My basic weight-loss plan is to eat 1500 calories daily (allowing 2000 once weekly, on Shabbat), and to walk at least an average of 10,000 steps daily. Using this plan I have lost over 50 kilos in the last two and a half years. At first, this plan, kept faithfully, would yield pretty consistent results of about a kilo of weight lost each week. However, as the lbs started falling, the amount of calories burned per 1000 steps decreased, simply because I wasn’t carrying the same amount of excess baggage. Today I am AVERAGING about ½ to ¾ kilos off per week, as long as I really stick to my diet and exercise.
At one point (about a year ago), I tried to increase my rate-of-loss back up to one kilo weekly by increasing my daily steps to the vicinity of at LEAST 15,000 steps daily. That experiment did NOT work out, apparently my body felt “threatened” and it did not cooperate. As a result of this, on days that I have a REALLY high step count, I will allow myself a few extra calories. (I used to calculate one hundred calories allowed for an extra 2000 steps, but now I am “charging” 2300 steps for an extra 100 calories.) However, I try not to go over 1500 calories unless my step count is OVER 12000. Nevertheless, on a day which I do fall for temptation, and HAVE overeaten, I do often try to work in enough extra steps so as to balance things out. [But too much of this can be dangerous, and I know from experience that a week with too much eating will result in poor weight loss, even if I have been walking enough to supposedly cover the imbibing of extra calories.]
Last night I ate supper a bit earlier than normal, so at 11pm when I started home from a meeting I had attended, I was getting hungry. So I decided on the way home to get out and walk part of the way, in order to finish up the last few steps I needed to reach my mandatory 10,000 steps, as well as to make a bonus walk of at least 2300 steps. Why? Because I was dreaming of having some of the watermelon stuck in the back of my fridge.
For some reason no one in the family seems very interested in the melon, which I bought a few days ago. So as I contemplated whether I really should go over my 1500 daily calorie allowance, my inner voice was egging me on:
-“You know that this watermelon will spoil if someone doesn’t eat it, and you CAN walk enough to compensate.”
-“You haven’t had ANY fruit today, just lots of vegetables, and you DO need a healthy balanced diet.”
Both of these arguments are pretty valid, and in the end I walked the extra amount, and had a BIT of the fruit.
But now my conscience is telling me that I need to be more careful. Lately I have been doing too much of this substituting. A bit is OK. Variety and flexibility in an eating plan helps you stick with it. HOWEVER if I do this regularly, I am in effect accustoming myself to 1600-1700 calories daily. And what will be in 5 or 10 or 15 years when as an old lady I will NOT be walking 15000 steps daily? So if I really want to be honest with myself, I have to admit to myself that these “substitutions” are playing things on the side of risk. Indeed I should probably start trying to cut down my daily calorie level, at least two or three days a week, to 1400 or 1300.