A Rookie Mistake

It’s been awhile since I’ve weighed in. You’ve gotten little snapshots of what I’ve been eating lately [salmon, pot roast, pesto, granola], but I haven’t done much zeroing in on the things that get filtered out of focus on Instagram.

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Remorse and regret used to be blurred into oblivion from every background – at least until I started planning my meals with IIFYM in mind. This controversial approach has given me the green light to incorporate foods I crave and love into my everyday diet. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve begun to slightly reduce my caloric intake after several emotionally-exhausting months of metabolic repair.

I had every intention to approach this dieting phase slowly and systematically – just as I approached the reverse-diet that tipped me back towards healthy and happy. Healthy and happy is where I want to be after all – and I would’ve stayed at 2,200 calories a day if I had felt comfortable enough with the fat I gained alongside the muscle…but you know how that story goes.

So in the last 5.5 weeks, my boyfriend and I have altered my diet so that I could maintain my strength and shed some of my fat [I stress the word some – my hormones have gone on enough strikes]. The goal was never to crash diet, and two of my top priorities involved always feeling energized at the gym and feeling free to try new recipes/to indulge in the occasional dinner out.

On paper [or more accurately, on My Fitness Pal], I’ve done just right. I’ve spent a good chunk of every morning working and re-working my meals to hit my macros and I haven’t reduced my daily calories too quickly from week to week.

So what’s gone wrong, exactly? I blame it on the banana – though I realize that’s not altogether quite fair.

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I’ve lost too much weight in the last 3 weeks – mainly because I’ve been duped by inaccurate nutritional values for some of my daily staples. Take, for example, the blasted banana, which I was counting under an erroneous listing for “Generic Banana, Raw, Unpeeled, [Grams]” that more than doubled the calories I was actually eating.

Well, no wonder my post-workout Banana-Raspberry Smoothie with Vanilla Crème Protein Powder wasn’t quite filling me up.

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My supposed 1,900 calories a day was really more like a scant 1,750, by the time all was said and done. That’s a big reduction from the 2,000 I was eating just a month ago, and the 2,200 calories I was having just a short time before that.

It’s an elementary mistake [and source-checking was a skill I thought I mastered in college], but I’m relatively new to calorie counting. I also didn’t realize that there is a real difference between raw and cooked meat, and that all [starchy and green leafy] vegetables aren’t created equal.

I did realize that I was alarmingly hungry, not just here and there, but pretty much all the time. I was aware that my mood was constantly nose-diving, just the way it was when I was on a starvation diet. I was very pleased with my body’s quick response to the reductions in calories but I was very concerned that my “healthier approach” to dieting didn’t feel sustainable either.

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So now it’s time to take a second [and third] look at what I plug into My Fitness Pal, and listen to my body a little bit more. I have to remember that calorie counting is a good guide, but how I look and feel should trump any number written in red or green.

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