(Trigger warning for calorie counts, weight, and other assorted asshattery.)
For my birthday in May I got a shiny new heart rate monitor – the kind I can wear on my wrist (because I’d need a damn engineering degree to figure out how to wear a chest strap around my ginormous boobs, ok?). And it calculates heart rate (duh) and calories burned and (if you want to set it, which I didn’t) calorie intake and base heart rate (again with the duh), etc.
And it has been pretty and shiny in my drawer for, oh, about 2 months now. I just keep FORGETTING it. But I haven’t been too worried about it because you know, the gym has those little handlebars on the treadmill, and I know they’re not accurate, but they’re probably CLOSE, right? And the treadmill calculates calories burned off, and I know THEY’RE not accurate, but again with the CLOSE: I can just knock 50 or 100 calories off whatever the treadmill says I’ve burned, and that probably evens it out, right?
See, lately I’ve been really frustrated. I’ve been shooting for 1250-1500 calories/day, and I’ve been consistently over (even if I don’t count the binges – which I don’t – I figure the low calorie intake offests most of the bingeing.). Not by much – by 100 calories or so, but still. It’s driving me batshit crazy. Because I figure if I eat 1500 calories and burn 250-300 on the treadmill, well that’s around 1200-1250 calories, which is low but not unmanageable, right? (Especially if I’m getting another 500-800 calories most nights from mini-binges.)
So I wore my pretty, shiny HRM to the gym this morning for the Very First Time. And I read the manual (before I left, because to do it at the gym on the treadmill would just be WEIRD and HARD) on how to set your weight, and then how to start the timer for your workout and how you should recheck your heart rate every time you start working harder, and that THEN *deep breath* the HRM will track your calorie burn! Good times, peeps, good times.
So when I got all done, the gym treadmill had my calorie burn listed at just under 300 (which I would normally record as 250). I checked the HRM. And then double-checked. And triple-checked.
My HRM calculated that I burned 626 calories. Holy shit.
This might be why I have trouble staying under 1500 calories a day. I mean, I wasn’t working any harder than usual today, and if I’m burning 600 off the top of that 1500, that leaves me with . . . wait . . . *carries the 1* . . . around 900 calories a day!! Holy shit, again. Um. Even *I* know that is TOO. LOW. (No, I’m not really that bad at math. I just thought it was funny. You! In the back! Laugh, dammit!)
And another thing. Since I fucked up my body in college, I don’t really get hungry anymore. I mean, I’ll get hungry around mealtime, but if I wait it out for 15 or 20 minutes, that hunger just . . . disappears. Even if I DO eat, a lot of times I can just eat a LITTLE bit, and I don’t feel hungry anymore (even though I need to eat more, because A Banana is Not a Meal).
(I really enjoy abusing capital letters for emphasis. Really. A lot. Just thought I’d mention that. ANYWAY.)
I’m wondering if part of the bingeing might actually be hunger that I’m not *feeling,* but that my body is experiencing. (Most of the bingeing is TOTALLY mental, don’t get me wrong. I’m just wondering if the low-calorie thing is contributing to it.) Because at the end of the day, it’s the sugars and simple carbs that I want to inhale, which coincidentally, are the fastest source of energy for a starving body.
So I felt a lot better about going “over” my alloted goals, since you know, I’m actually NOT EVEN HITTING THEM. (There was also a part of me that was like, “Why the fuck do I weigh so much, then” but I’m pretty sure that’s due to the bingeing, or more accurately, to the mini-binges. An extra 500-800 calories a night will pretty much offest low intake the rest of the day/week. Then again, now I’m thinking if I ate more all day, I might be able to mitigate the nighttime eating.)
(Also, because I’m TOTALLY NEUROTIC, and AFRAID YOU’LL JUDGE ME (yes, I know better) (Look! Parens in parens! I AM A GRAMMAR REBEL, PEOPLE.) I feel the need to say that I keep reading stuff about how people underestimate their calorie intake, but overestimate their burnoff. But every time I get diligent about tracking that stuff, I find that I’m doing just the opposite – probably because I’m so worried about doing it the first way. I’ll do stuff like calculate the calories in something and then add 100-200 more, just as a “margin of error.” Or if it’s something I KNOW is high-calorie, I’ll double whatever I’ve calculated – especially in a restaurant where I know the food has more oil in it than I realize. And I tend to do the opposite on the treadmill: if the treadmill says I’ve burned 200 calories, I figure on 150 (no, there is no rhyme or reason to this system, except what’s IN MY HEAD). So I’m also thinking that my total calorie intake might actually be UNDER 900/day, which is an even LOWER – read: worse – number. No wonder my body is fucked. All that to say that I’m pretty sure that the extra weight I carry is due to bingeing and not to understimating what I eat during the “normal” course of the day.)