts a horse with no pressure from the reins whatsoever! What!
Isn’t this the most awesome thing?!?! I had about the same sense of excitement. I still do. It’s absolutely magical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
She also said I was a little behind my legs, and that would take some time to correct- anyone want to explain that?
I know when I was “behind the leg”/”behind the horse” at the posting trot it meant I was functionally leaning a slight bit too far back and balancing my weight over the middle of the saddle rather than over my stirrups which are a little farther forward on the H/J seat. I didn’t really ‘get’ this balance until I tried going over cavaletti - then I realized that if the horse moved forward even a tiny bit to adjust I would loose my balance backwards slightly (the horse would ‘leave me behind’).

When I did it ‘right’ I felt like I was almost tipping too far forward at first and it felt a little precarious - but in practice I found myself way less disrupted/in tune with the horse’s motion. Keeping my heels way the heck down and my thighs a little tighter helped immensely - though it has made posting trot a bit more tiring.

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Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
Btw, anyone got any weight loss tips? How to not hate exercise? Things to eat/not eat?
Ok, so I’ve also been not-the-healthiest at times and I've also done the full-out-athlete thing so this is a huge and very personal topic. Really, the simple truth is that, while there are some tiny variations to this, for the most part it’s calories eaten - calories burned. If you run a deficit your body burns fat to make up the difference and you lose weight, if you run a surplus, your body stores those calories as fat and you gain weight. People can get really pedantic and nitpicky about how calories from X source are handled differently from calories from Y source, and bunches of tiny little tricks to try to sway those numbers - but most of those effects are so minor as to functionally be rounding errors (excepting keto, but that’s also a great way to seriously damage your liver and get heart disease).

There are a lot of ways to muck around with those numbers and everyone has a favorite. Exercise is one way to increase the ‘calories burned’ number and has the benefit of also increasing cardiovascular health and strength - which obviously we’re going to need for riding. Unfortunately for some people (and I am definitely one of them) it also increases hunger well beyond the calories it burns - and a lot of people like to overestimate just how many calories really ARE burned by exercise and tend to overcompensate.

The other number to play with is the ‘calories eaten’ number. There are diets in all shapes and sizes for this. Most of them optimize to be sure that you are either eating filling foods (protein, high-volume vegetables, fiber), hopefully getting something resembling proper nutrition, while at the same time lowering calories. Some work on the theory that by restricting certain foods (rather than counting) you will effectively eat less calories without realizing it because you won’t adjust in volume enough to make up for the amount you’re not eating. (Personally, I can eat right through these diets… they underestimate my ability to consume roughage). There are all sorts of tricks here, because not all calories are equally filling (‘satiating’) or have equal nutritional value - and nutrition gets really key if you’re actively doing something like sports where you’re looking to build new muscle. If you want me to go into my personal recommendations/thoughts on this I can - but it will be a long essay.

This is something I’ve been fighting with my whole life because I will always just gain weight if I don’t control for it. But for me it has really come down to: Calorie-count for weight loss, exercise for fitness/health. Eat satiating foods so I am not miserable counting calories, and don’t pick on myself if I have a ‘bad day’ and decide to go all out - it’s the average that counts, not the exceptions. Don’t add a new fitness program and a caloric restriction at the same time or I will be weak in the fitness program and starving during the diet - give each at least 2-3 weeks to ‘set in’ before I change anything else.

I find being involved in a sport really motivating, because in a lot of cases fitness and weight loss can take a long time to see but actually can take a bit less time to feel.

As far as hating exercise less: a few thoughts from my personal experience: First, I do whatever I can to make it enjoyable - the best exercise is the most fun exercise I can access, whatever that might be. I’ve tried so many different classes - if for no other reason than to keep myself mentally stimulated. Only at my most dedicated have I managed to keep up something like running (which I hate) for more than a few weeks. Personally I found I like weight-lifting way more than I expected to and then once I’m warm I ‘throw on’ 20-30 minutes of cardio. That’s what tends to work for me. Second, despite being generally an introvert, I’m a social exerciser. I am way more likely to show up and be distracted if I have a friend to talk to. Lastly, I always exercise in a way that’s directly focused on getting better at the things I care about. Nothing to me is more motivating than seeing progress in my primary sport because of time I spent at the gym.
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post #13 of 20 Old 11-20-2016, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbar View Post
Glad to hear your first lesson at the new barn went so well. A welcoming atmosphere definitely helps; if you feel like you belong and are welcome you'll be more apt to ask questions and learn even more.

How often will you be taking lessons?

As for the weight loss...if you are wanting to try to shed some weight, I would try to look at activities that interest you and build from there. If you hate running, don't run. You won't enjoy it. Riding more will burn more calories and build more muscle. If you have a dog, go for more puppy walks. Little things can make a big difference in the long run. If you have some buddies that are interested you could always join a class together - it helps if you are intimidated. I used to take belly dancing classes with a bunch of g/f and it was a hoot!

As for foods - Everyone is different and you have to decide what will work for you. I've done some pretty drastic things in the past (no sugar, no flour, etc) and ended up being the crankiest biatch. I think the key is balance.

No matter what, don't get down on yourself and have fun!! Can't wait to hear about the next lesson.
A welcoming atmosphere definitely helped! There was not one person there who didn't make me feel welcome. Not a single one! That made me feel at ease instantly!

As far as how often I am taking lessons, right now it's only once a week. Hopefully I will be able to do more soon, but for now that's all I can do. :( I have thought about volunteering to do some chores at the barn, though, just to spend more time there!

I'm currently trying to find the activity that will keep me motivated to exercise. I've tried to get into running before, and I don't hate it, but I definitely don't love it. Your suggestions to find a group of friends was a great one! I'm definitely more apt to stick to an exercise plan if I'm not doing it alone! And the diet? I'm like you, I've tried some pretty strict ones in the past. No sugar? Yep, so doesn't work for me. I'm a baker/ cake decorator, so constantly being surrounded by yummy pastries when I'm not allowing myself to eat sugar is my own personal form of torture!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
You are doing great! And, I think your teacher was also brave to tell you the truth -- riding is not sitting on a horse and being carried around, like in a car. It is skilled athletic exercise and the fitter you are, the easier time you will have, all other things being equal. I lost more than 25 pounds when I got my horse, and it made a huge difference, mainly in my balance. Balance is critical.

I know this won't work for everyone, but the way I lost the weight (which I had carried around for more than thirty years) was to change just a few habits. Not all my habits, just some. I didn't go on a diet, I just started eating differently and stuck to that. I eat the same breakfast but out of a small bowl (giant bowls used to be my speciality). I eat my largest meal in the middle of the day, not at night. At night I just have a bowl of cold cereal, or toast and boiled eggs, or a big salad. I never eat anything after 6:30 pm because somehow it just sticks to me after that. I weigh myself every single morning without fail, and I write it down (I have a permanent sticky on my laptop for this). Every.single.day. I've weighed about 118 for more than a year now -- I'm 5'2" -- and I still weigh myself every single day and write it down. I eat a lot of vegetables, but I haven't cut out much fat. I never ate much sugar or processed foods but if you do, cutting those down as much as ever you can will really help. Human beings don't need to eat either of those things, it is pretty well agreed.

