I wrote about habits and routines the other day… and there’s one bad habit that I’m going to stop for March, and see what happens as a result of it – an almost unconscious and almost certainly habitual 500 calorie daily splurge on sugar and fat… !
Last year when lockdown hit, and I knew I’d be working from home, I decided try properly once and for all to see if I could shift some weight, simply by being more careful about what I ate, and keeping a track on it.
It worked, I lost about 10lbs between the end of March and the end of June… dropping about 5lbs body fat and about 5lbs lean mass, down to about 130lbs for the first time in a while.
But it did mean that I had to be restrictive and not eat everything I wanted to… and by July I decided to go back to my old ways, and eat what I wanted.
I tend to eat well and balanced through the day, a good calorific breakfast to fuel me after my exercise, coffee and water to keep me ticking over, eggs on toast or something similar for lunch, a snack or two, then a good balanced dinner.
My Dad always used to say / teach us that it’s ok to eat something not so healthy every now and again, as long as we didn’t do it every day. That having a fish supper ever now and again was ok, but not every night.
There’s thought about mindless eating… about eating without thinking about it. Maybe even, or especially when you’re not hungry… then leading to weight gain and guilt. Maybe through habit, or just because you’re bored… you eat.
Well that what I tend to do after dinner, and have since about July or August time last year – eating after dinner treats, mostly out of habit, and also possibly because I need some of the calories after exercise.
That ‘eat what I wanted’ has somehow become a bad habit of having the following after dinner most nights it every night:
150ml can of coke – 66 cals
Magnum / Chockas ice cream – 250 cals
A small Apollo (or mars) bar – 187 cals
All in all that’s about 500 calories a day, or 69g of sugar, 23g of fat and not much protein. Sometimes I have the Apollo / mars bar earlier in the day… but it’s more or less 500 calories that I consume extra to my meals and snacks throughout the day.
That after dinner habit, has quietly turned into around 500 cals of sugar etc every day … or around 3500 calories a week!
I do burn a lot of calories on exercise days, maybe 200-800 a day, but all of that sugar after dinner probably isn’t the best… so I think I’ll change that and see what happens. It’s particularly not helpful when I have a rest day and burn hardly any calories, but still eat like a horse.
This is the reason people who run marathons can put on weight, as they eat eat eat and then forget to stop eating as much when they reduce their training! 😂
I maybe wouldn’t have all three every night, but probably across the course of the day. The mars / Apollo bars have become a quick energy sugar fix, handy and cheap.
But it’s probably an extra 500 calories I don’t need… hence my weight going back up by around 8lbs since July…
Here’s the stats:
1 January 2020
140.7lbs / 17.2%/24.2lbs body fat
79.6%/111.2lbs lean mass / 52.1% water
2 July 2020
130.8lbs / 14.7%/19.3lbs body fat
81.6%/107.5lbs lean mass / 54.2% water
24 February 2021
138.2lbs / 15.6%/21.6lbs body fat
79.4%/112.2lbs lean mass / 53.2% water
Truthfully I don’t really notice much difference in my body… maybe my hips and stomach area are a bit bigger, the usual places I add on weight… but with all of this cross training I’ve been doing, I’m probably the fittest and strongest I’ve been for a while. All is good.
In just over a year, although I’ve put on weight since July, in the year, I’ve dropped 2.5lbs of weight, and 2.6lbs of body fat – or -2.5%. And I’ve added on a little lean mass (0.6lbs).
Some of that will be to do with likely eating enough calories and the exercise I do. So I have probably needed some of the extra calories to have a calorie balance with all of my exercise. But let’s see if I can do March without the three above daily, and only have one of them on a weekend day, if I want to.
My plan is to eat better foods throughout the day, so I don’t reach for the 500 cals – mostly of sugar and fat – at the end of the day. We will see how that pans out.
This time I’m not going to track calories, bit I’ll have set things I’ll eat most days… including protein bars and fruit and maybe crisps with lunch too. Or I might just put up with a little bit of hunger, as it never did anyone any harm (a little bit of it!), making sure I’m still fuelled for and recovering from my workouts.
So that’s my wee plan for March, and I’ll see how it goes. I’ll allow one ice cream a week, maybe at the weekends. Ha. I wonder if I’ll be able to do that!? And what the result will be? Now I’ve written it down I’ll need to do it.