I have been officially losing weight since April 2019. I started out at 225 lbs (F, 5’6.5″), and in the beginning I was consuming 1500 calories a day (and not tracking very strictly on some days). Mid-February 2020 I went down to 1200 calories a day and started being a bit more strict about it–weighting my food, not getting lazy and skipping days, etc. When spring arrived I started working in the yard/garden a lot (no crazy exercise but more than i was getting before, which was almost none). I have a fitbit scale that syncs to my MFP app and I weigh myself every day. I have been tracking my weight in a spreadsheet and fitting a trendline to my weight in order to forecast when I will meet my goals. I made a new trendline when I started at 1200 calories, since the slope is steeper.
Here’s the crazy thing: I was comparing the two lines today and realized a reduction of just 300 calories a day makes an ENORMOUS change in how soon I will meet my goals. My first goal is 174. At my old rate of loss (approximately 0.56 lbs/week) I was projected to reach that around Dec 1st of this year. At my new rate, it’s going to be a week or two into July. That’s FIVE MONTHS earlier. My second goal is 156, which I should reach 8.5 months sooner, and my Ultimate Goal of 130 is off the chart for my old rate of loss–I wouldn’t reach it until June 2022. At my new rate I’m on track to hit 130 in March 2021–only 9 months from now and 15 months sooner than I would have at the old rate*. That’s over a year less of “dieting”! Over a year less of not wanting to buy new clothes because my size is constantly changing. Over a year less of 1200 calorie days. Over a year less of dreaming about my “goal weight” and wondering if I’ll ever really get there. More than a year extra of living my life at my goal weight!
And this huge difference comes down to saying no to 300 extra calories a day. That’s a Krispy Kreme donut, 3/4 of a muffin, a big bowl of cereal. It’s really not much when you consider the benefits. Sometimes tracking calories is hard, and saying no to things like donuts and muffins is hard, but realizing this makes it significantly easier for me.
I plan to ramp up my exercise so that when I finally reach my goal and switch to maintenance, it will be higher due to regular exercise, and I can say goodbye to 1200 calorie days. Until then, I’m going to keep at it.
*I realize that as my weight decreases, my TDEE will decrease slightly as well, and I will need to add in exercise to retain the same caloric deficit, but that would be the case either way. Exercise is also a lot more fun when you aren’t as heavy. I have started going for short runs already, and I don’t wake up the next day with my knees in terrible pain.
EDIT: for anyone who wants to jump in and say 1200 calories is too low, I am working with a nutritionist and I think I’ll trust someone who reviews my MFP logs and has a degree in this more than some rando on the internet.