I think it is also important to never run out of fuel. When I get too hungry I tend to panic and eat everything in sight as fast as possible. So I actually carry around protein bars with me everywhere. I only eat them in emergencies but those happen surprisingly often.

Also I look for ways to get more exercise, all the time. Really helps keep my energy even, if nothing else. I run up stairs, I walk instead of drive wherever I can. I hate formal exercise of all kinds, but I like walking in the forest with my dogs, so I do that. You could volunteer to clean stalls and your lesson barn. That is exercise. And real riding is much more strenuous than it looks! Wait until you're posting without stirrups!

By the way, I'm sixty and I started riding 16 months ago. I had the advantage of riding a lot between the ages of 11 and 17, but never after that. I'm having a great time, and if you stick with it I bet you will too.
I also think my instructor was brave by telling me to lose weight. There's no point in ignoring the obvious elephant in the room (or on the horse, as the case may be). I would rather someone be straight with me than try and be "nice" about it, or not even say anything at all. You're 100% right, riding is more than sitting on the horse, so getting myself fit is going to be a priority from now on!

Portion control seems to be my biggest problem as well. I don't necessarily eat badly, but I do eat large portions. I tend to eat quickly, so I often don't know that I am full until I've consumed too much and then am over full. I've been trying to slow myself down and really think about how much I'm eating. I'll definitely try using a smaller bowl! Maybe I can "trick" my brain into thinking I've eaten more than I have! Weighing myself every day also seems like a great way to keep myself accountable. And you're right, finding small ways to exercise is a great way to get started without overwhelming myself. I live way out in the boondocks, so walking places isn't an option, but I can start taking more walks through the woods!

I'm having a great time riding so far, and count myself truly blessed to have the opportunity to take part in such a great sport!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
I am going to be shouted at for this because it goes against the current medical advice about weight loss, but here goes: when I want to lose some weight I REDUCE excersise, except for riding. I only count the calories. I use a medically prescribed diet which has me eating often but less. I do not cut out carbs at all, just reduce the portions. It works for me because excersise makes me hungrier than usual but really does not use up much calories. Up until the 60s, doctors used to prescribe bed rest for people for needed to lose weight. My logic is that I need my will power to fight the hunger and I don't need to waste it just to expand 300 odd calories on a tiring and boring run, or something like that.

Mind you, I've never been more than 5kg overweight, so it might not apply.

Best of luck.
I definitely need all of my strength to fight hunger pangs, so your advice sounds great to me! Unfortunately, I think I've let myself go too far for that to be an option. I definitely need to increase my exercise, if only for 10 minutes a day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
Honestly it sounds like your first lesson went awesome - it sounds a lot like the place I’m at right now. Maybe this is just a competitive hunter/jumper stable thing?



Isn’t this the most awesome thing?!?! I had about the same sense of excitement. I still do. It’s absolutely magical.
Magical is the best way to describe it! I don't think I'll ever get tired of it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
I know when I was “behind the leg”/”behind the horse” at the posting trot it meant I was functionally leaning a slight bit too far back and balancing my weight over the middle of the saddle rather than over my stirrups which are a little farther forward on the H/J seat. I didn’t really ‘get’ this balance until I tried going over cavaletti - then I realized that if the horse moved forward even a tiny bit to adjust I would loose my balance backwards slightly (the horse would ‘leave me behind’).

When I did it ‘right’ I felt like I was almost tipping too far forward at first and it felt a little precarious - but in practice I found myself way less disrupted/in tune with the horse’s motion. Keeping my heels way the heck down and my thighs a little tighter helped immensely - though it has made posting trot a bit more tiring.
This actually makes a lot of sense. Renee did tell me to land a bit closer to the front of the saddle when posting, and I did feel like I was too far forward, so I probably didn't correct myself all that much. Bearing this in mind, I will try to be conscious of that in my next lesson, and keep forward a bit more. I haven't gone over cavaletti just yet but it makes sense that the farther forward I am, the easier it will be to keep the rhythm of the horse's motion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
Ok, so I’ve also been not-the-healthiest at times and I've also done the full-out-athlete thing so this is a huge and very personal topic. Really, the simple truth is that, while there are some tiny variations to this, for the most part it’s calories eaten - calories burned. If you run a deficit your body burns fat to make up the difference and you lose weight, if you run a surplus, your body stores those calories as fat and you gain weight. People can get really pedantic and nitpicky about how calories from X source are handled differently from calories from Y source, and bunches of tiny little tricks to try to sway those numbers - but most of those effects are so minor as to functionally be rounding errors (excepting keto, but that’s also a great way to seriously damage your liver and get heart disease).

There are a lot of ways to muck around with those numbers and everyone has a favorite. Exercise is one way to increase the ‘calories burned’ number and has the benefit of also increasing cardiovascular health and strength - which obviously we’re going to need for riding. Unfortunately for some people (and I am definitely one of them) it also increases hunger well beyond the calories it burns - and a lot of people like to overestimate just how many calories really ARE burned by exercise and tend to overcompensate.
I am definitely someone who tends to overestimate just how many calories I've burned, and sometimes will think, "Oh, I've worked out today, so I can have an extra treat." I suppose that would be fine if I were trying to maintain weight, but not for losing weight. I definitely need to keep track of my calorie intake and output.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
The other number to play with is the ‘calories eaten’ number. There are diets in all shapes and sizes for this. Most of them optimize to be sure that you are either eating filling foods (protein, high-volume vegetables, fiber), hopefully getting something resembling proper nutrition, while at the same time lowering calories. Some work on the theory that by restricting certain foods (rather than counting) you will effectively eat less calories without realizing it because you won’t adjust in volume enough to make up for the amount you’re not eating. (Personally, I can eat right through these diets… they underestimate my ability to consume roughage). There are all sorts of tricks here, because not all calories are equally filling (‘satiating’) or have equal nutritional value - and nutrition gets really key if you’re actively doing something like sports where you’re looking to build new muscle. If you want me to go into my personal recommendations/thoughts on this I can - but it will be a long essay.
Nutrition is always an interesting topic for me (I know it doesn't seem like it considering I am not the most nutritious person, but I did have to take nutrition courses in culinary school, and always found them interesting). I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations, if you would like to share them. I too can consume an unnatural amount of vegetables. I'm not very big on meat other than deer and chicken, so meat consumption has never been much of a problem. But give me a large plate of vegetables, and I can eat my weight in it (especially starches).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
This is something I’ve been fighting with my whole life because I will always just gain weight if I don’t control for it. But for me it has really come down to: Calorie-count for weight loss, exercise for fitness/health. Eat satiating foods so I am not miserable counting calories, and don’t pick on myself if I have a ‘bad day’ and decide to go all out - it’s the average that counts, not the exceptions. Don’t add a new fitness program and a caloric restriction at the same time or I will be weak in the fitness program and starving during the diet - give each at least 2-3 weeks to ‘set in’ before I change anything else.
This makes so much sense, why have I never thought of this?? Whenever I have tried to get fit in the past, I've always started a diet and fitness routine at the same time. And you're right. I am always hungry and I lack the energy to keep exercising, which leads to me giving up after a couple of weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
I find being involved in a sport really motivating, because in a lot of cases fitness and weight loss can take a long time to see but actually can take a bit less time to feel.

