50 by 50: What Happened When I Counted Calories?

Thanks for checking back in and joining me on my 50 by 50 weight loss journey!  (If you missed the first segment, you’ll find it HERE.)

Last week I set off with to count calories, using 1700 as my daily target goal.  As you will soon learn below, this was a successful start and I’m confident the number one reason for success was – it was super easy to commit to and stick to a plan that I knew would only span one week!  Knowing I’d get to change things up at the end of the week made it a breeze to carry through with my plan and honestly, the week flew by.

The second thing that I know helped me have a successful start is having a good foundation of supplements and exercise prior to starting.  This way I wasn’t adding new exercises or vitamin/herb supplements on top of already committing to weight loss efforts.  Having a comfortable routine in place already made it so much easier to simply modify my food habits.

Lastly, I made sure to involve others in my efforts, including you, all my dear Rural Mom friends!  I also told my husband exactly what I plan to do and why and I shared with my children and a few friends.  When people know what’s important to you and have a better understanding of why you want to work on losing weight, it’s easier for them to be supportive.

I’m taking this step for myself.  I want to improve my health, overall quality of life, and the ability to do more of the things I enjoy doing.  I’m also taking these steps for all those I love and who love me.  Being more present, healthy and joyful are great gifts to share with others!

Important note:  I’m not a medical professional.  I’m not making any direct recommendations. I’m simply sharing my personal experiences along my journey.  I urge you to always conduct your own research.  Also, always consult your physician when changing your diet or working on weight loss. 

50 by 50: What Happened When I Counted Calories?

Results of counting calories during week one

Day 1 – calorie count 1859- I went over a bit, but despite this I made decent food choices. I immediately realized that I wanted to make every calorie count, so I filled my day with lots of vegetables, beans and fish. If I would have taken out the corn chips and salsa I had for a snack, I could have had a better score.

Days 2-7 pretty much went the same with calorie counts that were all in the 1600 to 1800 range.

My scale registered a 5.9 pound weight loss at the end of the week. Wonderful!

It’s a bit higher than I would have liked which could mean:

  • a) it’s some water weight loss due to lowered sodium from lowered calories
  • b) I didn’t give myself enough credit for how active I am, which put my calorie target too low
  • or c) beginner’s luck!  I do have a decent amount of weight to lose so it may initially come off more quickly, then slow down?

I think it’s most likely that I underestimated my daily activity and I’ve actually been a little more active as I feel “lighter” on a reduced calorie plan.  So I’m going to up my calorie count to 1800 for the next week and see where that lands me.

As for bloating, swelling, fatigue and sleep – I had some occasional minor belly bloating (see my gluten free plans below,) my overall fatigue level was improved because I found that I slept better and woke up less tired (probably due to eliminating late night snacking.)  My carpet tunnel was not as troublesome either and I think this has to do with reduce salt and sugar intake as I reduced overall calories.

What I learned counting calories

This exercise quickly reminded me pretty much of what I know already, that sugar-laden foods and eating out can quickly add on mega amounts of calories to your diet!!

It’s not bad to have a clear refresher, though, and to see the immediate results of really paying attention to what I eat and keeping my calories in line with what my body truly needs each day to function well.

I also discovered:

  • a mere half cup of my favorite granola is 200 calories. If I’m hungry and want to fill the bowl, that’s a whopping 400 calories. Thankfully, I drink Almondmilk, which has only 30 calories per 1 cup serving, so it’s doable to heap up a bowl when needed.
  • dinnertime is anywhere from 1/3rd to 1/2 of my calorie intake for the day. Because we have family dinners and I’m catering to two teens and a hungry hubby, it will be challenging for me to reduce this moving forward without making separate meals. I may also bump up my lunch calories and reduce portions at dinnertime. Definitely needs some tweaking!
  • I’m generally not that hungry in the morning, so that’s a help in scaling back on calories.  However, I do make sure I eat something as I know I need the fuel to run on and want to avoid any blood sugar slumps.
  • I immediately missed snacking.  With a 1700 calorie day, there’s not a lot of room for some of my favorite go-to snacks.  Nighttime can be the worst time for cravings so I’m working on finding ways to keep my mind and hands active to help get through the midnight-snack-missing phase.  Loom knitting, so far, has been super handy for this!

Also found that I wasn’t hungry, didn’t feel deprived and really enjoyed simply eating what I wanted, just eating less of it.

Tracking my food intake and being more mindful of my choices has been a great way to begin my journey.  It helped me really think about what I wanted to spend my calories on each day.  Did I want to save up for a glass of wine or enjoy a second helping of Tikka Masala instead?

What’s next?

I’m going to try bumping my calories to 1800 per day and see where that lands me on the scale this week.  I think it’s truly important to have a healthy weight loss of 2-3 pounds per week, so I’m targeting my current calories to get me into that space where I’m not losing too rapidly.  1700 may be perfect?  1800 may be better?  We’ll know by the end of this week!

Once I’ve landed on a definitive calorie count for moving forward, I plan to try a completely gluten free diet next (within my calorie count goal.)  I normally trend toward making gluten free choices as with Hashimoto’s I am gluten sensitive, but I stray too often and I think this is one of the contributors towards my occasional belly bloat and overall inflammation problems.

I’d love for you to join me!  If you need to make a big change and take off a few pounds, let’s do this!  Join me in any way you see fit, whether you want to follow along with what I’m trying each week or whether you just want some company along the way for your own personal weight loss journey, I’d love to connect and share.

Tags: over 50, weight loss, wellness, women's health
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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  1. Reply

    Congratulations on your success to date Barb! I may go back to counting calories as well. I don’t eat big breakfasts either, so I try to save calories for big family dinners as well. I look forward to your next update.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Linda! It is nice to start off and have a positive result. Hopefully, that will continue to be the course! 🙂 Counting calories just helped me instantly be more aware of my choices and where I needed to focus. It’s a habit I plan to continue for a bit as I move onward in my journey. Let me know if you do and if that works for you, too!

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