Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12th, 2014 My Calorie Burn Truth

August 12th, 2014 My Calorie Burn Truth

I woke up this morning feeling good despite not enough sleep. I've resolved to not complain about this dynamic anymore because if it's going to change, I must make it happen. Me complaining about not getting enough rest gets really old if I'm clearly not making it a priority. I don't write those words to be hard on myself, it's just truth. 

I can admit it: I'm addicted to analyzing, dissecting, then communicating the dynamics of this journey from my perspective. Writing in a way that communicates simply and effectively is one of my passions. I take this road many of us travel very seriously. It's critically important to me. And for me, there's no greater joy than when I hear from someone who writes how something I've experienced, analyzed, dissected and effectively communicated has helped them in some way. In many ways, it's even bigger than the joy I feel for my own fantastic progress. 

I'm not alone. You'll find a wonderful community of weight loss bloggers listed along the left hand sidebar of this blog. I've learned and I continue learning incredible things from these beautiful people. I encourage you to scroll down and check out some of these if you haven't already. And if you have a blog I frequent and you don't see it listed--it's an oversight on my part. Let me know! And if you have a blog I haven't enjoyed--let me know the blog address--just leave it in the comments section so I, and anyone else who reads here, can check it out.

I started this morning with some quiet time; a prayer and short meditation for another successful day. I made the coffee and settled down to the computer for a few minutes while I enjoyed my first cup. By the way--I've officially made the switch from using my non-dairy creamer to using almond milk and Pyure Brand Organic Stevia with a dash of cinnamon in my cup. I can now officially proclaim 100% abstinence from sugar, instead of the 97% with a little asterisk to note the coffee creamer. I opened up the blog and found a wonderful comment from Becky in California:

"Sean, I can't tell you how much hope this post gave me. It was so beautiful to read. My weight loss efforts still feel a bit like swimming upstream against my comfort-eating desires... like this morning when I really wanted pancakes at Denny's, and went and got them. And it's more than just wanting the pancakes, it's not wanting to count calories. It still feels like being on a leash to me, and that is what I rebel against. I can't seem to get over that chasm and into a head space where I can think of calorie counting as a Tool for My Benefit and Ultimate Happiness. I guess it's kind of like wanting to be rich and not having to worry about balancing my checkbook... LOL. Yes, it's an immature attitude, I know. I just get frustrated being surrounded by people that maintain a normal weight without ever thinking twice about how many calories, or how much sugar, or any of that. I say all this not to be negative, but to let you know that I know you have been where I am now, and reading that you have reached a point of peacefulness and joy in your relationship with food truly does give me hope. Now if you could just write a guidebook on how to get from where I am to where you are, I would be so grateful! I'm so tired of yo-yo-ing."

Becky's incredible support of what I do is sincerely appreciated. I related 100% to her words. I could pinpoint moments in time when I carried the exact same perspective. I couldn't help myself, I had to reply right then and there. Becky inspired me with her comment to explore my own experience and communicate the perspective that has helped me break away from what was naturally ingrained for years. So--remember, I'm addicted, Let's strike that word and use "passionate" instead. I'm passionate about communicating (translation: A long reply on the way!), so I replied:

"I'm so glad this post gave you some perspective, Becky! Thank you for your complimentary words!
It's important for you to know that what you're feeling is very normal and you're so right, I've been RIGHT THERE where you are, in a "jealous and rebellious" place. When we see people around us who can eat whatever they want, whenever they want--without too much worry, and never gaining an ounce--and some even go as far as bragging about this wonderful ability--it stings!!! I was never happy for these people and their natural metabolic blessings because I was too busy wanting to be like them, too busy being jealous of them--and too busy chasing the idea that I could be like them too-- I wanted to be "normal," or better, I wanted to be their "normal." 

What I didn't understand was "normal" is a relative term. While I was trying to be someone else's normal, I completely rejected my own, rebelled against it and ate my way into spending two decades near, at or above 500 pounds. The frustration of this perceived injustice led to feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and despair--and when these feelings started swirling, my solution was always to eat more in an attempt to comfort. 

Is it fair? Depends on your definition of "fair." We're simply different. Their normal isn't ours because our bodies do not naturally handle things the same way. But it doesn't make us less than, it simply is what it is, it's us--it's our normal. It's unfortunate in a few ways--namely because the coping mechanism many of us use isn't something our bodies are naturally designed to handle. Our normal doesn't match our perceived version of "normal." 

When we embrace our "normal," and we decide to let go of these very natural reactions to want to be anything other than what we are, that's when we can start getting to a more positive place--a solid ground for our foundation moving forward.

The wonderful news here, Becky--is that we can experience a wonderful life. We can decide to shift our perspective and embrace what we once rejected and resented. We can take this lot, and do a 180, looking at it from a different angle than ever before--Does it require some effort? Big time. Is it easy? No. Are we worth it? YES. We deserve to live better, Becky. For you and me--and people like us, it takes an extra effort, but this effort can give us some of the most wonderful peace and harmony we've ever known... And here's something interesting to think about: How fortunate are we to be able to reach this place of peace and harmony? Some who can eat whatever they want are not living in this place because they have other things going on in their heads. 