As far as hating exercise less: a few thoughts from my personal experience: First, I do whatever I can to make it enjoyable - the best exercise is the most fun exercise I can access, whatever that might be. I’ve tried so many different classes - if for no other reason than to keep myself mentally stimulated. Only at my most dedicated have I managed to keep up something like running (which I hate) for more than a few weeks. Personally I found I like weight-lifting way more than I expected to and then once I’m warm I ‘throw on’ 20-30 minutes of cardio. That’s what tends to work for me. Second, despite being generally an introvert, I’m a social exerciser. I am way more likely to show up and be distracted if I have a friend to talk to. Lastly, I always exercise in a way that’s directly focused on getting better at the things I care about. Nothing to me is more motivating than seeing progress in my primary sport because of time I spent at the gym.
I also find being involved in sports or fitness classes more fun than working out alone. However, I am also shy and easily embarrassed, so I hate working out in front of other people. It's a catch-22, really. But I'm learning to get over my awkwardness and try new things, so I'll see if I can convince myself to join a group of some sort!
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-23-2016, 04:11 PM
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Alright, I’m tempted to apologize for how long this is, and I realize you may well already be familiar with a lot of this - but I didn’t want to step in and just make assumptions so I went over everything from the beginning in how I tend to approach this. Apologies if parts get long-winded or already familiar.

For me, calorie-counting and monitoring (sometimes called ‘CICO’ - calories in, calories out) has always been the way - the only way - to really take control of my weight. The process is deceptively simple: 1. Figure out how much I should be eating. 2. Keep myself honest in only eating that. 3. Work on finding a way to make that number as pleasant an experience as possible.

How much to eat
So, step 1 is figuring out what exactly I should be eating.

So what I tend to do is start by calculating two estimates: my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount a body needs to survive in a coma. Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is an estimate of how many calories are actually burned during a normal day. The formulas for a woman are as follows:

BMR = 655+(4.35*(weight in lbs))+(4.7*(height in inches))-(4.7*(age in years))

TDEE at Sedentary = BMR * 1.2

Obviously TDEE changes based on exercise amounts - but I prefer to calculate it at sedentary because I spend most of my life in an office, and then if I’m doing a LOT of exercise I compensate separately - but if you’re not getting exercise 3+ times a week that sedentary number will probably work for you. If you’re on your feet a lot of the time - like you work a retail job on your feet all day or physically demanding manual labor job day-to-day - then maybe bump it up to 1.3 or 1.4 respectively.

Of course that calculation is done per your height/weight/age. As weight changes (like we want it to) this becomes a moving target, and keeping track of that can become a pain - so automation is our friend.

I’ve created a copy of the google doc I use for calculating everything, updated for your age/height here. The later tabs which show how I track weight loss personally (and actually show my latest round of it at a high level, going from 200->180 about a year ago). As a note: that was a moderately aggressive patch of weight loss - but I think it’s good to see the serious ups-and-downs in the day to day.

So with considering exercise you have a decision to make. Do you want to burn extra calories because you’re exercising, or do you want to compensate for your exercise by adding more food (‘eat back’ your exercise)? If you want to ‘eat back’ your exercise here’s how I tend to do it: I use many of the various online calorie calculators to guestimate my calories burned. Be aware many of these tend to overestimate, but it provides a baseline. I then take what I’d normally do in a week - add it up, and divide by 7 (effectively just smoothing out the number over the week) to add to my daily amount.

So for example with your height/weight a riding lesson of 25 minutes of posting trot and 30 minutes at the walk would be ~325 calories for the hour (for your height/weight). Divided by 7 and you get ~46 calories a day. I think this probably also shows you why I don’t bother doing this unless I’m doing a lot of exercise in a week.

So (and I realize you probably know this from your nutrition class) a pound of fat is approximately 3500 calories - a deficit of that much and you lose a pound, a surplus and you gain a pound. People nitpick these numbers all the time, but as a broad baseline they work. Neatly, that works out to a pound of weight loss a week being a deficit of about 500 calories per day. You can then just calculate your desired loss from there.

So, to use your numbers, at sedentary you could estimate that your TDEE is about 1950, subtract 500 and you end up with about 1450ish calories per day. Eat that much, and you’d lose about a pound a week. If you want to ‘eat back’ your riding lesson, that would take you up to almost 1500 - not a bad number to work with. Usually I make a target ‘range’ of about 150 calories in either direction of my goal, and try to get my average on-point - but that just depends how picky you are.

A pound a week of weight loss, by the way, is what I (and a lot of people) tend to recommend just about anyone (baring either health concerns or being extremely overweight) start out with. After you’ve settled into that for a few weeks then you can look at trying to play with the numbers to get more/less restrictive based on either your frustration at not seeing results or your degree of suffering at keeping the diet.

Now, a few caveats: Generally accepted practice (and I agree with this) is that you should never go below eating around 1200 calories or about 1.5% weight loss per week (whichever gives you the higher minimum number) without some sort of direct medical supervision. That latter number is really only applicable for people who have more to lose than either of us do. For most women in the ‘moderate weight loss’ category such as ourselves, that 1200 number is pretty much going to be our rock bottom, and I really don’t recommend pressing that low, especially to start out.

Tracking Calories
Ok, great, so now there’s a target… now what? Well, this is where get to the annoying part. Now I need to track how much I’m eating. Personally, I do this through another archaic spreadsheet where I make sure to get calorie numbers for everything and then plug-and-play from there. I can share one of these if you like, but as I said: I’m a bit of an oddball in that I like that method.

Most people prefer something like the phone and web app My Fitness Pal.

If you try this and your experience is anything like mine you will learn a LOT about food through this process. It’s kind of a pain, but the very act of checking calories will often lead to a lot of interesting realizations. “Wow, that’s a lot worse than I thought it was!” and “Awesome, I didn’t realize this was healthy.” Just the act of paying attention to it helped me a lot in looking at what I was eating and making smarter life decisions. Also, the act of recording and knowing that I was going to be accountable for everything I put in my mouth, really cut down on random thoughtless eating. I couldn’t just munch a bag of chips - now I needed to record it. It was amazing how many times I didn’t bother to eat a bit of junk food because I didn’t want the hassle of writing it down. (To the point where just recording, without consciously cutting calories would still result in me not eating as much as I otherwise would). The process of recording created this little mental ‘check’ on if I really wanted those skittles. If I did, I’d eat them - but it was no longer mindless.

