No-Fail Weight Loss … It’s the calories, stupid!

I am 43. My metabolism clearly started to decrease at about 30 and every year after that. I also hit what I like to call my “2nd Drinking Age” where I noticed that the kids are older, don’t need as much attention every minute, and all of a sudden I can do adult stuff again … like having a glass of wine during the week. OK, I digress … this is just a little lead in to the fact that I HAVE BEEN GAINING WEIGHT LIKE CRAZY AND I GOT FAT.

I am blessed with a body that gains weight EVERYWHERE. The good news is, as I have added pounds, I do it proportionately, so that it’s really not that noticeable. Plus, I’m fairly stocky and muscle-y so have been able to pull it off … well sort of. The truth is (and this would be the bad news), I have slowly transformed into one big block of middle-aged she-woman. Chunk that is. Texas-style. Curve-free.

Well, I have been fairly active for years. Sure, I go through the exercise droughts now and then, but I’m not usually a couch potato. I discovered Zumba about a year ago(?) … THANK YOU HEIDI!! and the regular activity of shaking my booty with a lot of other women of all ages, shapes & sizes started getting me to the gym on a more regular basis. That said, the weight kept piling on.

Now, I AM a foodie. I love wine, cheese, FLAVORS. But, I *thought* I was being careful. I ate small meals, didn’t overeat at meals, typically reserved the wine and a few pieces of cheese for special occasions (OK, the cheese was for special occasions, the wine is still fairly regular). ANYWAY, I didn’t consider that I was eating too much and just figured I needed to exercise MORE. Well, as I increased my exercise, I saw very little movement on the scale. PLUS, I got into that mania of “I’ve GOT to get that work-out in or it’s all going to HELL.” Well, guess what, WRONG EMPHASIS.

My friend and fitness savior Heidi Humbird at Peak Fitness in Hayden, who is the best Zumba teacher of all time and also leads a fitness class/small group session called Body Rescue, showed me the light. I was sort of skeptical. I knew what to eat, I didn’t eat a lot of crap, etc. BUT I figured if nothing else, the Body Rescue training would get me back into the weight training routine.

Before the class started Heidi met with everyone and did assessments … Weight, body fat, measurements, etc. But here was the clincher and the piece of information that changed things for me:

Gals, take your weight x 11. That is the number of calories you need to maintain your weight.

Take that calorie number, deduct the amount you think you can reduce your intake by.

Eat that many calories.

With me, that number started at 1,900 give or take. I thought I could eliminate 400 per day. Making that my daily target, along with a minimal increase in gym activity, has resulted in a WEIGHT LOSS OF ABOUT 15 POUNDS IN ABOUT 6 WEEKS.

It really is all about the calories. Sure, the added gym activity, mostly weight training, has helped too… More muscle, higher metabolism, etc., but I was SIMPLY EATING TOO MUCH.

I was frickin’ STARVING for the first few days of the reduced calories. I thought there was no way I could pull it off. But after just a few days my body adjusted and the weight is just dripping off. (Cue Hallelujah choir!!!).

Aside from the weighing in, measurements, etc. we also received a spreadsheet that required us to record calories consumed and also our exercise activities. But let me tell you, IT IS A LOT easier to NOT EAT 500 Calories than it is to BURN 500 calories.

The point is, I have not killed myself at the gym to lose these pounds, I have been meticulous about recording what is going into my mouth. It is a little bit of a pain to record the calories, but it is SO helpful to actually KNOW what the scale is likely going to tell you (barring eating too much salt or that monthly joy that cause funky fluctuations).

Two sites that I have used for recording calories are and Both have pros & cons. SparkPeople is a bit slow but a decent interface and LiveStrong is a bit quirky but has a HUGE food database. I’ll post any updates if I find the “end all, be all” in calorie counting.

If you just aren’t the type to record everything, there is also a “safe food” list that is supposed to be nearly as effective. Basically, you eat food from each category (protein, high-fiber carbs, starchier-carbs, fruits & vegies, etc.) and that keeps the calorie intake under control. I like the recording method… it helps me know exactly where I am.

Once you’ve decided what calorie-counting site to use, you can use this spreadsheet to track your progress: Open the spreadsheet at Google Docs, and then do a “File | Save As” and then save it as an Excel spreadsheet on your computer. (If you don’t do this, any info you fill in will be overwritten by anyone else who opens it and changes it).



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  1. I really like for my intake record!!!

    • Thanks Erin! I’ll check that out… This week is stressful, so I am “guesstimating” my intake and not stressing it beyond that 🙂

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