Willingness, accepting and embracing where you are--loving what is your normal, isn't impossible Becky--understanding that you can--you can reach a place of peace and harmony with this, is very comforting. 
Pick up the tools enabling you to experience this new and different perspective--don't reject, embrace-- and mostly-- realize that you are your normal--and that is something good. You're exceptional, you're fantastic--you are you and there's only one of you!!! Be kind to you--be compassionate--allow yourself to proceed with a feeling of empowerment, not discouragement. The difference is found in the perspective you choose.I've kind of rambled on here...I hope some of this makes sense. My best, Becky. Thank you for your wonderful support. My best."    

I told you it was a long reply! I made need to join a brevity challenged writers support group...or start one. 

Dupster replied:

"Wow, what a great reply Sean. THIS reply should be a blog all by itself. So much insight and wisdom! Thanks!"

Becky replied:
"Wow. Sean. I didn't expect you to take the time to write such a lengthy response when you have to work today-- let alone such a PERFECT response. I told you that writing a guidebook was impossible, but I think you just did it. Your words ring true and hit me in both heart and head simultaneously. Thank you for your understanding, support, patience and wisdom. So much."

This is how I started my day. After this, I knew I would be propelled toward another successful day.  

I prepared and enjoyed dinner in the six o'clock hour right before my Tuesday night weight loss support group conference call. This is a major victory for me, someone who routinely eats dinner incredibly too late!

The call was wonderful tonight. Immediately after, I prepared myself for an elliptical workout at the YMCA. I recently borrowed a heart monitor in order to get an accurate measure of calories burned during my workouts. Tonight was the elliptical. Tomorrow evening will be spinning class. I entered my current weight, height and sex into the device, strapped it around my back and chest and headed toward the Y with an air of excitement about the revealing statistical information to come!

I did my usual 30 minutes, this time on level 8 instead of 6. My heart rate reached 152 at its highest--but mostly stayed in the 140's. I was dripping with sweat by the time I finished. I stepped down off the machine and immediately stopped the device. Then, instantly--my suspicions were confirmed. This incredibly accurate device, linked directly to the heart in my chest, registered a calorie burn of 344 calories. That number is HALF what My Fitness Pal has been saying for an elliptical workout on level 6--and this was level 8.

What does this mean? Well-- it means on some days I've eaten more than I needed. It also means on some days when I was stressing about hitting 1200 net calories after calories burned--and not making it, I actually did! I suspect spinning class will burn much more than this tomorrow--but not the 800 calorie burn I've been counting. This is great information to have! I'm sold 100%--I'm buying one of these heart monitors very soon!

Today I consumed 1,582 calories. I entered a 15 minute elliptical workout into MFP instead of the 30 minutes I completed in order to get the closer to accurate reading of 342 calories burned (actually 344). My net calories after exercise calories burned was 1,240. Perfect. Tomorrow I'll likely need to eat more because I guarantee the burn will be higher in spinning class. Plus, I'll do water exercises. I can't take the heart monitor into the water, so I plan on cutting the calories burned to half of whatever MFP reads.

What a wonderful day! I even stopped by the farmers market this afternoon to grab some fresh veggies for dinner (see tweet below). 

My food tweets today:

Thank you for reading and your continued support! The comments section below is the blog post "after-party" where we can discuss your thoughts about today's post, so please don't hesitate to ask a question or simply offer your perspective on the topics explored.



  1. I'm glad you're not upset about the calorie burn difference Sean, you are in such a good head space! I don't know why My Fitness Pal and lots of other similar things have it so wrong. Are they like clothing manufacturers changing the size on their clothing labels so people will feel thinner and buy their clothes? Or maybe they are calibrated for people who have a high muscle percentage and therefore burn a lot more calories.

    That has always confused me, by the way. If you're overweight you don't burn as many calories because muscle burns more than fat. But if you're muscular you don't burn as many calories because your body is more efficient... which is it? It can't be both! Maybe nobody burns as many calories as they think!

    1. Your muscle percentage theory might be spot on. Also, the MFP application doesn't have any way of knowing my resistance level on a particular workout.
      Funny you mention the clothes thing-- I was just thinking about this the other day-- sizes no longer mean anything, it seems--the size is different for every brand. That industry needs a standard! :)

  2. Thanks again, Sean, for your response to me this morning. It has been on my mind all day, and I found my eating was altered today from what seemed like a subconscious level. Your words really did hit home. I still wonder sometimes, "But WHY am I different than 'those people'?" and I will probably continue to study about how our internal chemical and biological balance-- or lack of balance-- can cause appetite to go out of whack. I just find it interesting. BUT I don't need to have it all figured out, as you so wisely pointed out, to be able to manifest the good and healthy state of mind and physical changes. Look at you and all the weight you've lost in just the past few months! You are losing as fast as my brother who's on a liquid diet, and enjoying all that delicious food.

    That was really valuable information you got with the heart rate monitor tonight. Isn't that interesting that on several of those days when you thought you hadn't eaten enough-- your body had instinctively known what was enough.