Personally, I found this whole process was made much easier by pre-calculating most of the things I liked to eat (i.e. the sub I like at subway is 530 calories, this stir-fry is about 400 calories, this cheesecake is about 750 calories a slice, this small apple is about 60…). Then I just plug in the numbers as I go. I also tracked protein, both because I’m vegetarian and for some other reasons I will mention below, but that’s really not critical for most people.

Now, a warning: Being this conscious of your eating patterns can lead to ‘obsessive’ in some people. If you experience any sort of body-image issues, this whole process can tend to kick that a bit. A certain degree of concern (and yes, it can even seem a little obsessive) can be healthy to staying on the diet - but if you start feeling worse as the pounds come off, something is going wrong. This usually hits people going for vanity harder than those going for fitness because the temptation to try to get rail-thin isn’t as attractive a draw. Still, it’s something to watch - this is a good and healthy thing you’re trying to do for yourself and it’s important it stay that way both mentally and physically.


How to make this not suck

So when I first went from my ‘default’ diet (which I’d guess was around 2200-2400 calories, realistically - I gain about 2-4 pounds a month if I just eat whatever I want) to seriously dieting it was… kind of miserable. A lot of that misery dies down after the first 2-3 weeks, which are definitely the toughest, but I’m also not going to lie and say that it’s all flowers and roses.

The harder you ‘jump’ into the diet the rougher those first couple weeks. There are kind of two philosophies here - either start reducing calories slowly (starting with just counting and not adjusting anything, and then maybe paring 100 calories off your average every 2 weeks until you’re down to your ‘target’ number) or there’s the ‘get it over with’ approach of just forcing yourself onto the new diet and trying to ride out the unpleasantness until the body adjusts. I’ve used both personally, and my personal favorite is to do about 1-2 weeks of ‘watching’, then jump down 500 calories or so to a ‘reduction’ diet and then, if I’m going to do anything more intense, to jump to whatever my final number is about two weeks later.

I’ll be honest: despite my advice to only cut 500 calories to start out, my personal numbers (having done this several times both for short and longer terms) usually ends up being a 750 calorie reduction with eating-back. So I usually go 2000->1500->1250 as a sedentary baseline. When exercising and eating back that means my final numbers look like 2200->1700->1450. I’m taller than you, but older, so our numbers actually look really close to each other.

The second area to really look at for enjoying one’s new diet is the the concept of satiety. Satiety is basically how full and satisfying certain foods are. People say that there’s a magic bullet for this (and there are all sorts of attempts to rank foods according to satiety), but in chatting with various people doing the dieting thing it seems like everyone’s a little different - though usually within certain trends.

Things people tend to find satiating:
  • Protein
  • Volume
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Calories


For me, that’s about the order they’re in - but this is different for different people. A lot of people find that ‘volume’ is the number one thing that they find makes them feel ‘full’ (this actually seems the most common one). For others, it can be fiber that really does it. This is a matter of playing around with things a bit - specifically, how full does 300 calories which is high on one of those, but low on the others, make you feel about 20 minutes later?

My personal method is to calculate protein-per-calorie, and use that to rank how ‘good’ foods are. I’m constantly low on protein (especially when exercising) so this usually helps me find foods that are filling and healthy for me. As a side-effect of this my diet tends to end up being low-carb, kind of by accident. This isn’t low-carb like atkins low carb, but I avoid bread because it’s high calorie and not terribly filling. Also, frankly, I have a horrible sweet tooth - I’d rather have a donut than a bread roll, and shockingly they’re often about the same calorically.

Everyone has their dieting challenges. For me, it’s this: I have a huge and chronic sweet tooth. So I find myself picking my sweets carefully. When dieting I will often go out and buy expensive truffles - and then for my candy/sweets I will eat one or if I’m feeling super-indulgent maybe two. I don’t buy cheap bags of candy, I go straight for the jelly-bellies in my favorite flavor if I’m going to eat candy. If I’m going to eat sweets it’s going to be really indulgent good sweets - and to be honest, many times my diet has 100 calories of candy in it most days. It works for me. I am not big on doing things because that’s how they’re supposed to be done - we should enjoy such things.

Likewise, I emotionally eat - so sue me. Food is one of the ways I deal with stress. So I go buy some really good fancy chocolate bars to do it with - the kind that are $6-$10 a bar at the fancy grocery store (I really love vosges). Then I will get stressed at work and half of one will be gone…. At like 250 calories - diet not busted, and I feel better.

I also do cheat meals/days - or actually, more often ‘maintenance’ meals/days (i.e. I change the calorie number back up to 1950). The key with those is to not do them so often that they affect the average. 1 day every 2 weeks really isn’t going to affect your numbers much, 3-4 days a week really will. This is just a balancing act.

As my diet gets very restrictive (so during those times when I’m doing less than 1400 for some reason) I will try to actually plan a little bit roughly how much I want for each meal - so I want about 200-400 calories for breakfast, 400-500 for lunch, and 500-700 for dinner let’s say. Then I have pre-planned ideas for what meals will go in each of those slots and slip them in.

In another controversial statement: I am really quite lazy with all this. I love pre-packaged and pre-portioned foods. High-Protein oatmeal packets and an apple make a great breakfast, as do protein bars, or even a skim-milk starbucks coffee (surprisingly good macros!). Egg-patty sandwiches can be surprisingly healthy, as can some specific brands of frozen-yogurt ice cream bars. Greek Yogurt is shockingly healthy - I like Fage, but Chobotti 0% or 2% is good too. Frozen meals make great lunches - everything is calculated for you on the box, they’re easy, and especially some of the indian and organic ones are really interesting. A lot of fast-food (or fast-casual) places I can calculate my order once and go from there. I eat subway, carefully ordered taco-bell, zoup, and panera (if you avoid the delicious, delicious bread). I also like noodles and company, but that’s not quite as healthy. Leftovers from any of these places work great. Small pizza slices are surprisingly healthy if you keep your eating of them controlled and put something like a salad on the side. I’m super-picky about canned soups, but have discovered that I do like Wolfgang Puck Canned Soups when I can find them. I’ve played around with some of the harder-core diet foods to wildly mixed success and can go into my thoughts on them if you’d like - but everyone’s tastes seem to vary wildly. I drink a lot of diet soda - though some people swear it’s bad for you or it makes you hungrier - I’ve never noticed this effect.

