'weight loss spa menus' photo (c) 2007, Nina Hale - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/OMG! When I weighed in on Saturday I was floored. At the most I was expecting to see a drop of a pound or two, but in just 5 days I’ve dropped 5 lbs.

How? To my dismay and relief I am actually on a diet. I know, I know – I’ve said I hate dieting, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I have been a little hungry but not deprived. I’ve been able to control my cravings by making sure I eat plenty of protein and good fats with every meal and snack. I started out by figuring out my BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. Based on gender, age and size this figure tells me how many calories I burn if I am completely sedentary. This is a basis for figuring out how many calories I’d need to eat to maintain my current weight which upon calculation seemed very high and I realized that I really needed to stop my mindless eating. To begin to lose weight gradually without feeling deprived I resolved to try and keep my consumption at or below 1500 calories a day. This is about a 500 calorie discount from the daily reccommended basic consumption and about 700 less than my BMR and activity rate said I should be consuming. Since 1 pound is about 3500 calories I figured I’d lose about 1 lb. every 5 days which comes to about 6 lbs. a month. Not too bad. It would take me about a year to reach my goal weight at this rate.

Using the journaling feature of Everydayhealth.com I’ve been keeping track of my calories consumed. I like this one better than SparkPeople and FatSecret because the database of foods is immense, it is really easy to add a new food item and the Calorie Counter actually allows me to enter just the calories consumed if I need to. I tried this with SparkPeople and hit a brick wall. Don’t get me wrong I still use those sites for information, recipes and support but I like the Calorie Counter/Food Journal on EveryDayHealth best so far. The other thing I like about the journal is that I can add exercise as I go through the day and not just when I do 30 minutes of cardio or weights, but everyday stuff like cooking, cleaning, gardening, shoppping, showering and it calculates based on your current weight how many calories you’ve burnt AND it gives you your calorie budget. So even on days when you can’t help blowing your set calorie budget you can see real time by how much you’ve blown it but also how your exercise done for that day impacted that amount.

Take yesterday for example – We finally went grocery shopping after about a month trapped in the house with one or the other of us sick. We did a TON of walking and I was on my feet at the grocery store and most of the evening after we got home cooking, cleaning, and putting away groceries. All that said, even though my diet was blown by almost 200 calories I was still at a deficit of 800 calories because of all the exercise I had done. Not that I want to do that every day, but it is nice to see the calorie deficits created when you exercise, even doing mundane things.

I’ve been eating lots of veggies, some fruit (the calories can add up because of the natural sugars), whole grains, lean proteins and have been taking it easy on the breads. I am a sucker for bread and tortillas and can easily get in over my head if I’m not careful. It had been a struggle at first to find a meal plan that incorporated main dish, sides and even dessert for 500 calories or less per meal. On EatingWell.com they have a plethora of recipes and meal plans which total 500 calories for any meal of the day. For instance, last night I made Five Spice Turkey Lettuce Wraps, Hot and Sour Asian Salad and Hot Fudge Cake all for under 550 calories (yes I know that is more than 500 – but I goofed with the ingredients :P).

These are the sites I’ve been using as helpers:

Everyday Health
Nutrition Data at Self.com

Hopefully, these sites can help you in your weight loss endeavors also.