    Natalie has some good questions. I, too, wonder about those things.

    Hope the rest of your week goes well and that the good feelings keep on coming for you!

    1. It is endlessly fascinating, Becky. Isn't it? I know a guy who is in his 60's and he's never weighed more than he did in high school. I asked him one day if he had to work at it. He said no, not at all. He said he eats really bad and too much and never exercises--but for some reason, whatever reason--he's just as thin now as he was as a teenager. He wasn't bragging-- he acted as puzzled about his situation as I can be about mine. It's interesting.

  3. Hi Sean,

    I really appreciated your post about addiction a few days ago. It really made me think. And kudos to being 100% sugar free! I'm day by day getting there.

    p.s. I'd love to have you follow or list my blog,



    1. Thank you Gwen! I visited your blog the other day as a matter of fact--very nice! I'm on my way out the door--but I'll visit again and get it added to my blog roll later tonight! Thank you for your support!

    2. Your blog is amazing, Gwen! I had visited before--but just spent a little more time there-- and wow! The Sunny Coconut is now added to my blogroll--thank you for the addition!

  4. knowing why I am different from 'normal' people is inconsequential. The fact remains that I don't process food or food thoughts like most of the people I know. My sweet hubs can take one bite of some things and be done with it. I, on the other hand will obsess about that thing until it is gone.

    So, I'm different from him. One bite does hurt me. If I don't eat one cookie, I cannot eat the whole bag
    or two
    or three

    that's just my truth and when I finally owned it, I could look at the foods I can enjoy and stop lamenting about what I don't get to eat. Today, if someone would offer me a bite of something, I just say, "no thanks." I don't need to elaborate. Most of the time, they just want company. I can offer to sit with them, have a cup of decaf or sparkling water but where I draw the line, is to honor what I know to be my truth. One bite can be devistating for me.

    I wrote in my daily journal that in 1987, I was a size 5 or 6 in June. I was convinced to eat a bite of fettucini at Olive Garden. The next thing I remember is on October 16th, I was laying on a bed, trying to get a zipper up on a size 16 pair of jeans, wondering what in the world happened.

    It really is that fast and progressive. I keep memories like this fresh in my mind by writing about them. Makes it easier when a well-intention friend says, "one bite won't hurt."

    No, thank you.
    And I smile.

    1. "...where I draw the line, is to honor what I know to be my truth. One bite can be devastating for me." Fantastic Gerri. Loved that. It is very fast and extremely progressive...agreed! Like punching a small hole in a dam--eventually it will break and become HUGE because its integrity was compromised. Wow--June to October-- wow, Gerri. I also like what you said about not elaborating. When I say NO, that means NO. I should be able to politely say no without feeling the need to explain. Good point-- most people just want to be social in those situations. Smile, indeed. Smile big.

    2. I agree with you to some extent, Geri, but having known people (myself iincluded) who are disciplined in every other aspect of life-- and in some cases even perfectionistic-- I am still inclined to want to know the biochemical reasons. Have started reading a book called The Microbiome Diet which discusses the enormous impact of good versus bad bacteria in our bodies, especially in the digestive tract. The bacteria in our bodies outnumber the human cells by 10-fold. It is believed that cravings for certain foods may be influenced by those bacteria, particularly if the bad ones start outnumbering the good ones. If there is a way to treat not only the symptom of overeating/obesity but also the underlying physical cause-- if there is one-- I want to know. This is also important to me because there is a connection with the development of disease, and having had cancer twice, I want to understand what's going on and why, to whatever degree that's possible in a field of constant discoveries.

  5. It's an interesting topic to explore. As food addict, one bite does hurt if it has the power to set me off on an eating frenzy. However, I also long for total healing from this so I can eat "normally" - like the skinny people do. I appreciate what Gerri is saying - impossible because we are not normal. But, somehow I long to find that place of normalacy. Maybe that inner desire is what stops me from maintaining? Maybe not...?

    1. Divad, for me it was about realizing I was normal, for me. This is my normal. I must take these steps to maintain a healthy balance in my life--and when I do, I can have what feels like a very healthy and normal relationship with food--because it is. Of course there are things I choose to steer clear of--sugar is usually the common denominator... To me, it's a small price to pay for peace. And seriously--that's what this experience has given me.

    2. Divad--enjoying your blog!! Thank you for your support!

  6. Very interesting perspectives! It's great how your blog and this space fosters all sorts of discussions.

    Love Gerri's reminder that for a food addict, a backslide that starts with just one bite is "really is that fast and progressive". Wow. Can so relate.

    And Sean, if you are reading this comment and it is past 1am, get to bed! :D

    1. Nikki-- LOL-- I refrained from replying until this morning--opting for sleep instead! Thank you!
      I really love the community feel of the discussions that often sprout around here. Ultimately, it's that sense of community--of not being alone, that helps in a major way. Nikki--thank you again!

  7. I've had a few garmin hr monitors over the years and they are water resistant up to 50 meters. And work great! Ivevhad several because I've upgraded as I became a runner.


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