It’s probably even better if you cook. You can totally make even healthier things that way. I usually have neither the time nor inclination. Sometimes my partner cooks and thus I will eat some of whatever he’s cooking - but he also does the health/dieting thing so he calculates the calories for the meal and I just use those. Yes, I am almost humorously lazy at times.

The other thing is that I can keep up a diet strictly usually for about 3-4 months before I inevitably get frustrated with it, a big key for me was learning that this is ok. I then go from ‘dieting’ to ‘maintaining’ (so not letting myself gain weight and continuing to track myself on the scale) and then when I feel like it, I go back to dieting again. This has resulted in a lot saner ‘stepping’ down then the times I’ve gone off and tried to lose 60 pounds at once (that got a little crazy). I can lose 15-20 lbs in 4 months, spend a few months enjoying it, and then go back to losing weight again. You’ll notice if you check that sheet I went from 200->180 back in Jan->March of this year. My goal next year is to go from 180->160ish and stay there. Not losing all the weight at once wasn’t a failure it was just a step on a longer journey. My goal is just to try to make sure I’m heading the right direction.

I could keep rambling on for a long time here. There are lots of bits of advice that work for other people but don’t work for me. Some people like what’s called ‘intermittent fasting’ which basically is just not eating anything say after 8 pm until noon. I don’t like it, but some people swear by it. Some people say you can lose weight faster if you keep alternating the calorie range up and down day-by-day… I have no idea if there’s any truth to that, but I will say it makes me utterly miserable to try. Some people are really careful to restrict the foods available in their house so that they don’t have temptations around - I find that makes me feel shockingly deprived and like it’s not my choice I’m dieting. Any of these methods might help you though - just not for me.

Anyway, as is evidenced by my long tirade - I am happy to talk about this. Seriously, it’s been a struggle since I was 16. I’ve managed to keep it under control (unlike some of my 400lb+ relatives) but it will probably always be a something I have to keep tabs on.
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-27-2016, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, I’m tempted to apologize for how long this is, and I realize you may well already be familiar with a lot of this - but I didn’t want to step in and just make assumptions so I went over everything from the beginning in how I tend to approach this. Apologies if parts get long-winded or already familiar.
Unfortunately, my nutrition course, while I still found it interesting, focused very little on weight in relation to nutrition. As it was for culinary school, it focused mainly on nutrition in the sense of food and how to create a balanced meal. That's not to say we didn't cover the basics of what sort of nutrition people should eat to lead a healthy lifestyle, but we only covered it briefly and in a very general fashion. So, I was pleased to find that most of the information you provided was new to me- and very helpful indeed!

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For me, calorie-counting and monitoring (sometimes called ‘CICO’ - calories in, calories out) has always been the way - the only way - to really take control of my weight. The process is deceptively simple: 1. Figure out how much I should be eating. 2. Keep myself honest in only eating that. 3. Work on finding a way to make that number as pleasant an experience as possible.
Keeping myself honest is honestly my biggest struggle. As I've mentioned before, I work in a bakery- where there is literally always food around. Add to that my poor self control, and you have a recipe for disaster. I'm particularly bad to eat small bites of things and not count them, because, "It was just a bite, how bad could that really be?" Well, eat 1 bite of 3 different things, and it adds up.

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So what I tend to do is start by calculating two estimates: my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount a body needs to survive in a coma. Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is an estimate of how many calories are actually burned during a normal day. The formulas for a woman are as follows:

BMR = 655+(4.35*(weight in lbs))+(4.7*(height in inches))-(4.7*(age in years))

TDEE at Sedentary = BMR * 1.2
Thank you SO MUCH for these formulas. I am *whispers in hopes that no one will kill me for saying this* a huge fan of math. I love numbers and formulas. They are always straightforward and rarely deceiving. This is quite possibly the most comprehensive weight loss guide I've read. You are definitely speaking my language. And I am on my feet all day at work, however I am mostly standing still. So, at least for the first couple of weeks, until I introduce an exercise plan, I will keep it at a sedentary number like you suggested.

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Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
I’ve created a copy of the google doc I use for calculating everything, updated for your age/height here. The later tabs which show how I track weight loss personally (and actually show my latest round of it at a high level, going from 200->180 about a year ago). As a note: that was a moderately aggressive patch of weight loss - but I think it’s good to see the serious ups-and-downs in the day to day.
Again, thank you for the spreadsheet! I found it very informative, and I particularly appreciated the tab chronicling your weight loss. You were right, it is nice to see that weight loss is not linear, that it's fluid.

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Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
So with considering exercise you have a decision to make. Do you want to burn extra calories because you’re exercising, or do you want to compensate for your exercise by adding more food (‘eat back’ your exercise)?
You are totally right, until I add in an exercise plan, (and depending on how rigorous that plan is) it seems pointless for me to try and worry about 50 or so lost calories.

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Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
So, to use your numbers, at sedentary you could estimate that your TDEE is about 1950, subtract 500 and you end up with about 1450ish calories per day. Eat that much, and you’d lose about a pound a week.
You have literally taken all the work out of it for me! Have you ever considered being a nutritionist? Or, I don't know, having a health blog? I know I'm not the only one who would appreciate your advice!

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Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
Now, a few caveats: Generally accepted practice (and I agree with this) is that you should never go below eating around 1200 calories or about 1.5% weight loss per week (whichever gives you the higher minimum number) without some sort of direct medical supervision. That latter number is really only applicable for people who have more to lose than either of us do. For most women in the ‘moderate weight loss’ category such as ourselves, that 1200 number is pretty much going to be our rock bottom, and I really don’t recommend pressing that low, especially to start out.
I also agree with this. And honestly? I don't think that would even be an option for me. I am overweight because I like to eat, and forcing myself to be that restrictive would seriously test my already precarious self-control.

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Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
Most people prefer something like the phone and web app My Fitness Pal.

If you try this and your experience is anything like mine you will learn a LOT about food through this process. It’s kind of a pain, but the very act of checking calories will often lead to a lot of interesting realizations. “Wow, that’s a lot worse than I thought it was!” and “Awesome, I didn’t realize this was healthy.” Just the act of paying attention to it helped me a lot in looking at what I was eating and making smarter life decisions. Also, the act of recording and knowing that I was going to be accountable for everything I put in my mouth, really cut down on random thoughtless eating. I couldn’t just munch a bag of chips - now I needed to record it. It was amazing how many times I didn’t bother to eat a bit of junk food because I didn’t want the hassle of writing it down. (To the point where just recording, without consciously cutting calories would still result in me not eating as much as I otherwise would). The process of recording created this little mental ‘check’ on if I really wanted those skittles. If I did, I’d eat them - but it was no longer mindless.
I did download the MyFitnessPal app, and have been tracking my calories for the past couple of days (with mildly horrifying results- curse those delicious Thanksgiving leftovers). You're right, even the act of counting calories without restricting made me really think about what I was eating. I was less tempted to eat that pumpkin pie, really only because I didn't want to know how many extra calories that was.

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Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
The harder you ‘jump’ into the diet the rougher those first couple weeks. There are kind of two philosophies here - either start reducing calories slowly (starting with just counting and not adjusting anything, and then maybe paring 100 calories off your average every 2 weeks until you’re down to your ‘target’ number) or there’s the ‘get it over with’ approach of just forcing yourself onto the new diet and trying to ride out the unpleasantness until the body adjusts. I’ve used both personally, and my personal favorite is to do about 1-2 weeks of ‘watching’, then jump down 500 calories or so to a ‘reduction’ diet and then, if I’m going to do anything more intense, to jump to whatever my final number is about two weeks later.
Again, I'm going to have to agree with you here. It sounds much more pleasant to reduce calories slowly than to just dive in head first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
Everyone has their dieting challenges. For me, it’s this: I have a huge and chronic sweet tooth. So I find myself picking my sweets carefully. When dieting I will often go out and buy expensive truffles - and then for my candy/sweets I will eat one or if I’m feeling super-indulgent maybe two. I don’t buy cheap bags of candy, I go straight for the jelly-bellies in my favorite flavor if I’m going to eat candy. If I’m going to eat sweets it’s going to be really indulgent good sweets - and to be honest, many times my diet has 100 calories of candy in it most days. It works for me. I am not big on doing things because that’s how they’re supposed to be done - we should enjoy such things.

Likewise, I emotionally eat - so sue me. Food is one of the ways I deal with stress. So I go buy some really good fancy chocolate bars to do it with - the kind that are $6-$10 a bar at the fancy grocery store (I really love vosges). Then I will get stressed at work and half of one will be gone…. At like 250 calories - diet not busted, and I feel better.

I also do cheat meals/days - or actually, more often ‘maintenance’ meals/days (i.e. I change the calorie number back up to 1950). The key with those is to not do them so often that they affect the average. 1 day every 2 weeks really isn’t going to affect your numbers much, 3-4 days a week really will. This is just a balancing act.
What I said about the health blog? Totally not even kidding. This is such good advice! Mostly- and this is probably because I've dieted badly in the past- I just tend to call it quits when I fall off the tracks. So to hear someone who is in the same boat as me weight loss wise say that candy and cheat meals are alright in moderation? Gives me hope. I, too, have a pretty significant sweet tooth that can get pretty cranky when left unsatisfied.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
The other thing is that I can keep up a diet strictly usually for about 3-4 months before I inevitably get frustrated with it, a big key for me was learning that this is ok. I then go from ‘dieting’ to ‘maintaining’ (so not letting myself gain weight and continuing to track myself on the scale) and then when I feel like it, I go back to dieting again. This has resulted in a lot saner ‘stepping’ down then the times I’ve gone off and tried to lose 60 pounds at once (that got a little crazy). I can lose 15-20 lbs in 4 months, spend a few months enjoying it, and then go back to losing weight again. You’ll notice if you check that sheet I went from 200->180 back in Jan->March of this year. My goal next year is to go from 180->160ish and stay there. Not losing all the weight at once wasn’t a failure it was just a step on a longer journey. My goal is just to try to make sure I’m heading the right direction.
This is usually how I diet (although on a shorter time span). I usually last about a month dieting- again, probably because of bad diet habits- before I have to stop. It makes much more sense to tell myself that I am using diet "stepping stones" and that if I fall off, it's completely okay to take a break and start again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
I could keep rambling on for a long time here. There are lots of bits of advice that work for other people but don’t work for me. Some people like what’s called ‘intermittent fasting’ which basically is just not eating anything say after 8 pm until noon. I don’t like it, but some people swear by it. Some people say you can lose weight faster if you keep alternating the calorie range up and down day-by-day… I have no idea if there’s any truth to that, but I will say it makes me utterly miserable to try. Some people are really careful to restrict the foods available in their house so that they don’t have temptations around - I find that makes me feel shockingly deprived and like it’s not my choice I’m dieting. Any of these methods might help you though - just not for me.
Just the words "fasting" and "restriction" induce a sense of dread. It seems that we are pretty similar in this. Like I said before, my self- control is not the best, so when I try and restrict myself, it usually ends badly. And the fluctuation of calories sounds like a headache to keep track of. I think I'll stick to saner methods of dieting...

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Originally Posted by Cammey View Post
Anyway, as is evidenced by my long tirade - I am happy to talk about this.
As you have proven to be such a valuable source of information, I will quite possibly be calling on you if I ever need advice again. Seriously, thank you so much for the time you spent on this post and for the much needed- and much appreciated- advice!
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post #16 of 20 Old 11-27-2016, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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So I had my second lesson this week!

I rode a different horse this time- we'll call him Charlie. He was a bit of an older horse, 28 Renee said. She told me a bit of his back story, mainly that he was a fantastic show horse in his prime who won nearly every show. They decided to retire him, and he started dropping weight at an alarming pace. He was a few days away from being put down when they moved him from a pasture into a stall, and what do you know? He perked up and began to gain the weight back! So, Renee decided to see how he would do as a lesson horse, and apparently he's nearly back to his old self. Honestly, I wouldn't have known he was 28 if Renee hadn't told me so. I would have said maybe 20.

Anyway, Charlie was a great horse. Chestnut with four white socks, and tall. I don't know exactly how tall, but I do know that when I went to mount, I had to put the stirrup in the longest length just to get on- and stand on my tiptoes atop the mounting block. And I loved it! Don't ask me why, maybe it's because I myself am vertically challenged, but I love tall horses.

But I digress. So to start from the beginning, I successfully caught, groomed, and tacked all by myself this time! (The only thing I did wrong was put the saddle pad on backwards- whoops!) It took me a while, but I felt pretty accomplished!

The lesson started out a bit on the wrong foot. I got quite the lecture on riding Charlie with more authority. And I'm not too proud to admit, I was letting him do what he wanted at first. Apparently I'm too "sweet" when I ride, and I have to be more assertive. Renee explained- in a very nice way, not at all condescending- that when a rider is on a horse, they are a herd of two. And one of the two has to be the leader. It can be the horse, or it can be the rider. Essentially, she told me that I have to be the leader and take charge. Not in a mean way, but in a way that lets Charlie know that I mean business.

The lesson got exponentially better after that. I got to practice my posting trot quite a bit (and got to see just how out of breath it left me ) And I found out that my two-point isn't that bad at all! Most of the lesson was spent on trying to get Charlie to consistently trot over poles on the ground, without stopping right before them and just walking over them. But overall, I have to say I got more "Good jobs" than I did corrections, so I count this as a win. The biggest thing I seem to have a problem with is staying on the right diagonal. I still find it a bit hard to keep track of. Anyone got any advice for that? Or is it just something that just clicks one day?

However, I did try to correct my position this time and make sure I wasn't leaning too far back. Renee didn't mention me being behind my legs again, so maybe I got it right?

But now for the best part! Drumroll please... Renee offered to let me come ride Charlie whenever I want! She told me that he only gets used in one maybe two lessons a week, but that he really needs to be ridden about four to five times. She said that she didn't have anyone else to ride him, so if I ever have extra time, I am more than welcome to come out and ride him. She said right now he is only doing walk/ trot (but that a couple months ago he was cantering and doing low cross rails). As all I've ever done is walk/trot, that is not a problem with me! I would just appreciate more practice in the saddle!

This week's lesson was definitely a positive one, and I can't wait to get back to the barn next week!
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-28-2016, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
Keeping myself honest is honestly my biggest struggle. As I've mentioned before, I work in a bakery- where there is literally always food around. Add to that my poor self control, and you have a recipe for disaster. I'm particularly bad to eat small bites of things and not count them, because, "It was just a bite, how bad could that really be?" Well, eat 1 bite of 3 different things, and it adds up.
Oh I hear you! It is the bane of my existence as well. For me it’s ‘just one tea-biscuit’ or ‘just a few jelly beans’. I basically ended up making standardized estimates for ‘just a bite’ and just counting up 1 every time I did it rather than worry about it. Why? Because if I didn’t… well, I did some calculations and realized I could eat 500-700 calories of ‘just one bite’ in a day… Yeah, I’m like that - sweets are my love and my kryptonite.


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Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
Thank you SO MUCH for these formulas. I am *whispers in hopes that no one will kill me for saying this* a huge fan of math. I love numbers and formulas. They are always straightforward and rarely deceiving. This is quite possibly the most comprehensive weight loss guide I've read.
I’m really glad they can be of help. Some people find this approach really bogged-down and tiresome, but I (like you) love just being able to see reality laid out in non-judgemental black-and-white - do X, get Y. I actually have a lot more detailed calculations/tracking that I’ve done at times… I’ve found that my expected numbers are usually accurate within about 10% over the long-term (see all those obnoxious hills and valleys? Misery in the day-to-day, but if I trust the numbers they will prevail). Over-estimation of calories burned exercising seems to be the biggest culprit of my numbers being off. So in practice I actually track expected loss based on what I’ve actually eaten and actually exercised against 3 baselines: BMR, TDEE, and TDEE+Exercise. This lets me see where my numbers are ‘off’ and adjust accordingly. I actually find it sort of a combination of cool/eerie to watch.

A lot of people would rather track measurements rather than weight - which makes a lot of sense if you’re trying to turn fat->muscle… the reason I don’t do that is two-fold:

  1. I actually haven’t found in practice that exercising while dieting, even intense body-building type weightlifting, has historically enough impact to seriously mess up my numbers. It SHOULD mess up my numbers logically, but so far I haven’t managed to make it more than a rounding error. Possibly it’s part of my ‘overestimating calories burned from exercising’ flaw where some of that ‘not-loss’ is actually ‘muscle gain’ or some such… but even when pumping iron and showing significant gains in strength and how much I can lift I haven’t actually seen it move the scale much.

  2. I find that skin-tightness (which impacts measurements) trails behind weight loss by at least 1-3 weeks. When I first start losing weight I actually get… slightly swishy at first - especially my midsection, thighs, and upper arms. It actually can look a little worse for a short time - like a mildly deflated squishy balloon. When this happens my measurements only change a hair (¼-½ inch). Then I wait another couple weeks and my measurements start dropping, but it will take a LONG time before that starts to actually look really good. Then I go into ‘maintenance’ at the end of my diet… and my measurements will continue to shrink for a few weeks. The skin then tightens up, and generally the visible aspects of weight loss continue to improve for a little while. I’ve lost half a size after I stopped dieting due to this effect.


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You have literally taken all the work out of it for me! Have you ever considered being a nutritionist? Or, I don't know, having a health blog? I know I'm not the only one who would appreciate your advice!
Nah, I’m too happy with my existing career in computers. As I mentioned, I just did the athlete/serious fitness thing for a while and come from a background where nothing came naturally to me so I really have to work at it. If left to my own devices I gain about 1-2 lbs a month, which gets bad pretty quick.

To be honest I considered putting a lot more of this kind of stuff in the journal/blog I’m writing on here, but I wasn’t sure how welcome it would be. A lot of people who aren’t as into fitness/nutrition tend to take the presence of details on it as an imposition, and the culture on this site seems a lot more laid-back and less sports-focused. I sometimes already feel like I’m coming off as a little intense for the site’s general culture. That said, if there’s an interest I can keep folding it back in. While this journey for me is very much about my developing love of horses it’s also about me trying to get back into shape again - going from my current kind of layabout self back into something that resembles athletic - so if this stuff is useful I’ll happily post about it.

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Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
I did download the MyFitnessPal app, and have been tracking my calories for the past couple of days (with mildly horrifying results- curse those delicious Thanksgiving leftovers). You're right, even the act of counting calories without restricting made me really think about what I was eating. I was less tempted to eat that pumpkin pie, really only because I didn't want to know how many extra calories that was.
Ah holidays, bounty of deliciousness and buster of all diets. At least turkey is really quite healthy. I’m vegetarian - but turkey pods and tofurky can fill that niche pretty well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
Mostly- and this is probably because I've dieted badly in the past- I just tend to call it quits when I fall off the tracks. So to hear someone who is in the same boat as me weight loss wise say that candy and cheat meals are alright in moderation? Gives me hope. I, too, have a pretty significant sweet tooth that can get pretty cranky when left unsatisfied.
I will also do weekly averages of my caloric intake for these reasons… how bad has my week been? If you do 6x1450 days and 1x3000 calorie day that’s still an average of 1671 and you’re still looking to lose about half a pound that week. That’s dieting slightly slower - but it’s still dieting. No need to throw in the towel just because of one binge day.

Now as a note: water-weight tends to spike after you eat a bunch of carbs/salt… so it’s totally possible the scale will show you having ‘gained’ 3 lbs from the cheat day (mathematically impossible) - but it’s just water and will disappear in a day or so as the carbs flush through your system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
This is usually how I diet (although on a shorter time span). I usually last about a month dieting- again, probably because of bad diet habits- before I have to stop. It makes much more sense to tell myself that I am using diet "stepping stones" and that if I fall off, it's completely okay to take a break and start again.
Now the challenge I have - and this is what I’ve spent a lot of time on - is trying to maintain weight. I know what I need to do… but it’s so hard. This is why I end up going for ‘athletic’ a lot of the time - because seriously, it’s almost as much of a pain for me to maintain weight as it is to get fairly close to my ideal. So if I’m going to go to all that trouble I might as freaking well. I’m not even joking.


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Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
As you have proven to be such a valuable source of information, I will quite possibly be calling on you if I ever need advice again. Seriously, thank you so much for the time you spent on this post and for the much needed- and much appreciated- advice!
I’m just so glad that it’s helpful. Seriously: Any time. I’m happy to chitter about this stuff.




Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
The lesson started out a bit on the wrong foot. I got quite the lecture on riding Charlie with more authority. And I'm not too proud to admit, I was letting him do what he wanted at first. Apparently I'm too "sweet" when I ride, and I have to be more assertive. Renee explained- in a very nice way, not at all condescending- that when a rider is on a horse, they are a herd of two. And one of the two has to be the leader. It can be the horse, or it can be the rider. Essentially, she told me that I have to be the leader and take charge. Not in a mean way, but in a way that lets Charlie know that I mean business.
I wouldn't even call that the wrong foot. Heck, I'm a rather assertive (bordering on aggressive at times) person and I still find it hard sometimes to realize how assertive one needs to be with horses to develop their trust and make sure they’re listening. I always want to think that if I let Dragon get away with stuff she will like me more... I suppose I should be thankful that she usually shows me just how wrong that is pretty quickly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
The lesson got exponentially better after that. I got to practice my posting trot quite a bit (and got to see just how out of breath it left me ) And I found out that my two-point isn't that bad at all! Most of the lesson was spent on trying to get Charlie to consistently trot over poles on the ground, without stopping right before them and just walking over them. But overall, I have to say I got more "Good jobs" than I did corrections, so I count this as a win. The biggest thing I seem to have a problem with is staying on the right diagonal. I still find it a bit hard to keep track of. Anyone got any advice for that? Or is it just something that just clicks one day?
If you figure out this secret I want it as well. Mostly I’m just trying to get to where I can peek at my legs to make sure I’m doing it right. I probably should work on starting off posting on the correct diagonal, but that’s taking a while.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sarajw9 View Post
But now for the best part! Drumroll please... Renee offered to let me come ride Charlie whenever I want! She told me that he only gets used in one maybe two lessons a week, but that he really needs to be ridden about four to five times. She said that she didn't have anyone else to ride him, so if I ever have extra time, I am more than welcome to come out and ride him. She said right now he is only doing walk/ trot (but that a couple months ago he was cantering and doing low cross rails). As all I've ever done is walk/trot, that is not a problem with me! I would just appreciate more practice in the saddle!
OMG that’s awesome! You’ve got to be doing something right if she’s happy with you riding out unsupervised. This is incredibly exciting!
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post #18 of 20 Old 11-28-2016, 06:58 PM
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I also find the health and diet details interesting. When I was a teen, I was anorexic so I can tell you what @Cammey describes absolutely works. Anorexics want total control, so feel comforted by all the numbers and science of weight loss. It is a fine line between being healthy and getting into an obsession that adversely affects your mental and/or physical health for some people. I have found the balance, but it took me a few years in my teens and early 20s to figure it out. It's difficult not to bind up self worth with weight and appearance, and it can be easy to justify an unhealthy focus on just trying to be healthy. Yet those very problems can also make people justify avoiding the subject and ending up overweight and unhealthy. Which is why I see people who get off track from one extreme of weight to another, and I know exactly how that is because I've been there too.

Great advice from @Cammey . I really believe in weighing yourself daily. I've heard people say that will cause you to fail because if you gain weight you will get discouraged and give up. When I gain weight, I use it as motivation to make that day and that week a better one. Once you are at the maintaining stage, it is also great because once in awhile you will have unintended weight loss and can splurge some. But I always keep in mind water weight - true weight gain and loss is very gradual. If you put on 2 lbs in a day, you know that is related to salt/hormones/swelling so it is only water and will fluctuate back quickly. Logically that should not discourage you, but if it does help you eat better that day, where's the harm?

Something I started long ago was putting all food on a plate or bowl. I don't eat anything out of a big bag, box or container. When you put it on a plate, you can see the actual serving size. If you have to go back to get more, it discourages you from doing that very often. It also discourages mindless eating, where you consume a whole meal's worth of calories from a snack.
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post #19 of 20 Old 11-28-2016, 08:06 PM
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And get rid of processed foods. Get rid of white flour, white sugar, white milk, white rice, processed cheese products. Anything processed, get rid of it. Makes a huge difference.

I have never had ' weight issues' but I have to deal with 'gut' issues. I also believe some weight issues are tied into gut issues and the body's inability to process processed food.

Like our horses, keep our diets simple with Whole Foods.
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post #20 of 20 Old 11-29-2016, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
I also find the health and diet details interesting. When I was a teen, I was anorexic so I can tell you what @Cammey describes absolutely works. Anorexics want total control, so feel comforted by all the numbers and science of weight loss. It is a fine line between being healthy and getting into an obsession that adversely affects your mental and/or physical health for some people. I have found the balance, but it took me a few years in my teens and early 20s to figure it out. It's difficult not to bind up self worth with weight and appearance, and it can be easy to justify an unhealthy focus on just trying to be healthy. Yet those very problems can also make people justify avoiding the subject and ending up overweight and unhealthy. Which is why I see people who get off track from one extreme of weight to another, and I know exactly how that is because I've been there too.

Great advice from @Cammey . I really believe in weighing yourself daily. I've heard people say that will cause you to fail because if you gain weight you will get discouraged and give up. When I gain weight, I use it as motivation to make that day and that week a better one. Once you are at the maintaining stage, it is also great because once in awhile you will have unintended weight loss and can splurge some. But I always keep in mind water weight - true weight gain and loss is very gradual. If you put on 2 lbs in a day, you know that is related to salt/hormones/swelling so it is only water and will fluctuate back quickly. Logically that should not discourage you, but if it does help you eat better that day, where's the harm?

Something I started long ago was putting all food on a plate or bowl. I don't eat anything out of a big bag, box or container. When you put it on a plate, you can see the actual serving size. If you have to go back to get more, it discourages you from doing that very often. It also discourages mindless eating, where you consume a whole meal's worth of calories from a snack.
I just want to say: Congratulations on finding that balance. No good way in text to express how sincere I am in that. I've had several close friends struggle with anorexia (... a dark side of highly driven people, especially when you add athletics) to varying degrees of severity and admittedly awareness of that is what has always made me caveat around dieting advice.

I also agree with weighing yourself daily as a personal practice - but I know some people can find the practice incredibly discouraging because daily fluctuations (which for me can be ~5 lbs) are larger than daily weight-loss ever is, so you really do need to chart it if you want to see the trends. My favorite method is a bit silly, but I record the weights and put little smiley-faces near every lowest-weight... which I find tends to happen every 3-4 days (and always in the morning) if my weight loss is steady. If I get one lowest-weight in a week it's a good week (though occasionally I have one really low low-weight due to dehydration and then it can take a little while to get back down to it... so even this has a few downsides).

I also definitely agreed on putting food on a plate/bowl... really just on tracking portion sizes in general.
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